Best Running Accessories Reviewed & Fully Compared
Running accessories can be useful to the consistent runner. There are plenty of different running accessories out there in the market that will help you be safe and injury-free while running. From reflective bands, to comfortable running belts, to electronic devices that tell you the time while tracking your steps, miles, and hear rate, these running accessories are some of the best out there.
10 Best Running Accessories
1. Suunto Ambit3 Sports Watch
All you have to do is put this watch on, and prepare to monitor your physical activity. Basically, you just have to plug your watch into your computer, fill out whatever information is needed, and you’ll be ready to go! You can also sync this device to your smartphone to get a better understanding of your fitness numbers.
This watch will be able to record data using GPS satellite technology. In order to properly utilize this GPS data, Suunto has a motion sensor, which is needed to monitor GPS data. If you want the most accurate results, try putting the motion sensor on your ankle, that way the sensor can clearly pick up the difference between when you’re walking and when you’re running.
For a watch, the cost of the Suunto Ambit 3 is high up there. When considering price, you need to ponder on what you’re getting in this product. The good news is that this sports watch isn’t limited to just displaying the time for you. With this sports watch, you get a watch that you can run and work out in, a product that can monitor different measurements of your physical activity. Other elements such as GPS, distance tracking, and a running timer also make this product more valuable compared to other watches.
- Easy to use installation
- GPS monitoring tracks your movement at all times
- Long Battery Life
- Software/Suunto app isn’t always reliable
- Sometimes the GPS feature takes a long time to load
2. Garmin Vivofit 2
The Garmin Vivofit 2 can last you longer than a lot of other electronics that monitor your activity data. You can use the Vivofit 2 for about a year before replacing the batteries. This gives you more than enough time to use the Vivofit to its’ full potential.
The activity timer in the Garmin Vivofit 2 does not require a heart monitor, so you can get the same results as other brands without needed extra gear. While there is an option to include a heart rate monitor, it isn’t absolutely necessary, unless of course you want to analyze your heart rate.
The Garmin Vivofit 2 gives you a lot for a little. This product has a good price for what it offers, and will definitely set it above other wrist devices that track data from physical activity.
- Long battery life
- Easy to use
- Cost is reasonable
- You need the heart rate monitor in order to track heart rate
- Accuracy is questioned from time to time
3. Fitbit One Pedometer
For a narrow product, the Fitbit One has the ability to display a lot of accurate data. The device is great at tracking your information, primarily steps and sleep. In addition, the Fitbit app can give you a more thorough idea of your daily physical activity on your mobile device.
The small size of the Fitbit One pedometer makes it easy to put it in your pocket for as long as you would like without feeling uncomfortable.
The Fitbit One is on the “average/above average” scale when it comes to pedometers. Granted it’s sleek size, easy portability, and ease of use, this Fitbit pedometer is a solid investment for the runner looking to track their states and set higher goals each and every day.
- Device can show steps taken, as well as other information
- Tracks sleeping patterns in addition to physical activity
- Easy to use
- Rechargeable battery doesn’t last very long
- Could be more accurate with sleep information
4. Salomon S-Lab Skin 3 Racing Vest
Running with a vest that is heavy will make a runner uncomfortable, quick. Fortunately, this hydration pack is made with lightweight mesh that fits the body snugly. The vest won’t move all over the place while you run, so there’s no distractions while you are engaged in physical activity.
This vest is convenient for the user because they can just place their drink in the pockets available. In other words, they can keep their hands free while using this product. Instead of running around with a water bottle in hand, you can just run with your drinks in the vest; stopping any time for a water break. The pockets on this vest are strategically placed so that you are able to hold a maximum amount of liquid and access it easily.
This vest resembles the cliché “you get what you pay for.” The value for this product is high end, but the material is worthwhile. Upon purchase, you receive a hydration vest made with legitimate material, the only downside being that it does not come with a bladder to drink out of.
