Adapted with permission of VeloPress from Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running by Lisa Jhung with illustrations by Charlie Layton. For more, visit

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).

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.

RELATED: The 10 Commandments of Trail Running

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.

Speed Racer

Some run in precariously small shorts, minimal shoes, and no socks. Pace-tracking device is the only thing causing drag.

Ultrarunning Hipster

Trail running hipsters can often be found in thick-rimmed, Ray-Ban-style sunglasses and trucker hats. Some run while chatting on cell phones, texting, and Tweeting.



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