Running is one of those amazing sports that requires minimal equipment and gear. No matter where you are in the world or where you are in life, you can run.
Once you do take the step into the sport, though, you may find yourself amassing a constantly growing collection of running gear. I know it’s my weakness!
Despite the fact that not much is needed to run, what you wear can have a huge impact on the quality of your running. Have you ever tried to run in someone else’s shoes (literally)? It’s not too comfy.
Choosing your gear wisely can be the difference between a run and a fantastic run. Every time.
Here are the best running shoes, clothes, and gear for men that get a thumbs-up from us.
Top 5 Best and Favorites
Brooks Ghost 14
New Balance Accelerate 5″ Short
Nathan ExoShot Handheld Flask
ASICS Aptitude 2 Pant
Smartwool Merino 150 Beanie
Warm Weather Shoes & Gear
These are the best options we’ve found for warm days in spring, summer, and fall.
Best Road Running Shoe
1. Brooks Ghost 14
The Brooks Ghost is a superb running shoe for beginners and pros alike. It’s very lightweight, making the experience of road running seem like a breeze.
Despite being such a light shoe, it doesn’t skimp in the cushioning department. It’s one of the thickest, most contoured cushions in a neutral shoe, so runners needing extra arch support should find this shoe a dream.
As if that’s not nice enough, the BioMoGo midsole is biodegradable, so choosing this shoe is an environmentally-friendly decision.
The cushioning is complemented by a segmented crash pad that absorbs shock and makes for easy heel-to-toe transitions.
Add the textured rubber sole, airy mesh upper, extra-supportive overlays, and wide range of colors, and you’ve got a first-rate, multi-purpose running shoe that deals well with any terrain.
- Superior cushioning
- Textured sole for good grip
- Suitable for wide feet
- Environmentally-friendly materials
- May not suit heavy pronators
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Best Trail Running Shoe
2. Saucony Peregrine 10
The Peregrines are sleek-looking shoes specifically designed to suit a hardcore trail runner.
The two most important things on a trail shoe are the grip and the comfort. The Sauconys’ PWRTRAC rubber sole is rough and rugged, with thick, aggressive lugs for superior traction.
In terms of comfort, the Peregrine’s midsole provides decent arch support. The midsole is classed as “firm and responsive”, so it’s both supportive and spongy at the same time. It gives a nice bounce when pushing off.
The addition of a toe cap is great for protection on the trails. We don’t recommend this shoe for road running (it may be too grippy), but as far as trail running shoes go, we give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
- Aggressive grip
- Neutral style
- 4mm drop
- Lightweight for a trail shoe
- Runners with wide feet might not find these comfortable
- Not best for road running
3. Balega Hidden Comfort
In a world where socks often come in one-size-fits-all, just the five-size choice of these socks is impressive!
They’re built for a snug and near-hidden fit. An important feature of socks is that they wick away sweat, and these make use of Drynamix fabric to serve that purpose. In addition, there are strategically placed mesh panels to allow your feet to stay cool and dry.
A couple of factors add to the comfort of these hidden socks. The heel tab is higher than average, which helps prevent chafing. In some higher-ankle shoes, it could lead to the sock slipping into the shoe, though.
Seamless toes is a high-comfort feature that we appreciate in a sock. They’re also pretty decently cushioned across the whole bottom. Some may find this to be inadequate as it’s not targeted to the most-used areas of the foot, but it’s thick and comfortable and should be more than comfortable for most.
- Available in five sizes
- Seam-free toes for comfort
- We like the high heel tab to prevent the sock slipping
- Drynamix moisture-wicking fabric
- No targeted padding
Best Running Shorts
4. New Balance Accelerate 5″ Short
With an inseam length to suit every runner and a high-quality and durable design, these shorts should be in your running gear collection.
A built-in mesh brief provides support in all the right places, while remaining airy and cool. The drawcord allows you to tighten it to your own preference, and allows for space to add compression shorts underneath if you’d like.
The material is thin, lightweight, and quick-drying. This means they may be less durable, but it’s a sacrifice worth making for the breathability.
You’ll find a pocket on either side of the shorts. But the lack of zipper may render them a little useless for carrying a phone or keys. It does feature a key pocket on the waist, but it will only fit one key.
Despite the lack of carry space, these shorts cover all bases in terms of support, flexibility, and keeping you cool on the road.