- Doesn’t bounce while you’re running
- Has a lot of pocket space
- Doesn’t come with a water bladder
- Strings sometimes get in the way
5. Flip Belt
Unlike other running belts where you feel like you are getting burned by the material, the Flip Belt is slim and stretchy thanks to the micropoly material it is made of.
This belt is very convenient for the runner, primarily because you can hold most of your everyday items in the belt, and they will be secure. You won’t have to worry about your things falling out of a pouch, or your belt bouncing back and forth, because the belt itself is essentially so tight that it looks like it is attached to your skin.
The cost for this efficient running belt is fairly cheap. While it may not look like much, you are getting a deal with this product.
- Material is soft and stretches, so you will be able to store items of all sizes
- Variety of colors available
- Not the best product if you frequently check your phone while running
6. Foot Forward Running Belt
This item was manufactured for sturdy use. The pouch is waterproof, so it will be capable of absorbing consistent use for an extended period of time. The zipper is snugly applied to the material to avoid wear and tear.
This running belt has the room to carry a variety of objects, but looks narrow enough where the pouch doesn’t look like it shouldn’t be there. The slim look goes with the black belt that the buyer would be wearing. Furthermore, the Foot Forward Running Belt comes in four different colors: Black, green, pink, and blue, so you will have options when buying this product.
For a running belt that has room for more than just a cell phone, this product is a bargain. Based off of the average price, this would definitely be worth looking into.
- Handful of colors to choose from
- Sturdy material keeps it durable
- Slim structure might not be best for those carrying a lot of items
7. Mpow Cheetah Bluetooth Headphones
Wireless connection gives you the ability to feel free and unbothered by any wires that could potentially end up tangled in front of you. The Bluetooth connection encourages a hands free experience that makes your run that much easier. All you have to do is sync these headphones with your iPod and/or Apple /Android cell phone and you’ll be ready to go.
The 8 hours of battery life offered by the Mpow wireless headphones is reasonable. If you finish your runs quickly, you can get a lot of use with these headphones until the next time you have to charge them.
For a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, the Mpow Cheetah headphones are considered inexpensive. A lot of brand name headphones are overpriced, but these are ready to provide an excellent experience for the right price.
- Long battery life
- Behind the neck design enhances comfort
- Headphones fit snug in your ears
- Other wireless headphones have longer battery life
- Product doesn’t react well to sweat
8. KeyNice Sports Armband
The waterproof material that is used for the armband is great because it opens up more opportunity to go out and run despite any rain or snow-heavy weather conditions. The waterproof soft foam will be able to protect your phone or mp3 from getting wet and potentially damaged.
This feature is beneficial because it gives you room to hold extra items and free your hands when you run. With extra room, you can carry a small wallet or accessory without worrying about losing anything on your run.
For what it’s worth, this item is affordable. Between the waterproof material and the large amount of space, this item is something you might like.
- Plenty of zippers for you to place your valuables
- Velcro tends to undo itself during use
9. E-Tronic Waist Pack
The E-Tronic waist pack offers the user ultimate convenience. Instead of leaving all your belongings in your pockets or running while holding them in your hands, you can place everything in your waist pack, zip it up, and go on you way. There will be plenty of occasions where your running shorts and/or tights will not have pockets. Having this waist pack will compensate for that. You can go ahead and throw in your cell phone, IPod, and even your wallet and not have to worry about losing your stuff.
Including the reflective bands, the E-Tronic waist pack has characteristics that will keep you safe when running through the neighborhood at night, or anywhere where there are a lot of motor vehicles. Having reflector gear on is important not just for you but for the drivers as well. It could be tough to see runners on the side of the road at night, so these accessories can most definitely make life easier.
When it comes to cost, the E-Tronic waist pack is inexpensive. Keep in mind, not only are you receiving a waist pack upon purchase, but also two additional reflective accessories. For what you get, the E-Tronic waistband is worth an investment.
