Best Running Kit For Spring 2021
Based on hours of testing, we put together a shortlist of the best running shoes, socks, hats, shirts, and light jackets. Peruse the list and give your running kit a spring refresh.
Things To Consider For Spring Running
Waterproof is great, but not if it reduces breathability too much.
This is an area that sometimes gets overlooked. You definitely want to think about what to do when you get caught out in the rain, but still need to consider the fact that the temperature is starting to warm up at this time of the year.
There are a bunch of water-resistant, and even waterproof, materials available these days. In fact, most big brands have their own proprietary materials which they market under a cool or catchy name. Most of it really works pretty much the same way. The material is made up of a tight membrane that allows air to escape while water droplets are not able to make it through.
You have to think to yourself, if some air can get out, but water can't get in, then just how much air is really able to flow. While some materials do better than others, they all tend to restrict the amount of airflow that non-waterproof materials would normally allow. Just a fact.
So when you're shopping around, you might think about those rain jackets you're looking at. Sure, go for some water protection, but it's best to pick something lightweight and even packable. Those are most likely going to be made of thinner material. Sure they might not keep to 100% dry during monsoon season, but at least you won't sweat to death trying to stay dry.
It's time to pack away the weatherproof shoes and get some air flowing to those feet again
It's getting warm outside and time to transition your gear to lighter and more breathable materials. Perhaps rethink those Gore-Tex shoes. Do you really need them when the temps start to rise?
Unless you're running through marshland or swampy areas, all that Gore-Tex around your feet is going to do is make them sweat.
There are some shoes that do have their own proprietary water-resistant features, but we would suggest you go try them on, do a little research, and always see what other runners have to say about them online. We typically find that increased water resistance or waterproofing does indeed inhibit the feet from getting that much-needed airflow, which is super important in keeping your feet dry and hopefully blister-free.
And the same really goes for any clothing items you decide to go for. See what materials they're made with. Check out any user reviews. And if you buying something like a rain jacket for spring running, make sure the material is breathable enough that you won't get wetter wearing that darn thing than you would without it.
Spring 2021 Men's Running Kit
1. Altra Lone Peak 5
Our Favorite Off-Road Shoe at the Moment
Altra's Footshape design has a wider toe box, allowing the toes to splay more naturally
Full-length Altra Ego midsole offers responsive support
Version 5 has improved drainage for the soggier trails
Altra's Lone Peak has been one of our favorites for some time now, but the 5th update to the shoe keeps it up in the front of the line, for us anyway. The shoe is great as a casual trail runner but is put together well enough for an ultra. You can get into some pretty rough territory with them and they still perform up to par for even uber-experienced long-distance runners.Read more
The Lone Peak, like most shoes from Altra, are modeled around the natural shape and function of the foot. Yeah, they are pretty wide up in the front, but you'll appreciate that functional space when you get a ways down the trail.
The upper also has some new tweaks, with a more weather-resistant material and responsive fit. Even with the room for the toes to properly splay, the shoe's lockdown is more on point than ever.
As for the outsole and tread, We suppose Altra knew when to leave well enough alone. There aren't any major changes that you would notice. The shoes still have great traction across the spectrum of trail running environments.
Full a full breakdown of Altra's Lone Peak 5, check out our full detailed review below.
2. Hoka One One Clifton 7
Our Favorite Road Shoe
If you're a little skeptical of switching to the cushiony support of Hoka, we say just give the Clifton 7 a shot. The thing is, and many brands will say this, many people who take the plunge and go for a pair of Hokas, tend to stick to the brand. Just saying...Read more
The updates to this 7th version of the Clifton add a little more responsiveness, which is always good. Ans, there seems to be more cushioning, making them solid long-distance shoes. As far as durability goes, Hoka usually has it together. Their shoes last.
If you're not afraid of the thicker soles, we say absolutely give the Clifton 7 a try. You may find that you were missing all of that cushioning and didn't even know it!
Check out our in-depth review of the Hoka One One Clifton 7 below.
3. Rockay Accelerate
Keep you eye on this relatively new brand!
Socks are more important than a lot of people realize. The right pair can make the difference between a miserable, blister-filled, painful experience and a great run from start to finish. The Accelerate is Rockay's first product and one that they have perfected since its release in the summer of 2018. They are definitely worth the purchase.Read more
Designed by a long-distance runner in Denmark, Rockay is one of the top sustainable running brands going right now. With all of their products being produced from reclaimed ocean waste, such as plastic and abandoned fishing nets, the brand's mission goes beyond simply making a good pair of running socks.
The accelerate itself took quite a while to design and produce, due to the amount of prototyping, field testing, and user feedback that was taken into consideration. If there was ever a "for runners by runners" brand, Rockay is it!
The graduate compression around the midfoot is as perfect as it gets. The breathability and anatomical fit also make them a must-have for longer runs.
4. Buff Pack Run Cap
Buff is well known for their "Multi-purpose headwear" which is basically a chimney that can be used as a neck gaiter or beanie. But, they also produce really great caps that are perfect for running. Whether it's road or trail, the breathability and comfort is just about perfect. So if you're a hat wearer, this is definitely one to consider.Read more
The main feature is literally in the name. You can pack this hat in a bag, fold it up, and put it in a pocket on your vest, or whatever, and they say it won't lose its shape. We all know that Buff puts out some super useful gear, which shines through the outstanding simplicity of many of their designs. So why would it be any different with the Pack Run Cap?
We know there are some guys who just don't like to wear hats, but also get frustrated when the sweat runs the sunglasses right off their nose. That's why we chose this particular cap, and why we like it so much, because of the packability. But even more so, we love the not so simple simplistic design.
If you one who says "calm down, it's just a hat", that's true, until you wish you had the perfect one on your head to keep that sun out of your face a little bit more!
5. Rockay Long Sleeve Running Shirt
Spring is when it starts to warm up in many places, however, what about the breezy days or early morning runs before the sun is up? It's a good idea to keep a few long sleeve running shirts on the shelf for Spring. Once again, we have something from Rockay. Yes, they do go beyond making only socks, damn good socks I might add. Rockay now produces shorts, running, tights, accessories, and of course running shirts.Read more
Rockay's quarter-zip shirt is perfect for the cool morning or evening runs during the spring. The soft interior keeps you warm, but not too warm. I would go with a t-shirt for mid-day runs when the sun is up, but the temperature control is perfect as an early morning stand-alone.
And when it's dark out, the shirt does have reflective details on the front, back, and arms. This will help you be a little more visible to traffic. This shirt, like much of their apparel line, is also treated with Polygiene anti-odor technology. You still need to wash you dirt gear, but at least it shouldn't stink as much!
6. Salomon Bonatti Race
If you haven't noticed, Salomon has been kicking butt with, not only updates to their trail shoes, but their gear in general. If you're looking for a really solid packable rain jacket for the spring showers, and are willing to spend a little more, we say Salomon's Bonatti Race is definitely worth it.Read more
The problem we find with a lot of packable jackets is their durability, and of course their actual resistance to the elements. Most of us don't mind a little rain, but you probably don't want to be drenched and slogging along. The Bonatti Race is, in simple terms, the speedier version of the original Bonatti jacket, really more gear toward running. However, there is a little more to it than that.
What we like the most about this jacket is its performance overall. And like the brand's shoes, vests, and other gear, it's really hard to be outright disappointed with Salomon's stuff in general.