A Guide To Buying The Essential Running Gear

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Look good, feel good, play good — or, in this case, run good! 

If you're someone who has decided to dedicate time, money, and resources to running for the first time in your life, figuring out what gear you need can be a stressful task. But don't worry, because we here at FloTrack certainly know a thing or two about which items you may need, and we're here to help! 

Below you'll find a brief guide about all the various pieces you'll need to get started. While all of this stuff can be purchased online, we recommend supporting your local running shop as much as possible, where a sales associate will be able to help you with what fits your body best. 

Here we go! 

1. Running-specific shoes

This one may seem obvious, but it's important nonetheless: if you're going to be running, buy running shoes! Some are made for specific surfaces (e.g. trail running shoes), some might be designed for a specific weather condition (e.g. water-proof shoes), but no matter what, don't hit the road or the track with a pair of regular old sneakers. That's a recipe for sore feet and injuries. 

Here's the great thing: running shoes don't need to be expensive. I've been wearing shoes from the Nike Pegasus line for years and have never paid more than $100 thanks to various sales. They've been trusty and reliable and my feet feel great.

2. Supportive & comfortable socks

When I started running, I didn't think much about socks — but man oh man does having the right pair of socks make a world of difference. The right sock will wick moisture, provide support, and guard against blisters. Do some research to find highly rated socks and your feet will thank you. Get a handful of pairs, too, so you don't ever find yourself ready for a run but without a clean pair of running socks.

3. Compression shorts 

Being comfortable while running is key. A lot of shorts these days have built-in compression shorts or support, but for those that don't, you'll want to get compression shorts whether you're a man or a woman. 

4. Shorts, joggers, or whatever the weather demands

Some people wear shorts even if there's a blizzard outside — hello, cross country runners! — but having a tight-ish pair of sweatpants to run in when it's cold outside has been a great addition to my wardrobe. I'm from Texas, after all.

For the most part, though, solid running shorts are easy to find at a pretty good price. You might feel comfortable with something longer, shorter, or with a specific feature in mind like a pouch for a key or pockets, but a few pairs of lightweight running shorts will keep you going for miles. 

5. Running shirt

The difference between running even a couple of miles in an ordinary cotton t-shirt vs a running-specific athletic shirt is insane. When I first started running, I was skeptical about buying running-specific shirts and felt like maybe I didn't need them, but when I finally did make the decision to go for it I knew I had made the right call. 

6. Bonus: a baseball cap or beanie

I'm a guy, and for years my hair was very long. I looked like Tarzan. But I didn't really like my hair flopping around everywhere, so I always wore a baseball cap. There's nothing crazy-specific you need here, but choosing one cap out of your arsenal is a great way to make sure you don't spread the sweat around to too many in your closet. If it's cold out, you can also get a wool beanie or something similar to keep your head and ears warm if you're heading outside.

Whatever you decide to buy, starting to run does not require a ridiculous amount of equipment or up-front costs. Even a great pair of shoes doesn't break the bank. Selecting the right gear is all about knowing your body, knowing what kind of climate and surface you'll be running on, and, of course, your aesthetic preferences.

And remember, socks are important! 

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