- Easy to wear waist pack can hold most valuables
- Comes with two reflective bands to keep you visible at night
- Users claim that the waist pack isn’t big enough for their items
10. BSeen LED Slap Band
This nylon band can be simply applied to your wrist, arm, leg, or ankle. The LED band will make you very visible to oncoming motor vehicles while you are out running.
Easy Battery Replacement
The battery for the BSeen slap band can be easily replaced, and comes with an extra battery upon purchase.
The BSeen armband is an inexpensive alternative for keeping yourself visible at night. The cost is very good for the product.
- Comes with replaceable battery
- Bright light keeps you visible at night or in bad weather
- The band will break if you replace the battery with excessive force
Criteria for Picking Out the Best Running Accessories.
Running might be assumed to involve just the use of 2 legs but then running goes beyond this, it looks into other factors that make the whole running experience fun and productive. A runner will need accessories and other tools that will enable him or her to achieve their fitness goals in terms of running. While all a runner really needs is his own two legs, there are some accessories that can benefit the runner, such as a heart rate monitor and water bottle. Additionally, the proper attire, such as a pair of good quality trainers and season-appropriate clothing, can make a runner more comfortable.
When planning to buy a sporting accessory it’s important to consider personal preference, usability, style and design, comfort and many other things. Deciding which running accessories are worth buying is very much a personal decision based on the runner’s preferences. The accessories that are important to runners are generally the ones that help to keep them safe, comfortable, and motivated while running. Quality shoes, socks, and clothing helps runners’ bodies maintain an even temperature. Water bottles and heart rate monitors keep runners safe by providing hydration and information on vitals. Portable music players keep runners entertained. A runner who is not comfortable when exercising is more likely to give up and not continue, but those who have the right accessories to enhance the experience will likely receive enjoyment.
While looking at the different types of accessories different factors were considered in making sure you have the best running accessories that you will need to improve your running experience. The factors vary depending on the type of accessory.
The factors considered were:
All you running accessories should be comfortable especially when you are running. Comfort and breathability go hand in hand and both are affected by the material used in making the running accessory. Comfort will be achieved by getting the right fit and also picking the right material that doesn’t affect your skin. The breathability is also an important criterion when selecting your next running accessory, this means that there will be great air circulation around your body that will enhance as you continue running. Good material will ensure that you enjoy comfort and breathability. Ask about the material used in making the running accessories. Also make sure to check that your skin doesn’t have a negative reaction to any particular material that is used in making any type of running accessory.
A proper fit is extremely important for running. A running accessory that is too tight may restrict blood flow and cause rashes. Looser fitting ones may not provide the necessary support for protection and can lead to chafing as the excess fabric rubs on your body. Always be sure to take body measurements and refer to the designers’ charts to select properly fitting running clothes. Because designers vary in size and measurements, pay close attention to the available sizing chart prior to placing an order for any running attire. If you are in the shop physically then you can fit in several attires till you get the one that you are most comfortable in.
Each running accessory has unique features that make it stand out and also facilitate the running experience. Running accessories are developed to be highly functional, aiming to make your run more enjoyable, easier and/or safer. Looking at fitness trackers, they have amazing features that help them stand out. There are the four different types of features to consider on a GPS watch:
GPS watch battery life varies from 5 hours to over 50 hours. Built-in sensors such as altimeters and thermometers are sometimes included. Screen size varies as well. Smaller screens make for a lighter watch while larger but heavier screens can display more information.
- Data tracking:
This is the information a watch displays. It includes distance, speed and pace, elevation, heart rate and calories. Some models can track temperature, measure vertical speed (how fast you are ascending or descending), and count swim strokes and laps.
- Training Alerts and Tools:
GPS watches perform different functions with the data they track. For example, a GPS watch can be programmed to automatically mark a lap every mile and alert you with a beep at each lap. Other features include vibration alerts, on-screen maps, programmable interval workouts and auto pause (this stops the timer when you are not moving).
