Typically the only piece of equipment that a runner needs is their running shoes which could be why it is so popular. There are no gym fees, teams to find nor expensive equipment needed. A few years ago there was a trend to barefoot running, that is, running without the use of running shoes, removing the only piece of equipment that a runner traditionally needed. The trend was driven partly by the natural movement with the belief that the best way to run was to run with nothing that interfered with the natural running movement and shoes were considered to interfere with that. The other driving force was the increasing research evidence that the current design features in running shoes were not actually preventing the overuse injuries that runners were getting. A lot of people were evangelizing the benefits of barefoot running and an increasing number of runners started to take it up. It did seem to help some runners and at the same time it did seem to hurt other runners.
After the ‘dust settled’ from all the hype associated with barefoot running, the trend started going in the other direction to highly cushioned running shoes. The driving force in the other direction was the realization by runners that the use of barefoot or using very minimalist running shoes did not deliver on what was being promised by all the evangelists. As the trend to barefoot or minimalist running go going, it took time for all the research to catch up. Eventually all the research was not showing the systematic benefits that were being claimed for it. With the current trend to the super maximal cushioned running shoes, there is no actual evidence saying they are any better. The trend is just being driven by runners trying them and liking them. If you are a runner and want advice on which running shoes are best for you, then consult a good podiatrist with experience in dealing with runners.