Shut-In Champs Reveal Their Go-To Gear

The beauty of living in the Southern Appalachians is that it’s always trail running season. Aside from a few rogue storms, trail conditions are amicable year-round. Still, it’s safe to say that spring is prime time for hitting the dirt. You’re coming off of winter and looking to get back into fighting shape, the leaves are budding, and you’ve got a full slate of races to train for. It’s time to hit the trails, hard, so we talked with the reigning champs of the Shut In Ridge Trail Run, one of the most respected trail races east of the Rockies, about their favorite running gear.

Last year, Luke Paulson took the men’s title during his first year running the Shut In. “There’s so much hype around that race, which makes it a lot of fun,” Paulson says. “And it’s an interesting distance—it’s long (17.8 miles) but not too long, and most of the runners know the trail really well, so people are moving fast.”

Anne Wheatly has won the Shut In two years in a row, but says winning the race gets tougher each year. “I love the fact that the women’s field grows and gets more competitive,” Wheatly says. “There was a pack of 10 women right behind me this year, which I thought was fantastic.”

Wheatly and Paulson guided us through their favorite pieces of running gear as they prepare for another season of trail racing.

Shut-In champ Anne Wheatly photos by Andy Wickstrom

Anne Wheatly

Salomon Advanced Skin 5

I like to use a pack during longer runs. The Advanced Skin fits so well, and Salomon makes a lot of sizes so you can find the right fit for your torso. There’s room for a bladder and handhelds on either side, so you can customize it the way you want. I’ve had this pack for a long time, but when you love a piece of gear, you don’t want to let it go. $155; salomon.com

Tracksmith Grayboy Tank Amateur

Tracksmith’s stuff is really fantastic, with a classic New England style. Their stuff is cut a little better to fit a woman’s body, too. I love this tank, which I think is so funny. $52; Tracksmith.com

Stance Snowboarding Socks

These aren’t technically running socks, but they’re made with a wool blend, and really comfortable and really funky. I pull them up high on colder runs to add some color and variation to the wardrobe. $18; Stance.com

Oiselle Homerun Half Zip 

Oiselle only makes women’s running clothing and they do a fantastic job at it. I love just about everything they make, but the Homerun Half Zip stands out. It has thumb holes, a rear zipper pocket and is made from a soft and stretchy polyester and spandex blend. $78; oiselle.com

Shut-In champ Luke Paulson photos by Andy Wickstrom

Luke Paulson

ON Cloudventure

My shoe preferences fluctuate with the terrain and mileage I’m doing, but recently I’ve been into these shoes from ON. The Cloudventure is nothing too fancy, but it’s a lightweight shoe with good tread. And it’s really responsive. $150; On-running.com

The North Face Flight Better Than Naked Jacket

This jacket is so lightweight, it feels like nothing at all, but it’s windproof and water resistant so it can keep bad weather at bay when you’re on a run. $60; thenorthface.com

Garmin Forerunner 25

I always run with a Garmin GPS. The 25 isn’t the fanciest watch they make, but I like that it only has a few functions. I don’t want a map or heart rate or anything like that. I want to know how fast I’m going and how far I’m going. That’s it. And that’s what this watch does. $99; garmin.com 

More Gear

Maloja Rica Women’s Jacket

You may not have heard on Maloja on this side of the pond, but this European company produces some of the world’s best technical ski and winter apparel. Made of superfine nylon and wool with Primaloft paddling, the windproof and water-resistant Rica is both rugged and beautiful, featuring two zip front pockets, and elastic cuff and waistband binding. It is the perfect winter jacket for outdoor adventure in Southern Appalachia, providing breathable warmth, durability, and mobility on the slopes, on the trail, or in the backcountry. $265

LEKI Micro Flash Carbon

These foldable trail running poles feature lightweight but rugged carbon shafts, cork grips, carbide trail running tips, and push-button release mechanisms for fast and simple assembly. They take up a mere 37 centimeters in your pack, and the added speed, stability, and support they provide are worth all 192 grams. $179.95

Garmont Ushuay GTX Hiking Boot

Named for the adventure hub and gateway to Antarctica, these winter boots provide lightweight, insulated performance for cold, snow, and ice. The Vibram outsole is super-grippy, even on ice and frozen terrain, and the waterproof outer kept feet dry even in soggy Southern Appalachian slush. $175

Vasque St. Elias Full-Grain
GORE-TEX Boot

Looking for the go-to boot for big adventures in 2019? The updated St. Elias provides long-distance durability and all-day comfort right out of the box. The waterproof, rugged boot can handle any technical trail and is perfect for tackling Southern Appalachian summits this spring. $129