What You Need To Know
- Our favorite must-have gear for running a marathon
- We’ve run a combined 65+ marathons between the three of us
- Whatever you choose, make sure you follow this cardinal rule: Nothing new on race day!
Marathon season is upon us (isn’t it always though?), and while we’re about to run the London Marathon next weekend, there’s still some bangers like the New York City Marathon and California International Marathon coming later in the season. Whatever race you’re running, we’re sure this comprehensive list of the best marathon gear can help you out. After all, we’ve run a lot of marathons over the last decade, so we know what works and what doesn’t.
Here are our favorite picks for racing right now from Thomas, Meaghan, and Ben.
Our Picks For Best Marathon Running Gear
SHORTS ➡︎ Tracksmith Van Cortlandt ($64). These shorts are tried and true in any situation. No chafing, buttery soft, and look great with anything. I still have pairs that are five years old and still going strong.
SINGLET ➡︎ Whatever the Faster Bastards’ are currently wearing as the standard issue uniform. Right now, that would be the Saysky Clean Combat Singlet ($58). It’s light and airy, and the cut is flattering. For cold weather, I always go with the Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer ($88), a temperature-regulating merino-wool piece that will stay in your running collection forever.
SOCKS ➡︎ Feetures Elite Lite Cushion No-Show Tab ($18). Everything you need and nothing you don’t on race day.
SUNGLASSES ➡︎ Dynafit Ultra EVO ($149). The full coverage of these shields helps me hide my game face.
HAT ➡︎ Believe in the Run cap, duh ($25).
WATCH ➡︎ Coros Pace 2. Incredibly lightweight watch that disappears on the wrist. Great on race day, and I never have to worry about battery life. At $199, it’s an insane value.
MUST HAVE ➡︎ Body Glide ($17). This roll-on glide will help you avoid that friction fire, because nothing worse than a bad chafe halfway through the race.
SHOES ➡︎ Nike Alphafly Next% 1 ($275). I mean, do I need to say more? Other brands are catching up, but this one still sits on the throne. And yes, both Meg and I are taking this over version two (sorry, Ben).
My marathon tip: Don’t go out too fast. Like, seriously. Banking time is a fool’s errand, so go way slower than you think you’re running (and maybe even slower than your goal race pace). Better to make it up in the back end than crash at mile 15 and death march it to the finish.
SHORTS ➡︎ Tracksmith Session Speed ($72). While this short only has one pocket for gels (see below for the rest of my fuel storage strategy), it feels like they’re not there on race day, which is really all you want.
SPORTS BRA ➡︎ Rabbit pocket bra ($50). This bra is perfect for holding a couple of extra gels (or my phone) while not having to worry about chafing.
SOCKS ➡︎ Bombas Ankle Sock ($16.50). And I’m not just saying it because you can save 20% off your first order by using code BITR20.
NUTRITION ➡︎ Maurten Caffeine and Regular. If it’s good enough for Eliud Kipchoge, it’s good enough for all of us on this list. That should be enough to convince you, even if the price ($43-$50 for a 12-pack) seems a bit steep.
HYDRATION ➡︎ Skratch Labs hydration drink mix ($22 for 16 servings) in a Nathan SpeedDraw Plus handheld ($37). I practice what I preach, so I never try something new on race day (i.e. the course hydration/nutrition). For me, carrying a handheld bottle with a mix that will work is a key part of my race-day strategy.
SHOES ➡︎ Nike Alphafly Next% 1 ($275). I mean, two years later and there’s still nothing that can toe the line with this shoe over the course of the marathon distance.
MY MARATHON TIP ➡︎ Fuel early and often. If you wait until you feel like you need a pick me up, it’s already too late. For more insights on how this works and the best strategy for you, check out our Fuel For The Sole episode on race day nutrition.
NOTE: Ben maintains an ongoing partnership with Nike, so quite expectedly, all his race day shit is Nike. Consider this section a “Best Nike Marathon Gear” roundup.
SINGLET ➡︎ Nike Aeroswift ($70). Ultralight with bonded seams and hems and made from a material that doesn’t soak up moisture. Plus, it’s always available in bright colors! Size up because it’s a really slim cut, and be warned that it’s very short (consider it a weight savings).
SHORTS ➡︎ Nike Aeroswift half tights ($85). Always been a fan of half tights. The Aeroswift are super comfortable and now includes drop-in pockets for fuel storage and a zippered pocket in the back. “Feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!” -Ned Flanders
NUTRITION & HYDRATION ➡︎ Maurten with caffeine. I start with a handheld bottle of the Maurten mix ($42 for 18 servings) and toss it once empty. Then I switch to Maurten gels ($43-$50). They go down easily, don’t upset my stomach, and have the carbs and caffeine I need.
SOCKS ➡︎: Nike Racing ($28). Great fit with grippy sections on the bottom to keep your feet from sliding around. However, they are very thin and fragile, so save them for race day.
WATCH ➡︎: COROS Pace 2. As Thomas said, this watch is light, low price ($199), great battery, and does everything I need. It’s super simple to use and has never let me know.
HEADWEAR ➡︎ Anything that I can tie around my head. The Nike head ties ($12) are great and come in many colors and designs. Ties are my pick because they keep sweat away while allowing for some ventilation, and can be tied so that they aren’t too tight.
SHOES ➡︎ Nike Alphafly Next% 2 ($275). Lots of bounce and plenty of cushion to keep the legs feeling fresh for the last 10K of the race.
MY MARATHON TIP ➡︎ Make sure you have fun. Smile, wave ‘hi’ to people, take in the scenery on the race course. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re doing this. Even if you’re having a bad race, there will always be more. Running is a gift, so appreciate it fully.
Thanks for reading our list of the Best Marathon Gear, and good luck in all your fall and winter races! If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments.
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Thomas is the Founder of Believe in the Run and has always been a gear junkie, and when he fell in love with running, he also found a passion for the gear that goes with it. He has been reviewing running shoes and gear through Believe in the Run since 2009. Stats: Shoe size: 10.5 USA, Foot shape: Narrow, Midfoot strike, 35 Marathons, 13 Ultra Marathons, 2 Ironman 70.3