6 Pieces of Gear to Splurge on for Endurance Athletes

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Gear

Last week, we talked about 5 Pieces of Gear to Save on for Endurance Athletes, and now we’re into the SPLURGE category. This is the gear you should buy with an eye towards quality, and typically look for well-known brands. Materials will matter, as well precise fit. For the couple tech-focused pieces we’re mentioning here, we’ve found that buying the cheap option first doesn’t pay off in the long run.

To be clear: We DO NOT mean that you need to buy the most expensive version of all of these things. We simply mean that for these pieces of gear, you shouldn’t opt for the cheapest ones available because they’re more likely to break fast, wear out, or be uncomfortable enough that you need to replace them almost immediately.

Finally, before we get into it, you may notice that I’m giving a couple of suggestions as far as brands I like—these are not the brands you have to buy! Do your homework, try things on, and with this category, ALWAYS look for stuff that has a good return policy so you can try, test and decide.

Bib Shorts

If you’re a cyclist, a good pair of bib shorts that’s comfortable is absolutely key. Different chamois will fit everyone differently, so you may need to try a couple pairs before you find the best ones for you. I love bib shorts over regular shorts thanks to the serious comfort they provide compared to regular shorts, which dig into your belly when you ride. I’m personally a huge Velocio fan, and love their bibs for the comfort, the style, the size range, and the fact that they pull down in the back so you can use the bathroom without disrobing entirely.

Running Shoes

I’ve gone between running shoes over the years (currently wearing Nike Terra Kigers and Hoka Speedgoat 5s) but one thing has remained true: If you’re running a decent amount or racing, don’t shop by price tag. This isn’t to say you should buy the carbon soled $400 shoes—but you shouldn’t shop the clearance bin either. Look for a shoe that’s comfortable and right for you. (I’d say the best bang-for-your-buck price range is between $90 and $150 USD.)

CAVEAT: If you’re just getting into running and you’re run/walking or doing really short runs, just wear whatever sneakers you have lying around to get started. As you grow your running fitness, you may want to upgrade, but you’re actually better off not splurging right away, since you’ll likely be better equipped to choose shoes that are good for you once you’ve gained a bit of run fitness.

Running Shorts and Tights

While I believe that running tops and cycling jerseys can be purchased on the cheap and fit imperfectly (or honestly, may just fit great even with the cheap options!), I’ve found that trying to go cheap on shorts or tights leads to chafing, sagging, and general disaster. I currently like Tracksmith Summit Shorts and Lululemon Align Tights for comfort, no chafe, no sagging and the ability to be washed and dried hundreds of times. I’ve tried cheap shorts and always ended up with chafe, and I’ve tried lululemon align tights dupes from Amazon (and plenty of other cheap run tights) and have yet to find a comfortable substitute that can go 100 miles.

Hydration Packs

Again, comfort is king here, and I’ve noticed that the cheaper hydration packs on the market for cycling and running tend to … well, they suck. Even when they’re by a good brand, they just end up being made with inferior materials, with cheaper bladders and weird ties and connectors and flaps all over the place. A good pack will be in the $100-$140 USD range, and should fit snuggly with plenty of options for adjustment. I’m an Osprey Dyna fan for long runs, since I prefer a bit more form and less stretch and sag. However, for my errand runs around town, I actually love my Nathan pack that has a ton of stretch, since I can run with library books, groceries, whatever!

Rain Coats

Ideally, you can find a raincoat that works well for running and riding if you’re a multi-sport athlete—and that means you can spend a bit more on it since it’ll work for all your activities. I’m a 7mesh fan, and their coats aren’t cheap, but they last FOREVER. Rain coats can be found for $20 on Amazon or at Walmart, sure, but they often aren’t at all breathable, creating a sauna effect inside, they have leaky necks and pockets, and are generally not well-made. A good raincoat is expensive once, then lasts for years. You can even use something like Nikwax to re-waterproof your jacket if you’ve washed it quite a few times and it’s starting to be less waterproof than it used to be. (I’ve done this a couple times and it works great!)

Cycling Computer/Running Watch

I’ve fallen victim to cheap computers and watches over the years, and when you’re starting out, I will argue that a phone is really all that you need. Heck, I still use my phone instead of a watch when I’m in a pinch. But if you’re serious about riding/running, look for the computer or watch that will actually do what you want it to do, don’t just shop by price. If that means using your phone a while longer while you save, so be it.

Mini-Pumps + Multi-Tools

These don’t have to be the most baller options available, but the super-cheapy ones you can get off-brand on Amazon are highly likely to let you down. The cheap multitools and minipumps break super easily, often right when you need them, and generally are a huge waste of money in the long run. A good multitool and minipump will both run around $50 USD, maybe a bit more for a great multi-tool. Tip: Look at your bikes and figure out what you need tool-wise, since some bikes require a torx wrench to get the front wheel off, and most cheap tools won’t even have that! Make a list of what you need and check it against what the tool contains, don’t just grab a tool at random.


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