Health & Fitness

16 must-have items for runners at REI

From shoes to tech accessories, the popular outdoors retailer has what you need.

Man running outside Credit: Nikada/Getty Images

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Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned pro who's run marathons from Boston to Tokyo, you need to have the proper gear before you step outside. Some essentials are obvious—sturdy running shoes and a water bottle, for example—but other products you might not realize you need until later (on longer runs, the chafing is real).

Whatever your running goals are, we’ve rounded up the very best running gear from REI, one of our favorite outdoor stores around. So whether you’re about to attempt your first mile, 5K, or training for a full 26.2, here’s what you need to equip yourself for success.

1. Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Watch

Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Watch
Credit: REI

This watch is your own personal trainer.

If you've been tracking runs with a smartphone app but want faster access to your stats during a run, it might be time to get a GPS running watch. This advanced watch from Garmin is a trainer on your wrist, showing you details like how far you've run and at what pace. Via the app, you can program interval workouts that make it easy to know how many reps to do and whether you're on pace. The Forerunner 245 also gives you access to free race training programs.

Get the Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Watch for $249.99

2. Goodr OG Sunglasses

goodr OG Sunglasses
Credit: REI

You'll feel cool and run better with these sunnies.

Runners adore Goodr’s OG Sunglasses—and not just because they’re just plain cool-looking. They’re “much-beloved by runners for staying put on sweat-slippery noses and ears,” writes Reviewed’s running expert Amy Roberts. And chances are, if you’re on a good run, there’s going to be some sweat.

Get the Goodr OG Sunglasses from REI for $25

3. Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Formula Skin Protectant

Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Formula Skin Protectant
Credit: REI

Trust us, you'll be glad you bought this.

Chaffing is one of those things that you probably don’t think about ... until it happens to you. Bodyglide is “priceless for eliminating painful chafing in hot spots on your skin as your miles increase, and therefore more friction builds.” To use, apply a liberal amount wherever you feel clothing rub skin or skin rub skin, including under the arms, between the thighs, under a bra strap, all over the feet, around the ankles, and over the nipples (trust).

Get Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Formula Skin Protectant (1.5 ounce) for $10

4. FlipBelt Zipper Running Belt

FlipBelt Zipper Running Belt
Credit: REI

Pack your phone, keys, and more in this handy belt.

With its multiple zipper pockets, this stretchy fabric belt offers a hands-free way to bring along your belongings while running. Tuck away your keys on the internal key hook and zip up your cell phone in its own pocket. The machine-washable belt is made of moisture-wicking to help keep you more comfortable, and comes in several sizes so you'll find a good fit.

Get the FlipBelt Zipper Running Belt for $34.95

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5. Osprey Duro 1.5 Hydration Vest

Osprey Duro 1.5 Hydration Vest - 1.5 Liters
Credit: REI

Why carry a water bottle when you can wear one?

On long runs or in hot weather, you may need a way to bring along your own water. Consider a hydration vest, like this popular one by Osprey, which allows you to carry 1.5 liters of water on your body with an easy access drinking tube for sipping without breaking your stride. The handy pockets in the front and back let you store a gel or stack and keep your essentials safe on the go. Multiple REI shoppers say this vest is especially great for trail running.

Get the Osprey Duro 1.5 Hydration Vest for $90

6. BioLite HeadLamp 330

BioLite HeadLamp 330
Credit: REI

Illuminate your run with this popular headlamp.

If you’re running at night or in the wilderness, it’s a good idea to illuminate your way with a headlamp. This compact lamp sits flush on the forehead without bouncing and provides 330 lumens of light for up to 40 hours via its USB-rechargeable battery. It offers five light settings—dimmable spot, flood, spot + flood, red night vision, and strobe—and its band wicks away sweat.

Get the BioLite HeadLamp 330 for $59.95

7. Amphipod Xinglet

Amphipod Xinglet
Credit: REI

Stay safe on your run with the Amphipod Xinglet.

Stay visible while you're running at night with this sleek, adjustable running vest designed to fit any body type. The Amphipod Xinglet is extra-reflective and a breeze to put on and pull off, thanks to its slide-to-lock clips. Even better, its airy design isn't as sweaty or constricting as other vests out there.

Get the Amphipod Xinglet for $29.95

8. Women’s Vuori Performance Jogger Pants

Women’s Vuori Performance Jogger Pants

These joggers are trendy and practical.

