What to Wear When Running

Running is one of the most common and efficient ways to work out, and it’s something that comes with huge mental and physical health benefits. While we spend much of our leisure time sitting down, running is something that can help develop your muscular and cardiovascular endurance and is profoundly rewarding too, with many people getting the famous ‘runners high’ after a period of running.

While running clearly has many benefits, being able to take full advantage of these often relies on proper running attire. Without this, you will find yourself suffering from discomfort in a variety of ways, and missing out on a range of benefits that proper running attire can provide, from comfort to convenience and even performance improvements.

In this guide, we’re going to look at what to wear when you go for a run to help you build a great running outfit that will help you take your running to the next level.

Running Shoes

The first, and arguably most important part of any runner’s wardrobe is a good pair of running shoes.

Running shoes are specially designed to help support your feet through the fairly arduous process of running and they do this in a  few different ways.

Most running shoes are designed to help cushion the concussive force of repeated heavy footfalls onto hard surfaces like concrete, and soft, spongy materials are primarily used to help reduce these impacts.

This makes a huge difference to the comfort of your running and can help reduce the chance of blisters and aching in the ankle, as well as long-term damage to the ankle, knee, and hip. 

Running shoes often incorporate a breathable material into the uppers to help keep your feet cool and allow sweat to evaporate more easily, which can also help reduce the chance of blistering as well as the chance of getting athletes foot.

A good tread that provides grip on variable surfaces is also key, especially for running in wet or muddy conditions.

There are various brands and styles to choose from, and there’s almost certainly a great choice out there for you.

Vest/T-Shirt

Wearing a vest or shirt is the minimum most runners will wear to protect their upper body, and making the right choice here is critical. This is because the torso is one of the sweatiest parts of the body, and also the site of a lot of friction and chafing which runners can suffer from.

Runner’s nipples are a particular concern and can be incredibly distracting or debilitating to your running experience.

In order to avoid these problems, choose a vest or T-shirt that doesn’t use badges or stitching on the front panel, particularly in areas around the nipples and armpits where friction is heaviest.

Ideally, a running shirt should be made of light material such as nylon or polyester, which are breathable and dry more quickly than things like cotton, which should be avoided at all costs.

Compression shirt

A compression shirt is a tight-fitting garment that helps increase your body’s ability to wick away sweat and stay cool, as well as providing helpful supportive pressure to key muscles in the arms and torso.

There are also versions designed for cold weather use to keep you warm, but generally speaking, runners will want something for cooling except in the most extreme cold.

Compression shorts/Leggings

Compression shorts and leggings are very important and also help to wick away sweat from your legs and groin, while also providing supportive pressure to key muscles in the legs. Compression shorts can help reduce lactic acid build-up and aching and can have a hugely positive impact on your technique.

While there are compression shorts designed to help keep you warm, most runners will want a pair of leggings or shorts that are cooling and that help provide support to your muscles.

Shorts

While it’s perfectly possible to run in leggings or jogging trousers, most runners prefer running in shorts which allow for a better range of movement, more comfort, and greater cooling. Running shorts don’t need to be fancy and are generally a way of ensuring that you don’t blind anyone while you’re working out.

A good fit is important to ensure the shorts don’t restrict movement or fall down easily, and polyester or nylon is the best choice of material similar to running shirts. But any shorts that are comfortable and secure are a fine choice for running in.

Socks

Running socks can help keep your feet cool and also provide support to your calves by adding pressure and preventing lactic acid buildup. Running socks will also help prevent your running shoes from blistering you and will often have an antibacterial treatment to help prevent athlete’s foot, which is a common issue for runners.

Jacket/Gilet

In cold weather or rain, a jacket or gilet can provide a key layer of protection from the elements without causing you to overheat.

A thin rain mackintosh or pullover are best if the weather is wet, while a gilet helps keep your core warm without adding unnecessary material to crucial areas such as the arms and neck allowing for proper range of motion and movement while you run.

Hats/Gloves

Some runners, particularly in colder areas, will use hats and gloves as a way to stay safe and warm while running.

Generally, a small hat for warmth or keeping the sun out of the eyes is fine, as well as warm or fingerless gloves for warmth depending on the conditions.

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