10 Best Energy Gels for Running Reviewed

If you are tired of losing your spunk while you are competing or training, then you may want to take a look at the best energy gels for running! These gels are perfect for all runner—from short distance runners to competitive marathoners.

While carb-loading is still a popular (and effective) way to energize before we go on our runs, sometimes that is simply not enough. The best energy gels for running will boost your energy and give you the energy you need to push yourself to the limit.

So, if you are tired of losing energy just when you need to push yourself to run faster you need to give energy gels a shot! We have taken the time to research all of the products below to ensure there is something on our list for everyone!

Check out our list of the best energy gels for running below!

Standout Picks

Carb Boom
While this is a relatively newer brand, it has quickly made a name for itself. These energy gels come highly recommended by many athletes already. If you want something free of artificial ingredients--and they taste great!
Amazon Link
GU Salted Caramel
This is yet another great flavor to deliver the energy needed to come out on top of the competition. This one, unlike some of the others on this list by GU, is caffeine-free. If you love caramel, you will love this one too. Not only does it taste great or caramel lovers, but it goes down smoothly too!
Gatorade Endurance
Gatorade is probably one of the most well-known athletic drinks out there--they are literally used worldwide. The Gatorade Endurance energy gel pouch is easy to carry and a great tasting way to keep yourself fueled and ready to go. These gels also taste great and will quickly become a staple in your routine if you give them a shot.
Huma Chia
Huma Chia Energy Gel is Nutrition Energy Gel intended for a high tempo, continuous exercise such as running, cycling, triathlons, and any other activities requiring long-term endurance. What makes this product so great is the fact that it's 100% organic. It's also made from products that make it safe for consumption while it provides you with high energy levels. For this reason, Huma Chia energy gel is a great pick for the money.
Clif Shot
This is a popular one. The Clif “Shot” energy gel is intended to be consumed during a race or other endurance competition. Made of 90% organic ingredients, this Kosher energy gel also delivers a quick 50mg of caffeine to boost you up during your run.
Skratch
The Skratch Labs energy chews are a great allergen-free and all-natural way to go when it comes to gel energy chews. These taste great and come in several fruity flavors to choose from. Since they were specifically designed for athletes and runners in mind, these are perfect for anyone who lives an active lifestyle.
Amazon Link
Honey Stinger Ginsting
This one adds another caffeinated option for runners with serious energy requirements. Reviewers also liked the taste although be warned that it's very sweet. The best thing is that because it's made with natural honey it won't potentially cause an upset stomach like many other options.
GU Roctane
Similar to a lot of the other energy gels, this one also contains 100 calories and all the essential electrolytes, as well as 1425mg of amino acids to help to prevent or decrease muscle damage and mental fatigue. It's suitable for high-intensity racing as well as rigorous training sessions.
Honey Stinger
Made with USDA certified organic and natural ingredients, Honey Stinger products typically have fewer side effects than other options. This honey-based gel is perfect for those athletes that strive to push on to the finish line ahead of the others. With flavors like acai & pomegranate Honey Stinger energy gel is sure not to disappoint.
Science in Sport Go
The Science of Sports Go Isotonic Energy Gel is a solid choice for a runner looking for something to help them get across that marathon finish line. SIS claims that their gel is designed to be effective even if you don’t have water on hand, which is helpful in the event that you need to be a bit more conservative with your supply.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Product Purity

Nowadays, it is important to pay close attention to the ingredients used in a product. We prioritized product purity because we wanted to make sure we were giving our readers the best of the best options out there.

It is very important to look at the ingredients before making any purchase. Should you be consuming these? Are they helpful or harmful to your body? A clear look at the energy contents of energy gels you will notice that they tend to have different types of sugars that vary in quantity.

In order to replace the loss of bodily fluids from sweating and prevent the development of running cramps, some gels contain high concentrations of electrolytes. Others contain small to moderate amounts of caffeine in order to provide an additional energy boost. It's essential to understand that at the end of the day the most optimal energy gel is the one that works best for you.

