To help you find the best shoes, apparel, and gear, the Runner's World gear team is constantly testing the newest products on roads and trails. We can’t lie, it’s a fun part of our jobs.
As dedicated runners, we have plenty of products that have become part of our daily runs and race-training routines. But we also get access to the newest gear, food, and clothing that find their way into our gym bags, home gyms, and get used in our everyday running routines. Those are the types of products you’ll find here in Things We’re Testing.
We asked our editors to share what they’ve been testing this month, and you’ll find a range of items, including the new Lululemon SenseKnit Running Tank Top and Nathan Sunrise Polarized Running Sunglasses. Keep in mind that our editors aren’t one and done with testing, so we’ll continue to try these products in different types of weather, distances, and terrain for further insight. Consider this your warning, however, that your shopping cart is about to get a workout.
I’ve been using this muscle scraper during the #RWRunStreak on my calves, both before and after my workouts. The idea is similar to the Sidekick tool used by many pros like Molly Seidel and Sara Hall to massage sore muscles and speed recovery.
I rub a little lotion on my legs first so the tool slides smoothly, although my own postrun sweat usually does the trick. My favorite thing about the Sortool, however, is that the handle gives me a solid grip so I can apply pressure right where I need it.
It’s also lightweight and much easier to use and carry with me than a foam roller. For me, that convenience means I’m a lot more likely to actually do my prehab and recovery work.—Morgan Petruny, Test Editor
I tried a packet from The RunnerBox and was shocked to see all the yummy flavors on their website (Pumpkin Spice, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Salted Toffee).
I signed up for the subscription service; you get eight, 16, or 24 flavors (plus a free one they're testing, like Banana Bread or Key Lime Pie), and can swap them, down- or upsize, or delay a delivery if you're still working through them.
They're protein-packed—20 grams! Just add milk, shake in the free BlenderBottle, and leave in your fridge overnight.—Amanda Furrer, Test Editor
I thought I knew what a comfortable liner felt like but, when I started running and working out in these, my old shorts felt like they were lined with chain mail by comparison. And while I appreciate the do-it-all nature of plain black shorts, the surfing dinosaur print is freaking awesome.—Matt Allyn, Features Director
I own probably 60 sports bras and I love maybe five of those—but this one is a new fave. One of my least favorite things about putting on a sports bra is the hook-and-eye closure in the back, because it's so difficult to actually get it to snap in place.
This one solves that problem by allowing for adjustability in the front, so you can actually see what you're doing. That adjustability in the band, as well as the straps, also makes for a super supportive fit—a must-have for runners with D cups like myself, which I find surprisingly hard to come by in sports bras. The smooth, soft material also feels great against the skin. Plus, I'm a big fan of the bright orange color.—Mallory Creveling, Senior Health and Fitness Editor
I usually run with my ID and credit card in my shorts pocket or sports bra. I often forget to put them back in my thick leather wallet, which has made for some awkward grocery trips at checkout.
The Allett wallet withstands sweat and has no-slip card grips so your stuff won’t fall out. Having a slim wallet that I use wherever I go (that old leather one has since been banished to the junk drawer) means no more fishing my cards out of the washing machine or worrying about losing my ID in a zipper-less apparel pocket.—A.F.
Normatec's newest inflatable compression sleeve system has a sleek new design. Previously, the company offered two versions—one that followed a preset recovery routine and a pro-level device that let you customize the zones and pressure. But now, every user of the NT3 gets those pro-level features at a lower price.
The boots still have the same pulsing action that works its way from your feet to your hips, boosting circulation so you rebound from hard efforts faster.—Jeff Dengate, Runner-in-Chief
I have been drinking non-dairy milk for years, and while I am obsessed with oatmilk, I am not obsessed with the fillers, gums, and other inflammatory additives that are often present in store bought milks.
The Almond Cow is super easy to use, and makes delicious grain and nut milk in a matter of minutes. Unlike juicers and some blenders, it is easy to clean, and leaves you with smooth, delicious milk made only with the ingredients you choose. This can be a more cost effective option, and reduces waste, making it sustainable as well.—Gabrielle Hondorp, Commerce Editor
Lululemon just released its SenseKnit running apparel, which features stretchy tops and tights that have zones of breathability built in. One of our female testers loves the SenseKnit Running Tank, which is longer than most such tops, ending just above the waistband of tights and shorts for a bit more modesty.—J.D.
I used the previous version of this pack to carry everything I needed in my first 200-mile race through the Alps in Italy. It got me through that race and many more adventures until I ran it into the ground. I bought the latest version for my upcoming race, another 200-plus miles in Switzerland.
The new pack is mostly the same, but now gets a wide-mouthed rear pocket that keeps a rain jacket, pants, or headlamp easily accessible at the top of the pack without having to take the whole thing off.—Pat Heine, Video Producer
The 200 series Forerunner has always been one of the best values for a GPS watch because it has all the features most of us are ever going to need to track our runs and daily activity, but isn’t packed with extra functions that go unused and just drive the price up.
The new 255 extends that, but now is more accurate than ever thanks to multi-band capability—it can receive multiple signals from each satellite to eliminate false readings. Also, for the first time, the 255 has triathlon mode, so you can see metrics on your swim, ride, and run all from a single activity.— J.D.
This is the most durable super-lightweight shirt I've found. Others show wear fairly quickly, but this one keeps me cooler longer, and dries faster—while still looking fresh wash after wash.—M.A.
Asics top-of-the-line racing shoes get a small re-tooling in this update. Notably, there's more foam underfoot, but Asics also tweaked the placement of the carbon fiber plate and the shape of the toe spring—the curve at the front of the shoe—to make both shoes even more efficient.
The Sky+ is designed for "stride" runners, those who go faster by taking longer steps. The Edge+ is better suited for "cadence" runners, who increase the number of steps they take as they speed up.—J.D.
They look great, stay in place when I get super sweaty, and only cost $50. I found them to be a big upgrade over similar inexpensive—or slightly costlier—shades for lens quality, ease of cleaning, and not sliding down my nose.—M.A.
My favorite shirt for this summer. I forget it's a merino wool top until I find I'm less stinky than usual after a run—or just a long, sweaty afternoon by a grill.—M.A.
If Courtney Dauwalter represents the long-inseam shorts camp for ultrarunning, Amelia Boone is the minimalist counterpart. These split shorts have quickly become my all-time favorite pair, and that’s not just because I’m a major Boone fan. She helped Ultimate Direction design them so they’re as lightweight and airy as possible with minimal fabric coming into contact with the skin. (She even tested several different materials and colors—Amelia shared on her Instagram stories that several prototypes were rejected because they were too heavy or showed butt sweat!)
My favorite aspect is that the inner liner is made of perforated mesh so it’s extremely breathable. Some runners will want pockets and a little more coverage; these shorts basically feel like undies with a breezy modesty curtain. But that’s exactly how I prefer running shorts for the hot summer months.—M.P.
APL’s Concept 1 basketball shoe was actually banned in the NBA for its ability to increase players’ vertical jump heights. The ban has since been lifted, and the brand’s running shoes have never been under scrutiny. I’m currently testing the most recent model, the Techloom Zipline.
While the cushioning feels bouncy but firm on the run, it doesn’t warrant the $320 price tag on its own, and the stretchy woven upper is not quite stable enough to hold my foot securely over the thick midsole. Still, it is a legit running shoe. I just credit much of that eye-popping dollar sign to APL’s designer label prestige.—M.P.
Finding a sports bra that’s modest, stylish, and allows freedom of motion is a tough trifecta.
Nathan, which launched apparel in spring 2021, is back for spring/summer 2022 with brand new designs including the Interval Crop Top. It’s been along for my boardwalk beach runs (layered over a sports bra) and to my Vinyasa yoga practice.
The no-seam side panels don’t ride up, my biggest beef with this style. Plus, the price is right. Namaste, Nathan.—Jamie Sorcher, Senior Editor, Expert Reviews
I'm a sucker for a good pair of socks. Most often, you'll find me in a pair from Darn Tough because they're guaranteed for life and the wool construction doesn't stink. Lately, I've been wearing another natural fiber—alpaca.
Paka claims that alpaca retains less water than other wools, and I've noticed that the socks stay dry even on sweaty runs this summer.—J.D.
Shield sunglasses are seemingly making a comeback. Last month we looked at the 100% Hypercraft, a pair that costs more than three times as much as this new model from budget shades maker Goodr. The Wrap G was designed for cycling, but also offers excellent coverage from sun and wind for runners.
Video producer and ultrarunner Pat Heine is testing a pair, too, in hopes that it'll give him the protection he needs for racing in Switzerland, where he'll spend many hours above the treeline.— J.D.