Best in Gear Awards and Runner Gift Guide 2016
Every year we go through our favorite gear and pick winners for the BIG (Best In Gear) Awards. Here are our picks for 2016!
Best in Gear (B.I.G.) Running Shoes: Overall
Streak 6 Flymesh, price ranges from $89.88 – $110
Thomas: It isn’t often that Meaghan and I find a shoe that works this well for both of us. The Unisex Nike Zoom Streak 6 Flymesh is a stripped-down running shoe that still provides enough comfort for the long haul. I ran many speed days in the Streak 6 and a marathon. The shoe is a star.
Meaghan: When I look at these shoes I immediately see Amy & Shalane at the Olympic Trials. And who doesn’t want to feel like Shalane out on the run?! The Streak 6 is a comfortable, super light shoe with a firm, yet responsive ride. I wouldn’t change a thing about these shoes. I just wish I had about 3 more pairs.
I’ve reviewed numerous shoes this year for Believe in the Run, including the ON Cloudventure, Saucony Zealot 2, Fresh Foam 1080 and Vongo, Brooks Ghost 9, Pure Flow 5 and Launch 3, Mizuno Wave Hayate 2, Asics fuzeX, and Glide Boost 8. Frankly, I thought the Zealot 2 would stand out among these other models as the undisputed winner for my BIG Award, but it did not live up to my expectations. That honor goes to the shoe I reviewed most recently, the Adidas Boston 6. With a 55% Boost midsole, a Continental rubber outsole, responsive cushioning, and a soft, accommodating upper, this high mileage trainer is the unrivaled victor for my 2016 running footwear collection. Like Thomas and Meaghan, I’m excited to see what 2017 holds. Here’s to another great year of running!
B.I.G. Running Shoes: Best Update
New Balance Zante v2 $100
Thomas: They didn’t do too much to the Zante for this update. A couple tweaks made all the difference. The Zante v2 was on my feet when I clocked my second fastest marathon time last February. How could I not love them?! I am already getting miles in on the Zante v3. They will probably make next year’s Best in Gear list.
B.I.G. Running Shoes: Work Horse
HOKA Clifton 3 $130
Thomas: When it comes to comfort, not much can approach the gentle ride of the Clifton 3. After a week of solid miles and your legs are beat, try putting on the Clifton to feel pampered. These shoes help your miles fade away a little easier.
Meaghan: There are no crazy changes to the Clifton 3. It still has that super-cushioned bouncy ride that I love. I wore these for my fall marathon. If you are a Clifton fan, you will be happy with the latest model. Plus, the added durability means you’ll be wearing these guys for more miles.
B.I.G. Running Shoes: Traditional Trainer
Nike Pegasus 33 $110
Thomas: The Peg 33 pairs perfectly with the Streak 6, a classic one-two punch KNOCKOUT. The update of the Peg with the extra Zoom unit gives a real nice sensation on toe-off. Bonus – the Pegasus 33 looks great for casual wear once you are ready to retire them from running.
Meaghan: The Nike Pegasus is a staple. It’s an everyday trainer that’s great for slow days, fast days and even long distances.
B.I.G. Running Shoe Best Innovation
Thomas: Possibly one of the biggest surprises of the year. The LunerEpic is different than anything out there. The Lunarlon midsole gives an exceptional ride and the upper disappears on your feet.
B.I.G. Running Shorts
Meaghan: These are some of my favorite shorts, ever. It’s simple goodness. They’re designed with a mesh fabric, flattering design and 3″ inseam. They aren’t fitted through the thighs, which I prefer. The waistband is soft and one of the only shorts that didn’t chafe me horrendously this summer.
Thomas: These shorts are not for the modest. LOTS OF THIGH. I just loved them. I got one sample pair from Tracksmith, I could not wait for them to go through the laundry cycle, so I ordered another pair. The material is light enough that they dry quickly on those super humid east coast summer runs. These shorts are my favorite addition to my summer running gear arsenal.
B.I.G. Running Shirts
Meaghan: Tracksmith Harrier Tank $65 – The Harrier tank has a high neckline with oversized arm holes. It’s a flattering design & fit. It’s 89% merino wool, 11% nylon and so frickin’ comfortable. This was my go-to shirt all summer.
Thomas: Under Armour Streaker Men’s Running Short Sleeve Shirt $29.99 – These are light, breathable, and fit just right. Under Armour says, “next to the skin without the squeeze.” This shirt is soft too. You may be tempted to wear it for more than just workouts.
B.I.G. Winter Gear
Under Armor ColdGear Apparel
Meaghan: Winter showed up in Baltimore this past weekend. When the temps get in the 30’s and the windchill falls to the 20’s, I am always reaching for UA gear. I especially love the UA Streaker long sleeve & vest. Their apparel is quality.
Thomas: If you plan on training outside during the winter, you can not beat Under Armour’s ColdGear. Load up on tights, joggers, long sleeves, 3/4 zips, jackets and hoodies. The quality is there to justify the price, these are a multi-year investment.
B.I.G. Workout Accessory
Meaghan: The Trigger Point foam roller is covered in a grid system of varying widths and 3 densities. It’s perfect for pre-run work on your IT Band, quads, and calves that are probably super tight from yesterday’s speedwork.
Thomas: This is a love hate relationship that has become a love love relationship. At first, it just hurt, and I wasn’t doing it right. As I have continued to use the roller, my flexibility has improved. I never knew it made that much of a difference. It does.
B.I.G. Race Belt
Meaghan: Comfortable, snug and perfect for race day. The FlipBelt Zipper offers ample storage for a phone and nutrition. The front zipper pocket is great for your essentials (phone, credit card, key) and the “open” side pockets give you easy access to grab nutrition mid-race. I used this belt for the Marine Corps Marathon and had zero issues with chaffing or bouncing around. This one is a keeper!
2016 was a great year, we wish you and your family Happy Holidays and a FANTASTIC 2017! Congrats to our B.I.G. winners!