Best Women’s Running Gear

Best Women's Running Gear

Just like making coffee, one of the things we are consistent about is running. We get up five and sometimes six days a week and go for a run. A lot of the times since we travel out of our van several months out of the year, we run in a new place. And we love it! Though most of the runs we log are around four miles, we do go longer. I’ve run four marathons, numerous half marathons and more 5k’s than I can remember. Here’s a list of the gear that we love the most: Our Best Women’s Running Gear


We’ve been running in Hoka’s for years. Our go-to shoes for road running are the Hoka One One Clifton’s. I started out running in the Clifton 1 and has been running in various models ever since. Caroline made the switch a few years ago. Neither of us has looked back. We love that the Cliftons are lightweight, have excellent cushioning, work great as daily training shoes and last, for us anyways, close to 500 miles before we have to trade them out. Click here to see a full review of the Hoka One One Clifton’s.

HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5

We also love Hoka One One’s trail running shoe the Challenger ATR. It’s very similar in ride and feel to the Clifton mentioned above. One of the main differences is the tread. The lugs on the Challenger are a bit more rugged and will give you added traction on trails. It’s even smooth enough that you can run on roads without feeling too ‘hard’ of a ride. This means you can run from town to trailhead, on the trails, and then back again. Click here to see a full review of the Hoka One One Challenger ATR’s.

Swiftwick Aspire Zero No Show Running Socks

Every great running shoe needs an equally great running sock. We’ve tested a number of Swiftwick’s running socks and while we like them all, we especially like their Aspire Zero No Show Socks. They prevent blisters, add some cushioning and, overall, keep our feet happy. These socks have held up well on countless runs and have even stood the test of time in the washing machine. Best of all, they don’t slide down into the heel of your shoe. Instead, they stay put like all good socks should.

Garmin Forerunner 235

This watch is a workhorse and will help you take measurements on your performance. Distance, pace, time, laps, VO2 Max, calories burned, etc. The number of metrics that it tracks is probably more than most people will even care about. It buzzes if you want it to (or can be silenced if you prefer), has a color monitor is lighter and sleeker than some of Garmin’s earlier iterations. This is probably the one training tool that we would pick over any other tool simply because it allows you to measure progress and work towards goals. Race training, anyone?!

Women’s Nike Pro Classic Swoosh Sports Bra

If you want to stick with running it’s super important that you find a sports bra that works for you. Otherwise, you won’t be comfortable. This sports bra is moisture wicking and is simple in design. It also doesn’t show sweat stains in the armpits after several times of use!

Women’s Brooks Distance Short Sleeve, Heather Asphalt, Small

Several years ago I got a Brooks shirt from a race I participated in. It quickly became my favorite shirt to train in and it’s made me a big fan of their clothes ever since. This shirt is moisture-wicking, cut to fit a woman’s body and can stand up to van life (meaning going without doing laundry for days at a time.) It also dries quickly and is cut in a fit that flatters.

NIKE Women’s Dri-Fit Epic Run Tight Running Capri

Too hot for full-length tights, too cool for shorts, this is what we grab when the weather is in-between. They look good and feel good, too. They also dry quickly. We often put ’em on, go for a run and then keep them on the rest of the day. We also tend to wear them on rest days because they’re so comfortable.

Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Element 1/2 Zip

This is one of our go-to’s running layers. It’s comfortable, feel’s good on our skin and looks good enough to wear to the brewery or the grocery store post-run. There are a few pieces of reflective strips on the zip to help you stand out to motorists and other pedestrians when you are running in low light situations. The quarter-zip also makes it easy to get in and out of and also make subtle changes for temperature as you warm-up or cool down.

Nathan Strobe Light LED Safety Light Clip

This little clip on light from Nathan fits easily on a pack, jacket or race belt. It helps improve your nighttime visibility so that others can see you. It has a long-lasting battery (they’re included and already in the light ready to go), weighs next to nothing, and is water-resistant. The light on strobe mode lasts for 110 hours and on steady-on mode, about 57 hours. The battery is replaceable.

Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Baselayer Crew

This is what we wear on really cold days. The thumb loops at the bottom help keep the sleeves in place if you have several layers on. They also help keep a big gap from forming between your gloves and wrists. This shirt is comfortable (a little on the loose side rather than form-fitting) but not too baggy. It works great as a base layer and can be worn under almost any shell you choose.

The North Face Apex + Etip Glove Women’s TNF

These gloves fit great, are warm and allow your fingers to move as efficiently as they can in gloves. You can also get your phone to work with the special tips in the fingers of these gloves so that you don’t have to take them off.

adidas Climalite Beanie

Mama always said put a hat on your head! Maybe with this stylish and not overly flashy beanie, you will! It’ll keep you warm on even the coldest days because it’s long enough to cover your entire ear, not just the tip. The inside is super soft as well. It just feels good to wear this one.

Nathan Hydration TrailMix 7L Multi-Adventure Race Vest

This running vest by Nathan just beckons you to go longer. It’s got enough space for a couple of gels, your wallet, cell phone, keys and of course hydration. It comes with a 7L bladder, hose and easy-to-drink from valve. The vest stays in place while running, doesn’t chafe, comes in two cool colors and is one of the most valuable pieces of running gear we own. We actually wrote a full review on this vest. Check it out here.

Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Hydration Pack

Sometimes it’s hot enough to warrant carrying some fluids even on shorter runs. We reach for the Nathan SpeedDraw on those days because it’s not as big as the backpack above and yet it still gets the job done. All you have to do to make it work is squeeze on the bottle and your fluid shoots out. Much easier than messing with a push/pull nozzle. Oh and there’s a zipper on the little pouch as well which will store a car key and a gel.

321 STRONG Foam Massage Roller – Deep Tissue Massager For Your Muscles & Back

Part of training is recovering. This foam roller can get deep into your muscles and work out some of the kinks and loosen up your fascia which will allow you to get a bit more lengthening out of your muscles when stretching. Plus, foam rolling just feels really good.

Nathan Vibe Reflective Vest

If you’re running in a Ragnar relay race they’re going to require that you wear a reflective belt or vest at night. We recommend this one by Nathan. It’s lightweight and packs down small. Your visibility on the road also increases dramatically when you wear it. Stay safe in the winter months when the days are shorter or anytime that you run in the early morning or late at night with 360-degree reflection.

NEW Clif Shot Bloks Sampler Variety Pack

I’ve trained and run in four different marathons and each time I had to come up with a nutrition plan for race day. During one race, and training leading up to the race, I used these Shot Bloks. They taste similar to gummy bears and are easy on the gut after many miles are in the books. Plus they don’t melt or create a mess and they’re also easy to eat when you’re mid-stride. I’d pick these over gels any day.

Our Best Women’s Running Gear

While we love the simplicity that is running and that literally, you can do it without any equipment whatsoever. We do think that certain pieces of gear can enhance your experience. The above are some of the items that we think are some of the best running gear for women on the market today.

Did you see our piece on Van Life Workouts? It’s perfect for the days when you don’t have the time for an actual run but you still want to get some fitness in.

What pieces of gear are you currently in love with?! We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.

Want to see more gear reviews? Head on over to our Gear Page to see a list of some of our favorite van life, running and photography gear.

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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