Running Coach Knox Robinson's Essential Training Gear

The best new running shoes, shades, and outerwear, courtesy of the coolest coach on concrete.

Knox Robinson may be a running coach, but let's be clear: he isn't your average stopwatch-toting, tracksuit-wearing, and whistle-twirling cross-country guy.

Before the former runner at Wake Forest (who once placed 100th in the New York City marathon) turned to running full-time—today he's a paid coach for the Nike+ NYC Live running initiative—Robinson helped manage indie musicians like rapper Theophilus London and the South African group BLK JKS. He even served as editor-in-chief of the Hip-hop magazine The Fader.

Over the last few years, however, he's emerged as one of the most progressive thinkers and enthusiastic champions of modern running culture. (For more about him, check out his Instagram account—@firstrun—where he routinely dispenses with well-written nuggets of wisdom on all things involving two feet, caffeine, music, meditation, and travel.)

With spring—and the 2017 race season—creeping around the corner, we asked Robinson for the five pieces of running gear he can't live without, which he's gamely provided below. And remember: once you've elevated your fitness style, be sure to check out our 4 Essential Steps for Running a Perfect Race.

The Patchwork Track Jacket by Noah

$268; Buy now at

"The definition of running with style from an NYC-based streetwear buzz brand known to drop unexpected running inspired pieces. This jacket mixes a throwback aesthetic with tailored Italian construction and functional twists like cycling jersey pockets in the back. You don't have to finish on the podium to finish at the front of the style game."

Keiichi Blumoon, District Sky G15 Sunglasses

$199; Buy now at

"DV has turned heads in the last year with it's small, considered range of premium eyewear hand crafted in Japan for runners, from a 'black rose' tint lens for varied light on trail runs to these blue cast titanium core frames designed to concentrate the sensations around the blue field of the color spectrum, thereby reducing eye strain and helping focus the runner's mind."

Headspace for Sport by Headspace

$7.99/month (for a year); Buy now at

"We know meditation can unlock potential in many aspects of our lives. The innovative app Headspace was developed by half-Buddhist monk, half-affable British bloke Andy Puddicombe to make mindfulness practice accessible for everyone. In addition to basic building blocks to get started, the app features specific tools to explore, and the sports pack comes at performance—motivation, training, competition and focus—with a fresh perspective."

Lunarepic Flyknit by Nike Running

$129.97; Buy now at

"The Swoosh is known for its obsession with innovation, finessed here with their latest take on forward footwear: the lightweight, glovelike feel of a knit upper and an ankle cuff borrowed from a soccer boot sitting on a midsole and outsole that take cues from the foot's natural motion, making it the perfect ride for an easy recovery run or the mega mileage you might be putting in for that marathon in a few months."

Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm by Dr Bronner

$9.99; Buy now at

"Running and training might come with a few aches and pains, but that doesn't mean you can walk around smelling like the greasy weird dude at the gym. This mint-scented beeswax balm soothes sore with a mix of avocado, coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils…without offending anyone's nostrils."

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