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Trail Running Gear for Beginners – What You Really Need

Beginning a novel recreation or pursuit can be invigorating…and it may furthermore be very intimidating. Concerning trail running, one might naturally assume that it only requires a set of trail running shoes.

You become overwhelmed when researching running gear, as you are confronted by costly lightweight shoes for $180, hydration packs for $200, and GPS watches that cost $750.

Essential elements are necessary for trail running, and there are also extra advantages that could be considered indulgences. In this guide, especially tailored to new trail runners, we’ll look at all the fundamental pieces of gear you’ll need to get started- as well as what elements you might not need to worry about for the time being.

What You Should Invest In

A variety of aspects must be taken into account when picking garments for a trail run. It can be quite daunting to sift through all of the available products and equipment. The great thing is that you don’t have to invest in expensive running attire in order to be an effective runner. To make sure that your jogs are secure and pleasant, there are a few things that you may want to think about buying.

Clothing generally worn while running is commonly constructed from technologically advanced forms of materials like nylon, wool, and polyester. Clothing specifically intended for running is made to be as light as possible and follow all of the movements of your body without any resistance. Apparel made of technical materials is specifically created to make sure you stay dry and comfortable (whether warm or cool as the situation requires), absorb sweat, and the stitching is situated in places that avoid skin abrasion.

Be cautious when heading out for a run not to wear too many layers. Once you begin your activity, your body will soon become warm. The amount of heat you give off will increase the temperature to be up to 15 to 20 degrees higher than the temperature that is outside. If the temperature is over 55°F outside, you likely will not need to wear much to go out running – just a T-shirt and shorts. The exception is if it’s windy or raining.

In my opinion, a beginner trail runner should invest in the following items. It is likely that if you have been jogging on the streets, you possess a few of these items already.

The Correct Shoes For You

In order to be successful in running (and here I mean to be contented) you should invest in a proper pair of running shoes. I would suggest that this is the most essential item for trail running for both novices and experienced runners.

People frequently inquire as to what the most ideal pair of shoes is. The answer is: it varies from runner to runner.

Despite feet not being as distinctive as fingerprints, there are still plenty of differences between people when it comes to them. Are your feet wide, or narrow? Do you overpronate, or supinate? Do you have collapsed, flat arches, or high arches?

Hence, the most advantageous action when beginning the sport of trail running is to visit the nearby jogging specialty shop and be fitted by an expert. They will guarantee that you have the proper size shoe that was specifically made for your requirements.

What sort of terrain will you be running on? If you’re just getting started with biking on trails that are even, smooth, and kind of like a carriage road, you might be able to stick with a shoe for road cycling. If you’re hiking or running on winding, narrow paths or trails that climb or descend steeply, you will need a rock shield and some tires with strong, deep lugs.

Your local running store can provide guidance and can help you figure out if trail shoes are necessary or if regular running shoes will do.

How are Trail Running Shoes Different from Ordinary Running Shoes?


Grip provided by trail running shoes is much more crucial than the amount of cushioning they offer. Trail shoes have multiple grip options- their outsoles have raised treads (lugs) and many directional lugs for optimal traction.


The stability of a trail shoe is created from a secure fit around the heel that broadens to a wider toe box and the upper material supplies support to encase the foot and reduce movement. Shoes for hiking have a wider area at the bottom that gives a better sense of balance and poise.


Trail shoes generally have meshes in the upper part that are more closely woven than those of shoes made to be used on roads. These shoes will keep your feet safe from particles like sand, debris, dirt, and small stones. Have you ever observed the thick and sturdy rubber casing surrounding the toes of path shoes? They are known as “toe bumpers”. They provide shielding for your toes in the event of an accidental strike, thereby preventing pain and injury. Finally, most trail running shoes have an inflexible plastic plate in the midsole which shields the sole of the foot from sharp objects.

Quality Socks

Most runners understand the great usefulness of having quality socks when attempting to avoid painful blisters and maintain good comfort. When it comes to running on trails, I contend that having good quality socks is even more essential.

When out on the paths, chances are good even in excellent weather that you’ll be splashing in a puddle, having junk in your shoes, and slipping around on the climbs and drops, resulting in friction and hotspots on your feet.

Putting money into high-quality socks can be the distinction between a pleasant hike and painful sores.

I’m a big admirer of merino wool socks intended for running, like the varieties made by Darn Tough and Feetures! (links are related to sponsors). The wool efficiently absorbs moisture as well as perspiration, while keeping the size and steadiness of the sock.

I like wearing socks which come up above my ankles, rather than the short “no-show” style that I usually wear while jogging on the street. Longer socks can be beneficial in hindering any unwanted objects from entering your socks, especially if you aren’t wearing any gaiter protection. Additionally, they can shield your lower limbs from substances such as thorns or sand spurs.


A piece of advice I love to give novice runners is “Feeling good while you run leads to a great experience”. Gaiters are cost-efficient apparel created to fit around your ankle and cover the top of your shoes.

