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When it comes to hitting your best stride, having a laser-focused mindset can be equally as important as having the right footwear and wireless earbuds for running. Being prepared for the road or trail ahead is one way to eliminate distractions, like stressing over beating sun or worrying about bringing enough water.
The best running accessories range from simple to smart: Think reflective wristbands for night runners, practical carryalls that won’t slow you down, and GPS watches that can re-route you to better trails, to name a few. And don’t forget your post-run care for soothing sore muscles, which will help you recover for your next adventure.
What Are the Best Accessories for Runners?
Whether you’re an ace power walker, avid road runner, or an expert marathoner, we’ve rounded up performance-ready gear for leveling up on your next run. Check out our favorite picks below.
1. Kehon Waterproof Running Belt
This versatile adjustable sports belt is made from water-resistant neoprene, making it great for running, hiking, cycling, and other sweat-inducing activities. It has a main zippered compartment pocket with a hole for wired earbuds, plus a side pocket for keys and smaller items. This running waist pack also comes with a 10-ounce bottle that fits securely into the side holder pocket. It’s finished with reflective stripes, which are helpful for staying visible at night or in foggy morning weather.
2. Garmin Forerunner 945 Smartwatch
Garmin’s latest GPS smartwatch from its 900 series has all of the high-tech tracking features that endurance runners and gadget-loving adventurers want, and then some. Though it doesn’t have a touch screen (for comparison, the brand’s other watches don’t either), this lightweight Bluetooth watch is packed with features like a heart rate monitor, up to 36 hours of battery life, and an updated tracker that monitors your body heat, altitude, and training load focus for assessing your performance over time. You can view all of your statistics directly in the watch or on Garmin’s app or website.
Music-loving runners will appreciate that the watch has enough space for 1,000 songs. We also like that the device has an emergency warning feature that will alert you if you’re in tricky terrain, a handy one-button signal allows you to send your emergency contacts an email or text with your location information. On top of all of that, the watch can also map out new running routes based on where you are.
3. Road ID Silicone Clasp Identification Bracelet
Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenario, and Road ID’s sleek ID bracelet offers some peace of mind so you can concentrate on pounding the pavement. It features a metal plate that can be customized with your personal information, including your phone number, emergency contacts, blood type, allergens, and more details that first responders or good samaritans might find helpful.
We like that it’s available in a range of band and metal plate color combinations and sizes, and the company even makes options for kids and pets.
4. Nike Fury 2.0 Headband
Enjoy the wind — and not your hair — in your face with this Nike headband. It’s made with moisture-wicking silicone that stays firmly in place, and you can choose from white or black colorways emblazoned with the signature swoosh.
5. Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves
These moisture-wicking compression leg sleeves can help promote blood circulation and reduce swelling and post-run soreness. They’re designed with 3D ribbing that offers support where your calves need it most, making them great for cyclists, runners, and triathletes. These accessories are also easy to care for and are machine-washable and dryer-safe.
6. GoxRunx Reflective Bands
Dusk runners and night owls can stay visible when they strap on these adjustable reflective bands. The set comes with two wrist bands, two ankle bands, and two neon green slap bracelets, and each piece can be seen from as far away as 800 feet in the dark, fog, or rain. They come with a handy storage bag, too.
7. Fitly Minimalist Running Pack
The great thing about this minimalist backpack-like accessory is that it distributes weight across your body — plus, it beats stashing your smartphone in a distracting armband. Fitly’s sweat-wicking, weather-resistant running pack is designed to be used effortlessly while running, thanks to its unique thoracic belt system that makes it easy to grab items where your hands swing naturally. It’s also made of eco-friendly fabrics that are abrasion- and odor-resistant.
Runners have two options, depending on how far they’re going. The Sub45 has two stretchy front pockets for essentials like your keys, energy gel packs, and other small items, plus a compartment for your phone, a hidden side pocket, and two flat back pockets for your ID, cash, and cards. The Sub90 is best for longer distances, and features two front stretch pockets, a large phone pocket, a large back pocket, and a 17-ounce hydration flask and tubing.
8. NipStrips Clear Adhesives
Forget the old “no pain, no pain” adage — long-distance runners are well familiar with the dreaded nipple chafing, which can really slow you down. Keep yourself covered (and ensure a smooth run) with these discreet and ouch-free adhesives that are easily removable from hair and skin.
9. 321 Strong Five-Piece Foam Roller Set
Whether you’re prepping or winding down from your run, a good foam roller is key for boosting blood flow and relieving leg and back muscles. This five-in-one massage set from 321 Strong includes a foam massager with three different rolling zones you can control the pressure and intensity and a deep tissue massage stick for the inner thighs, shins, and quads.
You’ll also get a spiky massage ball (it’ll feel heavenly on your feet post-run); a double lacrosse ball for the shoulders, forearm, and neck; and a stretch strap for the quads and hamstrings. Everything fits conveniently inside the hollow foam roller, which doubles as storage.
10. Theragun Prime Percussive Therapy Device
It’s no wonder that pro athletes are superfans of the Theragun, the original percussive muscle therapy device by Therabody. The fourth-gen version now boasts a quieter, more powerful QX65 motor for hitting the spots that some manual massage accessories can’t reach. Its ergonomic handle means you can comfortably reach your back, and the unit includes four attachments so you can really customize your treatment.
We also like that this Bluetooth-enabled smart unit syncs to an app that’s loaded with guided treatment presets, or you can create your own routines. If you’re looking for something more portable, or you want professional-grade performance, the company makes other options to suit your needs.