The 20 Best Summer Running Essentials

Aug 25, 2020

Category: Gear

Running during the summer presents its own suite of complications, but few experiences can match the relaxing nature of an early morning jog. Whether you’re an early riser who loves to partake in cardio during blue hour, or you’re an afternoon aficionado who enjoys a quick jaunt to your favorite sunset lookout, battling the summer heat can be worth it. But, to get the most out of your run, you’re going to have to acquire the right gear for the job.

Since running during the summer is characteristically different than running during the cooler seasons of the year, there are a number of things that you’re going to have to take into account. Aside from the utilization of ventilated clothing, you’ll find that garments with sweat-wicking qualities, improved four-way stretch, non-form-fitting silhouettes, and lightweight fabrics will be best. Fortunately, there are a handful of well-informed companies out there who have created gear specifically for the summer runner, implementing cutting-edge technologies, innovations, and good-old-fashioned UV protection to ensure that your sunset sprint doesn’t turn into a traumatic experience.

Shoes

The Key To Success

Adidas PULSEBOOST HD SUMMER.RDY

If you’re going to take your summer training regimen seriously, you’re going to need a great pair of sneakers to back you up. The Adidas PULSEBOOST HD SUMMER.RDY is one such example. It calls upon a breathable mesh upper, a high-density Boost Midsole, and a traction-approved rubber outsole to give you the utmost grip as you hop, skip, and jump your way around the urban jungle. To compete with the summer heat and give it a leg up on other models within the space, the PULSEBOOST HD has adopted Adidas’ proprietary SUMMER.RDY technology, offering increased airflow in zones where heat and moisture make the biggest impact.

Purchase: $112

Saucony Peregrine 10

Saucony is always a safe bet when it comes to race-proven footwear, and the brand’s Peregrine 10 is no different. This trail-savvy shoe brings a subdued silhouette and minimalist architecture to the masses, but don’t let that fool you — it’s still technically-inclined. To give the sleeper its very own cardio-approved persona, Saucony has decided to focus on its trail readiness, adorning the shoe with comfortable PWRRUN cushioning, a protective rock plate, and reinforcements throughout. This effectively protects the wearer as they traverse some of the world’s harshest (and warmest) ecosystems, making it an attractive proposition for those who don’t want the flashy appearance of contemporary models but enjoy their technological advancements.

Purchase: $120

ON CLOUDFLOW

ON’s CLOUDFLOW sneakers are some of the lightest running examples on the market, and aside from their tailor-made technologies, they’re also inherently sporty. This fully-cushioned training show is crafted with Helion super foam and Cloud elements, meaning that it’s been engineered to provide exceptional comfort, durability, and power transfer for its wearer. To amplify its contribution, the shoe also boasts a proprietary Springboard, helping you to alleviate impact, transition into an accelerated stride, and dominate the miles ahead. A strategic tape pattern lacing configuration, and curved heel help to round things out, leaving us with one of the most notable running shoes in the industry, and perhaps, the world.

Purchase: $140

Nike Pegasus Turbo 2

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Nike Pegasus Turbo 2. Touted as the running man’s shoe, this featherlight model boasts a slew of components and traits that are catered specifically toward cardiovascular efficiency. To enhance their long-distance demeanor, Nike has dressed them in an ultra-breathable lofted mesh upper, translucent materials, a partial inner sleeve, and a responsive ZoomX midsole, allowing for unparalleled power return and multi-surface traction. Look a little deeper, and you’ll see that the Pegasus Turbo 2 also features an angled heel for additional optimization, an engineered collar for Achilles tendon protection/support, and an impact-absorbing rubber outsole to help you clock in the miles without having to worry about discomfort or fatigue.

Purchase: $180

Tops

Breathable Control

Under Armour Men’s UA RUSH™ Run

Under Armour’s Men’s UA RUSH Run top was built for speed, and thanks to its unique architecture, there’s a good chance that you’ll keep it on well after your summer run is finished. This functionally-focused shirt boasts a mineral-infused fabric construction that promotes enhanced blood flow and moisture retention, helping your body to absorb the effort that you’re putting out for more optimal endurance. As a result, you’ll feel stronger, more capable, and more comfortable, prolonging your runs and workouts so that you can take less time off. It’s especially useful for summer joggers, thanks to its strategic mesh ventilation points, anti-odor technology, and low-profile collar — all of which provide a unique experience that’s been crafted with athletes in mind.

Purchase: $45

Rhone Swift Tank

Rhone’s Swift Tank is a magnificent sleeveless option for the most avid runner. Not only does it free up your arms from feeling cramped, hot, and sweaty, but it also allows you to show off the body that you’ve been working so hard to cultivate! Jokes aside, Rhone’s Swift Tank has been engineered to perform, thanks to its breathable, quick-drying fabric, anti-odor technology, and moisture-wicking interior. To complement your long-distance runs, it’s been crafted with perforated fabrics for increased performance and lightness, as well as flatlock stitching to keep chafing and discomfort to a minimum.

