They say running is, at least in theory, a simple sport. All you need is a pair of shoes, right? And maybe that’s true—but ask any new or seasoned runner whether sneakers are the only thing she swears by, and you’re guaranteed a good LOL.
Because while, sure, finding the perfect fit for your feet is important, runners are a particular bunch, and they love their tried-and-true hairstyles, headbands, and high-waisted tights just as much as they love their carefully cushioned footwear.
Here’s what 5 runners say they simply can’t hit the roads, treadmills, track, or trails without.
Molly Huddle, professional long-distance runner
“I can’t run without my Saucony Freedoms. I was worried they were too light to wear all the time, but I just covered a 100-mile week in them—including a 19-mile run—and my feet feel great. Plus, they come in cute colors like rose gold.”
Candice Huffine, model and marathoner
“Music! I’ve gotta zone out and jam out when I run. You’re supposed to have fun out there, remember? This is my go-to race-day playlist. And if I can cheat and pick a second thing I can’t run without, it’s these high-waisted leggings from DAY/WON.”
Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, professional long-distance runner
“My obvious picks are my shoes—the Hoka One One Tracers—and the Lesko Bra by Oiselle. I love the Tracers because they’re one of the most lightweight training and racing shoes, but they still provide all the cushion for all the miles I’m logging. And the Lesko Bra is a perfect fit for many sized chests, and I love that it barely feels like you have anything on when you’re running.”
Neely Spence Gracey, professional long-distance runner
“I need sunglasses. Unless it’s raining, you won’t see me running without a pair. I put them on at the starting line, and then it’s game on. I love the new Adidas line because I can wear them while running and out and about.”
Mary Johnson, sub-elite runner, USATF-certified coach, and founder of Lift.Run.Perform
“I need to wear a headband while running. I feel really weird without one! My favorite brand is Sparkly Soul, but I also have a few great Lululemon headbands, and one made by professional runner Heidi See’s brand called Boho Kitty!”
Elizabeth Maiuolo, New York Road Runners social media assistant manager and creator of Running and the City
“I want to think I’m a careless runner who can run without a watch, music, or particular gear. But some things, while not totally necessary, have made a huge difference for me. I get cold easily when the temperatures drop, so when it gets below 20 degrees, I become addicted to Under Armour’s infrared shirts and Sugoi’s Subzero Tights. Both make a huge difference.”
More insider intel from pro runners: Here’s how the mentally prepare for big races and the pump-up songs they use to power through their first mile.