SHORTS

Lined shorts are all the rage nowadays and Nike’s range of lined running shorts (from the Tech Pack to the Flex Stride) were the most used shorts by me in the year gone by. What I liked most was the fact that it has pockets that can hold oversized phones with ease, and yet somehow keep them from bouncing and jiggling all along the route. The other pair which I enjoyed was by Lululemon, which isn’t really a running brand but turned out a few decent models that performed well as running shorts too. An honourable mention for the Under Armour shorts with their nifty `Speedpocket’ that can neatly tuck away a standard-sized phone in the waistband, but works best only if you have abs as flat as the backside of your phone.

 

CAPS

This is an area with multiple options because One Size Fits All (OFSA) is tricky territory. For me, most caps run too big and the only ones I can get on my skull without feeling them drooping all over my ears are those by Under Armour and 2XU. Barring these two, none sit right with me. Halo is another solid brand but I prefer their headbands to caps. However, it’s not about the brand — as long as it shades you and doesn’t become a kilo heavier by absorbing your brow sweat, it is fine.

 

HYDRATION

I have tried many a style, from bottles held in hands to the water backpack to the waist belt. I also admit that I keep oscillating between which system I prefer most. Finally, I have come to establish that I hate the backpack the most which jiggles as you run and requires you to suck deep to get a drink. The handheld bottle is great for short runs, while the hydration belt with two bottles locked in is the best for long yet fast runs.

 

SUNGLASSES

Oakley, always and forever. Sure, there’s Roka and Rudy Project, which are also great but nobody seems to have similar R&D to the kind that the guys in white coats at Oakley have put in. The Road Prizm is my top choice whether I’m taking in the urban scenery on foot or on a bike.

 

TOPS

Under Armour’s Rush was the best tee I have tried in a long time. Not solely for running, they were ideal in the gym or through rigorous mixed workouts. What makes them unique is the way the seam is turned around, running along the top of your shoulder and arm, as opposed to the more common inside edge near and towards the armpit where it often chafes or causes discomfort. The fit was snug but not tight, and stretchy enough to accommodate movement. Another good training tee is by Colombia — their gear can see you through the rigours of snow and trekking expeditions, and can handle a little city grime without, pun intended, breaking a sweat.

 

SHOES

My favourite shoes this season have been two entirely different pairs. The first was the Adidas Pureboost GO — a super-light shoe, sock uppers, runs low around the ankles with a gentle yet tidy grip, and a massive Boost midsole with continental rubber for outers. The shoe was designed to be fast and compact, it is wide enough to round street corners with ease and yet nimble enough for a quick lift off without too much fatigue. And then, for a special touch, it comes with a QR code on the tongue, which opens up a running playlist on Spotify. Race day-worthy gear for sure. The other shoe was the Under Armour UA HOVR Infinite. The pair is quite in contrast with the Adidas listed above, and yet, together, they made for quite the complementary set for me. HOVR comes with an embedded Bluetooth chip, which connects to an app on your phone and tracks some serious metrics from your run. From distance and speed to route and stride length, the data is pretty extensive, and even more amazing is the analysis and training tips which it generates based on this data. It’s built strong and sturdy and can feel a bit heavy in the beginning, but over time, one comes to appreciate this stiffness for its support and cushion. In other words, I may not use them for race day but I have sure enjoyed training in them, especially on long runs where comfort and being injury-free were priority.