Adapted with permission of VeloPress from Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running by Lisa Jhung with illustrations by Charlie Layton.
Part of the beauty of trail running is its simplicity: You don’t need a closet full of special gear to hit the trails. Have some shorts? A T-shirt?
You’re good to go.
That said, wearing goods specifically designed for trail running will make you more comfortable on everything from mellow dirt paths to gnarly mountain scrambles.
You can run trails in your road running clothes. Heck, you can run trails in your boxer shorts or in no clothes at all (check local nudity ordinances). Chapter 4 of Trailhead offers a top-to-bottom look at the gear—and specific gear features—that can make trail running more fun.
But when it comes to looking good on the trail, the bottom line is that there are no fashion rules in trail running; you can run in whatever you want. Feel free to express your individuality—but remember, the goal is to be as comfortable as possible, and it doesn’t hurt to choose apparel that prepares you for whatever the trail throws your way.
Take these three specimens, spotted recently on a trail near you:
Defiant Mountain Runner Dude.
Some trail runners have been known to run in jeans and a flannel shirt, carrying nothing more than a plastic soda bottle.
Some run in precariously small shorts, minimal shoes, and no socks. Pacetracking device is the only thing causing drag.
Trail running hipsters can often be found in thick-rimmed, Ray-Banstyle sunglasses and trucker hats. Some run while chatting on cell phones, texting, and Tweeting.