trail-running apparel reviews

Gear Review: Lorpen and Merrell Socks

Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock

Socks
Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock
$13, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Midweight Hiker Sock
$21, 3.5 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Merino Light Ski Sock
$22, 3 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for all models): men’s M-XL women’s S-M
lorpen.com

Merrell Men’s Chameleon Stretch/Women’s Siren Sport Sock
$18, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Merrell Men’s Courant Solid/Women’s Scamper Solid/Stripe Sock
$18 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for both models): men’s and women’s S-XL
merrell.com

How much can you say about socks? The best feel comfortable, keep your feet dry to prevent blisters, and hold their shape for more than just one day—important when you’re on a multi-day backcountry trip. After numerous days of trail running, dayhiking, backpacking, and backcountry and resort skiing, I’ve picked out some favorites.

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Gear Review: The North Face Apex Lite Jacket

The North Face Apex Light Jacket

Ultralight Wind Shell
The North Face Apex Lite Jacket
$130, 6 oz. (men’s medium).
Sizes: men’s and women’s XS-XL.
thenorthface.com

An ultralight wind shell can save you from a serious chill and is all but mandatory gear for a long trail run or ride, especially in damp, windy, and cool spring and fall weather.

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Gear Review: CW-X Pro Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts

Trail Running Shorts

CW-X Pro Shorts
$72, 6 oz. (men’s small)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
cw-x.com

After numerous hilly trail runs in my local Boise Foothills—ranging from six miles to a 25.5-mile, 4,600-foot, seven-hour July morning trail run-hike—I’m completely sold on the physiological benefits of these compression running shorts. Even on that 25-miler (running about three-quarters of the distance, walking the rest), a distance that would typically leave my quads feeling very worked and bloated with lactic acid, I felt strong right to the finish. My recovery from that run was faster, too, with much less stiffness and residual fatigue than I’m accustomed to after that long an outing.

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Gear Review: The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove

The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove

The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove
$62, 3 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-L
thenorthface.com

As someone who gets cold fingers easily but loves ski touring, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and fast activities like skate-skiing—where you don’t always want thick, bulky handwear—I find that many lightweight gloves designed for those activities don’t deliver enough warmth. But on numerous outings this winter, many of them skate-skiing, I found the Etip Pamir gloves kept my fingers comfortable in temps down to the low 20° F.

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Gear Review: Mountain Hardwear Super Power Hoody Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Super Power Hoody

Lightweight Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Super Power Hoody
$125, 13 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: Men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
mountainhardwear.com

Winter and the shoulder seasons of early spring and late autumn are difficult times to be an outdoor athlete—you get hot and sweaty, then your wet clothing makes you cold. For trail running and strenuous hiking in cool to cold temperatures, I’ve rarely found a jacket that breathes well enough and dries quickly enough to handle my body’s rapid temperature shifts—pumping out heat going uphill, then cooling off on the descents—until the Super Power Hoody came along.

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