Brynn's 5 Favorite Running Items of 2023 (So Far): Part 1

Looking for sweet running items to help you go the distance? 
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Chances are pretty good you've got one or more of these...

  • 👟A pair of running shoes you can't give up because they don't make them anymore
  • 🩳Running shorts, tights or underwear that clearly need to be retired
  • 🎽A running shirt, tank or top that's been with you for hundreds or maybe thousands of miles
  • ⌚Or some other piece of gear like a watch, vest, sunglasses, socks or bottle you can count on to help you go the distance

🏃‍♀️What are your favorite running items?🏃‍♂️

Brynn Cunningham is training for a 50K trail race in December.

Brynn Cunningham: 5 favorite items to train for a 50K trail race

We asked WeeViews Ambassador Brynn Cunningham the question: What are your favorite running items?

  • "The following is a review compilation of FIVE of my current favorite running items for the year," says Brynn.
  • "The five pieces of gear are seeing a lot of action lately as I begin training for a December 50k trail race."
  • "I’ll compile a “Part Two” of five more different items of favorite gear as I get deeper into 50k training.

In the meantime, happy running!
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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. Women's Altra Lone Peak 7

A minimalist approach to running footwear began in my early childhood years when I ran barefoot outside as much as possible. 

  • In my 20s, I progressed to wearing Vibram fivefingers for everything from trail running to white water kayaking.  
  • Then in 2013, at age 29, my boyfriend (now husband) and I became pregnant with our first son, and it wreaked havoc on my pelvis, which in turn affected my feet in a major way.

Because of my pregnancy/ postpartum-related foot issues, from plantar fasciitis to heel spurs to a fractured heel, I bid adieu to minimalism in exchange for more sensible choices like:

Now, my sons are ages six and 10. Well beyond the postpartum years, I’ve returned to my minimalist and barefoot-loving roots.

After a brief transition period, Brynn began running in the Altra Lone Peak 7.

In early July of 2023, I began running in the Altra Lone Peak 7, a shoe I’ve admired from afar for many years. 

Besides a seven-week run hiatus (July 15 to August 29)...

  • Because of a non-running related freak accident ankle sprain...
  • I’ve been wearing nothing but the Lone Peaks for trail runs (minus one rainy run in my Goetex La Sportiva Lycans) since they arrived in the mail. 

At week two of my no-run ankle sprain phase...

  • I began hiking several times a week in the Lone Peaks. 
  • The ample width accommodated the Hampton Adams athletic tape that covered my ankle quite well. 

😀On August 29, I hit the ground running in them again with clearance from my physical therapist. 

👉Please note that experts advise easing into minimalist and zero drop/ low stack running shoes.
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But with decades of:

  • Going barefoot
  • Yoga
  • Plyometrics
  • Ankle and foot strengthening with bands, weights and straps
  • Plus using the MOBO Board since 2021
  • And VooDoo flossing since 2016, I had an easy time with the transition

👟Altra Lone Peak 7 specs: 

  • Heel to toe drop: 0 
  • Stack height: 25 mm
  • MaxTrac outsole
  • 9.2 ounces

🏃‍♀️Longest run so far (as of Sept. 25): 

  • 11 miles
  • I’ll monitor how my feet feel as I increase in long run and weekly mileage - so far, so good!

📈Total mileage on the shoe (as of Sept. 25): 

  • 101 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Soft
  • The most comfortable pair of trail shoes I’ve ever worn
  • Ample toe box - toes can spread, the big toe can adduct, and I can even lift them up and down a little bit
  • A soft, flexible collar that fits well with laces tied securely. I was concerned that the Altra might be too wide in the collar area (where the foot goes into the shoe and the heel sits) for my narrow feet, but lacing them well keeps them snug.
  • Low stack provides a sense of connectedness and grounding on the trails, essential on the rocky, rooted, technical terrain where I live
  • Feels secure and natural - some running shoes give me the sense that I’m standing too high, as if wearing a platform or high heel. Personally, I don’t like that feeling when navigating and flying over rugged trails, especially after an ankle sprain, even if that sprain did not happen during sport.

