Summer running is great, except for the heat
We’ve picked out a few must-have items to help you get by
There’s plenty of time to stock up before GRIT kicks off
Can you feel that? It seems like someone turned on the heat in a big way. We’ve officially passed 90 degrees for the first time this year, and it feels like the right time for some summer gear picks. After all, if you’re brand-new to running, you might not know what all you need for the warmest months of the year. Even if you’ve been at it a while, some new accessories can make a world of difference. No matter where you fall, there’s gotta be something in our summer running gear guide.
We’ve grabbed a few favorites from the entire spectrum of running products. That means we’ve got clothing, accessories, and a few helpful recovery tools for when the heat takes its toll. Although none of our picks are bound to shave minutes off your PR, we can at least help you add some style points, which is all that matters, right?
Anyway, style points or not, we base our gear picks on our own experiences here at Believe in the Run. We’ve either tested our picks or know someone who has, and we stick with options that you can actually buy. Otherwise, we’d probably recommend Mister Freeze’s Ice Gun to literally beat the heat.
Sun’s out, guns out, duh | Tank-T weighs 2.2 oz. (63.5 g.) Active Tank weighs 3.7 oz (107 g.)
Ya know what kinda sucks about summer? Farmer’s tans. We’ve had the beginnings of ours since the first nice day in April, and they’re just getting worse. Tanks are a good way to fix that or make it a little less noticeable. It doesn’t help with the watch tan, but still. We’ve been hit or miss with the last few On Running shoes, but the gear is almost always a success. It’s light, breathable, and Swiss engineering just looks great.
Robbe wore this for his 50K back in March on an unseasonably warm day and it disappeared on him, even with a hydration vest.
On’s Tank-T and Active Tank are up first on our summer running gear guide cause it’s not easy to find a more premium shirt. The men’s Tank-T weighs just 2.2 oz. while the women’s Active Tank is a hair heavier at 3.7. Can you even remember the last shirt you wore that was so light? It’s all about a stripped-down design with fast-drying fabrics, and both tops are great for warm-weather running. On even recommends the Tank-T as a race top, it’s that light.
We LOVE things that do two things | Perfect for 32 and 40 oz. bottles
Proper recovery is just as important as racking up the miles, whether it’s summer or not. We can’t always be bothered to lug our foam rollers with us — sorry, just don’t have enough hands. However, if you give me a roller that can wrap around my water bottle, you bet I’m on it. The Nevarest Water Bottle Roller Sleeve lands on our summer running gear list because I just love things with multiple purposes.
Sure, the obvious answer is you can use it as a foam roller. Those ridges scream massaging comfort. What you might not realize, though, is that the Water Bottle Roller Sleeve also acts as insulation for your bottle. It might not be as useful for a steel Hydroflask, but it’ll be a welcome addition to a plastic Nalgene. By the way, the sleeve fits best on 32 and 40 oz. bottles, which is all the more reason to get a bigger bottle for the summer heat.
Shop Nevarest Watter Bottle Toller Sleeve
For when full tights are just too long | Does it get more luxurious than Italian-milled knit?
Ask anyone — we’re tights truthers here in Baltimore. However, you won’t find us rocking long pants again until October or so. In the meantime, we’ll be sticking to our shorter favorites, which often means half tights. Maybe they’re overkill for an easy Saturday morning trot, but you better believe we want all of the security we can get when a workout comes around. Miler Running makes some of our favorites right now, even if they’re not cheap.
See also: The Best Running Shorts for Men
We’re willing to forgive the cost because you definitely get what you pay for. These half tights are made with an Italian-milled four-way stretch knit that’s soft to the touch and wicks moisture with the best of them. You can only get Miler’s Base Running Half Tight in black, but that doesn’t keep it off our summer running gear list. It packs two side pockets, a rear pocket, a gusset for added mobility, and an internal drawcord for a more tailored fit. Good luck finding half tights with more features.
Just the right size for a hot summer day | Seven pockets for all your trail bombing needs
If you’re not as inclined to rack up the road miles during the summer, it might be time to invest in a new trail pack. There are plenty of big ol’ options out there, but we like to pack light. Nathan’s 4L VaporAir Lite is about as travel-ready as they come, but it still packs a 2L hydration bladder to keep you going. It’s crafted from a soft, breathable mesh that shouldn’t chafe, and you can adapt the fit with two hook and loop panels that wrap around your lumbar.
As far as pockets go, you’re lookin’ at the lucky number seven. The front two are large enough for up to 22 oz. flasks, though you can adapt one to fit your phone as well. Nathan’s VaporAir Lite also comes in XS-M or L-XXL sizes to fit any runner or hiker. Just be careful to check the sizing chart before you check out.
Shop Nathan VaporAir
It’s the future of flip flops | You already know how much we love Deckers, don’t you?
It wouldn’t be a summer running gear guide without a shout-out to Deckers. Since the beginning, we’ve been living in the brand’s recovery shoes, and they keep getting better each season. Our lined hi-tops are away for the winter, but that means it’s time to bust out the slides. The Ko-Z Ba Da Da might be a wild name, but it’s the future of flip-flops. It’s got a thicc EVA midsole that we’ve come to know and love, and the brushed EVA topsole adds softness for even more comfort.
Need more Deckers? Here are our favorites right now
As always, Deckers went back to its Meta-Rocker geometry, which should keep you rolling from one comfy step to the next. The natural hemp straps are just the right thickness, and they’re plenty soft and secure. You might not care about the heel-toe drop on a pair of flip-flops, but the Ko-Z Ba Da Da goes from 25mm to 20mm for a 5mm drop.
