Trail Runner Gear of the Year 2013
The best shoes, apparel, hydration packs, fastpacking equipment and tech accessories of the year
One of the joys of trail running is its simplicity—just get out the door, put on some shoes (arguably optional) and go. Yet, when we push our limits beyond just a short jaunt on the neighborhood trails, our gear choices grow a bit more complicated. When you need to carry your own water or filter, when the weather's nasty, when you run in the dark, when you venture deep into the backcountry ... the right equipment can make or break your adventure.
2013 was a great year for trail-running gear. With our sport's recent explosive growth, many companies are devoting new attention to what was once a relatively small niche audience. Innovation has never been greater in the trail-running-shoe world than it is now, with dozens of companies experimenting with different heel-to-toe drops, lug depths, levels of cushioning and overall stack height, lacing systems and more—and many working collaboratively with athletes to design game-changing gear for our increasingly discerning preferences.
And, we look forward to another year of innovation ahead. Companies like Marmot, Dynafit and Sugoi who've traditionally specialized in other outdoor pursuits like backpacking, skiing or cycling, are moving into the our realm with designated trail-running lines. Osprey launches its brand new Rev line of trail-running packs, ranging in capacity from a compact, minimalist hydration pack up to a 24L capacity endurance-running pack.
Meanwhile, companies like Stonewear Designs, Moving Comfort and Run Pretty Far have shown their commitment to promoting women's running by transcending the historic "shrink-it-and-pink-it" approach to women's gear and designing women-specific apparel from the ground up. Big players in the trail- and ultrarunning world have joined this effort as well, such as Ultimate Direction launching their 2014 Jenny Collection of women-specific hydration packs and fuel belts.
We're nothing but excited by all the changes that are happening in the world of trail-running gear. Here, we present 20 of our favorite products from 2013. Click on any of the product names for a more detailed review.
Shoes and Apparel
- Trail-Running Shoe of the Year: Pearl Izumi Project E:Motion N2 Trail Shoe
- Trail-Running Shoe of the Year Runner Up: Inov-8 268/295 Trail Shoe
- Trail-Running Shoe of the Year Runner Up: Hoka Kailua Trail Shoe
- Best Long-Sleeve Running Shirt: Icebreaker Drive Shirt
- Best Running Tee: Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool Tee
- Best Running Jacket: The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket
- Best Running Tights: Craft Performance Run Thermal Tights
- Best Running Shorts: Salomon EXO S-Lab TwinSkin Shorts (Men’s) or Skort (Women’s)
- Best Unisex Hydration Pack: Ultraspire Alpha Pack
- Best Men’s Hydration Pack: Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest
- Best Women’s Hydration Pack: Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta
- Best Water Filter: Sawyer Mini
- Best Fastpacking Bag: ZPacks 20-Degree Hoodless Sleeping Bag
- Best Fastpacking Pack: Mountain Laurel Designs Prophet Pack
- Best Fastpacking Tent: Hilleberg Anjan 2 Tent
- Best Headlamp: Light and Motion Solite 250 Headlamp