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If you have recently fallen in love with trail running, you may want to invest in proper running gear and running clothes to get even more out of the great outdoor sport. Finding the best running gear from the huge selection can be a daunting task – or easier than you thought.
Many running clothes and running equipment have traditionally been marketed to people with very lean body types. The gear and clothes for running and trail running that I recommend in this article are perfect also for normal-sized and curvier body types.
In the article you will find the best clothes for trail running and the trail running gear that I have chosen based on thousands of kilometers of trail running. All of my favorite 2023 products have held up well for years, except for the running pants on the list that I discovered this spring (love at first sight!).
In the Best Running Gear and Running Clothes 2023 list you will find my favorites of:
- The best trail running shoes
- Running vest for short and long distances
- Running jacket (waterproof)
- Running jacket (windbreaker)
- The best running pants / tigths for trail running
- Sports bra for running
- Sports glasses
You can be a beginner in trail running or you may have been hooked on trail running for some time - this set of running gear is suitable for all types of trails in all weathers.
1. Trail running gear: the best trail running shoes
What is the best trail running shoe? Choosing trail running shoes is probably the most difficult task when buying outdoor gear, because there is a huge selection of running shoes from different manufacturers competing for the title of the best trail running shoe. The only way to find the best trail running shoe for yourself is to test them. My favorite was the third pair of trail running shoes I got myself – the Hoka Speedgoat.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 trail running shoes - for all terrains and distances
*The Hoka Speedgoat 5 women's trail running shoes are still, in my opinion, 'the best trail running shoes in the world'. The Speedgoat has a relatively wide last, maximum cushioning and superior grip. The latest model of the legendary shoe has been slightly reduced in weight, it is only 234 grams (8.25 oz) per shoe (US 7).
For the Speedogoat 5 version, the the flap under the laces has also been redesigned. Previously on the Speedgoat 4 model it came up long and could snag the front of the ankle, now the edge is curved for a snug fit. The lacing of the shoe is brilliantly designed, and the shoe can be laced exactly to fit your own foot.
The drop of the Hoka Speedgoat 5 running shoe is 4 mm, so it is a low drop shoe. The sole, on the other hand, is thick: the 31 mm thick cushion under the foot is one of the largest on the market. Maximum cushioning means that you hardly feel rocks, twigs and pinecones under your step. Some like it, some don't.
The support of the Hoka Speedgoat 5 trail running shoe is neutral, the shoe is not particularly supportive. It is not necessarily the best option for a foot that overpronates a lot or an ankle that is not used to training, but on average, a well-fitting shoe with neutral support will not cause any problems for any runner.
My feet are prone to underpronation and I feel that the Hoka Speedgoat has made running long distances possible for me. Good cushioning also minimizes the aches in my toes.
The Hoka Speedgoat is also available as a men's model. Women's trail running shoes are exactly the same as men's trail running shoes, the differences are mainly in the size chart and the design of the last. Women's running shoes usually have a slightly narrower heel and a wider instep.
Tip: if the last of women's trail running shoes (or hiking shoes, for example) doesn't fit well, try the men's versions as well!
It is said that you either fall in love with Hoka's maximally designed Speedgoat trail running shoes or you don't like them at all. For me, the Speedgoat was exactly the trail running shoe that stole my heart. I have spotted Speedgoats on the feet of lightweight backpackers on my adventures - I'm going to try it myself in the summer!
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Benefits:
- The Regular model of the Hoka Speedgoat 5 trail running shoe is wide enough even for a wide foot, and there is enough room for the toes to move (buy a large enough size). Still, the trail running shoe is also available with a wide last.
- The upper of the trail shoe is made of flexible mesh fabric, which feels extremely comfortable on the foot prone to a fair amount of swelling - no rubbing, no blisters. Personally, I get blisters easily almost from any shoes, but not from Hoka running shoes.
- Speedgoat has plush studs on the sole and the grip is in a class of its own: you can run on wet rocks, in snow, mud, etc. The running shoe is therefore also suitable for use in winter.
- Even though the sole has aggressive studs, the shoe rolls well even with occasional runs on the asphalt. However, don't get the Speedgoat if you mainly run on asphalt - Hoka Speedgoats are the best running shoes for off-road.
- The shoe can be laced to fit very snugly according to the shape of your own foot.