Cons:

  • For those with narrow feet like me, they can feel a bit roomy when worn with a silky nylon sock like the Xoskin 5.0 Graduated Compression Socks, which I’ve worn a few times as I return to running from the ankle sprain. With any of my Favorite Running Socks, which I wear most often, the 7.5 fits well. 
2. Luna Mono Winged Edition Sandals

Created by Barefoot Ted with the guidance of Manuel Luna, two men made famous from McDougall’s Born to Run, Luna sandals were designed for minimalist running.
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While I don’t cover big miles in these, they serve an important purpose in my running life.
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🏃‍♀️How I use the Luna Mono Winged Edition sandal: 

  • Running two minutes to half a mile during my warmdown/ cooldown
  • Wearing to the river for a post-run cold-water soak
  • My go-to for post-run strength training
  • Daily life
  • During cross training activities such as white water kayaking 
  • Clipping to my pack while backpacking

Size: 

  • 7.5 (true to size)

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Vibram sole provides superior traction
  • Packable 
  • Padding on the backstrap
  • Comfortable, no-rub straps 
  • Easy to adjust
  • Durable (have owned the same pair since April 2019)
3. Ibex Springbok Shorts

My first real pair of running shorts were the Oiselle Rogas, loved for their stretch and modest inseam, which allows the wearer to go into a deep squat without revealing the inner brief.
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Then I tried the Women’s 3” AFO Middle Short by Janji (reviewed here) and haven’t bought a pair of Rogas since.
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Now, enter the Ibex Springbok Shorts.
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Size: 

  • Small 

Pros:

  • Ultra soft shell and liner
  • Ultra comfortable
  • Light, breathable fabric that feels good against the skin
  • Go-tos for backpacking, long runs and traveling 
  • Back pocket with zipper
  • Small interior pocket
  • Interior drawstring
  • Pretty color choices, plus basic black 
  • Ibex specializes in Merino wool, a wonder fabric for athletic apparel. While the shell is 91 percent Nylon and nine percent Spandex, the inner brief lining is 45 percent Merino Wool, 45 percent Tencel and 10 percent Nylon.
  • I would trade every single Roga I own for these if they were more affordable
  • Ibex offers a $20 off coupon code for first-time buyers
  • I love these shorts as much as I love the Ibex Women’s Merino Tencel Pocket Short Sleeve Tee (reviewed here)

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
4. Tracksmith Twilight Crop Tank

Last year, we published Running Tank Tops: 5 Wear-Tested Picks to Keep You Cool.
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This year, I got the Tracksmith Twilight Crop Tank, which rounds out my tank top collection as the best cropped, mesh pick for hot, humid weather.
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Size: 

  • Small

Pros: 

  • Armpits cut high so there’s no skin-to-skin rubbing 
  • Sits just below the belly button, eliminating unnecessary material 
  • Light mesh material 
  • Breathable
  • Stretchy
  • Classic navy blue
  • Perfect for racing
5. Goodr Sunglasses

My husband and I bought our two sons Goodr sunglasses at the 2022 Green Monster Trail Challenge, despite my initial skepticism about them. 
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😎What’s so great about a $25 pair of sunnies, touted as ideal for running? 
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It turns out, a lot. They are, indeed, everything they’re cracked up to be. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to slip into the side pockets of my Salomon ADV Skin 5 Women's Running Vest, because usually I only wear them during sunny parts of runs and stash them during shady zones 
  • Affordable 
  • Durable - we misplaced a pair for a couple months, and they were found outside still in good condition 
  • No slip
  • No bounce
  • Comfortable - no pressure points of squeezing behind the ears like some more expensive brands
  • Polarized 
  • Fun, funky designs and colors 
  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • One size seems to fit the whole family, making them easy to share amongst the household
After testing out Goodr sunglasses, Brynn's entire family wears these shades.

Our family of four shares two pairs of Goodrs! Grey, far left, Avie, middle, and Eric all love Goodr. (Photos/ author)

  • Sunnies for many sports: running, cycling, snow, pickle ball and more
  • Lots of styles: traditional, circle, aviator, cat-eye and single lens, plus prescription options and blue light blockers 

👇What are your favorite running items?👇

Share yours in the comments OR create a WeeView about your favorite running items.
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Brynn Cunningham
Ambassador
41 Followers
15 Following

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

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