Best Energy Gels for Running 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
When you are running for more than 60 minutes, you may need to replenish some of your glycogen stores to prevent bonking or hitting the dreaded wall. That is where energy gels come into play.
These gels provide a way to quickly get some extra energy while on the run. They are portable and easy to eat as you move. Plus, they have been specifically formulated for endurance activities.
Quick tip: It is important to always try to drink some water after taking a gel. It will help your body absorb the nutrients quicker and decrease the chance of G.I. distress. Some gels also contain caffeine, which can give you a mental and physical pick me up, especially towards the end of a race.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sports nutrition. While a good rule of thumb is to take in an additional 100 calories every 45 minutes to an hour while working out, there is always some trial and error to see what works best for you.
All of these gels have different flavors, consistencies and nutritional profiles. So whether you are looking for a birthday cake flavored Gu, Spring Koffee Gel or a Mango Huma, there is a flavor to fit your craving.
Here are our top picks for the best energy gels for running:
Gu Energy Gel
GU Energy Gels give you powerful fuel, fast. Each packet contains 100-calories and delivers carbohydrates from maltodextrin and fructose, so it absorbs quickly and gives you an energy boost. There is also additional sodium in each GU to replace primary electrolytes that you sweat out. Finally, these gels contain branched-chain amino acids that may help reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage.
These energy gels are vegan, gluten-free, kosher and come in a variety of flavors from chocolate and salted caramel to fruity flavors such as tri-berry and salted watermelon. For high-intensity or long-duration efforts, GU developed their ROCTANE Energy Gels that have triple the amount of sodium and amino acids (depending on the flavor). Plus, one of GU’s missions is to protect public lands and National Parks, so you are helping protect some of the places we love to walk, hike, run and play.
Maurten Gel 100
Maurten is changing the future of sports nutrition. They use hydrogel technology to allow you to digest high concentrations of carbohydrates and electrolytes by trapping them into a 3D structure, like a medicine capsule, which then carries the nutrients into your intestines where they are released and absorbed by your body.
Maurten gels are made with natural ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Their ready-to-eat formulas provide 25 grams of carbs in each packet, are easy to digest and provide optimal energy to keep you going throughout your run or race, which is why many elite athletes also use it.
These gels are a bit thicker than other energy gels, with a consistency closer to jelly. There are both caffeinated and non-caffeinated options available in a single flavor. For more information, check out our Maurten review.
Hüma Chia Energy Gels
Inspired by the fuel of the Tarahumara tribe, history’s premiere ultramarathoners, Hüma Gels contain all-natural ingredients including finely-blended Chia seeds to provide a steady release of energy with no sugar spikes or crashes. Hüma’s natural ingredients and high water content make them go down easy and digest quickly while on the run.
The gels contain a 2:1 glucose (short and long chains) to fructose ratio as well as all nine essential amino acids to give you maximum energy so you can run longer. Hüma also offers Hüma Plus gels that contain extra electrolytes for longer runs and high-intensity workouts. Plus, Hüma Gels are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan friendly.
Made with real food, Spring Energy gels are a healthy, gut-friendly energy source. These gels contain a combination of complex healthy carbs with a low glycemic index, fats and proteins.
Spring Energy has finely tuned the acidity and osmotically active nutrients to improve absorption and reduce stomach issues.
A balanced composition of carbs gives you extended energy release without any sugar spikes or crashes. They also added coconut oil, which contains MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides), to support a sustainable energy supply without overwhelming any one metabolic pathway.
Spring Energy has a variety of options depending on your activity. Try the Long Haul gel for your long runs or the Hill Aid gel for those grueling hill work sessions. Plus, using ingredients like peanuts, bananas, rice, True Source Certified Honey and more, means you can read and understand the ingredient list for these tasty gels.
Shop all Spring Energy Gels.
How We Picked the Best Energy Gels for Running
With more than 45 years of experience, Fleet Feet is the expert in running. What makes an ideal running gel for a runner comes down to your personal experience, goals, preferences and style.
At Fleet Feet, we have been helping runners pick out the right gear for decades and want to pass that knowledge onto you.
We use a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, seasonal trends and top-seller lists to pick out the best energy gels for running. With all that in mind, we pick gear that has lived up to our personal (and professional) expectations, and we think they will live up to yours as well.
Standing Behind Our Picks
We picked the best energy gels based on what we think will work for the most people in most situations.
If you buy any gear from us and you don’t love the way it looks, fits or performs, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.
Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer.