Best tech for runners in 2023
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Runners are minimalists by heart and trade. They just want to run — and without the encumbrances of uncomfortable clothing or unnecessary, bulky equipment, gear, or tech accessories.
This purchase list is for the minimalist runner: no bulky weight vests here. Whether you're in need of clothing, equipment, or accessories for a more seamless run, we've got you covered.
We've purchased and tested tons of running gear, narrowing a purchase list of the best five must-haves for runners, curated by a runner herself.
i4c 360 degree rotatable armband
This is the absolute best armband for runners. As someone who clocks in many miles per week, often trekking through rough California terrain, this armband takes the cake.
You might be skeptical about the stretchy rubber that anchors your phone in place. I was worried, at first, that the phone would pop out on one of my trail runs.
I've run snowy mountains in Switzerland and dunes in California, and this thing does not budge.
Unlike many cloth armbands, it is durable and stands the test of time. Another huge perk is that being made of lycra and neoprene, it does not smell or 'pill' after months of repetitive use.
The band is also reflective, meaning that when the sun goes down, you'll be visible to motorists.
Often, a common armband complaint is that manufacturers use inadequate Velcro, losing its stickiness after a mere few months of use. This is not the case for the Velcro used on the i4c band, which is extremely heavy-duty, unaffected by sweat, and keeps the armband from sliding up or down the arm.
The anchor hub is also rotatable by 360 degrees. If you receive an important text from your significant other during your run — perhaps asking you how much longer you'll be — simply rotate the armband and hit the text-to-speech button on your iPhone to zap off a quick reply.
i4c boasts that one size fits all. PS — it really does.
One last perk is that it's super affordable. It is $14.99 on Amazon.
Garmin forerunner 955 solar
If you're looking for a watch that tracks your distance, heartbeat, and VO2 max, a simple Apple Watch will do.
However, for elite runners, the Garmin forerunner 955 solar is the cream of the crop when it comes to Bluetooth-compatible smartwatches with satellite GPS.
Oftentimes, watch displays can be difficult to view in the action. This watch has an always-on, full-color display that's easy to read, even underneath blinding California sunlight.
It runs on a solar-charged battery, with 20 days of battery life in smartwatch mode. The coolest feature is its accurate GPS, which comes in handy on trail runs where you've lost your way.
The GPS is provided in full color, which helps you take that quick turn without having to squint and decipher the reading in black and white.
The watch boasts user access to multiple global navigation satellite systems. In addition, upon waking, the watch notifies the wearer with a training readiness score based on metrics such as sleep quality, recovery, training, and more.
If you are preparing for a race, utilize the intuitive and all-encompassing race widget, which provides training tips and personalized daily suggestions for workouts.
If you only have time to run during your lunch break, the watch offers completion time predictions based on course details, weather, and performance — so that you're back to the office and showered before that important meeting.
Whether you're training, at your desk, or asleep, the watch tracks your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). This helps you to understand how your body navigates the challenges of life in your current environment.
In simple terms, HRV measures the length of time between consecutive heartbeats.
Your HRV status will either read as balanced, unbalanced, low, or poor. A balanced HRV status means that your body is maintaining homeostasis, our body's biological equilibrium that ensures optimal body functioning.
The Garmin forerunner 955 solar is $561.39 on Amazon and is compatible with your Bluetooth devices.
Peloton sets itself apart from other exercise equipment with one word: community. It offers on-demand classes with qualified, engaging instructors and has in the last few years gained an incredible following.
The Peloton tread is an excellent choice for beginner and advanced runners who don't always feel like hitting the pavement.
The classes are some of the most dynamic and motivating of any on-demand out there, the treadmill itself is compact - not too bulky - like many of its competitors, the screen is large for visibility, and it offers speed and incline wheels, which are easy to toggle mid-workout.
There are only two cons when it comes to this treadmill, and Peloton equipment in general: it is expensive, and requires a pricey subscription to match.
If you are looking to ditch your gym membership and find that you cannot beat the convenience of working out from home, this peloton treadmill is an excellent investment.
If you will not be utilizing the running classes, then this treadmill is not worth the high price tag. However, if you enjoy being a part of a fitness community and need that extra bit of intra-workout coaching to finish your runs, this is the perfect piece of equipment for you.
The Peloton tread is available for $3,495.00 from the Peloton website, which does not include installation or subscription fees.
ASICS Unisex Waistpack
This waistpack is a necessary accessory for long runs. It has a spacious storage department with an adjustable fit for a seamless, comfortable running experience.
Long-distance runners should replenish their glycogen stores after roughly 30-60 minutes of sustained activity. In addition to your car key, iPhone, and credit card, there is still room in the waistpack for a handful of energy gels.
Much like the armband above, one concern is that the item will feel like a kangaroo pouch, with a bouncing 'lag' during runs. However, this isn't the case.
The waistpack doesn't budge and gives that barely-there feel, which allows an unencumbered run where your only worry is putting one foot in front of the other.
It is available from the ASICS website for $35.00.
Men's Road 2-N-1 Shorts
These running shorts from ASICS include a snug bounce-free pocket in the back for your iPhone. The road shorts are designed for marathon runners, and, like the wasitpack, give runners that cloudlike, barely-there feel.
The shorts are lightweight, flexible, and breathable. Inside, there is also a light compressive inner sprinter. The shorts are quick-drying and the iPhone pocket in the back is sweat-resistant — perfect for long runs.
Additionally, there are reflective details on the shorts, keeping you visible on night runs to motorists.
The Men's 2-N-1 Road Shorts are available from the ASICS website for $60.00. ASICS also offers similar, iPhone-holding shorts for women.