Make sure the ingredients used are able to get you what you are looking for during your workout session. The ingredients used not only serve the nutritional purpose, but they also determine the taste and flavors of the energy gels. Pick your favorite flavor and with the best taste for you. Below is a summary of the main ingredients.

Maltodextrin

This food additive is a polysaccharide (a long carbohydrate molecule). Maltodextrin is the most popular ingredient used in gel and chews supplements. It is a complex carbohydrate made from a chain of simple sugars. Despite being a complex carbohydrate it’s widely used because the sugars are broken down and digested easily as glucose.

In the United States, Maltodextrin is most commonly made from corn, although it can be made from any available starch. Don't worry if you come across maltodextrin that is made from wheat- it goes through so much processing that there is nearly no protein left to cause an allergic reaction.

It is an important ingredient to note since its easily digestible and absorbed, maltodextrin is useful for long-distance workouts. Its major disadvantages include weight gain, high amounts of processing, and it is a potential allergen.

Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is added to food to preserve it, specifically to keep gels from growing bacteria or fungus. It is also used in other non-gel foods, as well as cosmetics and fireworks.

Potassium Sorbate (aka Scrobic Acid)

This food additive prevents mold and yeast from growing and also lengthens the shelf life of food products. Beware- it can irritate your eyes, skin, and respiratory system.

Malic Acid

This food additive has rare approval from the US, EU, Australia, and New Zealand, and is naturally made by all living things. It is responsible for sour tastes (like in fruit) and is very safe.

Fumaric Acid

This additive helps to control acidity and has a fruity taste. With that in mind, it is most frequently used to improve the tastes of energy gels. Other uses for fumaric acid include polyester resin production, Fumaric acid is also used in the production of polyester resins, a component of dyes, and in making polyhydric alcohols.

When choosing an energy gel, you may also want to consider ingredients like sodium and electrolytes for replenishing salt and other important minerals lost through sweat, and caffeine for an extra boost of energy. Many gels and chews also contain glucose, sucrose, and fructose (simple sugars).

These carbohydrate sources are sometimes included in ingredients like cane syrup, tapioca syrup or even from fruit sources like dates. If you consume all of your carbohydrates in gel form, top up with plain water rather than carbohydrate drink (which would supply surplus carbohydrate). Consume too much carbohydrate and it won’t be absorbed – indeed, it could even upset your stomach

Potency

The potency an athlete will need will depend on the activity they are partaking in, their body's needs, and what they are used to. If you need caffeine, then go for the energy gels that have them. However, energy-boosting products don't have to use caffeine to do so.

Next, we did a comparison of the number of electrolytes in each brand. Whether you are going to need more or fewer electrolytes will depend on the time of your run and what your body needs. We advise athletes to experiment and see what works for them best in terms of electrolytes and water intake, while always taking different environments into account.

This is important because the loss of electrolytes during workouts is different in the summer heat and in the winter cold. As heat and humidity cause greater amounts of electrolytes to be lost, the need for proper care and supplementation only increases during hot weather. It is very important to look at the ingredients before making any purchase.

Should you be consuming these? Are they helpful or harmful to your body?

A clear look at the energy contents of energy gels you will notice that they tend to have different types of sugars that vary in quantity. Gels can also contain electrolytes to replace those lost through sweat and prevent cramps. Some gels also contain caffeine. The most important thing to remember when choosing an energy gel is that ultimately, the most optimal fuel is the one that works best for you.

Make sure the ingredients used are able to get you what you are looking for during your workout session. The ingredients used not only serve the nutritional purpose, but they also determine the taste and flavors of the energy gels. Pick your favorite flavor and with the best taste for you. What constitutes “the best” is different for every individual.

If you look at the package of the energy gel you will notice some of the ingredients used, like cane sugar, water, chocolate, and green tea extract, but what about the other ingredients that you can’t even pronounce their names. Maltodextrin, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, malic acid, and fumaric acid are some of the most common.

You will likely have to test a few different fuel sources before you find one that you like (in terms of flavor) and that also helps provide the best performance enhancement without upsetting your stomach.

Use

Depending on how much additional energy you need and what you need it for, you will want to pay close attention at what each product delivers in terms of use.