Different types of accessories include: heart rate monitors, foot pods that track cadence and measure distance on a treadmill, bike speed and cadence sensors and quick-release mounts that make it easy to move the watch between wrist and bicycle handlebars.
Just because you want a good running accessory doesn’t mean you should not consider the price of the accessory. Though we cannot deny the obvious fact that running accessories can be a little costly especially the ones that are constantly updated and are technologically induced. The price doesn’t mean that it relates to the quality of the accessory, though price might be a good factor to consider. It’s good to look into reviews that are given on a particular product before making a purchase. Running gears are good investment that should be given great consideration before making the purchase.
This majorly affects fitness trackers and other technological running accessories. If there is one thing every sports person needs when checking their work out data is accuracy. Before purchasing the running accessory it’s important to check how accurately its able to store data. For instance, trackers are not fool proof. They use sensors and algorithms to parse footsteps, punches thrown, stairs climbed, hours slept. That means there’s some degree of imprecision. If you need hard data, you may want to pursue a function-specific device. In general, heart rate monitors that strap to your chest and transmit info to your activity tracker are more precise than the in-device sensors applied to your wrist. Still the above fitness trackers have been known to record accurate data in terms of tracking fitness activities.
You have to accept the fact that we live in an overly weight conscious world where ounces haunt us like the ghost of Christmas dinners past. And the aspect of weight is very much considered in running, everyone prefers to run light. However, in the quest for lighter and lighter gear, sometimes we sacrifice usefulness and durability for weight, which is not always the best trade-off. But then this challenge gets worse especially when running in a cold weather and you still want to protect yourself from a harsh weather condition. And a warm running clothe isn’t supposed to be so thick that it over burdens you regardless of the quality but then this doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice all the other important factors when considering the weight of your neck running gear. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot, where new and lighter material technologies provide a well-made and durable product that won’t weigh you down, but you might have to pay a bit more for it.
The desire to have the things we buy last is just common sense – nothing is more demoralizing than watching a flashy new piece of gear unravel like a badly knit sweater. It’s important that when you are buying any accessory you consider the durability of the product. A durable product means you have good value of your money. The trade-off for durability is typically weight, and in our pursuit of lighter and lighter gear that lets us move faster and faster, most of us are willing to sacrifice a little durability to shave a few ounces. But, we don’t want something so light that it will shred after just a few uses either. It is more critical that they function correctly and won’t break down on us in key situations or on long expeditions to remote locations.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Any running gear is made from different materials. These materials play an important role in making sure there is maximum comfort to the runner. It’s important to check if the materials used in making the running clothes have the below features:
Moisture wicking: Moisture-wicking fabrics transport perspiration away from skin to keep you dry and chafe-free while you’re running.
Quick drying: Fabrics that dry quickly, such as polyester and nylon, keep you comfortable as you work up a sweat. If you’re caught in a passing rain shower, they’ll dry quickly to keep you from getting cold.
It’s important to know the materials that suits you best in order to avoid any chaffing or irritation. The materials used in most running clothes are:
Acrylic: Adding strength and durability to fabrics, acrylic is a synthetic fibre that draws moisture away from the skin and is known for its quick drying time
Bamboo: Bamboo fabric is created out of bamboo grass pulp. Known for being both strong and light, bamboo fabric has some antibacterial and wicking properties and is well-suited to runners with allergies to other fibres.
Combed Cotton: Soft and lustrous, combed cotton goes through an additional step in production to produce a high-quality fabric.
Cotton: Cotton is a well-known, popular fabric that breathes easily, is comfortable, and is all-natural.
Coolmax: Uniquely designed polyester fabric, Coolmax offers supreme moisture wicking abilities that make it a top pick for active-wear undergarments.
Latex: A skin-tight material made out of rubber, latex is used in elastics to increase elasticity. It is similar to Spandex.
