Gear for Runners: A Dumb Summary

One of the great things about running is that it doesn't require a lot of stuff.

You see and hear that all the time, right? It's true enough, except that every time you turn around someone is explaining why you need a lot of stuff in order to run. Or, worse, not even bothering to explain. Just shoving a lot of products at you:

Buy this watch! It's way better than the previous model, which we told you to buy last year! Also get this hydration pack! And these accessories for it! And these sunglasses! Did we say sunglasses? Sorry, we meant eyewear! (What's the difference? Around a hundred bucks! HA HA! But seriously, buy these ones.) And this armband for your iPhone! And this foam roller! And this travel-sized foam roller! And this fitness and sleep monitor bracelet! And these various items of polyester technical clothing! And these insoles! And this weird tape that you put on various body parts, because science! And these compression socks! And this solution-in-search-of-a-problem thingamajig that began life on Kickstarter!

Oh, also, you need new shoes. Trust us on this one. They're guaranteed to fit. If they don't, bring 'em back.

Now, don't get Dumb Runner wrong. We understand that the right gear can make your running more enjoyable. We do not judge anyone who has a closet full of running shirts, shorts, jackets, and assorted gadgetry and gewgaws. And we're as excited as anyone by a brand-new pair of shoes or a cool-looking jacket.

But, come on. Let's all get a grip.  

Dumb Runner's philosophy, when it comes to running gear, is simple:

  1. If you need something, buy it – and don't skimp. Over time, cheap stuff winds up costing you more.
  2. If you really want something, buy it. Emphasis on really. 
  3. Understand that nothing you buy is going to bring you lasting happiness. Or even necessarily make you a better runner.
  4. Know that there exists an entire industry whose survival depends on convincing you otherwise.

For more on what gear you do need, how to choose it, how to use it, and so on, see our Gear FAQ.

Dumber Summary:

You don't need much. When you do, emphasize quality over quantity.