- Available in three different inseam lengths
- Quick-drying material
- Reflective elements for safety
- Built-in brief for stability
- Pockets aren’t zippered
Top Short Sleeve Shirt
5. BALEAF Quick Dry Short Sleeve
While you can run in pretty much any shirt, choosing carefully can improve your performance by keeping you cooler, dryer and more flexible. That’s what this shirt does.
With 30 colors to choose from, you’ll never be bored. The weaved polyester fabric is more breathable than most and repels moisture.
This particular shirt offers a high degree of flexibility, with ergonomic seams and raglan sleeves. It caters specifically to a man’s build, allowing more space for muscular arms to move while running.
There’s no tag in the collar, so no need to worry about scratching or discomfort while you’re on the move. The back end is also longer than the front, so no need to worry about it riding up while running.
It’s washing machine-friendly and quick-drying, for added convenience.
- Polyester is extremely breathable
- Longer back for extra coverage
- Raglan sleeves are designed for men’s arms
- Tagless collar for comfort
- May not be the right fit for broad-shouldered men
6. Under Armour Speed Stride Singlet
Men who prefer to go sleeveless, this shirt is our top singlet choice. It’s as lightweight and breathable as the full-sleeved shirt above, but the lack of sleeves adds an extra cooling effect.
The arm holes are oversized, allowing for a full range of movement with no chafing. The soft material is easy on the skin and wicks sweat away, keeping you as dry as possible.
While you’ll be getting more breeze on the skin and holding onto less sweat, when you do get a little soaked UA’s anti-odor, microbe-killing function will keep you smelling a-okay.
- Features anti-odor tech
- Large arm holes for no movement restriction
- Polyester & elastane construction
- Soft and light fabric
- The seams may be scratchy
Best Running Cap
7. Salomon Unisex XA Cap
Whatever weather you’re running in, a hat is an essential item. Even in winter, a cap can protect you from the harsh sun (UV rays are a thing even in the cold).
A built-in sweatband and strategic mesh panels over the dome of the cap allow for heat to escape and moisture absorption around the hairline.
Designed with a Velcro adjustment strap and made from stretch mesh, it’s comfy and light on the head. You’ll hardly even feel it there, considering it weighs less than 1.5 ounces.
Add a sun protection factor of 50, and this is the perfect headwear for all weather conditions.
- Different sizes available
- Breathable mesh panels
- UPF50 sun protection
- Weighs only 1.34 ounces
- The logo may peel off easily
Top Hydration Pack
8. Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 5.0
Hydration is one of the most important things when on the road. It can’t be neglected, but it can be tempting to leave the bottles at home because they’re just not easy to carry.
The Ultimate Direction Ultra Vest 5.0 eliminates that problem. It holds up to 3L of liquid in the bladder, and comes with two additional 500ml bottles, which should see you through a decent distance.
The storage space is impressive. You’ll find 6 mesh pockets on the front of the vest, so whether you need to carry car keys, sunglasses, an energy bar, or your phone, you’ll have space. Be careful, though – it can be easy to sweat right through the pockets.
The front also sports a zippered pocket, of which you’ll find three more on the back of the vest. If you’re heading out for a hike or a trail run, there’s holders for trail poles. You’ll also get two bottles with your purchase, which is a nice touch that not every product has.
It’s cool (in more ways than one), light, super useful, and definitely a worthwhile purchase.
- Impressive pocket storage capacity
- 4L total liquid capacity (bladder + bottles)
- Comes with 2 hydration bottles
- Mesh construction makes it cool to wear
- Side pocket may get sweated on – be careful what you put in it
Best Handheld Bottle
9. Nathan ExoShot Handheld Flask
Runners who prefer bottles to hydration packs will love this nifty running flask. It’s a soft flask that can take around 10 ounces of liquid.
Your running efficiency will be supercharged if you’re used to running with a regular bottle. The ergonomic hand strap makes it incredibly easy to carry and can be tightened or loosened as you wish.
There’s no need to worry about your bottle leaking while your arms are going, as it features a lock cap with a valve to prevent dripping.
If you have a Nathan hydration vest, just remove the strap and place it right into your vest. It is BPA-free but may need to be soaked in some kind of detergent before use to reduce the chemical taste in your water.
- Solid lock and valve cap prevents leaking
- Ergonomic hand strap
- Bottle can be used in a vest
- BPA-free and non-toxic
- It may need soaking before use to prevent water tasting strange
- Specifies 12-oz capacity but may be less
Top Hydration Waist Belt
10. Nathan VaporKrar WaistPak
If you can’t hold a bottle while you run, but you’re not keen on wearing a full vest, this little contraption could be right for you.