Microfiber: This fabric covers any synthetic poly or nylon fibre. Microfiber fabrics are lightweight and long-lasting.
Modal: A type of Rayon known for its breathability and soft texture, Modal is absorbent while feeling similar to silk or cotton. It will not shrink as readily as cotton and is unlikely to fade.
Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is lightweight and durable. It will not tear or break down easily and does not absorb moisture readily.
Organic Cotton: Organic cotton comes from non-genetically engineered plants and is certified organic because it is not treated with agriculture chemicals while growing.
Organza: A unique blend of nylon, silk, and polyester, organza resembles satin in appearance and texture.
Pima Cotton: Durable and absorbent, prima cotton has longer fibres than traditional cotton.
Polyester: Polyester is a common, durable synthetic fibre. It typically remains wrinkle free and dries fast.
Rayon: Rayon feels similar to silk and is manufactured using regenerated cellulose found in plants.
Ring Spun Cotton: Ring spun cotton is soft to the touch and is produced using ring frame equipment.
Satin: Satin has a soft, glossy texture and is derived from acetate, nylon, rayon, and polyester.
Silk: Silk provides wonderful insulation and is very soft and strong. It is formed from silkworm secretions.
Spandex: Spandex, or Elstane, is made from polyurethane and is an alternative to Latex. It is resistant to moisture and is elastic and lightweight.
Supima® Cotton: Superior quality cotton manufactured from long fibres, Supima Cotton tops the list of the best cotton available.
Viscose Rayon: The first of the manufactured fabrics, Viscose is well-suited for garments that are more intimate. Offering top-quality wicking abilities, Viscose is great for people who frequently sweat.
Other factors that were considered were.
Running gears have not escaped the chains of fashion and style. This does not only focus on the female section, even the men’s running gears are embracing a certain sense of style. Your running accessory should be stylish enough to blend with your personality. Variety of designs and colors can now be seen in many running gears. No duller colors with basic designs.
Choosing the correct running clothes depends much on the weather condition if a person chooses to run outdoors. Running clothes need to be comfortable and allow the body to breathe, pulling perspiration away from the body.
Winter Running Clothes
The best way to remain comfortable and keep warm in the winter is to wear thin layers when running. This allows the body to breathe and perspire easily. The base layer should be made from a synthetic material that can pull the sweat away from the skin and prevent the body from becoming cold because of the moisture. The middle layer should be an insulating layer made from fleece, which traps air to provide warmth. The outer layer provides protection from the cold wind and the wet weather. Jackets made from microfibers, such as Gore-Tex, are light and provide ventilation. Winter running clothes should not be too heavy or restrict body movement.
Summer Running Clothes
Summer running clothes need to be light and well ventilated. Clothing made from the right material can remove perspiration from the skin. Running tops made from fabrics like CoolMax polyester take the sweat from the skin and provide comfort when running in high temperatures. Shorts made from nylon will not stick to the skin and are comfortable to wear. It is important to wear sunscreen when running in the sun, especially in running clothes that expose the shoulders, arms, and legs.
One of the best things about running is that it doesn’t require any special equipment. It’s just you and the open road (or trail or track or treadmill). But even though we don’t have to have fun accessories or high-tech gear, it’s still fun to try it out. And runners are the kings (and queens) of experimenting when it comes to their running (as long as they’re not in the middle of training for a serious race). And who knows? You might improve your pace and endurance in the testing process. So whether you’re a minimalist or a technology junkie, you’ll want to check out all the new gear, clothing and accessories our staffers have put to the test.
Frequently Asked Questions.
The below questions are some of the very common and specific questions asked with regards to specific running accessories, most questions refer to a specific running accessory followed by a detailed answer related to the running accessory.
