16 May 2012

Choosing the Right Running and Yoga Apparel and Gear


If you practice a sport regularly, you quickly realize that the shoes, clothes and gear you choose are very important.  The primary goal is comfort, and once you find the right brand/style, you’ll become a loyal fan.  For instance, we'll buy multiple pairs of our favorite running shoes when we find them on sale, and stock them until it's time to change.

The last things you want to think about during a hard workout are your clothes, shoes or gear.  With the right apparel and accessories, you’ll be able to focus on your skill and performance.  

Apparel
Whether it’s called DriFIT® by Nike, ClimaCool® by Adidas, Play Dry® by Reebok or ChargedCotton® by Under Armour, it’s a cotton/poly blend material that helps wick away moisture from your skin to keep you cooler.  I don’t run in anything else.  100%-cotton shirts soak up sweat, weigh on your body and make you feel hotter.  There are various blends by brand, and not all are created equal, but we definitely recommend buying a few quality shirts for those hot summer runs.

Yoga Mats
Who knew there were so many different brands of yoga mats?  Two key factors to look at are thickness (thinner is easier for balance, but thicker is obviously better for cushion) and stickiness (important if you sweat a lot, although you can layer a nonslip mat towel on top for better “grip”.) 
 We liked this quick review by FitSugar, which mentions eco-friendly mats by Jade Harmony, reversible ones by Gaiam and design-your-own by Yogamatic. http://www.fitsugar.com/Best-Yoga-Mats-18921428

Running shoes
There are so many things to consider when choosing shoes including your weekly mileage, possible pronation and foot structure.  This flowchart (click to download PDF) by Runners World is a good decision guide for selecting the right pair.  If you are looking for a new shoe, we recommend visiting a running store where their staff is trained to help you find the right model.  Don’t be embarrassed to jog around the store to test comfort (if your heel slips or your toes touch the front, you’ll develop blisters from friction).

RW also reviewed other products including running watches and rain gear at http://www.runnersworld.com/channel/0,7119,s6-240-0-0-0,00.html.  Garmin and Timex are best sellers of GPS and heart-rate-monitor watch combinations, which are great if you frequently travel or explore new trails.

If you are still undecided, pick up a trade magazine (Runner’s World or Yoga Journal) for reviews or ads, then look up items on Amazon to see how products have been rated by others.  Finally, with ideas in mind visit a niche store for the expert advice of their staff.  Don’t feel guilty about investing in a more expensive item that will affect your performance and comfort.  One of my favorite accessories that I still wear today are the Oakley sunglasses (pictured above) that I purchased in 1998!

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