Ask The Expert

What To Wear Running

We asked a select group of health and fitness experts for their best tips when it comes to choosing what to wear running

What To Wear Running
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

So, you’re wondering what what to wear running.

Getting into running can be an extremely rewarding experience that can have a positive impact in many areas of your life.

But what’s the best attire to wear when running? If you’ve landed on this article, then the chances are that you’re looking for some tips when it comes to picking out your clothes for your run.

There are a number of things to consider when picking out the best clothing for your run. These include selecting the best running shoes for you and dressing appropriately for the weather.

We asked a select group of experts for their thoughts on the important things to bear in mind when it comes to what to wear running.

Here’s what they said.

Running Attire Should Be Both Comfortable And Functional

Jordan Duncan, Owner of Silverdale Sport and Spine

Running is a great activity for improving your overall health, decreasing stress, staying in shape, and challenging yourself.

You also want running to be an enjoyable exercise, and the apparel you choose will go a long way in making this happen.

Running attire should be both comfortable and functional and there are several things to know before you get started.

It starts from the ground up. Your feet contact the ground several thousand times during each run, therefore choosing the right shoe is crucial.

There is a great deal of information regarding proper shoe choice, however there are a few components that are important to keep in mind.

You want the shoe to securely fit your heel without a lot of slipping, which can create blisters on the back of your ankle.

You want adequate room in your toe box, allowing your toes the freedom to splay comfortably. The best way to asses this is to take the insole out of the shoe and stand on it. You don’t want your toes to overlap the sides of the insole, and if they do your shoes will constrict your feet.

You want shoes that aren’t overly cushioned as this impairs the feedback between your foot and central nervous system. A little cushioning, however, goes a long way.

You want a shoe that is lightweight and won’t add unnecessary energy expenditure during your runs. You want a shoe that isn’t excessively rigid and will allow your foot to move adequately during the running gait cycle.

Ultimately, shoe choice is very individualized, and working with a knowledgeable employee at a shoe store can go a long way in finding the right fit.

Feet are very susceptible to developing blisters during running, the socks you choose can make a world of difference in this regard. Moisture, along with friction, can lead to the formation of blisters, therefore you want socks that wick moisture away from your feet.

Cotton socks aren’t a good choice, however there are many great options available which don’t become saturated with sweat while running.

Woman Running in Park

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

As it pertains to shorts, shirts, and pants, again cotton isn’t a great choice. Cotton clothing doesn’t wick moisture and heat away from the body, and can create uncomfortable chafing and blisters.

There is also a fine line between your clothing being too baggy or too tight. You also don’t want seams or tags to irritate your skin when running. The right fit will vary between individuals, and it is wise to be methodical in your search.

Make sure you move around in your clothes before purchasing them. You don’t want to find out that your running shorts ride up your thigh during the first mile of your run.

If you are going to be running along a road, you want to be seen. Therefore, running apparel often comes in bright colors. The more visible you are, the better it is for you and the drivers you are sharing the road with.

Additionally, in a world of increasing technology, there are great running apps that will inform you of your pace, mileage, and energy expenditure.

These are fantastic tools to use in order to track progress, build on previous runs, and set goals.

Group running

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Make Sure You’re Not Overdressed

Tom Holland, Exercise Physiologist and Certified Sports Nutritionist

1) When running in cold weather, you should be a little chilly when first beginning your run.

You body’s core temperature will warm up quickly, and if you start your run already warm, there is a good chance you will be overdressed and uncomfortable.

2) When choosing running shoes, remember it is function not fashion that matters most. The best shoe for you may not be the color or style you want, but it is what you need physically and biomechanically.

3) Wear performance fabrics that wick the moisture away from your body, allowing your sweat to evaporate and you to stay cool.

4) When running on the roads in the evening, be sure to wear reflective clothing so you can be easily seen by motorists.

5) You can run in extremely cold temperatures if you dress correctly. Three layers is all you really need for you upper body: A tight base layer, a second loose layer and a medium-weight jacket will work for even the most frigid runs.

Man Running

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Every Individual Is Different

Dominic Kennedy, Personal Trainer and CEO of The Dominic Effect App

Everybody and everyone is different, so running shoes have to mold to the person’s body.

If you are seriously considering running, there are specific running shoe stores that will mold the shoe to your foot (based off of having a flat foot, high arch, etc) and design it specifically for you. However, you can also get any style shoe (from Nike, for example).

If you have a back issue, I always recommend Asics. They have amazing support for the lower back!

Water is key to bring with you. If you are doing long-distance running, there are supplements you can take as well to boost your energy. These are the electrolytes you’ll need. Running stores are amazing for carrying them! They are also recommended for long distance running.

Accessories I would recommend and utilize myself are a full water bottle to ensure proper hydration throughout, and a smartwatch to track your heart rate, calories, and distance.