Purchase: $58

Arc’Teryx Motus Crew Neck

Arc’Teryx is the king of utilitarian outdoor gear, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t offer one of the best running shirts in the industry. The brand’s Motus Crew Neck is a sleek, athletic alternative to the genre’s minimalistic offerings, bringing advanced Phasic FL bi-component fabrics, moisture management, and anatomical patterning to the forefront for all those min-maxers out there. To ensure that the garment moves freely with the runner’s body, Arc’Teryx has introduced a powerful stretch fabric, chafe-resistant seams, and a soft, pleasant interior construction. There’s even a set of reflective blades on the outside of the shirt, allowing for increased visibility (and peace of mind) at night.

Purchase: $70

Tracksmith Strata Tee

If you know anything about Tracksmith, it’s the fact that they take running very, very seriously. To them, the cardio-savvy pastime is a way of life, and the brand’s Strata Tee is a direct observation of that mindset. This high-performance tee was conceptualized and crafted to put in the miles, thanks to its unique breathable knit structure, Coldblack UV protection, and enhanced heat absorption properties. The result? A lightweight, free-flowing shirt that as technical as it is aesthetically pleasing, thanks to Tracksmith’s Active>silver anti-bacterial and anti-odor finish, Bluesign Certified fabrics, and bonded focal seams, which reduce chafing over long distances.

Purchase: $88

Satisfy Packable Windbreaker

Satisfy’s Packable Windbreaker might not be an obvious summer staple for many runners, but for those evenings and nights when things take an unexpected turn for those lower temperatures, you’ll be glad that you picked one up. It’s true that every runner should be prepared for the unexpected, and with this great-looking model, you’ll be fully outfitted to take on random bouts of rain, wind, snow, and fog, without feeling weighed down. The best part? It’s completely packable, meaning that you’ll be able to place it in a self-contained pouch that won’t take up room in your pack or pocket. Inside, the windbreaker boasts a secure pocket system for your electronic devices, as well as a separate key pouch to keep things separated.

Purchase: $356

Bottoms

Compression & Airflow

Fourlaps Bolt 7”

You can’t have a complete running-focused arsenal without the right legwear. Luckily, Fourlaps’ Bolt 7” short is here to make sure that you’re ready to take on any run and look good while doing it. Each example boasts an ultra-athletic fit, an above-the-knee orientation, and an elastic drawstring waist to provide exceptional comfort and security as you traverse your favorite running trail. But what sets them apart from your average, run-of-the-mill short? For starters, they feature a formidable, moisture-wicking construction, an antimicrobial brief liner, four-way stretch fabric, and laser-cut ventilation to help you expel hot air and keep your body temperature within the optimal range. Since they’re catered toward a road-running audience, they also utilize a set of reflective tape accents, allowing you to remain visible during the darker hours of the day.

Purchase: $68

Lululemon Diffract Run Short

Lululemon has the athleisure market in the palm of their hands, but in order to achieve that, they’ve fostered their expertise in full-blown athletic-wear. The brand’s Diffract Run Short, for instance, is a well-informed, multi-functional example that combines militaristic influence, a comfortable extended internal liner, and classic aesthetics to make it one of the most design-focused pieces on our list. To keep your important items safe from harm, these recycled polyester and elastane runners feature internal pouch support, a no-bounce phone pocket, and a secure, zipperless back pocket for enhanced storage capabilities.

Purchase: $88

Icebreaker Tracer Tights

Icebreaker’s Tracer Tights are a little bit warm for the summer runner, but like the windbreaker that we included in the previous section, this choice is catered toward instances where normalcy isn’t the name of the game. While most leggings are meant for use during the winter, or in colder climates, these interesting offerings feature a midweight terry fabric construction made from merino wool, nylon, and Lycra, giving them just enough heat for those days where it’s too cold for shorts, but too hot for sweatpants. While they’re not as versatile as some of the shorts on this list, they’re far more protective, offering UPF 35 UV resistance, a gusseted architecture, and reflective back ankle zips to keep you fully illuminated at nighttime. If the weather takes a turn, but you’re still itching to get out there and run, these are the leg options for you.

Purchase: $91

Accessories

Enhance Your Kit

Vapur Eclipse Flexible Water Bottle

If you’re not a fan of the genre’s small on-back hydration packs, there are a variety of options that can give you the sustenance you need while on the trail. Vapur’s Eclipse water bottle is one such offering, bringing runners a unique, flexible container that can be folded, frozen, and packed-away, depending on your needs. Each bottle introduces a sealed, but easy-to-open Super Cap, a unique matte finish, and BPA-approved materials to provide up to 23 ounces of liquid hydration while out and about. When you’re done, roll it up, put it in your pocket, and press onward.

