Often overlooked compared to hitting the trail with your bike, trail running is a great way to get up high in the mountains during the offseason, with relatively little investment.
In fact, trail running can often get you to places your bike can’t and helps to scout new ski zones. It also provides fun agility training and is a way to mix things up from the bike—hopping over rocks and using your core muscles as you run back down the mountain help enhance skiing movements. Below are a couple simple and necessary pieces of gear to get started trail running that will last several years of abuse.
Dynafit Feline SL Sneakers $130
The anatomical fit and feel of the Dynafit Feline SL has been a personal favorite of mine for years. However I was forced to try a couple other trail runners years ago when the brand put the shoe on respite. Luckily the Feline SL has recently returned. The updated version has a rugged Pomoca sole with phenomenal grip in wet and rocky surfaces.
One of my favorite attributes in the old one was the grip, and I think the new one is even better. This breathable, slim fitting shoe (purchase this sneaker true to size and don’t downsize) is perfect for quick strikes, but also handles longer middle distance runs.
If you’re looking to train for that 100 mile Ultra get something with more cushion, but if you want to train for ski season by zipping up the mountain followed by traversing some ridges and then barreling down, this is the shoe.
Light, airy, and constructed with a sustainable piece of mind using recycled polyester and Fair Trade Certified sewing, the Capilene Cool T-shirt from Patagonia is the ideal shirt for summer trail runs. The soft texture next to your skin feels great, yet it is also quick to dry and wicks moisture away.
The older Capilene T’s definitely had a stench factor after a couple years of use; Patagonia fixed that by adding in HeiQ®, a fresh odor control ingredient to the shirt. So now you can wear a breezy trail runner and not worry about bringing that stank to the grocery store on the way home.
The Smith Ruckus shade is perfect for trail running or other fast paced activities. The rubberized frame arms and nose fit effortlessly with no slip, and the frame has the ability to swap out lens—coming stock with two in the hard case when you purchase them.
Utilizing Smith’s Chromapop technology, the lens enhances vision clarity and the high UV mirrored lens works great to dial back the scorching summer sun. The style balances a mix of the current oversized fast-glasses trend with the classic rimless design popular with track and bike athletes for decades, providing great wrap around protection from the elements.
Its ability to stay snug for hours on end make it ideal for trail running and venturing around the mountains.
A good pair of socks while trail running can be the most simple yet rewarding addition to your kit. Be it perspiration management, comfort, or both, you’ll notice immediately that a pair of performance socks outperform those bundled bag of cotton ones still lurking in your drawer.
The Swiftwick Vibe Zero blends nylon, olefin—a synthetic like polypro, and spandex into a lightly cushioned and compression sock. It provides support and moisture wicking, and more importantly is super comfortable with practically no seams to give you blisters. They’re a great compliment to Swiftkick’s Pursuit Four, a lightweight merino sock I’ve used during cooler mountain bike rides.