If running in the evening, wear an outfit with reflectors. Light clothing is recommended that is dry fit and sweat resistant. Honestly, go for the clothing which is comfortable for you.

Remember, every individual is different, so choose whatever helps you move comfortably and freely.

Woman Running

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Are You Overthinking Your Running Outfit?

Nick Winder, Founder of Illness to Ultra

Although clothing choices may seem like a critical factor to get right when heading out for a run, it’s possible that many of us are overthinking it in today’s world.

We’ve become uncomfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable, which seems odd considering we’re happy to put our bodies through the stress of running!

The time where it becomes critical to get clothing choices right is when you’re pushing the extremes.

Say you’re heading out on a multi-hour run, or you’re racing on trails in the middle of nowhere. At that point, common sense comes into your choice and you should plan for the possibility of becoming injured and keeping yourself safe for a period of time. If you’re heading out for a five to 10km, and it’s a little cold outside, there’s no need to be comfortable when you step outside.

You want to start out a little cold, as you’ll warm up as your run continues. If you’re cold for the full 30 minutes to an hour, you’ll be OK. Head home, take a warm shower (which feels amazing), and have a hot cup of cocoa.

There are also many sources that even promote the positive effects of being cold, or hot.

Cold shock proteins and heat shock proteins are created when you’re body is exposed to uncomfortable temperatures, and these mini-stressors have been shown to have potentially beneficial effects.

Barefoot Running

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Make Sure Your Shoes Fit And Offer The Right Support

Jason Kozma, Celebrity Personal Trainer

1) Running shoes are the most important for a beginner. If you can visit your local running store and have them watch you run on a treadmill, it will help to pick the right pair.

You don’t want to start out with an injury, so make sure the shoes fit you properly and offer the right support.

A good sports bra is another must for ladies – if you are not comfortable, you won’t be able to stick to running.

The rest is up to you: you can wear what you already have in your closet or invest in a top and bottom made out of wicking material to help pull sweat away from your body.

2) Running in the rain could be fun if you embrace the fact that you will get wet. Put on a baseball cap, make sure you have the right socks and don’t wear cotton, because it absorbs water.

When it comes to running in the cold, warming up is the best thing you can do to get ready. The cold doesn’t seem so cold when you are warm on the inside.

Enjoy the run and change quickly post-run, because your core temperature drops quickly the moment you stop running. And drink a hot cup of tea or have a bowl of soup.

Athletics at University

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Take Note Of What You Do And Don’t Like About Your Current Shoes Before Buying New Ones

Samantha Parker, Kinesiophobia, Yoga and Movement Specialist

Before investing in a new pair of running shoes, use the ones you have a few times to see what you do and do not like about them so you’ll have a better idea of what to look for when you do buy new shoes.

Look for as shoe with a wide toe box! Many shoes have more rounded or pointed toes, but when your foot strikes the ground, your toes naturally spread out. If you feel your toes continuing to touch the front of your foot this could lead to issues with your toenails and blisters. No fun.

Ladies – a good bra is everything! Invest in a good bra that holds you tight, especially if you are blessed with a bigger chest. I love the high-impact ones by Under Armour. Whichever brand you choose, look for a high-impact one for running.

If it’s not too hot, choose some leggings or shorts that will not chaff between your thighs. Chaffing can become very uncomfortable and possibly deter you from continuing to run in the the following days.

Tops should fit close – but too tight may lead to chaffing. If you do find yourself chaffing in certain areas, invest in some Body Glide, which you can apply to the affected areas.

Running Race

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Start By Focusing On Your Feet

Samantha Clayton, Former Olympian and Global Fitness Professional

Running is what I call the ‘little black dress’ of the fitness world – it’s always in fashion but if you are new to getting out on a run you may be wondering what to wear.

I suggest firstly that you focus on your feet. A good fitting pair of running shoes that give you adequate support and specialized running socks will save you from the pain of blisters. Double lined marathon socks are one running must-have, even if you’re only doing a 5K.

Running shorts can be great if you’re comfortable in them – their looser fit allows for ample air flow and no rubbing of fabric. However, if you prefer leggings, a cropped runners tight will provide a nice feeling of muscular support – and in the winter months will keep you warm.

A good sports bra is essential for women. It must fit well and give you adequate protection with no rubbing or moving around. A shirt that is designed for running provides comfort and wicks away sweat.

Avoid running in fashion ware, it’s just not designed for movement and will rub, may not breathe well and cause odor to sit on your clothing.

In the winter, opt for layers so you can remove and tie at the waist as you go. In the hot weather, a visor to protect your face from the sun but not a hat that keeps in the heat is my top tip.

Finally, reflective strips are essential on the dark mornings and nights. You must be seen out there, even if you’re on the path.

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