Use is important. After all, if a certain gel isn’t to your fancy, then you aren’t going to use it. However, it shouldn’t be the main reason why you choose a gel. The content is more important. It’s also worth mentioning that different people have different taste preferences, so what tickles our taste buds might turn yours off.

Besides taste, there are a few things that are super important to think about. One is your own tolerance. How well do you handle caffeine, as well as other energy-producing ingredients? For many people, headaches and stomachaches tend to be a common side effect that might go along with consuming energy gels.

If you don't consume much caffeine or aren't a regular coffee drinker perhaps, then the effect might be different for you. Likewise, if you tend to have a weaker stomach, you might think about consuming smaller than the suggested amount to see how your body takes it. All in all, the important takeaway is that you make sure you invest in something that covers your needs.

Taste

When it comes to anything you are going to consume or eat, it's important that you enjoy the taste--yes, even when it comes to your energy gels! We have provided a lot of different brands that offer a variety of flavor selections, so you have a ton of options to choose from here.

Taste is extremely important. After all, if a certain gel isn’t to your fancy, then you aren’t going to use it. However, it shouldn’t be the main reason why you choose a gel. The content is more important. It’s also worth mentioning that everyone’s taste is different. So what tickles one person's taste buds might turn yours off.

That being said, we did consider this to be an important factor to consider and, while we did rate the taste of each product, at the end of the day you need to consider your own personal preferences. Some of you may consider sweeter gels while others may consider something less sweet. We made sure to include gels that have all-natural ingredients as well because we know how important that can be.

I myself prefer to steer away from artificial flavors when I can. However, we made sure to ensure that there are options on our list that will fit the taste buds of every type of person out there--so look through our reviews carefully to find the perfect energy gel for you. Taste is important, so don't feel bad if you try something and decide to get something else either.

Side Effects

Some of the products on our list do feature caffeine in their main ingredients. If you are sensitive to this, make sure you check before you buy so you don't experience any unnecessary side effects.

When choosing an energy gel, you may also want to consider ingredients like sodium and electrolytes for replenishing salt and other important minerals lost through sweat, and caffeine for an extra boost of energy. Many gels and chews also contain glucose, sucrose, and fructose (simple sugars).

These carbohydrate sources are sometimes included in ingredients like cane syrup, tapioca syrup or even from fruit sources like dates. If you consume all of your carbohydrates in gel form, top up with plain water rather than carbohydrate drink (which would supply surplus carbohydrate). Consuming too many carbohydrates and they won't even be absorbed and could even upset your stomach.

The most important thing to consider when choosing an energy gel to support your athletic performance is its ingredients. Beware, first and foremost, of any potential allergens, and also think about whether the ingredients are actually good for your body. If they are, they will enhance your performance, but if they aren’t, they have the potential to stifle it.

After the ingredients, the next step is trial and error. Pick up a few gels, give them a try, and stick with the one that helps you perform and tastes great. Pregnant women should check with a doctor before using these gels.

10 Best Energy Gels

1. Carb Boom

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Carb Boom
Carb Boom
Carb Boom
Carb Boom
Carb Boom
Amazon Link

While this is a relatively newer brand, it has quickly made a name for itself. These energy gels come highly recommended by many athletes already. If you want something free of artificial ingredients--and they taste great!

Read more

Product Purity

These energy gels use 9 different ingredients--none of which are artificial. They taste great and are definitely a great option for those of you looking for a more all-natural product.

Potency

These energy gels are packed with 29 grams of complex carbs to provide you with the energy you need to keep going, all while remaining both gluten and dairy free.

Use

Depending on your activity level and length, you can take one of these as often as every 30 minutes if needed. They are completely all natural and safe to consume often--and since their ingredients are all natural and minimal, you don't have to worry about any stomach aches.

Taste

If you want something tasty, these are it. These energy gels specifically are available in six different flavors to choose from--Strawberry Kiwi, Vanilla, Banana Peach, Apple Cinnamon, Raspberry, and Grape Pomegranate.

Side Effects

This product is really gentle and very few years report any negative side effects.

