We ask experts at Wiggle how to choose the best running gear
Innovation in running has hugely accelerated in recent years, leaving a lot of runners bewildered at the huge choice available.
But what equipment is going to really help you hit that next stage?
Women’s Running have asked the experts at Wiggle to take a look through their huge range and come up with three pieces of great kit tailored to the main types of runner. So that’s what we’ve done.
Whether you’ve just got into running, are readying for your first marathon, have taken to the trails, or are preparing to go ultra, we’ve selected some of the latest gear that can help you break through your barriers.
Just find the type of runner that best fits how you run below. Hopefully our choices will provide some inspiration and help you find relevant kit to make a big impact on your next run.
Couch to 5k
If you’re a couch to 5k runner, then congratulations. We all started somewhere and it’s just the beginning of an epic journey full of reward and self-discovery. Hitting 5k and regularly running that distance requires comfort as your body adapts and strengthens, so here are our recommendations to give you a boost.
One thing you’ll discover as a runner is that not all t-shirts are equal. Sweat-wicking materials are an easy win and will provide you with the comfort you need to concentrate on your run. The dhb Aeron Top is also super light to keep you cool while it looks just as good as it feels.
Women’s Fly Fast 2.0 HeatGear® Crop Tights feature compression fit, which offers a big advantage for new runners. It reduces the amount of movement by your muscles as you improve your technique and that can help reduce soreness. It also has those all-important sweat-wicking properties, and it’s lightweight too.
A comfort sole is a comfort to the soul of runners getting used to the impact of running and adidas Solar Boost absorbs those impacts with ease. As well as offering great value, these much-loved shoes will help you keep the k’s coming.
Run for fitness
If you’ve got 5ks nailed and dabble in longer distances with regular runs, whether to supplement other activity or to boost your fitness generally, then this is the category for you. You’ve probably got your regular running gear but you’re now looking for something to provide extra support while thinking of taking data a bit more seriously.
Garments like the 2XU XVENT G2 Mesh Tank from 2XU offer that bit of extra performance for longer runs. Strategically placed mesh ventilation panels provide cooling air flow so you don’t overheat, while antibacterial and anti-odour properties do pretty much what you’d expect.
Keeping track of your progress and setting goals can make a huge impact at this level, and the Polar Unite Fitness Tracker is an ideal entry into this world. Joining communities such as Strava can be huge for motivation while the ability to see your calories burning as you run definitely gets you fired up.
Out go the comfort shoes and in come the more supportive, technology-rich running shoes with energy return features. Gel-Kayano 27 Running Shoes from Asics keep your pronation in check and deliver propel technology with FLYTEFOAM in the midsole. The lightweight construction is an added benefit ensuring they help and not hinder.
You don’t actually have to run with a club to fit into this category, but if you cover long distances, do intervals, hills, and train around two to three times a week, this is the category for you. At this point you’re looking for performance-focused kit that can relieve some of rougher aspects of running big miles.
Lightweight, breathable and sweat wicking, the Tokyo Tank is versatile and tough, perfect for long distance or high-intensity hills. It also has pro styling with performance design features suited to dedicated runners.
Running big miles brings with it the risk of blisters and chaffing and, at this point, a pair of great socks are worth their weight in platinum. Hilly Women’s Twin Skin Anklet Socks solve a lot of issues before they begin, with a double layer construction to prevent friction and breathable, sweat-wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry.
Energy return becomes a big advantage at this level, and the FuelCell Rebel is packed with power to drive you forward with each stride. A deconstructed heel counter keeps the foot locked in place while blown rubber on the outsole gives you durable traction on the different running surfaces you’ll likely encounter when running big miles.
Running the trails is huge fun but it’s not easy. It tests different muscle groups and requires very different kit as you tackle the intensity of rough terrain. Proper trail shoes are a must, as is toughened clothing. A bit of attitude doesn’t hurt either.
The Women’s Kamleika Jacket from OMM comes primed with the tank-like qualities you need for facing the challenge of the trail. Stretchable fabric in the inside keeps you insulated without hindering your natural gait, while a water-resistant outside keeps you fresh and dry. The exterior layer is also designed to reduce fabric noise which, as a trail runner, you’ll recognise as a major plus.
Also a good choice for ultra-runners, the dhb Aeron Ultra Women’s Run 3″ Short is equipped for all conditions and all terrains. Lightweight, non-restrictive, and quick drying, it’s a trail-friendly short with pockets (I know…), a snag resistant outer, and a separate liner for comfort.
Hoka’s awesome Torrent 2 Trail Running Shoe looks just as good as feels when navigating rocks, boulders, and roots. Along with its well-cushioned, responsive midsole, the shoe offers enhanced grip with multi-directional lugs that grab onto to any available surface. The upper, meanwhile, uses recycled UNIFI Reprieve yarn, so you can be good to the planet while you explore it.
It’s no longer speed that’s important, it’s durability and dependability that matter. The needs of an ultra-runner are quite distinct from the rest of the field, and new equipment enters the frame. Here’s a look at some of the key pieces of kit that can help you reach that peak.
It’s more than just a watch. The Garmin Instinct Solar can top up its charge using the latest solar technology, ensuring you’ll never lose your way. It comes replete with innovative tech and GPS guidance – in short, there’s very little it can’t do, save for lifting and carrying you the last two miles.
A solid hydration vest is essential for ultra runs, and the Ultra Vesta by Ultimate Direction is one of the best. It’s light and full of stash pockets for your all-important snacks and nutrition, plus it’s tough enough to withstand the miles.
Some people avoid poles, some people love them, but they’re always good to have even if it’s just during training runs. They come into their own on hard climbs and are you’ll be thankful for them in those tough final miles. The Black Diamond Distance Z poles are packable, comfortable, and light, and if you’re yet to give them a try we highly recommend them.