As with any sport, it’s all-too-easy to head to your local big-box sporting goods store and pick up the latest and greatest running gear from a mainstream brand. While there’s no harm in this—you can certainly score some solid deals and see the newest trends—there’s more to the running industry than the same five running brands (we won’t name names, but you know who we’re talking about).
From shoe and apparel brands, to running tech and nutrition brands, here we’ve gathered nine running brands you’ve likely never heard of, but should know.
Worn by 2019 ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion Katie Zaferes, 361 USA is a running shoe brand with a serious pedigree. With a tagline “One Degree Beyond,” it’s a brand that is committed to creating running shoes that perform at the highest level. We recently reviewed a pair of 361 Fantom and Sensation 4 running shoes in our ACTIVE Fall Running Shoe Guide—click here for our thoughts
Founded in New England, Tracksmith is a specialty running brand designed for competitive amateur runners. It offers products that have a throwback look and feel but is built with top-shelf materials and thoughtful designs. It’s running gear that’s obviously made by a team who’s passionate about not just running but the culture, too.
Janji is a running apparel company that’s all about inclusion and giving back. It creates two apparel lines each year that celebrate running cultures all around the world, and five percent of the proceeds are donated back to local water nonprofit organizations from the countries that inspired the line.
This Seattle-based athletics brand creates premium apparel for women of all athletic backgrounds that is not only thoughtfully designed but has all the technical features you’d expect from a forward-thinking brand. The Oiselle (pronounced wa-zelle) Volee is its women-only running club, whose main objective is to foster the sisterhood of sport.
If Oiselle is the premium women’s athletic brand, the same could be said about Rhone for men. While it offers plenty of running gear that blends form and function in a stylish package, Rhone also offers performance-minded workout clothes, fitness apparel and activewear that are just as useful at home in the office as they are at the beach or the mountains.
We’re all for wireless in-ear headphones while running on a track or on a treadmill, but they can be dangerous when running on trails, streets and public areas. Aftershockz is a company that creates bone-conduction headphones that allow you to listen your favorite tunes while still hearing what’s going on around you. We won’t get too in-depth here, but basically vibrations are delivered through your cheekbones through angled transducers.
While most runners are super picky when it comes to what running shoes they choose, they usually place much less emphasis on their socks. Balega has been addressing this for years, by creating athletic/running socks that feature moisture control fabrics and additional material in key areas to increase cushion and protect from blisters. It’s also big on giving back, and it launched The Lesedi Project (meaning light and enlightenment) to combat homelessness, support veterans and promote education in South African and American communities.
On is a running shoe brand founded in Switzerland by IRONMAN champion Olivier Bernhard that started as his attempt to create a shoe with a cushioned impact yet also a firm takeoff. His solution was the now-famous sole, composed of several separate shock-absorbing pods. On has been a mainstay in the running and triathlon scene since its debut of the flagship model, the Cloudracer, and it currently sponsors several high-caliber endurance athletes.
Who says your gel needs to be concocted in a laboratory for optimal performance? The team at Spring is challenging the status quo by creating energy gels that are 100 percent natural and alleviate the all-too-common GI stress and highs and lows from sugar through quality ingredients. Spring has been gaining traction in the ultra-marathon scene, and the canaberry vegan energy running gel is one of our favorites.
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