Amazon Link

2. GU Salted Caramel

Where to buy
GU Salted Caramel
GU Salted Caramel
GU Salted Caramel
GU Salted Caramel
GU Salted Caramel
Amazon Link

This is yet another great flavor to deliver the energy needed to come out on top of the competition. This one, unlike some of the others on this list by GU, is caffeine-free. If you love caramel, you will love this one too. Not only does it taste great or caramel lovers, but it goes down smoothly too!

Read more

Product Purity

When it comes to product purity this product falls somewhere in the middle. It is not completely organic like some other selections featured in our list further down--but it is also not riddled with ingredients you shouldn't consume. Overall, it is average and standard and perfect for those of you who need a healthy boost of energy to continue your workout.

Potency

While some consider it expensive, others do not mind the price because of its fast-absorbing ingredients which are vital to generating the needed energy levels. It is one of the highly preferred brands because of their different flavors.

Use

Key ingredients include fast-absorbing fructose and maltodextrin that ensure your increased workout and efficient energy during an intense workout.

Taste

This is an ideal quality for sports lovers because some prefer one flavor to another. The brand is flexible as it comes in up to seven different flavors that all have varying caffeine levels

Side Effects

The best part about this product is that it delivers a healthy boost of energy without the use of caffeine. This ensures that anyone can use it, so if you are sensitive to caffeine you won't have to worry about added jitters or unwanted symptoms that can arise when you consume it.

3. Gatorade Endurance

Where to buy
Gatorade Endurance
Gatorade Endurance
Gatorade Endurance
Gatorade Endurance
Gatorade Endurance
Amazon Link

Gatorade is probably one of the most well-known athletic drinks out there--they are literally used worldwide. The Gatorade Endurance energy gel pouch is easy to carry and a great tasting way to keep yourself fueled and ready to go. These gels also taste great and will quickly become a staple in your routine if you give them a shot.

Read more

Product Purity

The Gatorade endurance energy gels are not only packed with energy-boosting ingredients as well as jam-packed with electrolytes--so you can stay hydrated and ready to take on every training session and race you take on.

Potency

As far as potency, this product is packed with 20 gram of carbs to ensure that you get the energy you need. Each pouch also provides you with 100 grams of sodium, so you know it will replace those electrolytes as you go as well.

Use

These are super easy to use and perfect to take with you on the go. You can easily take these with you on your races and during your training session--so it is easy to always have them on hand whenever you need them.

Taste

These gels are available in several different flavors to choose from. They taste great, although the consistency may be too thick for some users.

Side Effects

The Gatorade Endurance energy gel is compatible with most people but if you have a more sensitive stomach you may want to use it less frequently since some users do report stomach issues.

4. Huma

Where to buy
Huma Chia
Huma Chia
Huma Chia
Huma Chia
Huma Chia
Amazon Link

Huma Chia Energy Gel is Nutrition Energy Gel intended for a high tempo, continuous exercise such as running, cycling, triathlons, and any other activities requiring long-term endurance. What makes this product so great is the fact that it's 100% organic. It's also made from products that make it safe for consumption while it provides you with high energy levels. For this reason, Huma Chia energy gel is a great pick for the money.

Read more

Product Purity

The product has no additional ingredients and is 100% made of natural ingredients. It is gluten-free, vegan-friendly and is guaranteed not to cause upset to your stomach.

Potency

The Huma energy gels are a great option for those of you looking for steady energy delivery while you workout. That being said, if you are used to heavy caffeine consumption you will find that this product won't deliver a ton of additional energy for you to work with.

Use

They are great pre and in-race energy supplements which can also be used during rigorous training sessions, workouts or any activities that call for glucose/glycogen replacement.

Taste

It is packaged in a beautiful compact, vibrant easy to open pack that is quite appealing to complement the contents which are highly nutritious and delicious

Side Effects

As far as side effects go, this product is free of harmful ingredients as well as additives that could potentially give you unwanted side effects. Overall, you will find that this on is a great option for almost anyone, for the most part.

