Running in the Right Stuff

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1. GoLite TaraLite Think of the Tara Lite as the barefoot shoe for runners still not convinced of the barefoot shoe hype. The Tara Lite is more of a hybrid between minimalist and traditional styles, combining a neutral heel, super light weight, and form-fitting mesh upper with some of the more traditional protection and support found in standard trail running shoes. The shoe also has GoLite’s “soft against the ground” outsole, with rubber that gives with the terrain underfoot and is stacked with hundreds of small, grippy lugs. $115;

2. Merrell Trail Glove Merrell has partnered with Vibram, producer of the popular minimalist shoe Five Fingers, to create an entire line of barefoot-inspired trail shoes. The new Barefoot Tech line takes the Five Fingers platform and adds a little more midsole cushioning and a synthetic leather and mesh upper that looks more like a traditional shoe, but still has all of the barefoot features many have come to love Five Fingers for. You get the same minimalist technology that moves the runner away from the heel strike to a softer mid-foot strike, but you don’t have to wiggle your toes into the Five Fingers’ “fingers.” Plus, you won’t have strangers staring at your feel like you’re an extra in The Hobbit. $110;

3. Polarmax PMX TransDRY Polarmax recently partnered with Cotton Inc. to create the world’s first technical cotton t-shirt that wicks moisture away from the body like synthetic base layers, reducing fabric cling while cutting the drying process in half compared to regular cotton. The shirts are 100 percent cotton, but half of the weave has been treated with Polarmax’s PMX agent, while the other half of the weave has not. The base layers are as comfortable as your standard cotton tee, but they didn’t cling to the tester’s body after working up a sweat the way traditional cotton does. The shirts were considerably thicker than synthetic base layers or merino wool tees, making it difficult to wear them in the hottest temperatures. However, if you love the feel of cotton, this could be the base layer for you. $45;

4. Patagonia Air Flow T-Shirt Patagonia went the extra mile for breathable running performance with the new Air Flow—out this coming spring. It features intricately woven mesh for amazing ventilation and fast drying on long slogs. It also offers 15 SPF sun protection—a nice feature in such a lightweight shirt. $55;

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