Brendon Babenzien’s favorite 2021 racing gear
Photo: Courtesy of Brendon Babenzien
welcome to On the run, a Strategist column in which we ask experienced runners to tell us everything they wore and brought during their last race, shoes and socks To listeners and energy gels. Racing gear preferences are very personal and change depending on the season, so instead of declaring a pair of shorts or a sports bra Best of all, we hope this series captures what works best for a particular runner on a particular race – and that maybe you can find something that works for you, too.
For this edition, I spoke with Brendon Babenzien, founder of the men’s clothing brand Noah. He’s an avid runner who recently collaborated with Adidas on an athletic-inspired clothing and footwear collection. Here he details everything he wore during a run through the streets of Brooklyn on one of the cold first mornings of fall. As you’ll see, Babenzien’s fit is sleeker than spandex, and he’s probably the only runner we know to have covered miles in a J. Press sweater.
Babenzien says he’s been wearing Newton running shoes for at least a decade. He’s a fan of the shoe’s unique design, which replaces traditional heel cushioning with rubber âstudsâ under the forefoot to promote a more forward landing. âWhen you land on those pods, you get really good energy return,â he says. âIt puts your body in a slightly different position. Babenzien credits Newton’s shoes and the way they engage his running muscles for keeping him injury-free for years to come.
Due to the seamless construction of the Newton shoes, Babenzien says he is actually able to run without socks most of the year without having blisters. When it’s cold, he adds a pair of Smartwool or Patagonia wool socks for an extra layer of warmth. In addition to the running socks from these brands, he also likes their lightweight hiking socks. âWhen it’s 20 degrees outside or there’s snow or slush on the ground, wool still helps keep your feet warm even if they’re wet,â he tells us. .
Like any experienced runner, Babenzien knows the power of a good underwear when the temperatures drop. âThe stuff you wear under your clothes is what does all the work,â he says. âSo your woolen baselayer, or whatever tech top you wear, does the heavy lifting to keep you dry and warm. He relies on this Tracksmith merino wool base layer, which is also a favorite of the other runners we interviewed. Even though Babenzien says he doesn’t buy a lot of âreal racing trains,â he does own a few pieces from Tracksmith due to the brand’s aesthetic and technical appeal. “It’s a really subtle classic style, and the quality is quite good.”
This is where Babenzien’s look deviates from what one might expect to see on a runner: instead of technical gear, he prefers pieces like Shetland sweaters and flannel shirts like outer layers that easily go from racing to everyday life. âThere were scenarios where I would go for a run and then end up at brunch in my running gear, and I felt more comfortable having clothes that looked like they belonged there rather than a running kit. tight spandex. âThis J. Press sweater is not your typical sportswear garment, but Babenzien says it keeps it warm without getting soaked in sweat when wearing a proper base layer.
Another unexpected item in Babenzien’s racing kit is this pair of suede gloves from Paul Stuart. âOver the years, I’ve turned those dressy gloves into ‘all-around gloves’,â he says. “I can actually do anything with them and they hold on – they can handle it.” Barbenzien first came up with the idea of âââall glovesâ after running in an equally durable pair found in Oslo.
Note: Babenzien’s suede gloves are no longer available, but this shearling pair has a similar look.
Babenzien says these pants from Noah’s recent collection with Adidas are “a throwback to the 70s and early 80s sweatpants.” Like regular sweatpants, these have stirrups to go under your feet and keep them in place, but the updated version of Noah includes buttons so you can remove them if you wish. Babenzien’s favorite features of the pants are the three zip pockets, which hold his wallet, keys, energy gels and more. The rigid mesh fabric of the pants keeps everything in the pockets in place so they don’t bounce as you run. Also from Noah, his cross-country ski beanie, an acrylic hat that is suitable for cool fall days (when it gets even colder it will switch to a wool version).
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