I was a gear minimalist, until I bought my cold weather running pants and top. Unable to handle “cold” that I perceive even in mid-August, I finally decided to take the purchase plunge. The gear changed everything.


Suddenly I was able to run outdoors (instead of saying, “it’s too cold to run” and slogging off for three months). The gear kept me warm, dry, and compressed. Yes, compressed. Like a massage while I ran.

I guess I shouldn’t have fought it.

The first time I got fitted for running shoes that also fit my custom orthotics…well, it allowed me to run properly, which in turn just allowed running.

Do you have the right gear for your fitness activities?

Just as my cold weather gear was perfect for cold weather running, it was equally unimpressive during a recent run in 60+ degree weather. Just as my running shoes are perfect for races, they are inappropriate for jumping and twisting on a trampoline.

All of those shoes are out there for a reason. Cross trainers provide support and cushioning for side to side as well as forward movement, without such a wide base. Runners typically are wider, have more cushioning, and are designed to help propel you forward. Basketball shoes have more ankle support and are good for stop start action (not so great in running shoes, where you may “stick” to the floor and twist to compensate).

If you’re outdoors for your exercise, whether it be walking, biking, running, or bocce, do your clothes allow sweat to wick away? Your outfit may be cute, but is it protective? Even gear as simple as a cap with a visor to protect you from sun can make a difference in your comfort level, influencing not only enjoyment, but performance too. Shorts that are fitted are great for cycling and running, to prevent chafing which can throw you off your game. But if you’re walking or playing tennis maybe a more open cut would be best.

Of course comfort is subjective. I merely ask that you give it consideration. The old t-shirt, sweats, and Keds may get you into the mindframe you need to get moving, but they may not be the best for your body. Take a look at the gear that’s out there, talk to other people in your sport, and give some gear a chance. It may make all the difference.

Ok. I’m still a gear minimalist, but my few key pieces get me through races, soccer marathons, ballet classes, and the occasional jaunt on an indoor rock climbing wall. Totally worth it.