Over the last few years, I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of miles testing the best trail running gear available to me. Many pairs of shoes, lots of hydration packs and running vests, GPS Watches, and clothing to boot.
This is why I can give you my honest opinion on many pieces of gear that have worked for me.
My Favourite Trail Running Shoes
I prefer a wider fitting shoe so my toes can move around without feeling crushed, especially on long multiple hour runs. I can say without any doubt that over the past 3 or 4 years my favourite shoe has been the Altra Lone Peak – zero drop, wide toe-box, and just the right amount of cushioning for runs of any length. I have run an 86-mile race in them with no issues.
Surprisingly to me of late, I have started to enjoy the Hoka One One Challenger ATR – previously quite a narrow shoe, but the latest iteration comes in a wide format and I have found it to be a great training shoe for harder packed trails and even some of my road training runs – a very good addition by Hoka.
I have tried many, around 15 in total. Some have been very good, others not so good for many reasons.
My go to pack for the past 12 months has been the Salomon Advance Skin 12 Set. It’s on the upper end of the price range, but in my opinion you often get what you pay for.
Lots of storage space for long days out with lots of gear, and plenty room for fluids to keep you hydrated. One of the best purchases I have made for sure.
Some of the clothing for running is really overlooked at times. Don’t make that mistake and assume any pair of shorts will do the job on long runs. I have tried many in the past and basically have 2 goto pairs for my trail runs. However, the Brooks Sherpa 2 in 1 7″ short is without a doubt the best I have ever worn
The reason these shorts are so good is that I don’t chafe when wearing them (very, very important), they have a storage pocket(s) for my phone, and they are just damn comfortable.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking socks aren’t important because they really are. Pick a poor quality sock on a long run, or even a technical trail and you might just learn why they are important.
The main reasons being that goods ones will offer a certain amount of cushioning at the right points of your foot, and more importantly, might just help to avoid dreaded blisters – not much fun with 10+ miles to the end of a race.
Personally, I go with most of the toe socks made by Injinji, because not only are they comfortable, but they also allow my toes to splay nicely in my Altra running shoes.
I tend to put less focus on the other gear I use. I make sure my shirt is made of a material that doesn’t rub, especially the nipple area. I use multiple trucker caps and sunglasses to protect my head from the sun, and I sometimes like to listen to music when it’s safe, so I use a cheap comfortable pair of headphones.
The only other thing that I tend to carry is a small first aid kit, just in case I need to do any running repairs.
I’ve also put together some helpful resources as I’ve run all over the country in many environments. This is a compilation of the best resources and recommendations I can put together.