It’s that time again: the start of a new month! For all three of our editors, it’s HOT. So we’ve been testing as much warm-weather apparel and desert-friendly gear as we can get our hands on. Here’s what we’re loving as we train for late summer and early fall races, and do our best to beat the heat.
Daehlie Elite Shorts (currently $49, normally $70) and Singlet (currently $49, normally $70)
This kit together makes me feel like I could go out and set a PR in the 5K – that’s how speedy it is. It’s like my own super-light racing uniform. But if I had to pick a piece I’m really obsessed with, it would be the shorts. With an extra-high slit, they offer maximal range of motion without the risk of flashing passersby, and I was amazed that even with a short inseam, I didn’t experience any chafing. Both items have super flat seams and are made of cool, slippery material that feels extra fast, especially on hot summer runs. Size range: XS-L. – Reagan Colyer, Assistant Editor
tentree Longline Active Bra – ($45)
I was surprised at the support offered by this stylish bra. Its longer cut and slightly higher neckline mean it’s ideal to wear on its own as a top on the hottest of days, and the double-layered fabric means it’s no-show, so you can go anywhere with confidence knowing you’re covered. tentree also has unique sustainability efforts that make this a purchase you can feel better about. Size range: XS-XL. – RC
Saucony Xodus Ultra – ($180)
I’ve used these shoes on mud, dust, mountain vert, flat gravel, and even uphill treadmill hikes. They’ve taken it all like a champ and even performed spectacularly when they were soaked. I wore them for an entire day after a wet morning run and not only did they dry quickly, there was no rubbing, blisters, or hotspots. Medium levels of tread mean they traverse all terrains well, including the occasional prance along a boulder field. They’ve become my favorite all-around trail shoe. Size range: 5-12. – RC
Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro – ($160)
I’ve been enjoying the Pulsar Trail Pros (a speedier, pared down version of the Pulsar) for smooth and speedy trail runs. The Energy Blade is springy and propulsive without feeling unstable or wobbly. I like the lightweight, more breathable upper of the Pro compared to the baseline model, and think it’s well worth the extra $30. This shoe excels on smooth trails and is agile enough for some technicality (I wouldn’t try to crush a 14er in it necessarily, as the traction leaves a bit to be desired), but they have more than enough bite for my mid-week adventures. Size range: W 5-11. – Zoë Rom, Editor-in-Chief
I’m very into these shorts. The ample waistband prevents pinching or riding up, and is sturdy enough to handle the absolutely massive load that is my baseline snack requirement for any run. The relaxed fit is flattering and allows for plenty of range of motion without being revealing. And the pockets. Oh the pockets! Side pockets aplenty can accommodate my brick-like iPhone, gels, energy chews, and trash. Size range: XS-XL. – ZR
Zensah Pizza Socks – $20
Don’t be fooled by their cheesy exterior; these delicious socks pack a performance punch. The seamless construction and supportive midfoot make these comfy for long runs and trips to the pizza parlor. (Bonus: these are the socks Courntey Dauwalter won Hardrock in.) Size range: S-L. – ZR
This tank is like a gentle breeze on a summer day. The ultralight fabric is breathable and sweat-wicking, and ultra-relaxed fit isn’t clingy on hot and sweaty days. Scalloped sides allow for ultimate range of motion, and the reflective detailing makes it perfect for dawn or dusk patrol on especially hot days. Size range: 0-14. – ZR
Ten Thousand Far Short – $78
I’ve been seeing a lot of hype about Ten Thousand for years before finally trying on a pair of their performance shorts, and now I’m literally wearing them as I write this review, having run in them for my morning miles and now, because they’re so comfy, I having kept the party going. Designed in collaboration with plant-based Ironman podcast guru Rich Roll, the Far Short is an eco-conscious running short for most any occasion. Super light for hot days, with perforated fabric that offers increased breathability. I’m typically not picky about running shorts, but these are like the electric-powered Maserati of 5” shorts. Size range: XS-XL – Nicholas Triolo, Digital Production Editor
Craft CTM Ultra 2 – $165
At Trail Runner, we’re always on the lookout for high-performance gear that can serve multiple purposes. Swiss Army knife-like capacities that get us through any variety of conditions. When Craft started using the term “Gravel Grinder” to describe their new CTM Ultra 2 shoe, I had a pair on my feet, double knotted, ready to fly. And fly I did. These are one of the most exciting pairs of shoes I’ve ever worn, partly because they just look fast, but also because they pop. With insider recommendations directly from Craft staff and athletes (David Laney’s kick of choice), the upper is paper-thin but somehow durable with a 40mm stack of foam (which is a little much for technical trails, but perfect for non-technical bike paths). The traction underfoot strikes a fine balance between what you’d need for loose rocks, but not too much for the occasional road. I reach for these shoes in my lineup most mornings. Size range: 8-13. – NT
