So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start trail running? Congratulations! Trail running is a fantastic way to get in shape, explore the great outdoors, and clear your head. But before you hit the trails, there are a few things you’ll need to pick up first. Check out this list of essential trail running gear for beginners! We’ll list our budget picks first, but we’ll also include a mid-range and high-end option for you to consider.

Trail Running Gear For Beginners Contents

Trail Running Gear For Beginners: 5 Essential Bits Of Kit

Trail Running Gear For Beginners - What Your Need

Trail running can be a lot of fun, but buying all the gear you need is pretty expensive. It can be tough to know where to start when buying trail running gear, especially if you’re on a budget. We’ve got you covered. We’ve found some great budget-friendly gear that will serve you well on the trail.

A Good Pair Of Trail Running Shoes For Beginners

This is probably the most important piece of gear on the list. A good pair of trail running shoes will provide the support and traction you need to stay safe on uneven terrain. Look for shoes with deep lugs and a snug, comfortable fit if you plan on running in muddy, wet conditions. If you’re opting for a flatter trail route on even terrain, out for a lightweight shoe.

For Muddy Conditions

Budget-Friendly Option: Higher State Soil Shaker 2

Mid-Range Option: Salomon SpeedCross5

High-End: Salomon SpeedCross6

For General Trail Running

Budget-Friendly Option: Asics NovaBlast 3

Mid-Range Option: Hoka Mafate Speed 3

High-End: Nike Pegasus Trail 3

Technical Clothing

You don’t need to go out and buy a new wardrobe of clothes that will break the bank just for trail running. But it is worth investing in a few key pieces of technical clothing that will wick away sweat and keep you comfortable on long runs. Look for shorts or leggings with built-in compression and moisture-wicking fabric and tops that offer UPF protection from the sun. If running in the winter, you might need a good-quality base layer to keep you warm and a waterproof/windproof jacket.


Budget-Friendly Jacket: Higher State Running Jacket

Mid-Range Jacket: INOV8 1/2 Zip Shell

High-End Jacket: INOV8 RaceShell PRO

Budget-Friendly Baselayer/Top: Higher State Thermal Top

Hydration Pack Or Bottle Belt

Staying properly hydrated is crucial when running, especially in hot weather. A hydration pack is a must if you plan to be out on the trails for more than an hour or so. A hydration pack is a hands-free way to do this, and it also gives you a place to store other essentials like your phone, keys, and energy gels. Read our guide to the best ultra-running vests and packs, or look at some top picks below.

Budget-Friendly Option: Alpine Lowe Tensor

Mid-Range Option: Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra

High-End: INOV8 Race UltraPro2

Running Belt: UltimatePerformance 2 Bottle Belt

Headlamp/Head Torch For Trail Runners

If you’re planning on doing any early morning or evening runs, you’ll need a headlamp to light the way. Look for a lightweight headlamp with a comfortable fit that won’t bounce around as you run. Running headlamps can be expensive, especially the high-end models. However, if you are new to trail running at night, start with short distances where you won’t need a head torch with super long battery life.


Budget-Friendly Option: Silva Scout 3 Head Torch

Mid-Range Option: Silva Trail Runner Lamp

High-End: PETZL Nao Plus

GPS Running Watch

A GPS watch is a great way to keep track of your distance, pace, and elevation gain—all important metrics for both beginner and experienced runners. Some people will say a GPS running watch is not essential, but trust me, if you wait and then take the plunge, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

There are plenty of great options on the market, so take some time to find one that fits your needs and budget. Below we list 3 options – high-end, mid-range and budget-friendly.


Budget-Friendly Option: Garmin Forerunner 55

Mid-Range Option: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music

High-End: Garmin Enduro 2 Ultra Watch

Conclusion: Trail Running Gear For Beginners

There’s no denying it—trail running is an amazing workout (not to mention a great way to explore nature). But before you lace up your shoes and hit the trails, ensure you have all the gear you need! With this beginner’s guide in hand, you’ll be able to pick up everything you need to get started…and have a blast doing it!

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