The countdown to Summer has begun, and while you may have visions of hours of carefree fun in the sun, our picks will help make sure you're staying safe while doing so. We've got stylish orthopedic wedges for weary feet, a nongreasy zinc sunscreen to block harmful rays, and a delicious chia snack that you can take with you on the go for when hunger strikes. Read on for all of our must haves for May!
Finding the perfect running shoe isn't always an easy task but finding the right pair is important to help prevent injury. But where to start? Because there are several styles and options to choose from, we've created a go-to glossary to help you find your sole mate. Once you've determined your arch and gait type (a running store or your running partner can help) turn to this guide that explains the different styles of shoes available. From a barefoot fit to extra stability, it comes down to what works best for you and your workout.
- Barefoot: Barefoot running shoes have become increasingly popular over the last few years and are the closest you'll get to actually running barefoot. Most styles look like gloves for your feet, providing minimal protection and cushioning. Barefoot shoes, with a "zero drop" from heel to toe, encourage a more natural mid-foot strike. This style of sneakers is thought to engage all the muscles of the feet, encourage good posture, and help train you to land correctly. But, you shouldn't try these shoes blindly; it will take your body time to adjust to avoid injury. Prep yourself first with these tips, then consider our favorites.
- Minimalist: Minimalist running shoes are the happy medium between barefoot shoes and traditional kicks; they are also a great way to ease into barefoot running. Always lightweight, they have little to no arch support but still offer some cushion and flexibility. If you are used to tons of cushion, adjusting to minimalist shoes can take time.
See which shoes offer more stability and cushioning after the break!
Spring is a time for new beginnings, and if you've spent the Winter neglecting your normal routine, now's a good time to make sure you've got everything you need for a safe, fun workout — including checking your running shoes to see if they're worn out.
The amount of time it takes to replace your running shoes depends on how often and where you run, but if it's been a while since you've replaced your pair, check yours closely before you use them for another season. If the foam seems flattened or worn out or your shoes seem to be loose and not be giving you as much support, it may be time to replace them. Look for frays and tears in the mesh as well. Also, if you run in your shoes and notice joint or muscle pain while you run, your shoes have probably lost their ability to absorb shock, meaning it's time to buy new shoes.
When you spring for a new pair, make sure you watch our tips for buying new running shoes, and go to a reputable running shoe store to get properly fitted. And before you throw out your old pair, read our tips for recycling and donating them here.
There are a few things you'll always need for any camping adventure: food, clothes, and, most importantly, shelter. But regardless of where you'll be pitching your campsite, tent shopping for the first time can be tricky. Instead of making a big purchase you'll regret, ask yourself the following questions ahead of time.
How often will I use it? If you won't be using a tent regularly, then buying your own might not be a necessity at this time. If it's looking like a one-time thing, then ask friends and family if they have a tent you can borrow. As long that you promise to clean it and deliver it back ASAP, most people will be happy to lend their tent out for a few days. If your friends and family aren't an option, then consider renting instead of buying. Many outdoor stores including REI offer high-quality tent rentals. Renting a tent will save you a ton of money and storage space, but the best part is, they'll be able to show you how to put it together so you don't have to worry about deciphering the instruction booklet on your own.
How easy is it to put together? If you don't plan on battling the elements during your future camping excursions, then a pop-up or self-erecting tent is the way to go — these are (by far) the easiest tents on the market to put together. For most pop-up tents, all you have to do is remove the tent from the bag, pull a few strings from the top, and let the tent expand into its full shape. After you finish staking your tent to the ground to secure it from flying away, the whole process takes less than 15 minutes. Just make sure you don't order a pop-up tent solely designed for beach or picnic shade — you need to be able to zip yourself in and secure the tent to the ground.
Keep reading for three more questions to ask yourself before buying your first tent.
Not just ordinary leggings, compression tights are believed to help athletes recover and remain at their best. Using the power of compression, these garments are designed to provide the body with circulatory benefits for more oxygen delivery and reduced lactic acid buildup. Using a special knit (e.g. the warp knit or circular knit), this fitted material applies pressure to specific muscles to prevent swelling and other posttraining effects.
The results are debatable. Some studies show a reduction in VO2 values and an increase anaerobic threshold, while other studies claim no real lactic-acid-clearing effect. Although they do feel good (I've even tried them myself), the benefits seem small compared to price. Often around $100, they aren't necessarily magic. But, many athletes use tights to recover, leading us to wonder: do you? Vote in the poll and tell us your thoughts below!
Sometimes getting a gym bag ready in the morning can feel a little hectic, which is why there are a few staples that you should never leave home without! From staving off hunger to helping the environment, see the five items one of our own POPSUGAR Fitness editors always keeps stashed in her gym bag to make sure she's workout-ready!
Over time, running shoes lose their ability to absorb shocks, properly cushion steps, and support arches. If you continue to run in old sneakers, it increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which is a surefire way to develop shin splints, stress fractures, or other overuse injuries. You're supposed to replace sneakers after 300 to 500 miles, but that's not too helpful if you're not keeping track of mileage and can't remember the date you bought your last pair.
Depending on how hard you are on your shoes, you'll know it's time to buy a new pair when you notice they are becoming too loose, you feel joint or muscle pain while running or after you run, or they're obviously worn with fray or holes. The bottom line is go by how they feel, and if they are not as comfortable or as supportive as you think they should be, it's time to go shopping!
Keep the old pair around for dirty house projects or weekend errands, or, even better, donate them — it's Earth Month after all!
Learn where you can donate your shoes after the break!
Attention anyone who does a sport, wears heels, or both: Body Glide is about to become the popular kid in your gym bag. A miracle product to say the least, this little stick prevents rashes, chafing, and blisters. Created by a surfer who was looking to cure wetsuit "hickeys" — minus the petroleum jelly mess — the magic balm was created. Already a hit in the swimming and triathlon communities, it's popular among other sports too.
Body Glide ($10) can prevent saddle sores with bikers, blisters with runners, and common rubbing irritations for all athletes. And aside from the original product, there's an entire line that includes SPF and even heat therapy. So, if you're looking for a product that prevents the uncomfortable, stays in place, and will help you compete (or strut) at your best; glide right into this fit tip!
On your next run, go the extra mile with a mantra proudly stated on a cute top. Created just for runners, these cheeky tanks and tees depict our love for the sport and inspire us to keep going. Whether you run for passion, friendship, or strength, wear your sport proud, and when in doubt, just keep running!