Purchase: $12

Nike Multiplier No-Show Socks

If you’re going to wear some of the genre’s most technologically advanced footwear, chances are, you’re going to need a pair of cutting-edge socks. It might not come as a surprise to hear that Nike has your back when it comes to comfortable polyester foot liners, calling upon the implementation of Dri-Fit technology, zoned cushioning, and a dynamic arch band to provide increased support throughout the entirety of its range. The best part? They’re built with sweat-wicking mesh, allowing for increased breathability, aeration, and quick-drying capabilities.

Purchase: $18

Ciele GoCap

When you head out for a summer run, the sun is one of your biggest adversaries. To make it a little less daunting, Ciele created the GoCap — a fashionable model that was built to provide a stylish alternative to the genre’s functional offerings. As the industry-standard soft brim run cap, this modern take on the staple boasts a lightweight TPU Grip label, quick-drying COOLwick fabric, and race-proven qualities that have made it a favorite within the sport’s various circles. To protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, Ciele has made sure to provide you with fabrics that are rated to UPF 40+, helping you to keep your eyes on the prize, without taking dangerous burns into account.

Purchase: $40

Janji Multipass Sling Bag

If you’re ever been on the trail and felt the need to reach for an essential item that just isn’t there, Janji’s Multipass Sling Bag is a viable storage option that won’t add much weight to your person. Sometimes, shorts won’t offer you the space that you’ll need for your quality-of-life products, including nutrition/granola bars, sunglasses, sunscreen, a wallet, or cell phone. Instead of relying on minimal pocket space, Janji’s stylish sling can be utilized as either a traditional fanny pack or a fashionable cross-body, helping you to tread the waters of long-distance running without having to worry about where you’re going to stash all of your gear.

Purchase: $48

CamelBak Octane Dart 50oz Hydration Pack

If smaller water bottles aren’t your thing, CamelBack’s Octane Dart 50oz Pack is the perfect choice for all of your hydration needs. If you’ve spent any amount of time within the outdoor/running space, you’ll recognize the company as one of the most prominent providers of on-body liquid storage — something that they’ve perfected over time. The Dart capitalizes on this expertise by providing 20% more water per sip due to its unique Crux technology, as well as a leak-resistant tube, on/off lever, reflective accents, and front-facing pockets to provide minimal storage space for snacks, important items, or sunglasses. Since the Octane is a back-worn peripheral, you won’t have to worry about slowing down to partake in your favorite beverage; instead, an intuitive bite valve allows you to take a sip wherever, and whenever you please.

Purchase: $70

Julbo Aero Zebra Sunglasses

Julbo’s Aero Zebra Sunglasses have one job, and one job only: to protect your eyes from the rigors of everyday UV exposure. They’ve been built to take on virtually every active pursuit, thanks to their photochromic lenses (which adjust to differences in light at various points of the day), elaborate venting (for fog resistance), and an ultra-wide mono lens (ensuring that no percentage of your peripheral vision goes unchecked). On top of their lightweight design, the Aero Zebra glasses also feature ample padding on the nose and temple, as well as a shock-absorbing insert to keep them comfortable as your clock in the hours on your favorite circuit.

Purchase: $162

Jaybird Vista True Wireless Headphones

Sometimes, your long run requires some optimal tunes. To ensure that you’re getting the best sound quality possible, we’ve included Jaybird’s Vista True Wireless Headphones on our list. Thanks to their water-, crush-, drop-, and sweatproof construction, they’ve been tailored to take on any athletic situation with ease, offering up to 6 hours of playback per charge. They’re light, functionally-focused, and technologically-adept, calling upon one of the smallest silhouettes in the industry, latency-free JBS1 true wireless Bluetooth integration, and infinite EQ control so that you can modify your audio levels to your liking.

Purchase: $170

Apple Watch Series 5

In recent years, running has been enhanced by the inclusion of futuristic companion accessories. The Apple Watch is one of them. Throughout its various generations, the high-tech wristwear piece has continued to augment the world’s athletic endeavors with fitness tracking apps, heartbeat sensors, health statistics, and programs that can help you to push past your current plateau. The Series 5 — Apple’s most recent release — is the most capable accessory yet, bringing a sharp and legible “Always-On” Retina display, ECG diagnostics, workout-specific goal measurements, and hands-free voice calling to the palm of your hand — or wrist, for that matter. Of course, this is all backed by Apple’s award-winning selection of apps, fitness-focused programs, and intuitive operating system, making it a must-have for those who are looking to take their training a bit more seriously.

Purchase: $400

The 18 Best Running Trails In The US

Now that you’ve got the gear to enhance your summertime sprints, head over to our guide on the best running trails in the US, where you’ll be able to put your newly-acquired arsenal to the test.

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