Vuori claims that these joggers, made from a blend of polyester and spandex, are the softest ones out there—and customers agree. One reviewer on REI called these “the best all-around pants ever,” and considering that they wick away sweat, dry quickly, and stay secure with a drawstring waistband, we won't quibble.

Get the Vuori Performance Jogger Pants for Women for $84

9. Women’s REI Co-op Active Pursuits Shorts

Women’s REI Co-op Active Pursuits 4.5” Shorts
Credit: REI

These running shorts are guaranteed to be your favorite.

If you want a running short that does it all, look no further. This pair from REI’s own brand has a built-in liner that wicks away moisture, a small pocket to securely hold keys or money, and a drawcord waistband for a secure fit.

Get the REI Co-op Active Pursuits 4.5" Short for $39.95

10. Men's Wrightsock CoolMesh II Quarter Socks

WRIGHTSOCK CoolMesh II Quarter Socks
Credit: REI

You need good socks and these are the best.

One of the most important ways to protect your feet while running is having a great pair of socks. This pair from Wrightsock has two layers to keep your feet dry, cool, and comfortable. The inner layer wicks away moisture while the outer layer helps to dissipate it away. and both layers work together to prevent blisters. The reinforced arch provides support for the feet.

Get the Wrightsock CoolMesh II Quarter Socks for $14

11. Women’s Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crewe T-Shirt

Women’s Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crewe T-Shirt
Credit: REI

The best running t-shirt you'll find.

A lightweight shirt that can be worn year-round, this crew-neck is made of 87 percent merino wool and 13 percent nylon for superior sweat control. One REI reviewer says she’s had hers for 14 years and it’s still going strong and that “the fabric is still really lovely and looks new.” Besides the shirt's comfort and durability, it also protects the skin with a rating of UPF 35.

Get the Women’s Icebreaker Tech Lite Low Crewe T-Shirt for $75

12. Hoka One One Bondi 6 Road-Running Shoe

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 Road-Running Shoe
Credit: REI

The perfect running shoe for men and women.

This Hoka One One road shoe has over 700 five-star reviews on REI, and for many good reasons. People especially love the Bondi 6 for its thick cushioning and the “Meta-Rocker” sole that give them a super smooth ride. The Bondi 6 is available in men's and women's sizes.

13. Brooks Ghost 12 Road-Running Shoes

Brooks Ghost 12 Road-Running Shoes
Credit: REI

Hundreds of reviews are proof that these shoes are winners.

Having more than 800 five-star reviews, the Brooks Ghost is one of the most popular that REI has to offer. According to one reviewer, these shoes “are like running on a cloud,” thanks to its responsive sole cushioning. And who wouldn’t want to run on a cloud? They’re available in men and women’s sizes.

14. Men's Arc'teryx Incendo Hoodie

Arc'teryx Incendo Hoodie
Credit: REI

This amazing hoodie will keep you dry and cool on a nice run.

Don’t let a little wind or rain stop you from stepping outside for a run. Just grab this versatile nylon hoodie to protect you. Made with mesh underarm panels and front chest snaps, you’ll stay dry and aired out despite the weather. If the rain stops, you can easily roll back the hood and snap it out of the way. The reflective blades on the back and sleeves will keep you safe and visible, and the convenient "media pocket" keeps your phone covered while you listen to your tunes.

Get the Arc’teryx Incendo Hoodie for $139

15. Men’s Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts

Men’s Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts 8” Inseam
Credit: REI

These shoes will keep you dry and fresh.

Made with a recycled blend polyester-spandex blend, the shorts' outer layer repels water, while a boxer-brief liner has an antimicrobial treatment to control odor. Zipper pockets keep your money and phone secure and a drawcord keeps the shorts themselves secure on your body. The shorts are designed to be rolled up and tucked inside their own back pocket, so you have no excuse not to pack them for your next destination race.

Get the Patagonia Nine Trails Shorts 8” Inseam for $65

16. Balega Hidden Comfort Socks

Balega Hidden Comfort Socks
Credit: REI

Take care of your feet with these incredible socks.

I said it once and I'll say it again: You need good socks to run! Despite being a low-cut, no-show style, these won't slip down into your shoes, thanks to deep heel pockets and a high heel tab. They'll also keep your feet cool and dry, with their ventilation panels and proprietary sweat-wicking yarn. Finally, the seamless toes and the protective cushioning reduce your risk of blisters and damaged toenails.

Get the Balega Hidden Comfort Socks for $13

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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