5. Clif Shot

Where to buy
Clif Shot
Clif Shot
Clif Shot
Clif Shot
Clif Shot
Amazon Link

This is a popular one. The Clif “Shot” energy gel is intended to be consumed during a race or other endurance competition. Made of 90% organic ingredients, this Kosher energy gel also delivers a quick 50mg of caffeine to boost you up during your run.

Read more

Product Purity

This means that it is purely made with natural ingredients and no additives that would be harmful to limit your maximum performance. This is important to those who may have allergies and most consumers prefer organic compounds.

Potency

The combination of the three ingredients: Chocolate, Caffeine, and coffee make it one of the best energy gels and would guarantee maximum performance during your workout routine.

Use

An adequate amount of caffeine and coffee and purely organic with no additives. This one is a little more expensive than other options but most users felt it was worth it.

Taste

If you want options, you will love this one. The Clif Shot is available in several different flavors for you to choose from and we are confident that even some of our pickier readers will find something they will enjoy.

Side Effects

Since this product does contain caffeine, if you are someone who is sensitive to caffeine then you will find this is not a good option for you. Our research and reviewing process didn't have any major side effects, but it is important for us to highlight the fact that it does contain caffeine.

6. Skratch Labs

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Skratch
Skratch Labs
Skratch Labs
Skratch Labs
Skratch Labs
Amazon Link

The Skratch Labs energy chews are a great allergen-free and all-natural way to go when it comes to gel energy chews. These taste great and come in several fruity flavors to choose from. Since they were specifically designed for athletes and runners in mind, these are perfect for anyone who lives an active lifestyle.

Read more

Product Purity

When it comes to the ingredients and product purity of this Skratch Lab product, these are one of the best. They are free of most allergens--they are gluten-free, vegan, and dairy free. They are also free of preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.

Potency

This product uses both sucrose and fructose to provide you with the carbohydrates and energy you need. While these are actually chews and not technically gels, but we wanted to include a product on our list that was somewhere in between, in case you want to ease into the more jelly-like energy gels out there.

Use

These are perfect to take with you on the go--whether it is at the gym or while you are out on a run. You can eat this as needed--every hour or two if you are exerting yourself. However, these won't be best for a quick snack since if you are trying to have some downtime and wind down.

Taste

These chews are naturally flavored and taste great. They are available in several fruity flavors that taste great and anyone will love!

Side Effects

As far as side effects, this one isn't really one to be too concerned about. They don't have caffeine and give you an energy boost with sucrose and fructose. One thing to point out would be that while they aren't caffeinated, you definitely won't want to eat these if you aren't needing an energy boost.

Amazon Link

7. Honey Stinger Ginsting

Where to buy
Honey Stinger Ginsting
Honey Stinger Ginsting
Honey Stinger Ginsting
Honey Stinger Ginsting
Honey Stinger Ginsting
Amazon Link

This one adds another caffeinated option for runners with serious energy requirements. Reviewers also liked the taste although be warned that it's very sweet. The best thing is that because it's made with natural honey it won't potentially cause an upset stomach like many other options.

Read more

Product Purity

Due to being made with natural honey this option is one of the most natural items on our list. The rest of the ingredients used by the brand are also all-natural--in fact, honey stinger prides themselves in the minimal ingredients they use in their energy gels and products.

Potency

Reviewers were pleased with how much energy it gave them, especially considering it isn't as likely to cause like upset stomach like many other options on the market.

Use

This product is perfect for runners with sensitive stomachs who nonetheless need a little bit of an extra boost beyond what the typical gel provides. Price-wise, it comes in at about average for products of this type and is widely available sold individually as well as in value packs.

Taste

If you enjoy the taste of ginseng, you will love this one. Its taste is crisp and natural, without the overuse of unnecessary sugars or additives that would take away from what ginseng is supposed to taste like.

Side Effects

Because of the use of natural honey this option doesn't have many reports of side effects associated with its use. Everyone is different, however, so we recommend consuming a small amount at first to see how your body reacts.

8. GU Roctane

GU Roctane
GU Roctane
GU Roctane
GU Roctane
GU Roctane
Amazon Link

Similar to a lot of the other energy gels, this one also contains 100 calories and all the essential electrolytes, as well as 1425mg of amino acids to help to prevent or decrease muscle damage and mental fatigue. It's suitable for high-intensity racing as well as rigorous training sessions.