The most stylish way to keep bugs out of your eyes | Be the Ultimate Warrior of running
The worst part about summer isn’t the heat. It’s not even the humidity. Instead, it’s the annoying little bugs that seem to fly straight into your face when you just wanna get miles in. Luckily, this is the summer of the shield style in sunglasses.
Sure, they’re big, and sure, we’ve seen a bunch of brands put out their version of shields. But nobody does it as big as Pit Viper. Thomas has been wearing them the last couple weeks and we’re not sure if he’s training for a marathon or training for time travel to try out for Wrestlemania VI.
See also: The Best Running Sunglasses Right Now
The Pit Vipers come in a variety of frame styles (in fact, they almost seem limitless), with a range of prices ranging from $69 on up. Neon yellows, gradient lenses, and paint splatter frames abound. On the run, we were actually surprised at how comfortable they were on the face, without any bounce. They also come with leash to ensure you’ll never be without them.
It’s the summer of 2-in-1’s | More pockets than your average pair of cargo pants
Remember earlier when I said we love things that do two things? This is another great example. We’re not wild about 2-in-1 shorts in the traditional sense — the ones lined with half tights — but we are all about running shorts that double as board shorts. Sure, the primary focus is probably for running, but I took my pair kayaking over the weekend, and I don’t think I can go back to another short. Rabbit’s Beach Break is made from CocoTex fabric, which blends coconut, charcoal, and polyester fiber to keep you dry and stink-free.
Right now, there are two summer-ready colorways of the Beach Break, and I’m not lying when I say I have both of them. It gives me the freedom to alternate between running and swimming, and the 5-inch inseam means my leg tan is already at peak season. Oh, and you get two big side pockets, similar to a pair of board shorts, an internal zipped pocket, and a rear pocket that closes to lock in your keys.
Rabbit’s fun summer patterns, this time for the ladies | We can sure feel the Cali vibes
The Beach Break shorts might make the Surf n’ Turf look less exciting, but it’s still more than deserving of a place on our summer running gear roundup. Rabbit chose its two-way stretch fabric and added comfortable rabbitKnit to the waistband, which is all we really need in our lives. The 2.5-inch inseam is a great length for summer and allows plenty of room to move. You won’t get the same number of pockets as you would with the longer men’s shorts, but you can still bomb it into the ocean (or a lake) after you hit your daily mileage.
The good news is that Rabbit carried its board short inspired colorways from the men’s design to the women’s. That means you can pick up the multi-color seen above or dip into the Blue Sapphire Cali. I don’t know what else to say, just go get yourself some Rabbit shorts already, jeez.
Got Robbe through his 50k | The Arnold Palmer (Half & Half) screams summer
If you’ve been reading and reading and waiting for something that’s not clothing, first off, that’s weird. Running clothes are half of the fun of a summer gear guide, but we’ll let it slide. After all, hydration matters too. We reviewed Performance Tea a few months ago, and Brandon was a big fan. He got to try out all sorts of combinations, and he managed to get Robbe hooked in the process. This Endurance Sport Mix feels like it was made for summer, especially with the Arnold Palmer flavoring.
How good is it? It powered Robbe through a 50k, even when he rolled his ankle. Maybe the Brooks Caldera 6 helped too, but we’re gonna give credit to the hydration. Sometimes, we just drink it in the office for fun.
It’s incredibly easy to use — just mix the powder with 24 oz. of water, shake it around, and get going. Performance Tea didn’t even load its Endurance Mix with caffeine, so you shouldn’t have to fear an eventual crash.
Think Crocs, but always in sport mode | Also perfect for a day of tubing
Alright, let’s bring it back to some shoes. If you hadn’t noticed, clogs are pretty hot right now. Crocs are back on everyone’s feet, but other brands have started to take the rubber shoe game up a notch. Kane is one such option, and the Revive is like a Croc if it was locked into sport mode. You don’t have to worry about a heel loop, but you can choose between three swappable hang loops to let your shoes dry.
Not too long ago, Thomas and Meaghan took their Kane Revive recovery shoes for the perfect summer activity — tubing. Not snow tubing, but floating down a lazy river with the kids. Nobody lost a shoe, and nobody stepped on a rock, what else could you ask for? Kane’s shoes are made from sustainable sugarcane EVA foam, and there are plenty of bright, summery colorways to choose from.
All the style of a Hawaiian shirt with way more comfort | Just don’t get lost in a jungle, ‘kay?
Do you know what else is great about summer? There’s no such thing as too loud of a shirt. You can go wild with colors, patterns, and whatever else you want. Saysky is one of our favorite brands right now, and the Flowers Combat T-Shirt is a big reason why. There’s no combat involved, just comfort and style. It’s a lightweight black shirt, but it’s covered with flowers and parrots for a fresh hit of summer. Hell, you could wear it in the winter too as a fashion pick when it’s too cold for short sleeves.
Saysky describes the fit as regular, but check the sizing chart before you buy — you don’t wanna get a size designed for Europeans and find out it’s too small. If you’re not big on t-shirts, the flower pattern is also available on shorts and a singlet, or maybe you just go for the full set and rock all flowers all the time. It’s really up to you.
Comes in colors on colors on colors | Adjustable bungee for even the largest melons
Of course we’re going to finish our summer running gear picks with a hat. We love hats, they get us out of fixing our hair when the weather sucks. Janji’s AFO Hyperlight Cap is a long-running favorite, and we’ve worn quite a few versions of it over the years. It keeps dropping in new colors and patterns, so we’re starting to feel like collectors. Right now, you can grab a funky tribal pattern in either orange or purple, and the rear bungee means it’s one size fits all.
When Janji says AFO Hyperlight, it means it. The fabric is almost invisible on your head, and you can stash it down in a pocket whenever you’re not wearing it. Janji chose a foam brim, which keeps the weight low, and the internal headband helps to wick sweat just as fast as you can make it.