If you’re like us, you’re probably wondering where the year went. It seems like only yesterday we were excited for summer to start and now we’re a month away from fall. But you what the start of autumn means? Marathons. Training is in full swing for many of the editors and staff at Competitor and we’ve been on the hunt for the best apparel, gear and nutritional supplements to use on upcoming races. Here are five running products that we’re currently digging:
Nathan VaporMag 2.5L Hydration Vest – $125
Whether you’ve run in a hydration vest or not, Nathan’s VaporMag 2.5L Women’s Race Vest is a great choice for your first or even fifth vest purchase. Made in collaboration with ultrarunner Maggie Guterl, these vests are designed specifically to fit the female form, which made it comfortable right off the bat and easy to adjust to get the right fit. The VaporMag is also lightweight, coming in at around 7.2 oz with both 12 oz soft flasks filled up. Our favorite feature is the extended strap tubes that make it easy to sip fluids from the flasks without having to remove them from your pockets. The lower back pocket also fits a smartphone, and thankfully doesn’t move much once tucked inside. Although there’s a lot going on with the vest, it never once felt heavy or bulky, plus its breathability was noticeable on extra-long treks.
GU Energy Gel – $36/box of 24
Most of us are no stranger to GU energy gels. But if you’ve never tried one during a run, you’re missing out. Created for training and competition, the packs offer athletes energy-dense, 100-calorie treats to carry with them while engaging in physical activity. Amongst their newest flavors are French Toast, Chai Latte, Birthday Cake—the latter of which is our favorite flavor. The brand itself offers everything from hydration drink mixes to recovery drink mixes and BCAA capsules. With the warmer weather and busy days in the office, we’ve definitely being feeling a little bit of a lag on our runs, so we’ve been relying on these GUs more often to keep our energy up. The best part is, they’re small enough to store in your running tights or shorts.
Lululemon Final Lap Crop 23″ – $118
Almost immediately after putting on these Lululemon leggings, we started getting compliments on them. But looking good on and feeling good in them, are two different things—so we were eager to test them out on a long run. Made with quick-drying and sweat-wicking Nulux fabric, these Lulu’s held up their end of the deal, keeping us feeling cool while almost seeming to be non-existent on our legs. The high-rise tights come with a few built in pockets on the sides for your phone along with a hidden one on the back waistband so there’s plenty of storage options.
Balega Hidden Contour Running Socks – $14
Wearing socks that are specific to runners are an important part of protecting your feet while on the road, track or trail. Regular cotton holds in moisture and leads to blisters in the summer or cold feet in the winter. For any of us who have suffered from blisters, it’s reason enough to invest in the proper footwear. Balega’s Hidden Contour Running socks are great technical socks that provide supportive fits and promote proper blood circulation. If you suffer from hotspots, these socks are specially-constructed with reinforced microfiber mesh ventilation panels to keep you cool. With an extra-deep heel pocket, they also stay in place well on your foot and are cushioned enough to add protection and not bulk to your runs. Plus, around the office, they’re one of the most-worn socks amongst our various Triathlete, Women’s Running and Competitor teams, which says a lot.
Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro – $250
Right out of the box, the Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro‘s make an impact. Weighing in at around 3.5 oz, these kicks are seriously lightweight; so much so that we almost didn’t believe they could also perform well. But we were glad to be proven wrong. These shoes not only give off a need for speed, but they actually helped us quicken our pace each mile. Although being minimalist, they still have enough cushion so that you have a comfortable ride each step you take. When it comes to breathability, because they come with a single-piece, thin engineered mesh upper, we didn’t suffer any hotspots…even in this summertime heat. You can also go sockless if needed. Bottom line: whether you’re running a 5K or marathon, these shoes will have you hitting those PRs come race day. Trust us.