- Comfort and cushioning is maximum, which can make running with certain types of foot problems easier.
- The high sole prevents water from entering the shoe in shallow puddles.
- The fabric of the running shoe dries very fast.
- The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is actually suitable for any platform and journey.
- The cushioning and the high sole take away the feel of the platform, which may seem strange, especially at first.
- Despite the reduced sensitivity, I don't think the agility suffers, for example, on mountains and technical trails (I wouldn't say it's the shoe's fault if I stumbled on trails).
- A low-drop shoe is not suitable for everyone.
- The tip of the shoe has no rock plate - otherwise the shoe offers good protection.
- Running in Hoka shoes is so comfortable that you will soon have to buy another pair!
If you are considering buying trail running shoes, read also my GUIDE: How to choose the best trail running shoes and avoid getting the wrong kind of running shoes!
2. Trail running gear: the best running vest
I have tested several running vests and running backpacks in various conditions over the years. Running backpacks have traveled on everyday forest trails in nearby nature, gone on long adventure runs, experienced the heat of summer and the cold of winter. And we’ve got a winner: the Salomon women's running vest is the best running vest - in any size.
Salomon ADV Skin running vest for women
Salomon's long product development can be seen in the selection of high-quality running vests and backpacks. *Salomon ADV Skin running vests come in different sizes and they are different products, but their design, materials and design principles are the same. One running vest will certainly do the trick, but for my own needs I have got both Salomon ADV Skin 8 and Salomon ADV Skin 12 running vests.
The small Salomon ADV Skin 8 running vest can be used for all trail runs, from zero to marathons and ultras, on ordinary terrains in summer, when you don't need to bring anything special besides energy and drinks. Salomon's 8-liter running vest, which I bought as my first running vest, is light and almost unnoticeable.
If I had known that I would also get a 12-liter later, I probably would have bought *a slightly smaller Salomon ADV Skin 5 running vest. The ADV 8 model is apparently going off the market (you can get it now at a good price!) and the 5-liter and 12-liter have gotten new cool colors. Naturally, with product development, other new and improved features can also be added to running vests.
The Salomon ADV Skin 12-liter running vest is larger even when empty and more backpack-like, although it also fits like a glove. A more spacious running vest is necessary when heading for longer trips and more wilderness conditions. After all, a twelve-liter running vest is not enough for overnight trips - unless you don't need any kind of accommodation on the trip.
Best features of Salomon ADV Skin vest:
The fabric of the Salomon ADV Skin women's running vest is flexible and breathable, and the women's running vest is designed with the features of the female body in mind. The flexible and versatile fastening of the front part of the running vest enables a great fit according to the body - it is in a class of its own compared to unisex or men's versions.
Soft flasks fit comfortably in the front of the vest, and you can easily take a sip while running. A large water bladder fits in the back. You can pack energy and other products in a way that suits you in the versatile pockets and compartments. The snugly fitting fabric ensures that the items stay in place when running.
The adjustment possibilities of Salomon running vests are amazing. You can also adjust the attachment point of your foldable running poles yourself. The materials are really durable even in heavy use. The running vest comes with two flasks and an insulated pocket for a water bladder.
Benefits of the Salomon ADV Skin women's running vest:
- The best fit in the world! I can't stand a long backpack that rubs my lower back when running. With Salomon's running vests the balance stays on the top, even if the back pocket is full to the brim. The fabric is flexible, but sturdy.
- Many running backpacks fit nicely only on a relatively flat chest. Salomon's women's running vest slips over a shapely chest and still looks (and feels!) good.
- The adjustment possibilities of Salomon ADV running vests are top class.
- The Salomon ADV Skin vests have really good ventilation. Even if the running vest gets wet from the inside from the back and from the outside in the rain, the material dries very quickly.
- The flasks wear out over time, but you can buy them separately - so you don't need to replace the entire vest.
- Salomon ADV Skin running vests are incredibly roomy. Running vests can hold a warmer shirt and a small packable shell jacket / windbreaker, a first aid kit, a lot of gels and energy bars, several liters of water, a cell phone, keys, etc. Packing the backpack full does not affect the fit of the running vest.
- It is difficult to clean and dry the flasks and especially the straw
You can use almost any clothes and gear for trail running, but the right trail running shoes and a good trail running vest can make it or break it!
