5 Easy Pieces: Men’s Spring Gear

Now it’s the guys’ turn. With weather turning to spring, we suggest five pieces of gear to add to your kit to make your wet-season runs better.

The Brooks Race Day Singlet comes in three other colors, but this plaid is just plain cool. $30USD.

The Brooks Race Day Singlet comes in three other colors, but this plaid is just plain cool. $30USD.

Just in time for a St. Paddy’s Day 5K or for simply looking smart with a pair of black shorts, Brooks has this plaid Race Day Singlet. It has the typical traits you’d expect from a singlet: flat seams, moisture-wicking synthetic fabric and an ergonomic cut.  What it doesn’t have is a high price at $30.  And if you don’t like plaid, it comes in a glowing green, bright blue and street cone orange color.

 

Big, loose shorts, might be popular with a lot of guys, but if you want some shorts that say out of your way, the ones that look like a basketball uniform are not the answer.

Mizuno's Mustang short is a short, but not too short, short that is long on  usefulness.

Mizuno’s Mustang short is a short, but not too short, short that is long on usefulness.

What is? The Mizuno Mustang Short. Like the namesake wild horse that roams America’s plains, this super-adaptable pair work for training runs and race-day alike. But this isn’t a half-split short that will make college kids who see you running laugh. These synthetic shorts are laser-cut to cover you up without being big, and baggy.  They have a reasonable 3.5-inch inseam (a full inch longer than a lot of half-splits), and they have a notched side, so they won’t flap up in a breeze.  This is, unlike most TV stations you watch, “coverage you can count on.”

It comes in four colors, two of which are black/grey combinations that’ll pretty much go with anything. One is blue and another is black with blue and yellow highlights.  They cost $40, and will likely be the go-to pair of shorts in your rotation.

The Saucony Palladium Packable jacket is water-resistant, fashion-friendly and priced right at $70.

The Saucony Palladium Packable jacket is water-resistant, fashion-friendly and priced right at $70.

Speaking of versatile, it’s always nice when your running gear can do double-duty and be an every-day piece. The Saucony Palladium Packable jacket is just such an item.

It’s a water-resistant, but vented in the back, so it won’t get too hot.  It has a long back, so you could use it while cross-training on a bike. And it’s a hoodie, so when it rains, don’t worry about whether you have a hat.  Wear it around with jeans and you can stuff your hands in the front zip pockets. And it’ll sluff off snags because it’s made of rip-stop fabric.

At $70, it’s less expensive than a lot of single-duty jackets.  Bonus: it’s available in plain ol’ red, so you won’t look like a crossing guard if you want to wear it around in public when not running.

Okay, socks aren’t sexy, but unless you really run barefoot or are racing a triathlon, most runners wear them. And too many guys are using the same cotton crap they bought at KMart when they were in grade school.

Worse, the sock wall at the local running shop is starting to get as busy as the shoe wall, and it often has as many colors. But if you want dependable socks that last a long time, feel great and don’t require coordinating as a fashion accessory, just get several pairs of Balega Ultra 2 quarter socks.

Balega's Ultra 2 quarter sock feels great and doesn't require a degree in fashion design to coordinate with your running wardrobe. They just do their job and last a long time.

Balega’s Ultra 2 quarter sock feels great and doesn’t require a degree in fashion design to coordinate with your running wardrobe. They just do their job and last a long time.

The Vibe knows this company from personal experience with its products. Unlike some sock makers, these are hand-linked at the factory for a truly seamless toe that liberates you from worry about slisters on your piggies.  They are thick, but not too-thick, yet they don’t get hot. They have an extra-deep heel pocket, which is why socks slip down, not because the elastic is losing its snap.

Try them on at a running shop near you and you WILL say, “Oh!” Trust The Vibe, who has worked in running shops. It happens EVERY time people try ‘em on for the first time.  Plus if you don’t need any new gear, a new pair of socks is an inexpensive way ($11 retail) to treat yourself to something special.  Go on, you deserve it.

You’ll be seeing more of that shiny orb in the sky in spring and summer, so protect those peepers (you’ll need to check out the competition!).

The Skeleton Optics Vortex has lenses that adjust to lighting conditions so you can protect your eyes, and still see during that pre-dawn trail run.

The Skeleton Optics Vortex has lenses that adjust to lighting conditions so you can protect your eyes, and still see during that pre-dawn trail run.

The Skeleton Optics Vortex shades with “Vermillion Photochromic” lenses block out UVA and UVB rays when the sun is bright, but they also adjust to allow you to see more detail in lower-light conditions.

The Vibe reviewed Skeleton sunglasses shortly after the company launched in the spring of 2011.  Since then, the company has grown to add apparel and watches to their product line.

The Vibe likes the Performance series sunglasses for running and cycling.  They have all the features of the more expensive big-name brands, but with one added features The Vibe finds particularly appealing: They have ever-s0-slightly-thicker polycarbonate lenses. That means they’re harder to break than some other brands.

They aren’t “cheap” at $125, but that’s $60 less than Rudy Project’s Swifty, and The Vibe thinks that would be better spent on the shorts or singlet above and having enough left over to enter the local 5k next week!

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