View Full Version : Running Gear on the AT...good idea or not?

12-13-2011, 13:39
I absolutely HATE shorts, pants and zip-offs. They NEVER fit me right, I can't move in them well, I feel stupid in them and although I know fashion isn't important I look terrible in them. So, I'm thinking...what if I buy a pair of running leggings (one pair long, one pair capris/shorts) and pair them with a running skirt? They're moisture wicking (usually contain no cotton whatsoever), have special seams designed to prevent chaffing, and are pretty lightweight. I could add another warmth layer over them easily if I had to, and some runners say that when they wear compression leggings their muscles recover faster, which I think might be useful on the trail if it's true. I can't think of any drawbacks, but have yet to try them for myself. Does anyone hike in these? Do you like them? What are the drawbacks?

Instead of boots I think I'm going to go to New Balance for a pair of trail runners since I usually just hike in sandals. Does anyone hike in New Balance Trail Runners? If so I'd love some feedback.

In general I find that when I'm shopping around for clothing, I'm drawn to running gear. Am I crazy?

12-13-2011, 14:00
not crazy at all.

I hike in new balance shoes, the hiking ones, though I don't see what would be wrong with wearing the "running" shoes. I use superfeet green with them.

I also hike in running tights/lycra shorts with a skirt over them. Just double check the fiber contents because running has been sneaking in cotton lately.

Since tights/skirts usually don't have pockets, you may want to buy or make a pouch to put on your pack's waist belt for small items (camera, mp3, tissues, chapstick, guidebook pages) that you want to reach without taking your pack off.

12-13-2011, 14:08
and a couple caveats.

1. You will never get the smell out. Wash and store clothes separate from your other synthetics so that the smell won't transfer to anything else. Your shoes are also doomed, they will end up smelling like swamp so don't plan to wear them for day to day use. Store them with the insoles pulled out and the laces loose and dry them out before storing.

2. They won't last as long. Sitting on rocks, sliding down steep inclines, general wear and tear is hard on lycra. You will probably need to replace them much more often than heavier nylon pants. I've heard the numbers 300-500 miles for the life of a pair of trail runners, that sounds about accurate to me.

12-13-2011, 14:17
Many, many hikers use trail runners. Extremely common on the trail -- enough so that I notice when a hiker is wearing big full-leather boots.

Not many hikers using compression shorts or tights, but I have seen that. Some male hikers wear kilts, and a few female hikers wear nylon skirts. Not as common, but not weird.

Remember that long distance hiking is different from weekend backpacking trips. I see lots of weekenders out in their full safari gear from LL Bean or REI, giant packs, camp chairs, huge four season tents, etc. Long distance hikers tend to carry and wear pretty similar clothing and gear - nylon running shorts, synthetic or wool t-shirts, trail runners, and very small packs.

12-13-2011, 17:59
So Far I like your ideas!!!
I have many times worn running tights or bike style (without the Chamois) shorts on the trail on Section hikes. I love them (and I am a guy). they are stretchy, easy to put on and take off. they are very comfortable, lightweight and the feel good. they also keep my quadraceps warm in colder weather. Most people don't really care, though now and again you pass a jackass who snickers. I wear them runnig, why not hiking.
Many of the newer brnads (a bit more pricey) have finishes that are odor fighting or odor resistant. Also many of the newer tights are amde with blends of microfiber, model and spandex and not the old shiney lycra spandex. I think they are much more abrasion resistant too.
As for NB Trail shoes. I started with NB AT803's in 2000 and have worked my way up to AT813's. I like them - they are lightweight, somwhat rugged (They have that P/E shield on the bottom to help protect against sharp rocks), inexpensive and disposable.
So Far I like your ideas!!!

12-13-2011, 18:23
Bring back the goucho's of the early to mid 70's

12-13-2011, 19:59
I switched over to running gear several years ago for backpacking, including tights under running shorts in very cold/snowy weather. I have a hard time walking in hiking shorts, they are too long. I hike in either trail runners or shoes. The socks I wear are my running socks, same with my shirts. No need for undies, they are sewn in to my shorts.

Works for me. Gum

12-15-2011, 02:24
I was one of those weekenders with Safari gear. Tilley style hat (which always hit my pack), Columbia long sleeve button shirt, Columbia pants, and Asolo boots. I hike really hot so I'd always be overheating in those clothes no matter the temps. In the past year made the switch to running style gear + UL base weight and it's a lot more enjoyable hiking, still a weekender though. Typical outfit is:

OR Sun Runner (baseball style cap with removable drape)
Patagonia Houdini (windshirt)
Merino wool t-shirt/boxer briefs/running socks
Patagonia Baggies Shorts (5" inseam shorts, liner removed)
Dirty Girl Gaiters (spandex gaiters)
Inov-8 Roclite 295 (lightweight trail runners)

Luckily never had any problems with clothing holding a stench, even synthetics. Only my shoes/socks will stink when I cross water in them. If they stay dry, they don't really smell.

12-15-2011, 07:05
I wore New Balance AT 777's to section hike all of Georgia as well as Grayson Highlands. Not waterproof but comfortable.

12-22-2011, 20:02
ill be heading out wearing a nike breathable shirt of synthetic nature tha back has ventilation built in and nike breathable shorts