3. Best running clothes – waterproof running jacket
For cooler and rainy weather, you need a running jacket that keeps out wind and water but does not make you sweat. The optimal waterproof running jacket is light and breathable.
OMM Women's Kamleika Jacket
The Kamleika women's running jacket is completely waterproof (water column value 20,000 mm) and highly breathable (breathability 20,000 g/m2/24h). The fabric doesn't feel like a raincoat or a shell jacket at all. The outside is matte and soft, but the inside also feels pleasant against the skin.
The greatest feature of OMM Kamleika is its four-way stretch nylon fabric. The material is not filmy like many UL fabrics and it is very quiet. All seams are taped.
There are many details in the design and cut of the Kamleika running jacket. Thanks to the raglan sleeve cut, the upper body can move freely. The hood is great: the padded cap stays firmly in the right place, and the hood can be tightened to the desired shape with the adjustment band.
Kamleika's sleeves are exceptionally long. Thanks to the velcro fastening of the sleeve, the extra length can be gathered, or the sleeve can be pulled over the hand/glove in the rain, leaving a hole for the thumb. The sleeves are roomy, but not baggy.
The OMM size classification is perhaps slightly on the smaller side. However, I think the Kamleika running jacket is the same size as Patagonia's Houdini running jacket. But I took the OMM running pants (rain pants) one size bigger than normal.
OMM Kamleika Jacket Benefits:
- Incredibly wonderful flexible and breathable material that actually suits running
- A cut suitable for curvy women, fits really well
- Awesome big pockets with zippers, perfectly positioned, roomy enough for big iPhone
- Great hood design and adjustability, doesn’t block vision when running in rain
- The long back of the jacket protects your rear from the rain
- Top quality and durable - hardly any signs of use in a couple of years
- The colors are very sporty, except the dark blue version is not so flashy (on the other hand, colorful clothes should be worn when moving around alone)
- Kamleika is surprisingly warm - a little too hot in the light summer rain
- No possibility of ventilation
- Pretty valuable
Alternative to Kamleika: Odlo Zeroweight Dual Dry Jacket Waterproof running jacket
I also picked up another waterproof running jacket from this spring's new items. *The Odlo Zeroweight Dual Dry Jacket Waterproof women's running jacket challenges even my own long-time favorite OMM Kamleika.
There is also a men's running jacket from the model, which looks the same as the womens’ model. The Odlo running jacket, awarded at the ISPO trade fair, is a waterproof and also highly breathable women's running jacket.
I have tested the Odlo running jacket, but I haven’t bought it. At least for now I'll settle for my Kamleika.
Odlo Zeroweight running jacket Pros:
- Incredibly light, suitable for ultralight sports
- Very breathable – one of the best performing materials in the market
- Zippered chest pocket for keys and gels
- Stretchy fabric and raglan sleeves do not restrict movement
- Weight 156 g (5.5 oz), considerably lighter than Kamleika
- Shorter hem also at the back – does not protect the rear in the rain
- Snug sizing – slim fit is a really narrow model, especially at the chest (you can already see this from the size chart)
- The breast pocket is small, a larger iPhone cannot fit in the pocket
- A film-like feel typical of an ultralight material. If you've been using more conventional fabrics up until now, the filminess may feel strange. I am hypersensitive to all kinds of materials and seams, etc., but I got used to UL materials pretty quickly after starting lightweight backpacking. By taking a running jacket one size larger, you may be able to solve both the slim fit and the film-like feeling at once.
I recommend OMM Kamleika, which clearly looks like sportswear, if you run a lot in demanding and cold conditions, e.g. in the mountains or if you enjoy thru-hiking/fast-packing. I recommend the Odlo Zeroweight Dual Dry Jacket Waterproof running jacket (with reservation: without experience in different conditions, and maybe not for curvy women) if you want to look stylish even when running in an urban environment.
4. The best running clothes - the windproof running jacket
When it's chilly but not raining, a windbreaker is enough and is significantly more comfortable than a raincoat. Running in a raincoat makes you sweat too much, no matter how breathable the fabric is. That's why it's worth investing in both a raincoat and a windbreaker.
Patagonia Women's Houdini Jacket
*Patagonia's Women's Houdini windbreaker has been my favorite trail running jacket for a long time. The jacket is ultralight and packs down really small (you can stuff the jacket into the front pocket of a running vest, for example). The Houdini running jacket also doesn't make you sweat very much.
