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I run every day — 5 running essentials I rarely leave at home | Tried & tested

These essential gear pieces will help you conquer the trial of miles.

run, runners, group of people running on pavement, running essentials, what you need for long runs, marathon essentials, Five essential gear pieces that will help you conquer the trial of miles (Getty).
Five essential gear pieces that will help you conquer the trial of miles (Getty).

We’ve all seen them: Runners who think that the more gear they wear and the fancier they look, the faster they will go. They are the ones wearing the backpacks, headphones and water belts with dozens of gel pouches fastened underneath. Those items may come in handy during a gruelling marathon, but not for a leisurely jog around the block. Because, I promise: Your 10-pound gear costume will slow you down.

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Here’s my rule for everyday runs: If your gear doesn’t fit in a regular-sized sling bag, you probably don’t need it. On my summer and fall runs, my roster of garments is short and simple: I wear a shirt, shorts, shoes, watch and a warm-up jacket on chilly days. After a few months of iterating between models and brands, I’ve come up with my 2023 kit — here are the five essential items that I wear on most runs.

My watch: Garmin Venu 2 Plus

split screen of man wearing Garmin Venu 2 Plus watch and black running smart watch
I rarely go on runs without my Garmin Venu 2 Plus watch (photos via author & Best Buy Canada).

Why it's great:

  • The AMOLED screen is bright and pleasant for the eyes at all times of day

  • User-friendly for beginners and advanced runners

  • Seamless smartphone integration

I have used Garmin products on and off for nearly a decade now, and recently, was almost lured away by Apple and Suunto's fancy running watches. However, Garmin makes a great case for keeping its longtime users with its sleek Venu 2 Plus. This watch combines classic features of the brand — like an easy integration with my smartphone, synchrony with the wonderful Garmin Connect app and a reliable GPS — with a roster of new perks. For one, the Venu 2 Plus has the brightest and sharpest screen I've seen from a Garmin thanks to its AMOLED tech, and is a breeze to read in any lighting. Meanwhile, the always-on display provides real-time information on daily steps and heart rate without compromising battery life. As a result, the watch can survive for an impressive nine days without a charge. It also has a few fun frills, like the Health Snapshot function, which allows me to measure my body's energy levels, stress, heart rate variability and more.

My shoes: New Balance FuelCell Rebel V3 

New Balance's FuelCell Rebel v3 sneakers in neon yellow
I've tried a lot of running shoes —New Balance's FuelCell Rebel v3 are among the best (photos via author & New Balance).

Why it's great:

  • Lightweight trainer : 7.4 oz

  • Thick midsole foam keeps them durable for up to 1,000km

  • Snug fit works well for narrow feet

I'll say it: I bought my first pair of FuelCells way too early. In 2019, I purchased a pair of the original Rebels. They felt like they were forcing my feet to slide inwards, graduating me from slight pronator to full-blown, Donald Duck-level flat footer. I stored them in my closet after just a few weeks. Since then, the FuelCell line has had the glow-up of the decade; so convincing that their latest version — the V3 — has become my shoe of choice on easy and steady runs. While they are incredibly responsive and weigh in at just 7.4 oz, I would not race in them because they don’t have a carbon plate. Rather, these kicks are meant for easy and medium-paced runs, so that you can save your pair of racing shoes — like the Adidas Adios 3 or the New Balance RC Elite — for the big day. The Rebel V3's thick FuelCell midsole foam allows them to bulldoze over road, grass, or trail, and makes durable enough to last you through the season: Expect to squeeze up to 1,000km of good mileage out of them.

  • New Balance Men's FuelCell Rebel V3 Running Shoe


My singlet: Arc’teryx Norvan Tank

This Arc'Teryx tank is feather-light and breathable (photos via author & Arc'Teryx)
This Arc'Teryx tank is feather-light and breathable (photos via author & Arc'Teryx)

Why it's great:

  • Weighs just 2.1oz

  • True to size

  • Laminated finishes minimize chafing

Sure, most singlets are almost created equal at this point: they are feather-light, breathable, and don’t bounce around on the shoulders. But the devil is in the details, and I give the Arc’teryx Norvan Tank singlet the edge over its counterparts at Saucony, Adidas et. al because it combines the very few important points of a singlet just so perfectly. As expected, the tank weighs nearly nothing and wicks sweat quickly enough not to stick on your chest, but the tailoring also makes sense; I’m a medium, and I’ve ordered many singlets that I’ve had to tuck in because they dangle around my knees. This one falls on me naturally, and passes the Turing test for tanks: if you forget that you’re wearing it, then you know it’s a good one.

My shorts: ASICS Road 7" Short

split screen of man wearing asics 7 inch running shorts in blue and black
These quick-dry shorts pass the running test (photos via author & Asics)

Why it's great:

  • Full range of motion

  • Quick-dry fabric

  • Modest length

If you think that running shorts are running shorts are running shorts, not only are you redundant, you're also wrong. What seem like small details: a waist with no stretch, fabric that knocks around your knees, or a lining that does not sit right — can chafe, annoy, and ultimately break your run. The 7-inch from ASICS is my go-to short because it's flexible on the waist, it has minimal inner fabric without being too revealing, and its length is just right. They also wick sweat through hard workouts, and come with a phone pocket in the back, for those who are into that. And the best part, they are also cheaper than many of their competitors, which can retail for up to $100.

My jacket: Adidas Marathon Warm-Up Jacket

man wearing white Adidas Marathon Warm-Up Jacket
The Adidas Marathon Warm-Up Jacket is available in three colours: White, blue, and black (photos via author & Adidas).

Why it's great:

  • Water-repellant

  • 360-reflective

  • Made of 100 per cent recycled materials

This is the one item on the list that I ditch during the summer. But as soon as the weather dips below 10, I break out the Warm-Up Jacket. My usual play is to wear it for the easy part of my run and then strip it off for the hard intervals, but I've often worn it for full workouts in the fall. I often run after work, which means I am in the dark as soon as November hits; this jacket's reflectivity comes in handy when the days get short. Finally, while I am not one to carry much with me on the run, the long flexible pockets offer a nice option to stash a gel, keys, or whatever else I need.

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