Summer is on its way. On sure sign of this is the fact that I took my watch off earlier and I had a strap mark (not to mention the ridiculous short tan lines! The great thing is we can disperse with the gloves, base layers, long sleeves, leggings and jackets and travel a bit lighter. So, let’s take a look at summer essential running kit and those must buys for the coming months.

Summer Trail Running Shoes

In the winter the trails are muddy, slippery, rocks are wet and you need the additional grip. This is definitely when you need the grip of a decent pair of trail running shoes. In the summer however, you can get away with something more lightweight that doesn’t have to have deep lugs. In fact, we often use old road shoes when the trails are dry.

Just this morning we went out on an 18 mile trail run with our old road shoes on. They are more comfortable and it doesn’t matter if they get dusty. That said, if you prefer trail shoes, the Roclite are a good example of a great pair of lightweight summer shoes that transfer really well from road to trail. Also consider the terrain you will be running on. You do need shoes that will protect your toes from kicking a rock.

Vest and Shorts

In addition to the shoes, you need a vest or T-shirt and shorts. I like the vest as I get more of my shoulders tanned however, I do get an interesting strap mark from the sports bra. It’s not so bad if I’ve got a hydration vest on as that tends to cover my back. 

Shorts are a definite for me. It’s the only way I get any colour on my legs although runners soon find they get that interesting tan mark on the legs which doesn’t look so great with a bikini. I think it’s worse for trail runners – we tend to be out in the sun for longer. Anyway, after several summers of learning the hard way about what chafes and what doesn’t, I have found the perfect shorts – Nike Women’s Dry 10k 2 Shorts. I find these are just the right length and don’t chafe.


A good hat is key. Ultra runners can’t be out in the sun all day without being sensible about headwear. Sunglasses are OK for some but not all runners get on with them. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a pair – the Duco range are about £20 for polarised glasses with interchangeable lenses. We generally pick up kit like this on Amazon where you can get it next day for relatively low budget.

Sun Cream

If you don’t want burnt ears, shoulders, nose etc. then be sure to cover yourself in suncream. Only this morning, even though we started at 7am, by 10am the sun was hot. You can get a small tube to pop in your hydration backpack.


Bodyglide, Runglide, Vaseline – all of these offer a protective barrier and protect against chafing. Take a look for yourself and see what you prefer. Personally, we use Bodyglide but that’s just what we’ve always used. It absolutely works though.

Hydration Vest

There are so many different types of hydration vests – those with bottles, bladders, large capacity, small capacity. In the summer you are going to want to focus on carrying as much water as you can. Check out our guide to running backpacks here.

Essentially, you should choose a hydration vest that achieves what you need. If you are a shorter distance trail runner and just want a pack to carry the essentials then a lightweight, smaller vest will suffice. If you are going to be competing in long distance ultras or even fast packing (wild camping) then you will need something much larger. You may choose to invest in a lower budget one to begin with. The important thing is to ensure that it has adjustable straps, the right capacity and read the reviews.

Running Socks

This is not a time for ankle socks if you don’t want white sock marks. You need sockets that stop where your shoe stops. We differ on our choice of running socks. I swear by More Mile socks but the other half of our running duo prefers Hilly Twinskins. What I will say is that both brands last a long time and don’t slip/rub or cause any kind of issue. 

Collapsible Water Cup

If you want to travel light and know that you can get water on route, these cups are fab. Pop them in your running belt and fill them up at a tap. They are also a great bit of kit to have for ultra marathon or other trail races. Make them a part of your summer essential running kit.

It is crucial to hydrate properly before your long runs especially. Take water with you, and be sure to get the fluids on board afterwards as well. This way you will getting ill or running out of steam in those last few miles. Be sensible when running in the sun.


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