Why is it so difficult to find the perfect running cap? For all the headwear we’ve gone through, its surprisingly difficult to find a running lid that really serves its purpose of lightweight sweat mitigation, and that doesn’t look like I’m going back to elementary school. The second I put on HOKA’s Performance hat, I remember thinking: THANK YOU. Thank you for designing an extremely comfortable, five-panel hat with laser-cut siding for breathability – a hat that really works with the shape of your cranium to settle in for a long day of miles. At first I was skeptical of the bungee tightening adjustment, but now I’m totally into it. A fresh, simple, classy choice for sun mitigation, without losing style points. – NT
This posthumous essay collection spans Barry Lopez’s wide-ranging, vibrant, and critical career as a keen observer of the natural world and our relationship to it. Essays in this collection range from the deeply personal (a fire in Lopez’s backyard) to the universal (how climate change is responsible for the fire in Lopez’s backyard). I’d recommend it for anyone familiar with Lopez’s work and who wants some bite-sized pieces in a richer context, as well as the Lopez rookie, looking for deep place to dive in. – ZR
Okay, brace yourself: this is a book of poetry. But let me assure you, if you don’t naturally gravitate toward poetry, Limón’s work might be worth trying. That’s not to say her work is not brilliant and complex and wondrous, but I really appreciate her direct voice. And you may want to become familiar with her work, if you’re not already, as she was just named the U.S. poet laureate. Here’s why I think it might appeal to our trail community: Limón’s ecological sensibility is masterful, the way she speaks to and amidst landscape, not as a backdrop to her life, but as an equal participant. The Hurting Kind, her latest, is a must-read, alongside my personal favorite, Bright Dead Things (2015). – NT
LABYRINTHITIS – Destroyer
This album has been on repeat for most of my writing projects lately. As sonically rich as it is chock full of metaphor, the album is a sort of musical labyrinth – not something to solve, but something to be thoughtfully, intentionally lost in. – ZR
No, this podcast has absolutely nothing to do with trail running. But it does have to do with incredible storytelling, and that’s something our whole team at this publication can get behind. From the company’s founding and mission to the inherent unhealthiness of the now-defunct annual fashion show, this podcast brings true-crime vibes to the exposing of the powerful men behind Victoria’s Secret, and the events that influence its status as the biggest power player of the women’s undergarments industry. – RC
It took me several interviews for me to warm up to Dax and Monica, but I’ve been finding their chemistry and banter increasingly as a salve to the general angst I’ve been walking around with these days. Humor heals, right? I recommend this recent interview with Malcolm Gladwell to you, runner, because Gladwell is – if you didn’t know – an incredible runner. A polymath, really, and someone with a sweeping intellect and a deep love for foot travel. Need a laugh? (I know you do.) Need a smart, funny, wonderful conversation? (I know you do.) Try this conversation and you’ll be glad you did. – NT
Just Good Stuff
Want to support a rad non-profit* and a trail community member? Idle Hands Coffee Company, in partnership with Runners for Public Lands, have combined forces to create this tasty coffee. With juicy and citrusy tasting notes, it’s the perfect precursor to a summer run.
“My favorite morning ritual is to have a cup of coffee, read a few pages of my book, and then take off for a run into the hills. Part of the inspiration for the collaboration with RPL was to celebrate running up in the mountains in the summer, and if you pair that with a delicious cup of Idle hands coffee, you have the perfect recipe for an incredible outing. Enjoy the cup, then go enjoy the run!” says Kyle Richardson. – ZR
*Note: Our editor-in-chief Zoë Rom serves as a volunteer on the National Advisory Council for RPL.
Yes, chef. This TV is absolutely as good as you’ve heard. – ZR
This is a rare double-click on a staff recommendation but go watch this. Not to set the bar unreasonably high, but you can’t overseason this show with too much praise. It’s deserving of all of it. – NT
At Trail Runner, we have a policy of showing no preference based on brand in our gear testing. We are not compensated by brands for testing or consideration, and we do not guarantee inclusion of a product in our coverage. Our testers live in the Rocky Mountain west and are both recreational and competitive runners. This list includes gear that we receive from brands for testing as well as our own personal favorites from decades of running.