Q. What Are the Benefits of Using a Heart Rate Monitor?
A. Heart rate monitors can make calculating your heart rate simple and often do not disrupt your workout. These devices also can centralize your heart rate information on the device and reduce the need to keep a log or journal. However, a heart rate monitor might not be ideal for everyone. Deciding to use one is a decision for you and your health care provider.
Q. Who Should Use a Heart Rate Monitor?
A.Heart rate monitors can be used by anyone who is involved in any sporting activity.
Joggers and walkers: Recreational exercisers can benefit from heart rate monitors in the same way elite athletes do. By aiming for fat-burning and aerobic target zones on your HRM, you can get more out of your exercise time.
Runners: A heart rate monitor can keep you in your peak target zone on intense training days and at your aerobic base during easier sessions.
Cyclists: A heart rate monitor can track your training performance during endurance, tempo and interval rides, whether you bike on a road, trail or stationary trainer. Some models deliver more feedback via a cadence sensor or foot pod.
Triathletes: In addition to cyclist-related features, some HRMs monitor swim-related data like distance, pace, stroke type/count and number of pool lengths.
Hikers, climbers and skiers: Use a heart rate monitor to condition more effectively for a peak ascent.
Weight-loss participants: these sporting accessories help with regular exercise and a sustainable dietary regimen. Most display calories burned during a workout; many can help target your exercise for maximum fat burning. It also helps to determine whether you are reaching your target in terms of gaining mass or muscles.
Injury-rehabilitation patients: Real-time feedback makes HRMs valuable for patients recovering from an injury or an illness, including a cardiac incident. Such data can help ensure that your gradual return to full strength and endurance proceeds safely and steadily.
Q. What is the material?
A. The material should be able to withstand the test of time and any rough conditions. You can consult with the sales person on the different materials used by the different brands so that to determine the best. Some material are waterproof and others can withstand damage from sun light. You will have plenty of options that will be able to suite your needs. All in all, when it comes to material focus more on durability than style.
Q. What will you be using your backpack for?
A. It’s important to know the use of the backpack before making any purchase. Most of us might want to buy a back pack because its trendy or fashionable. But then the back pack might fail to meet our needs. If you are a runner who travels lightly or a runner who has a lot of stuff that they use during their running sessions. Whichever the case, make sure you do enough research so that you get the bag that will not only be stylish but will also serve the purpose.
Q. How much are you willing to spend?
A. Your budget is very important when it comes to making this long term sport investment. Those it’s important to note that running accessories can be really expensive. Durability should be given very high importance and also make sure you stick to your budget. Another thing is to make sure you are buying the accessory that will be able to serve you well.
Q. What Are Knee Sleeves?
A. Knee sleeves are not knee braces. They are sports outwear that are worn around the knee. They provide support to the knee though they are designed to function differently from knee braces. Knee braces offer protection to an already injured knee, while knee sleeves offer protection to the knee from any injury or risk of damage. The protection is important to athletes who are involved in sporting activities that involve a great amount of pressure like running, jumping, weightlifting etc. Knee sleeves have a compression effect on the knee that enables increased blood flow hence reducing pain during and after work out.
Q.Do I need knee sleeves?
A. If you squat more than once a week I would say so. Most beginner programs should have you squatting more than three times per week and I always advocate the inclusion of knee sleeves into a program. Also if you are involved in sporting activities that require a great amount of pressure being exerted on your knees then you should definitely have knee sleeves as part of your sportswear. Don’t wear the sleeves during the whole work out session, you can skip wearing them during the warm up session as you prepare to start your training. You should also try and come up with a schedule on when to wear your knee sleeves and when not to.
Q. How Will It Help Your Goals?
A. Different people have different fitness goals. Your fitness goals should be given utmost priority when it comes to buying any fitness tracker. You have fitness goals and they could be big or small, but each person has some unique things that they want to achieve health-wise. Think about how you can better achieve your goals through reminders and notifications. Gentle encouragement might be another great way to push you in the right direction. Opt for a running accessory that helps instead of hinders your performance.