The material of the windbreaker is 100% recycled nylon. Even the 96 g (3.39 oz) running jacket can be packed in its own zippered pocket into a palm-sized package.
The Houdini has a slim fit cut, but otherwise I think the Patagonia running jacket is true to size. Go up a size if you want to wear a thicker shirt underneath or otherwise want a more relaxed fit.
The Patagonia Houdini running jacket is perfect for summer runs on windy days and cool evenings!
Patgonia Houdini Benefits:
- Extremely light and compact
- Suitable for many sports other than trail running
- Longer back model, better protection
- Holds light rain (water-repellent treatment)
- Completely recycled material
- Patagonia's products are ethically and environmentally friendly
- No possibility of ventilation
- The pocket is so small that, for example, an iPhone Pro Max cannot fit in it. Therefore, it is also worth getting running tights with a large pocket!
An alternative to Patagonia's Houdini
*Rab Women's Vital Hoody is a 114-gram (4.0 oz) windproof running jacket equivalent to Patagonia. I haven't tried this Rab’s Vital jacket, but I own the Vital Windshell jacket. I put this on the list as an interesting option, because its features are very similar to Patagonia's Houdini, and because the two Rab’s windbreakers can be easily mixed together.
- More normal sizing, fitting but not tight (in terms of size classification, maybe a little smaller size)
- Very light and compact
- A good cap in the hood
- Spacious pockets
- A small fastener at the chest, so ventilation is possible
- Suitable for many sports other than trail running
Rab also has another ultralight windbreaker with almost the same name and the same type, * the Rab Vital Windshell Hoody. This windbreaker is good and affordable, for example, to keep as a spare in a running vest. However, the jacket makes you sweat a lot, and it is not very good for running. I take this jacket often for breaks, e.g. in the summer on a quick summit run in the mountains.
5. Best Running Pants – Running Tights with Big Pockets
You can naturally hit the trails with any running pants or tights. I have used a lot of Maloja and Athlecia yoga tights in cool summer weather. Their downside is the lack of big pockets, so I've always had to take a running vest with me because of my cell phone.
Rab Women's Talus Tights
For some reason, women's running pants (running tights) for summer are almost always designed with only a tiny waist pocket. Warm winter running tights, on the other hand, are equipped with large pockets. Rab has finally fixed the summer running tights problem!
*Rab Women's Talus Tights women's running tights for summer (and spring and autumn) are clearly the best running tights I've ever worn. The running tights are extremely light and thin, but still very sturdy. An even thinner technical fabric has been used for the pockets, so the total weight has been reduced to only 165 grams (5.82 oz).
Both sidepanels of the pants have a large elastic pocket that can hold a larger cell phone. The pocket is so deep that the cell phone does not accidentally fall out when running. There is also an amazingly roomy zippered pocket on the back of the waistband.
In Rab's graphite black tights, you dare to run on trails, mountains and asphalt. Although the sizing is 'slim fit', the fabric is very stretchy, and the size matches the size chart very well (at least they are not small). Rab's running tights also sit great on slightly more trained buttocks!
The inseam of the Rab Women's Talus Tights running pants is 7/8 length, but on a 165 cm tall (5’ 5.0”) woman, the inseam reaches up to the ankle. Rab also has the Rab Women's Talus ¾ Tights, which is a shorter-legged model.
Rab Talus Tights Benefits:
- Two large pockets that can hold a mobile phone and other essentials such as energy gel, a flat water flask, toilet paper and even a small windbreaker
- Spacious zippered pocket for e.g. keys
- The material feels incredibly dry, even if you sweat a lot
- High waist – doesn't roll under your belly
- Very stretchy fabric, fits like a glove
- Ultralight clothing - works especially on long runs and thru-hikes, when you want to shave weight
- Gusset in crotch - no rubbing seams
- Rab is a climate-neutral company - a good choice for the environmentally conscious
- No ventilation holes or cooling mesh panels
- No utilization of recycled materials
- Reflective details quite small
6. Best sports bras for running – Odlo
I switched from the Shock absorber ultimate run bra to * the great Odlo sports bras a few years ago and I've been incredibly satisfied. Odlo's bras feel the same as Salomon's running vests: they fit like a glove, they don't rub against anything, and you hardly even notice that you're wearing them.
