If you are new to running, you might have some questions about what kind of gear you REALLY need, and what might be nice to have in the long run (pun intended). I want to do a "series" to tell you about the gear that I find helpful and to help you know how to shop!
#1 Running Shoes
Whether you're just getting started or you've been running forever, shoes are the most essential part of any runner's gear (unless you're into the whole barefoot thing, but that's a whole different topic we'll save for later (or never)). I run in Brooks Adrenaline model, which is a support/stability shoe for runners who overpronate.
I suggest that EVERYONE who runs or walks for exercise should go to their local running store and get professionally fitted for shoes (at least the first time you buy). These professionals will watch you run/walk, look at and measure your feet, and check out the wear patterns on your old shoes. All of this information helps them determine whether you need a neutral, motion-control, or stability shoe. They will then pull several different makes/models of shoes that fit your needs and have you try them out. Whichever one feels best to you is the one to go with. If your ideal shoe only comes in hideous colors, try to get over that. Running is not about fashion (for the most part). Once you've purchased your first pair of shoes, you can buy subsequent pairs online, usually for less money than the local store. However, it's always nice to support your local running store (LRS).
#2 - Wicking Socks
Wicking socks are great for preventing blisters. They wick the moisture away from the sole of your foot, keeping your feet cooler and drier than regular cotton gym socks. Some good brands are Balega, Feetures and Thorlos. You can also find Nike socks in packs of 3 for pretty cheap. My favorites are my Balegas, because they are really thin and comfortable.
Check back later for more gear suggestions!