Gear Q&A: What are the best all-round running shoes?

What makes a pair of great all-round running shoes for road, trail and treadmill?

Well, first of all you can discount the treadmill. You should use separate shoes for that if only to keep the mud out of the gym, plus you're not likely to clock high mileage on a treadmill so which shoes you wear is not that important. In terms of trying to find a hybrid for trail and road, you can get door-to-trail options (shoes that will cope with you running on the tarmac until you get to the woods), such as the Brooks Cascadia 10 (£105 for both men's and women's), but the downside of that compromise is that the tread on them is not likely to be super aggressive so they can only really be used on packed trails such as woodchip or short dry grass. If you like ploughing through muddy fields as well as pounding the streets it's better to invest in a specialist pair of offroad shoes to cope with the exact terrain you plan to take on. The Run & Become website has a useful guide on how to choose your shoes.

 

What are the best blister-free socks to use for long runs?

This is a matter of trial and error as blister control also needs to take into account the shoes you're wearing, your average weekly mileage and the way your foot lands when you run. But I've found the Thorlo Experia (£9.99) to be really reliable, comfortable and up to the job of cushioning and warding off blisters throughout all my marathon training.

 

Can you recommend some good value compression kit?

Nope. There's no such thing in my view. Decent compression kit is one of those things that is expensive wherever you go, and for a good reason – it's expensive to make. If you spot what looks like cheap compression kit then it's probably not truly compressive, just very tight. Proper compression kit will be graduated – i.e it'll get tighter the further away from the core it gets (so if you're talking about tights, the bottoms of the legs will be tighter than near the waistband). This is to promote better blood flow around the whole body. Personally, I like 2XU stuff. It's well made, lasts a long time, and requires you to give your precise measurements before purchasing so you know you're getting exactly the right size for you.