Lightly supportive sports tops from Odlo are not great for trail running, although they are wonderful for everyday life and lighter sports such as yoga. Lightly supportive vests do not provide much support in an intense sport such as trail running. The fabric of these bras also stretches quite quickly in use, unlike the fabric of the high supportive sports bras.
Odlo sports bras for intensive sports, have a flexible and adjustable lower band of the bra. The straps are wide, pleasantly soft and well-shaped. The padding can be removed from the cup if desired.
The sizes of Odlo sports bras with high support are the same as for regular bras, i.e. cup size and chest circumference. In relation to their size, Odlo vests fit snugly. The materials are skin-friendly and Oeko-Tex certified.
7. Good sports sunglasses
With my own budget and the fact that I often forget sunglasses on top of fells and mountains or accidentally sit on them, I usually settle for cheap ones. Good, affordable sunglasses for running can be found e.g. from Alpina and Norwegian gas stations.
*Bliz Matrix sports glasses are a bit more expensive, but they are still more affordable than many other high-quality sunglasses suitable for sports. Bliz glasses are available with frames of different sizes, so the collection also includes glasses suitable for narrower faces. The earpieces can also be slightly bent to ensure a perfect fit.
The Bliz Matrix glasses, which represent Scandinavian design, are really light, just over 30 grams (1.2 oz). This pleases those who like light equipment, and it's nice when the sunglasses don't feel like furniture on the face. The basic model is unisex and has a medium size.
The large curved lens area effectively protects against sunrays from all directions. Protection class 3 lenses work in sunny and clear weather. There are glasses for different conditions, such as cloudy weather. Bliz Matrix glasses also have 100% UV protection.
Best of all, there are spare parts available for Bliz Matrix glasses, as if the manufacturer had guessed that not everyone knows how to protect lenses from scratches while climbing the mountains. The lens also has an anti-scratch treatment, so it protects against the worst scratches in the hands of the carefree athlete. The glasses come with an excellent storage box.
Bliz Matrix sunglasses are well suited for trail running and really any sport where the glasses must protect the eyes well and stay firmly on the head. In addition to running, I use Bliz sports glasses for cycling and hiking in the mountains, and they are especially great for water sports like kayaking. For backpacking, on the other hand, I always take cheap glasses, because I'm quite carefree.
If there were any downsides to the Bliz Matrix glasses, the lens is often full of fingerprints (as with any sunglasses really). And maybe there could be some muted tones in the color selection. On the other hand: it's easier to spot a bright color among the tundra vegetation if you happen to forget your glasses at the top of the mountain.
The best running clothes and running gear
The best running clothes and running gear can be quite expensive. It is worth investing in high-quality products that last for years. Long-lasting running gear is * especially a running vest and running jackets.
Inexpensive running clothes work very well in, for example, shirts, tops, tights and hats. You don't have to be fancy with your socks either, but a technical merino wool sock, especially on long runs, certainly makes running much more comfortable.
But, * you should choose trail running shoes according to what suits your feet best, even if the price tag can be a bit crisp. Trail running shoes are the fastest-wearing running gear, but at the same time the gear that affects running comfort the most.
Women's running clothes and running vests have traditionally been almost invariably on a very slim, non-curvy, non-muscular body, so it has been really difficult to get an idea of their fit for different body types. The catalogs of Patagonia (trail running clothes) (link) and Nike (more urban running clothes) have been a fresh exception for a long time.
To my delight, Salomon has also become a supporter of many body types. I'm talking about the issue because the running imagery has created a very narrow and harmful image of what a 'runner-looking runner' is like.
Trail running is a wonderful sport for all body types and fitness levels. All the running clothes and running gear I recommend are available in a wide range of sizes, and their materials and cuts work on various normal women bodies. Heading to trails wearing any of my favorite running clothes and gear will be a great day running!
Read also my tips for starting trail running!
For the love of outdoor sports
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I recommend and link to my blog only responsible companies, from which I also get my own running clothes and equipment. I will tell you both pros and cons of clothes and gear based on my own experience. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that the best products for me would also be the best for you, but I have tried my best to think about the functionality of the equipment for different people and in different situations.
I have bought all the clothes and gear shown on the blog myself. I have not received any free product gifts or accepted products for advertising purposes.
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