You’ll be able to carry 20 ounces of water in the soft flask, and the beauty is you’ll only be a few ounces heavier with this around your waist. It’s snug enough for the bottle not to bounce while running, but not so tight as to cause discomfort.
Secure your phone in the zippered front pocket, and adjust the waistband to suit you. It may take some getting used to twisting to put the bottle in the back pocket, but it gets easier.
The accompanying bottle has a bite valve so it shouldn’t leak while sitting tight in your back pocket.
- Includes 20-ounce soft flask
- All phones can fit into the storage pocket
- Weighs only 3.4 ounces including flask
- Adjustable fit
- Some may find removing the bottle from the back pocket difficult
- If the bottle is too full, it may not fit well
11. Tifosi Swank
This is another piece of equipment that should be high on your list no matter what weather you’re planning on running in. the importance of eye protection can’t be understated, and these ones are well-priced as well as effective.
If you’ve had trouble keeping sunglasses on your face while running, these ones should surprise you. Hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces keep them right where they should be while you’re moving and sweating.
Your eyes will be protected from UVA and UVB rays, and their Glare Guard coating helps reduce eye strain on the road. Your vision will be crystal clear and the sun won’t hamper you, no matter which direction you run in.
- Quite affordable
- No-slip fit with rubber ear and nose pieces
- Very durable
- Glare guard lenses
- Not all options are polarized, so choose carefully
Top Running Underwear
12. 2UNDR Swing Shift 6″
Next to comfortable and durable shoes and socks, your underwear is the piece of equipment that really has the potential to ruin a good run.
You definitely want something that offers good support but doesn’t restrict your range of movement. That’s what these offer.
The unique design keeps things separate and reduces chafing significantly. When you’re moving and sweating, this is a huge factor. That feature alone gives this underwear a leg up on the competition.
They’re crafted from a mix of bamboo, cotton, and elastane so the air really gets in, and they’re soft on the skin too. Comfort is maximized by the addition of a roll-resistant waistband and flat seams.
A speedy, streamlined run begins with the right underwear!
- Hydrophobic membrane to keep you dry
- Roll-resistant waistband
- Designed to prevent chafing
- Bamboo/cotton/elastane makes them airy and light
- Reported to run a little too tight
Cold Weather Shoes & Gear
When you gets cold and snowy outside, you’ll need additional gear to stay comfortable. A good running jacket, gloves, and a beanie are must-haves. Here are our other top picks for cold weather running.
Best Road Waterproof Shoe
13. Brooks Ghost 12 GTX
Running in the rain can be amazing, but it’s highly important to stay safe and stable when out on wet roads. These are the same model as our top choice shoe above, with one crucial addition – Gore-Tex waterproofing.
Wet feet can make for an uncomfortable run, but the Gore-Tex layer makes this a non-issue. It keeps water out, but still allows moisture to escape. No wet feet, and no sweaty feet either.
The rough textured outsole keeps you steady and sturdy on your feet on any terrain. A biodegradable foam insert keeps you cushioned underfoot, and can be removed to make way for an orthotic if necessary. It’s easy to customize this shoe to your own comfort.
Grippy, dry, and bouncy, your wet weather running days will benefit from a pair of these on your feet.
- Gore-Tex waterproof membrane
- 3D print overlays protect and support the foot
- Omega Flex grooves add extra flexibility
- BioMoGo and Brooks DNA cushioning
- May seem stiff at first, until the Gore-Tex layer wears in
Top Trail Waterproof Shoe
14. Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX
Everything you could think of that you may need in a trail shoe is present in this Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX.
Waterproof? Sure – it sports a Gore-Tex layer to prevent rain, puddles, or snow penetrating through to your feet.
Sturdy? Yes! An aggressive-lug Contagrip sole provides superb traction on snow, mud, rock, and stones.
Comfortable? You bet. The classic Salomon Sensifit paired with their adjustable QuickLace system make it easy to find the perfect fit.
- Waterproof Gore-Tex layer
- Contagrip sole for all terrains
- Sensifit foot cocooning
- Adjustable QuickLace system
- Not ideal for any running other than trail running
- May be too stiff for some to be comfortable
Best Compression Socks
15. CEP Tall Compression Socks
Compression gear can do wonders for recovery. If you haven’t tried these socks yet, they should be the next addition to your gear stash!