Read more

Product Purity

It is important to note here that this product may contain some ingredients those of you who prefer organic products will not like. While it features safe and quality ingredients, make sure to take a look if you are perfect about certain additives, dyes, etc.

Potency

The product contains 1425 milligrams of amino acids which is a substantial amount needed for tissue repair and muscle recovery. This also increases performance by reducing mental fatigue to help you during intense training.

Use

When priced per unit, the GU Roctane Ultra Endurance energy gel is fairly inexpensive. However, they come in large bulk packages when ordering online which can result in the need for customers to pay more than they may otherwise have been comfortable. Because of this, it's a good idea to try and find a sample at a local sports nutrition store before investing in a large order.

Taste

You are spoiled for choice in this section as it improves your selection. Additionally, the caffeine level in each version varies in order to boost brand choice and offer some versatility for different customers.

Side Effects

While we did not find any significant side effects associated with the GU Roctane energy gel, it's important that you give a small test just to make sure. This is especially important for anyone that commonly has food sensitivities.

9. Honey Stinger

Where to buy
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger
Amazon Link

Made with USDA certified organic and natural ingredients, Honey Stinger products typically have fewer side effects than other options. This honey-based gel is perfect for those athletes that strive to push on to the finish line ahead of the others. With flavors like acai & pomegranate Honey Stinger energy gel is sure not to disappoint.

Read more

Product Purity

The product is composed of organic honey that is infused with tapioca syrup and provides a good source of energy and fiber. The product is high in protein with high levels of electrolytes.

Potency

Although this product does not have any serious energy-boosting ingredients, it does specifically feature all-natural ingredients that will deliver the energy you need to keep going steady. So, if you need a tasty and steady energy boost, you will love this one.

Use

It can be used to make other high energy products like energy bars, organic snacks, protein bars, and other kid-friendly snacks. It acts as a healthy sweetener that is loved by a majority of athletes,

Taste

With honey and organic products as ingredients, it is not only high in nutrients and energy needed but can be used to make other products. The sweet-tasting gel is highly valuable and offers good value for money.

Side Effects

We literally found no significant side effects with this product--so, unless you are allergic to honey or any of the natural and organic ingredients it features, you won't have to worry about any less than desirable consequences.

10. Science in Sport Go

Where to buy
Science in Sport Go
Science in Sport Go
Science in Sport Go
Science in Sport Go
Science in Sport Go
Amazon Link

The Science of Sports Go Isotonic Energy Gel is a solid choice for a runner looking for something to help them get across that marathon finish line. SIS claims that their gel is designed to be effective even if you don’t have water on hand, which is helpful in the event that you need to be a bit more conservative with your supply.

Read more

Product Purity

The product has been tested vigorously in anti-doping labs. These are also considered safe to use for professional athletes as it is made of natural ingredients.

Potency

The gel acts fast and reduces the chances of bloating because it is designed to be used with water. the fast-acting soluble ingredients also improve performance to help you improve on your workout routine.

Use

The highly soluble formula that went into this energy gel is great for reducing bloating and that alone should signify its value to a majority of potential customers. What's even better is that this product is certified and given the seal of approval to be used by professional athletes.

Taste

The best part about this product is that it is available in lots of different flavors to choose from. It has the distinct texture that comes with any type of energy gel, but it still tastes great!

Side Effects

As far as side effects go, this product doesn't have serious implications--although some users do report that they have to take less than the suggested serving size initially. If you aren't sure how you will react to it first make sure to take a close look at the ingredients and then try and take the time to test out a little bit first--to see how you react to it.

Sources

  1. Kylene Guerra, RD, Cleveland Clinic, Medical Website
  2. Bryon Powell , I Run Far, Running Website
  3. Andrew Hamilton, 220Triathlon.com, Sporting Website
  4. Fitday Editor, Fitday.com, Fitness Website
  5. Nick Harris-Fry, The Best Running Gels And How To Use Them In Your Training BUYING, Fitness Website

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Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.