Must Have

8 Running Products a November Project Leader Can’t Live Without

John Combs leads one of Philly's top running clubs. Here's his list of must-have the running gear.

Photograph by Zach Schwartz.

As running season is kicking off, the emerging sunshine often makes it glaringly obvious how run-down our running gear is. After tracking a ton of miles throughout spring, summer, and fall, our once-bright and cushy running shoes barely have a sole and our socks have sprouted holes. And no one knows the wear and tear running can cause on your gear better than November Project co-leader, John Combs, who organizes outdoor workouts twice a week all year round.

Below, this running pro has shared the products — from shoes and socks to shorts and a hydrating backpack — that have helped make his running career so successful. Read on for the specific products — plus where you can score your very own version — that this running pro wouldn’t want to be caught on the trail without.

Hoka Clifton 4 Running Shoes

“Recommending shoes can always be tough because everyone’s foot is different, as is their running style. I’ve been training on Hoka’s for about two years now and haven’t looked back. Their ads include a marshmallow mascot for a reason — the shoes are incredibly light and maxed out with cushion.” $130 from Hoka One One.

Lululemon Surge Shorts

“Do you ever wear anything so comfortable you kind of forget you’re wearing anything at all? Well, these do that for me. They’re thoughtfully designed with a pocket large enough to hold an ID and keys and fabric so soft you’ll never want to take them off.” $68 from Lululemon.

Darn Tough Socks

“I found out these socks while planning my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and they have been my favorite ever since. The comfort, stretch, and padding is perfect — not to mention they’re made in Vermont and carry an unconditional lifetime guarantee.” $20 from Darn Tough Socks.

Garmin Forerunner 235

“The Forerunner really changed running for me as a whole. Prior to my purchase, I would have to map out distances and never knew my mile splits, making it difficult to keep up with training planes and staying on a pre-mapped course during long runs. The step counter and built-in heart rate monitor are nice features to check on throughout the day as well.” $299 from Garmin.

Oofos Slide

“The second I take off my running shoes, I throw these on. They are incredibly comfortable and make a huge difference in letting my feet recover after pounding the pavement mile after mile. It’s the closest I’ve come to walking on clouds and my feet have never felt better.” $59.95 from Oofos.

32-ounce Wide-mouth Nalgene

“Simple, yet often overlooked: staying hydrated. I have my Nalgene by my side all day long so I have no excuses for being dehydrated. It’s nearly indestructible and being dishwasher safe with the wide mouth makes cleaning it a piece of cake!” $10.99 from Nalgene.

Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack

“Besides my own feet, this pack has probably logged more miles on it than anything else I own. Any long(ish) run I go on, this comes with. As a runner who sweats a lot, I need to carry water with me, and the two-liter reservoir is plenty. There’s enough space for a spare garment or two, and the straps have pockets for energy gels as well.” $59.73 from REI.

Buff Scarf

“While these can be a fun and colorful addition to your running wardrobe, I find Buffs very useful. On cold days I’ll wear it around my neck and it really makes a huge difference in staying warm. If the temperatures drop really low, I can pull it up over my face preventing wind burn or wear it on my head covering my ears. When its warm, its great to wear around your wrist to wipe away sweat — it’s the Swiss army knife of the running world.” $25 from Buff USA.

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