They’re double-function, so you can wear them on the go or afterwards, for recovery. As well as being compressive, they actually have some arch and ankle support too. They’ve been reported to improve shin splints, too.
Between their HeiQ Smart Temp tech and Extreme Air tech, your feet will be cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Another comfort factor is the fact that the toes are seamless, so there’s no pressure anywhere there shouldn’t be.
The only thing downside is that shorter runners could find these to be more like stockings than socks.
- Seamless toes for extra comfort
- Ankle and arch stabilization
- Feature Extreme Air Technology
- HeiQ Smart Temp technology that responds to body heat
- Shorter runners may find these to be too long
Best Running Pants
16. ASICS Aptitude 2 Pant
Unless you’ve got a serious pair of thermal tights under them, shorts aren’t going to cut it in winter weather. These long pants, though, should keep you warm and looking stylish at the same time.
We like the zippered leg design. It makes them easy to get on and off, and if you do get warm while running, it’s as simple as unzipping slightly to allow for better airflow.
They’re not thick as you may expect from pants geared for winter, but this is advantageous. Wear compression tights or thermals underneath if you need to.
The only improvement could be the addition of zippers on the side pockets to allow for carrying of a phone or keys.
- Hydrology fabric to keep you dry
- We like the tapered, zippered leg
- Light enough to wear tights or thermals underneath
- Available in five sizes
- Zipped pockets would be an improvement
Top Running Tights
17. Under Armour Qualifier HeatGear Running Tights
Running tights are a great lower base layer for cold weather running. You could wear them on their own, too, if you’re comfortable with it.
However you choose to wear them, these Under Armour tights use Heatgear fabric, which not only regulates body temperature, but also provides light compression features to keep blood flowing.
Integrated briefs provide more support than the average pair of tights, and anti-odor technology is always helpful for a sweet-smelling run.
Although there are no side pockets, there’s a small waistband pocket that’s anti-bounce and resistant to water.
If you prefer the comfort of tights, these ones are a top notch option. If you’ve never run in tights before, these could be the ones that convert you.
- Front pocket for small goods
- Features UA compression
- Built-in brief for extra support
- Anti-odor fabric
- Slightly pricey
Best Rain Jacket
18. Marmot Minimalist Rain Jacket
It’s essential to be well-protected from the elements while running in bad weather, but if you’re serious about your times and stats it’s also important to be as streamlined as possible.
This rain jacket is simple and aerodynamic. Gore-Tex technology provides some serious waterproofing, while reducing condensation on the inside at the same time.
It’s definitely geared towards heavy weather, with a storm flap to protect the zipper, a hood, and—our personal favorite—Pit Zips. Getting a little too warm? Need a bit more ventilation? Simply zip open the pits to catch the breeze.
A premium quality rain jacket is paramount for a comfy run in the rain, and we highly recommend this eye-catching windbreaker.
- We like the pit zips
- Gore-Tex technology for waterproofing
- Aerodynamic design
- Windproof and warm
- Gore-Tex is not cheap
Top Running Gloves
19. Nike Therma Fit
Frozen hands can also ruin a great run. Nike’s Therma Fit gloves won’t let it get that far, though.
They’re designed in an anatomical way to allow for a relaxed hand position while inside the glove. The fingers and palms are sectioned for easier movement.
You’ll still be able to operate your smartphone with the silicon forefinger and thumb. The outer thumb consists of fleece, and it’s strategically designed to be close and easy for nose-wiping. Yes – the cold can be hard on a runner’s nose!
These gloves are only available in small and medium, so those with large hands may need to look elsewhere.
- Polyester fabric is warm but breathable
- Anatomically-designed for comfortable hand position
- Dri-Fit fleece lining
- Touch screen compatible
- Only available in small and medium sizes
Best Run Beanie
20. Smartwool Merino 150 Beanie
If the one-size-fits-all construction of this beanie works for you, you can use it on its own or as a base layer under a hat.
Merino wool and nylon make for a warm head covering that’s also easy to keep clean. Machine wash and tumble dry on low to keep it fresh between wears.
It’s also not bulky at all, and feels super light on your head. A beanie may seem like a small piece of gear, but keeping your head warm is essential when out in windy, rainy, or just cold conditions.
