Favorite Running Items (Part 3): Shoes, Shorts, Bands & More!

Here's the cold-hard truth...you can't have enough favorite running items. Right?
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Not when there's year-round running seasons and the ever-present possibility of getting, too...

  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Wet
  • Muddy
  • Sweaty

In this article, WeeViews Ambassador Brynn Cunningham shares Part 3 of the favorite running items in her line-up of shoes, shorts, gear and more...

Brynn Cunningham ran a 5k with her family in the Altra Escalante 3 road shoe, reviewed below. (Photo/ Annelise Hug)

Welcome to part 3 of my favorite running items of 2023!

In case you missed it: 

For assistance in determining your own size, here are the female wear tester’s measurements:

  • Height: 5’ 3 ¾”
  • Weight: 120-125 pounds
  • Waist: 27.75 inches
  • Chest/bust: 34 inches
  • Hips: 34 inches
  • Typical shirt size: XS
  • Typical pant size: 2, small and extra small 
  • Shoes: 
    • Chacos (7)
    • Birkenstocks (39)
    • Most daily shoes (7.5)
    • All running shoes except the Altra Escalante (8)
1. Pro Compression PC Racer (Wool)

Typically I wear compression after a run but wanted to try compression while running.

Since I love my Pro Compression Recovery Socks (reviewed in Compression for Runners), I went with the same brand and got the Pro Compression PC Racer (Wool).

Pros: 

  • Snug fit
  • Quick drying - I hang them up after each use to wear again in order to minimize washing/ prolong lifespan, and they are dry the next day
  • Great for travel, considering they hang and dry so quickly 
  • Feels like a regular running sock because of the wool blend, unlike typical compression socks, which tend to feel slippery and silky
  • 20-30 mmHg of moderate compression, not too tight and not too loose
2. Oiselle Long Power Pocket Shorts, (Photo/Eric Harder)
The Oiselle Long Power Pocket Shorts can be rolled up on hot, sweaty days.

Seven-inch inseam running shorts like the Oiselle Long Power Pocket Shorts are my pick for “that time of the month,” aka menstruation, when classic running shorts with inner briefs just don’t cut it.
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Furthermore, pairing the Oiselle Long Power Pocket Shorts with the Thinx air Bikini period underwear (reviewed in Running Underwear) is a match made in menstruating heaven. 

Pros: 

  • Two side pockets perfect for car keys (in the zippered one) and a phone, fuel, buff or gloves (in the open, longer pocket)
  • Silky smooth outer finish 
  • No riding up
  • Can be rolled up on hot days, taking a seven-inch inseam to a four if so desired
  • Versatile - these are my go-to’s when teaching hot summer power yoga classes or biking with my sons 
3. Altra Escalante 3, size 8 (had to return the 7.5s and size up).

Though I mostly run trails, it’s nice to have a simple daily road trainer for the pavement miles or dirt road runs that I do a few times a month. 
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Over the years, I’ve run:

  • Nike Zoom model (design changed)
  • Saucony Cortana (discontinued)
  • Asics Gel Kayano
  • Brooks Ghost (after baby number two)
  • Nike Pegasus, which felt like an enormous platformed cloud.

This year, I decided to go with a more natural shoe with a zero drop and got the Altra Escalante 3. So far, I love them.
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📊Specs: 

  • Heel-to-toe drop: 0 mm
  • Stack height: 24 mm

👟Size: 

  • These are the only running shoes that I have ever worn in size 8. I tried my typical 7.5, but my toes were right up against the tip of the shoe. The 8s are perfect. 

Pros:

  • Roomy toe box - very difficult to find in a road shoe, even for my boney, narrow feet. I like to move my toes around. 
  • Soft, comfortable collar, upper and tongue
  • Secure connection to the ground - no overly plush, high-heel feeling that I often get in road shoes 
  • Since I mostly run on trails and only wear the Altra Escalante 3 occasionally, it also functions as my lifestyle shoes

🏃‍♀️Mileage so far: 

  • About 50-60, including one fun-run 5k race
  • Longest run: 9 miles of gravel/ paved roads - my longest runs have been on trails
4. Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands

Exercise bands or resistance loops are one of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment for many reasons…

  • Affordable (I got this set of five for $12.95)
  • Five resistance levels, from extra light to heavy
  • Portable - I keep two in my vehicle for pre and post-run strength and conditioning 
  • Take up minimal space - I’ve considered packing one in my running vest for mid-run strength circuits! 
  • Easy to use 
  • 100s of ways to use them

The following are my favorite runner-recommended exercises...

...which I started doing at trailheads before every run this year and within strength training sessions: 

There are infinite ways to use these, including foot and ankle exercises, and I love trying new, creative ways to incorporate them. 

Resources and inspiration for exercises: 

5. Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide by Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

by Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

McDougall’s 2009 Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, is one of my favorite running books (reviewed here).
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So when Born to Run 2: The Ultimate Training Guide hit the shelves in December 2022, I was eager to see what McDougall and co-author Eric Orton had to offer.
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Orton trained McDougall to run alongside elite ultra runners Scott Jurek, Jen Shelton, Billy Bronco and Barefoot Ted as they raced the Tarahumara Indians in the high deserts of Mexico in Born to Run
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Born to Run 2 shares the training techniques Orton used with McDougall.
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Chapters include: 

  • 😋Food
  • 🦵Foot, Leg and Core Strengtheners 
  • 📈Warmup routines
  • ⚙️Mechanics 
  • 👟Footwear 
  • 😀And more…

I have bookmarks and dog ears throughout the book and use it to mix up my pre-run routine and for yummy recipes. 
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👟One of my favorite pages is the list of shoes McDougall and other athletes in the book wear (all minimal shoes). 
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It’s a quick read and great reference book for coaches and runners alike. 

Looking for more reviews about running shoes, gear, apparel and more?

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Brynn Cunningham
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Trail runner, ultrarunner, white water boater, cyclist (mostly MTB), swimmer, triathlete, cross country and backcountry skier...

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