At first look, something seems off. On second look, it becomes clear that Portland-based Skora's newest line of running shoes combines ingenuity with anatomical common sense, a minimalist structure mimicking your foot's natural shape. Skora claims to offer increased comfort for the top of the foot using a mesh support pattern and arch band. Plus, the red-and-black Sith-looking footwear is slick.
Scout was Jason Pastega's best friend and served as his four-legged companion on a series of Northwest adventures. When Pastega decided to create organic energy bars to compete with mainstream bars made with high-fructose corn syrup, he christened them "Skout." The Portland company produces gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO trail bars—we like the vanilla-and-cherry bar that's sweet and chewy with a few crunchy bits to keep things interesting.
$84.99 men's, $79.99 women's, us.icebreaker.com
It's hard to avoid doing laundry constantly when you run in Portland, where rain and humidity can crank up water bills. One solution is wearing itch-free merino wool. Icebreaker merino wool shorts dry fast and naturally resist stench. The company is based in New Zealand, but its North American offices are in Portland. These lightweight shorts are 100 percent merino wool on the outside with a liner that's 96 percent merino with some stretchy stuff blended in.
Dahlgren's socks—made from merino wool and alpaca fiber—combine two soft, naturally wicking materials to provide durability while fighting friction and reducing lactic acid buildup by applying compression to certain parts of the foot, improving circulation. Based in West Linn, Dahlgren produces patterned and standard socks for outdoor excursions, including hiking, backpacking and skiing.
Eola Bottling Co.
This Oregon rain water is like a virgin, touched for the very first time by your lips. Supposedly, clouds forming over the Pacific Ocean are blown straight to the Willamette Valley and the tiny town of Gervais, where mineral-free rainfall is captured and bottled.
The Wilsonville company creates headphones noted for their sleek appearance, vibrant color and tuning out unwanted background clatter. They also have stay-put placement—equipped with four sets of personally sized ear tips. They're little in size but plenty loud.
$59.99 jersey, $34.99 tank top, etsy.com/shop/OneLegCrow
OneLegCrow owner Kyle Stevens prints and sews running shirts in a Portland garage with moisture-wicking fabric that draws sweat away from the body for quick evaporation. The short-sleeve cycle jersey is adorned with three back pockets, ideal for holding an iPod, water bottle and ID, making it perfect for trail running.
Do you want your water hot or cold? Bend's Hydro Flask created a double-walled, vacuum-insulated water bottle of normal size made with BPA-free materials and stainless steel. The innovation swears by ice-cold water, even if left on a car's scorching dashboard in the middle of summer, and by hot fluids during the depths of winter.
Soft Star Shoes
These platypus-looking brown-and-turquoise shoes are made from perforated leather and suede. They're lightweight, with a sturdy sole that is ideal for trail running. Soft Star Shoes is in Corvallis—and makes its shoes there by hand—producing ultra-light shoes that promote natural foot development.
Climachill women's and men's tee and shorts; Springblade running shoes
$45 tee, $40 shorts, $180 shoes, adidas.com
Adidas, which has its North American headquarters in North Portland, last month released its "Climachill" technology. The titanium-woven fabric and aluminum cooling spheres—they look like pinhead-sized silver scales—are supposed to lower your body temperature while you're out training for that marathon. The 3-D spheres are strategically located on the warmest parts of the body, such as the back of the neck,
for maximum cooling potential, and the breathable microfiber fabric wicks sweat away from your skin. The Springblade running shoes, meanwhile, have polymer fins jutting from the soles, which Adidas promises will make you a more efficient runner—or at least offer you both bounce and cushiony support.