- Made of Merino wool for extra warmth
- Light on the head and comfortable
- Can be used alone or as a base layer
- Can be machine washed and tumble dried on low
- One-size-fits-all may not be accurate
Best Base Layer
21. Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Top
Base layers are meant to be worn underneath shirts as an extra layer of warmth. The SmartWool Merino is heavy but breathable, and fits close to the body for keeping heat in and providing a streamlined second skin.
The interlock knit assists with airflow while keeping its heat regulation properties. Odor-resistance is always a good thing to see in an item of thermal clothing. You’ll stay fresh even after a good many miles.
It’s generous in both colors and sizes, so you should be able to find the perfect one for you.
- 100% Merino wool construction
- Second skin fit
- Insulated but ventilated
- Thermoregulation and odor control makes it perfect for cold
- Washing with rougher fabrics could cause pilling
Top Head Band
22. ASICS Thermopolis LT 2-N-1 Headwarmer
A head band may seem like an insignificant piece of equipment in a world of beanies, balaclavas, and caps. But for those who don’t enjoy their head being totally covered, a headband could be the way to go, especially if you need an ear-warmer.
The combination of spandex and polyester makes it stretchy and easy to pull on and off. The double layer of fabric means it’s warm – but it may not quite be warm enough for some.
A nice feature is that it’s reversible, so there’s no need to worry about how you wear it.
- Polyester and spandex mix
- Affordable headgear
- Reversible for versatility
- Double-layer fabric
- May not provide enough warmth for very cold weather
Best Merino Wool Running Socks
23. Minus33 Light Trek Runner Sock
Merino wool is known for being soft and light but warm. It’s also naturally moisture-wicking and quick-drying. We can’t understate the importance of dry feet on the road or trail.
A mesh patch on the top of the foot lets the air flow, and the socks also come with antimicrobial properties to keep your feet dry, non-sticky, and smelling unusually great. The nylon/elastane construction gives the sock a feeling of a gentle hug around your feet.
Some runners may feel that the sock is too short to be comfortable. It can be a worse problem in winter, when short socks may allow a sneaky space around the ankle for biting wind to get in.
- Warm, soft Merino wood
- Mesh patch for ventilation
- Antimicrobial properties
- May be too short for some runners
Best Reflective Vest
24. Amphipod Xinglet
This may be the last bit of gear on the list, but safety should not be underestimated. If you’re a night runner especially, a reflective vest could be the thing that, quite literally, saves your life on the road.
This one is a nice twist on the regular vest design, and it gets a big thumbs-up for being lightweight and unobtrusive. It fits over anything, so no matter the season, this would be an excellent piece of equipment to own.
Choose from neon yellow, bright pink, or grey. Whichever color you choose, the reflective strips serve their purpose well. It’s also super adjustable, so whatever size you are, it should fit nicely. Taller guys may find it very high in the waist.
- Three colors available
- Lightweight and very easy to wear over anything
- Chafe-free soft construction
- Adjustable waist, from 27 to 47 inches
- Guys over 6 feet may be a bit too tall for it
Wondering about gear or cold-weather running? Here are the most popular questions we come across.
What Are the Most Important Pieces of Running Gear?
The most essential pieces of running gear are your shoes and socks. These can make the most difference to the quality of your running experience. Next, we recommend a watch that tracks your distance and time.
From there, you may want to look into underwear, shorts/tights, and shirts/singlets to round off your kit.
Is Running in Colder Temperatures Possible and Recommended?
There’s no evidence to suggest that running in the cold has a negative effect on the body. Take that recommendation within limits, of course. Running when it is 20 degrees outside is one thing; running then it is -10 is quite another. As long as it is not brutally cold, getting outside and active in cooler weather can actually improve your immune system. It can also help you burn more calories.
The biggest cold-weather risk is not dressing adequately. As long as you’re suited up correctly, running in the cold can actually be pretty beneficial.
What Kind of Running Gear is Important in Winter?
Don’t underestimate the importance of layering. It’s better to wear too much than too little – you can always take one layer off halfway, but if you begin to freeze, you have a problem.
Moisture-wicking base layers are essential – you want a long-sleeve shirt that does not hold on to sweat. Do NOT wear cotton base layers in the winter. You can get away with it in the summer, but when the temperature drops, cotton can contribute to your body getting very cold, even while running. Your base layer should keep you snug and dry, not sweaty.
Tights or long pants are also key for winter running. A beanie or balaclava, gloves or mittens, and sunglasses to fend off the harsh winter sun are all important, too.