It’s like having a coat for your ankles which stops material such as pine needles, small stones, sand, etc. from getting into your socks and footwear.

It is probable that you can buy gaiters at any running store. Additionally, you can search the extensive selection of attractive, handmade fabric choices by trail runners on Etsy, such as Dirty Girl Gaiters or UltraGam.

Durable Apparel

Runners need clothing that is not too heavy, absorbs sweat, and is appropriate for the temperature conditions they will be running in. When it comes to running on trails, the situation can become a bit more complicated.

There is more of a chance to slip and tumble, get tangled in vegetation which could rip your clothing, or just get dirty.

You don’t need to wear a full hiking outfit, but it may be best to wear more durable clothes for the trails in lieu of your more sensitive workout apparel that is more suitable for the gym.

A warning was issued by a runner who was hesitant to get an expensive pair of Lululemon running tights for a long period of time. However, when they eventually did, the leggings got a tear in the knee area after the first time they were worn while out on a trail.

Handheld Bottle

Jogging on a path may require more vigor than jogging on a street; it is probable that your usual 4 miles time will take longer if you decide to run on a trail. It is advisable to bring a drink to keep yourself hydrated.

Vests used for running can be beneficial, but they can also be costly. As a new trail runner, you probably won’t need an expansive hydration equipment right away as your runs won’t be lengthy. Begin by purchasing a water bottle that is between $20 and $30 before investing in a hydration system that costs between $100 and $200.

A portable water container that can contain up to 20 ounces of liquid should be enough. This Iso Pocket 3.0 handheld bottle from UltrAspire was specially designed for running and it has a pocket which can keep your keys, ID, and other small items.

Snacks (Endurance Fuel)

Trail running generally requires more effort and takes longer than road running in order to cover the same amount of ground. Therefore, you may want to think about bringing a transportable fuel source along, if you do not already have one.

The type of calorie/carbohydrate source you choose is a matter of personal preference. Some joggers like to eat common items while they are running, such as fruit purees, cookies, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Other athletes running long distances opt for convenience-based energy sources, such as gel packets, chewy candies, or powdered beverages.

Trail Running Shirt

When selecting a trail running shirt, it is essential to consider that the climate might vary while you are outside. If you are just starting out on trail running or trying to keep costs down, regular running apparel will be adequate. Choose a shirt that is not too tight and allows air to circulate easily and is good at wicking away sweat.

When going on longer trail runs, layers are important. The climate could change, and wearing your apparel to keep you comfortable or cool might be more convenient than you would expect.

Trail Running Shorts

Your pair of running shorts will need specific features to be suitable to wear while trail running – these are the key features to look for:

  • Stretchy shorts that allow full-range leg movement.
  • Water-resistant and quick drying.
  • Made of robust technical fabric that won’t rip easily.
  • Made with at least one pocket. Bonus if it is a zip-up pocket.

Running Tights or Leggings

Running tights are a great option for cold weather. Compression running tights provide additional assistance and could possibly aid in the process of recuperation. Selecting the ideal pair of running leggings is comparable to locating the most appropriate running shorts and tops for you. Be sure to examine the material, size, and specifications.

Sports bras

The strength and snugness of a sports bra differs depending on the woman who is wearing it. A lot of women like to have some sort of protection to avoid chafing. When engaging in trail running, you are often going up and down hills that can be quite steep. It is important to take into consideration that your torso may be contorted in a variety of positions as you move forward.

What Not to Wear for a Trail Run

Prior to going into all the specifics concerning what to put on for a track run, let’s begin by discussing the Top 5 items that should be avoided.

Pants That Are Too Long

When ambling through your school or workplace, you may be able to dress in trousers that drag along the floor or just skim your shoes. When you’re running, you want to avoid coming into contact with anything on the ground that could be stepped on.

Stay Away From Abrasive or Stiff Clothing

It’s probably not wise to wear that starched cotton shirt or those jeans. Whether you are out on a trek or running on a path, you will experience your clothing brushing against your body in a steady pattern for a long time! It is essential that whatever clothing you have on is comfortable and lays close to your body. Those aged and especially comforting t-shirts that feel quite plush perform admirably in hot weather.

Old Worn Out Shoes

After a period of time your running shoes will start to not be able to cushion and absorb shock as effectively. Utilizing old shoes while running can put more strain on your knees and joints, which can lead to undesired injuries. Some people say that changing shoes after a distance of two to two and a half hundred miles is necessary, but it is even more of the essence to be attentive to your lower body parts such as your feet, ankles, and knees and make sure you get the proper support.

Too Small Shoes

Your feet will swell when running, particularly during the summertime. You may end up with bruised toenails if you are wearing shoes that are not big enough for your feet, causing your toes to rub against the front of the footwear. OUCH!

Don’t ever wear brand-new gear on a race day

Race day is not the time to experiment with newly purchased running shoes or sports bras; you can test them out on some other day. Stick to what you know works best for your physical needs.

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