Most athletes are picky about their gear, with runners perhaps at the top of the list as the most fickle. Most runners stick to the same brands for years, confident that they have found what works for them. Even though Sneaker Report respects brand loyalty, it's good to remember what makes a great athlete is being able to push yourself into new and unfamiliar territority.
Challenge your wardrobe the same way you challenge your workout this spring. Branch out and try something new, whether it’s testing out an innovative running jacket or simply ditching those cotton socks. If you don't already, here are 10 Brands Every Runner Should Know.
Calvy Click is the Editor-in-Chief of Sneaker Report. When she isn't writing about performance footwear and apparel, you can find her running around Manhattan to Rick Ross anthems.
No. 1 – Balega
Your running shoes are only as good as the socks you pair with them. First choose what sock is right for and let Balega do the rest. The fit and feel is amazing, the arch is comfortably supported by a lateral weave, your toes can breath, and heels never slip. You’ll feel the difference the minute you slip these on.
No. 2 – C9 by Champion
The tee you wear to the gym doesn’t have to cost more than $50. C9’s Endurance Tee at $13 gets the job done by wicking away sweat in a loose fit. If you need no-fuss staples to keep your gym locker fresh, check out Champion’s active line for Target.
No. 3 – Zensah
Compression gear doesn’t have to make you look like Robocop. Zensah offers compression sleeves, socks, and apparel in a huge range of colors and patterns for normal dudes (grey) to the most eccentric runners (American flag print anyone?). Zensah stems from the Italian word “Senza” meaning “without limits.” Try out their best-selling compression sleeves to find out why.
No. 4 – The North Face
Three words, Better Than Naked. The North Face nailed it with the it’s-so-light-it’s-like-being-naked Flight Collection of shirts and shorts. With summer months on the way, check out TNF for something other than Denali pullovers.
No. 5 – Yurbuds
The Yurbuds Inspire earphones may look minimal, but the ergonomic design works. These earbuds will not pop out during a run, just twist in and go.
No. 6 – Skora
Skora’s low profile and leather upper may look like a lifestyle lace-up at first glance, but these smooth shoes are built for performance. Their approach to minimal performance footwear is refreshing, simplifying the somewhat complicated process of transitioning into three simple steps: reconnect, reposition, and finding your rhythm. Get all of the details on the Skora Form here.
No. 7 – Pearl Izumi
Often an overlooked running brand, Pearl Izumi (yes, the cycling brand) supplies runners with a strong lineup of road, trail, and tri shoes and apparel to make any runner look like a pro.
No. 8 – 2XU
This original compression brand takes every product to the next level, offering a performance run sock with zoned panels for increased blood flow and maximum muscle containment. And even if you don’t want your muscles contained, 2XU offers a great selection of non-compression active pieces and accessories.
No. 9 – Gore Running
From under the Gore-Tex umbrella comes the Gore Running Wear brand, a no-fuss no-frills approach to running in highly technical materials to keep you warm or cool and always dry. Broken down into long distance, marathon, recreational, and trail running, Gore’s got every type of runner covered.
No. 10 – MPG
Stemming from a yoga background, MPG has affordable pieces that you can wear in public without feeling like a douche. Their three-layer Ripstop Performance Jacket is money, perfect for looking like a grownup post-run.