One of the things I love about running is its simplicity. Unlike many other sports, running doesn’t require a ton of gear. A comfy, sweat-wicking, weather-appropriate outfit, socks, and the right pair of sneakers are really all you need to get the job done.
That being said though, my guess is that the more you get into running (and especially trail running), the more gear you’ll find you need to buy. And, unfortunately, the cost of those items can start to add up fast.
However, if you’re newer to trail running (or just running in general), you shouldn’t have to shell out tons of money as you figure out what gear you actually need. You can find certain kinds of lower-priced items at stores like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx. You may even be able to shop on a budget (hint: look for sales!) at places like Academy Sports and Dicks Sporting Goods.
But if you’re an online shopper and you like things delivered in 2 days, then you know where to look. Yep, Amazon. And while I may not agree 100% with all of their business practices, they sure do have all kinds of running gear at a variety of price points.
Sneakers are one of those very personal items when it comes to running gear. It’s definitely not a “one brand fits all” kind of thing. And different shoes come in different shapes and support levels for different types of feet. If you don’t know what type of shoe would work best for you, please don’t just go out and buy a pair based on looks. I would strongly suggest you go to your local running store and ask for a gait analysis. After you purchase a pair they recommend and learn about the type of shoe that’s best for you, then you can shop online. But that’s just my two cents. There are certainly plenty of other options when it comes to sneakers on Amazon. The Brooks Cascadias and Altra Timps just happen to be two of the more popular trail shoes they have for neutral runners.
Socks can make or break a long trail run. Look for a pair that’s made from a synthetic material or merino wool. Whatever you do, stay away from socks that are 100% cotton. They won’t dry out quickly, which can lead to mucho blisters!
Amazon’s selection of brand-name workout gear is a little sparse compared to other online retailers, but you can find some very affordable tops.
I’ve included both a higher-end sports bra (the Brooks Pocket Run Bra) here, as well as a budget-minded option that comes in multiple colors.
Shorts are one of those things that we, as women, often have to try on before purchasing. But these off-brand pairs from look cute and comfy, and at least worth trying. And, if they don’t fit, Amazon has a great exchange/return policy!
Lightweight Waterproof Jackets
The Little Donkey Andy jacket would certainly do in a pinch, but if you’re looking for something that’s a little more tried and tested, I’d look at the Salomon Bonatti Race Waterproof Shell or the Patagonia Women’s Houdini® Jacket (neither of which are available on Amazon, unfortunately).
Hydration Vests, Belts, and Bottles
Kind of like shoes, hydration “devices” are individual preference items. Hydration packs and vests are not “one size fits all.” Many of today’s newer vests are made specifically for females but, even then, you may have to test a couple to see which feel the best on your body. Some vests or packs will bounce or cause chafing more for some women, but not others. You’ll find different size pockets for storing extra items, as well as different types of bladders, flasks, and bottles in different vests.
And then there’s the fact that, on some runs, you won’t want to wear a vest or a pack. Sometimes, a simple handheld bottle will do the trick. Or, maybe you prefer a belt-style hydration system.
And, of course, along with all these variations, come differences in price. The great thing is, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to fork over an armload of dough, you can easily find pocketbook-friendly options from Amazon.
Headlamps & Chest Lights
There are several options for headlamps, chest lights, lighted vests, and flashing shoe lights on Amazon. Personally, I prefer a headlamp that I can adjust to make the strap bigger to wear around my chest when I don’t want something extra on my head.
Energy Chews/Gels & Hydration
If you have a favorite brand of chews, gels, or hydration fuel – look for it on Amazon! They don’t have everything, and you often have to buy in bulk, but this is sometimes a way to save a little money.
Hats & Visors
Self-explanatory. I only wish Amazon had more feminine-looking options.
BUFFS are great for long trail runs or races, with their multitude of uses. Wear one as a headband, packed with ice around your neck to keep cool, over your face and ears for sun protection, or wrapped around your wrist (as my friend Kat likes to do) to wipe away the sweat. Lots of options here.
I have yet to try a pair of ankle gaiters, but they’re on my list “want to test” items. They’re meant for keeping out sand, rocks, and other debris during longer excursions out on the trail.
While there are other brands that make GPS watches (and Apple is certainly on that list with their multi-use Apple Watch), I’m a bit of a Garmin loyalist. I included some of the more popular options at a variety of price points here.
A running belt is great to have for a shorter run on the trail (or the road) when you don’t have the extra storage capacity from a hydration vest or pack. You can store your phone, key, and usually something else very small (like a gel) in the large pocket.
Whether you’re new to trail running, or have seen your fair share of dirt, I hope you’ll be able to find some new and useful piece of gear to try out. I did my best to include products that I myself use and love, as well as items friends use and ones I want to try. And if you’ve already found some Amazon steals, I’d love to hear about them! Be a friend and tell us in the comments below 👇🏼 so we can all get in on it!
Disclaimer: You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in exercise or training I recommend, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Running With Roots from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Running With Roots. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. The views expressed are based on my own experiences, and should not be taken as medical, nutrition or training advice.