The 8 Best Running Apparel Brands You Need, Like, Now

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Starting a running habit is easy. You don't even need a gym membership–just put on some running clothes, a pair of good sneakers, and you’re all set.

I’ve recently gotten back into taking daily runs, but I quickly learned that I needed to upgrade my gear if I wanted to maintain the habit. You can always kickstart a running practice in your old workout clothes, but I’ve found that upgrading my running gear has been a major key to improving my performance. The right clothes and shoes help me stay comfortable during outdoor runs in any weather. 

If you’re looking for some ways to take your running gear to the next level, here are some of my favorite items from DTC brands you may want to consider.

Bright blue and moto details = double win
Credit: @themomedit

Athleta’s Venice Moto Hoodie

The Venice Moto hoodie from Athleta ($129) is perfect for a cool morning run. I picked the Cottage Blue colorway because I love the bright pop of color (good for visibility) and the moto details.

Even with a fitted style, it allows for an unrestricted range of motion. I like that I can layer it over a running shirt for extra warmth, and my favorite detail is the kangaroo pockets that I use to stash my keys and phone.

Lightweight enough to be a base layer or worn on it’s own!
Credit: Free People

Free People’s Mile a Minute Layer

I wear my black Mile a Minute Layer from Free People ($68) as a fitted base layer when it's extra cold outside. It’s also super breathable, making it ideal for warmer days, too. Bonus: the thumbholes mean no annoying sleeve roll-ups when worn as a layer.

This ultra-warm hoodie is transitional enough to go from the gym to weekend lounging.
Credit: Tracksmith

Tracksmith’s NDO Merino Hoodie

Tracksmith’s NDO Merino Hoodie ($188) in Dark Grey is made with Scandinavian Merino wool and synthetic fibers. Since I live in the Midwest, an ultra-warm hoodie like this is a must to keep my body heat locked in during outdoor runs in the single digits. 

If you’re thinking: Wool? Gross! Too hot! Guess what? Merino material doesn't retain moisture or odor, making it a near-perfect material for runners. 

This fabric is SO soft and cozy.
Credit: Fitness Finds on the Mainline

Allbirds Natural Leggings

Allbirds is a DTC brand known for its crazy comfy tennis shoes, but did you know the brand also makes amazing activewear? The Natural legging ($98) is made from sustainable eucalyptus tree fibers and Merino wool—both of which are quick-drying.

I like that these offer a bit of compression – they fit snugly from top to bottom. They also have a hidden back pocket to keep your running essentials close at hand and internal drawstrings for adjusting the waist fit.

Possibly the most flattering leggings I own?
Credit: Vuori

Vuori’s Vibe Elevation Legging

Vuori’s Vibe Elevation Legging ($98) is another DTC product made from recycled materials. Each pair’s buttery soft feel is absolutely divine. I wear them for running, but I also wear them…a lot. They’ve become a core staple in my work-from-home wardrobe, too.

A must for visibility during dawn/dusk runs.
Credit: Runner's World

Brooks Running’s Carbonite 4” Short

Whenever I run early in the morning or at dusk, I reach for my Carbonite 4" shorts ($75). The reflective bands on the front and back make it easy for drivers to spot me if I don’t have a sidewalk.

These also have a built-in sweat-wicking liner that does more than keep me dry–it also prevents my shorts from riding up! Of course, the cherry on top is the roomy pockets. Gotta love ‘em.

Super flattering cut and fit on these bad boys.
Credit: Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices’ Hudson 4” Short

On warmer days, I prefer to run in shorts. The Outdoor Voices Hudson 4” short ($58) is one of my go-to's, and for my petite frame, the four-inch length is a great fit. There’s also a built-in brief liner that makes running a (literal) breeze and comes in four colors: Black, White, Ruby, and Navy.

HOKA is my go-to for pants and running shoes.
Credit: Hoka

HOKA’s Rincon Pant (+ my go-to running shoes)

I love a good layering option, and HOKA’s Rincon pants ($88) are perfect. These have a practical design with side-zip pockets as well as back drop-in pockets. They’re also easy to slip on as an outer layer thanks to ankle zippers and internal drawstrings. 

I also own two pairs of running shoes from HOKA: the Kawana ($140) and Carbon X 2 ($180). I’ve tried a LOT of different pairs, and these are my tried-and-trusted favorites. I prefer a more cushioned sole on my road running shoes, and both of these pairs help minimize knee and ankle strain.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a specific piece of running gear or are just in the research phase, hopefully these items have given you some inspiration to work with. Just remember: Quality over quantity. Great running gear will last a long time if you invest in the right pieces!

Five more DTC products you may want to add to your running rotation:

1. Apple Watch + AirPods: If you don’t want to take your heavy phone with you for a run, these allow you to listen to music or podcasts all while monitoring your pace and distance hands and cord-free. ‎Any Distance is a great app for tracking your runs, too!

2. RunGum: If you need a little boost pre-run, get some Run Gum. This brand was founded by professional runner and a 2x Olympian, Nick Symmonds, and his coach Sam Lapray. They come in three types: EnergyGum ($22.49), ImmunityGum ($19.99), and CalmGum ($19.99).

3. Cornbread Farms hemp balm: I recommend this Cornbread Hemp balm ($54.99) for muscles and joint pains that creep up post-run. It’s made with organic ingredients (hemp, organic arnica, and peppermint oils) in an easy-to-apply balm stick.

4. Equilibria: Cap off your post-run recovery with a warm bath full of Equilibria CBD bath salts ($45.00). With over 30 minerals and high-quality CBD, it’s perfect for recovery after a long run.

5. Bombas: Good socks are important, and Bombas ankle socks ($70.00/4 pairs) are comfy and breathable. In winter, the brand’s wool no-shows are a great option.

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