Q & Answer: What Clothes Can You Wear For Running?

August 27, 2014

Q & Answer: What Clothes Can You Wear for Running?

Michael asks: I saw in your post about activity trackers that you run. Do you have any suggestions for good running clothes? 

There’s a joke about how runners only wear special clothes so that people don’t think they’re running from or to anything. A bit tongue in cheek, but it’s true. Outside of needing running shoes (which you should be professionally fitted for), you can more or less run in anything. Which, frankly, is what makes running so great.   

If you’re OK with spending a little more money, then I’d suggest the following.

  • If you run at night, get reflective snap bands. They can potentially save your life. Nike and Ovadia & Sons also have some cool looking reflective jackets, but they’re expensive. Brooks has their Nitelife collection, which is more affordable, but slightly dorky looking.
  • Get running socks, which will wick sweat away. Cotton socks absorb sweat, which can give you blisters.
  • Depending on how hot your summers get, you may want to consider lined running shorts. Wear them with compression shorts if you need to reduce chaffing, or if you want to add a layer of warmth during the cooler spring and fall seasons.  
  • Synthetic shirts are ideal, as they’ll help wick sweat away. Cotton t-shirts on the other hand, will only hold sweat, which will make you feel clammy and gross.
  • If you plan to run in the snow, make some screw shoes. Be careful, however. If the roads are icy, you’re best off staying in or running at the gym. Slipping and spraining your ankle a few miles from home is a bad, bad situation.
  • Depending on how cold your winters get, consider wool beanies and gloves. Baselayers are also useful, but again – avoid cotton, as it’ll hold sweat and possibly give you hypothermia. Instead, get wool or some kind of synthetic material that will wick sweat away.
  • A lightweight nylon jacket is useful for rainy days, but otherwise, I find they kind of get in the way.
  • I assume GPS watches are useful, but I’ve never used one.  

As for where to get some gear, I really like Nike, which you can find on discount at Nike’s outletsMarshall’s and TJ Maxx. Iffley Road also seems really nice, although expensive. For something more affordable, check out C9 by Champion at Target, Under Armour, and the Airism and Heattech lines at Uniqlo. Dependable brands such as Saucony, Brooks, Adidas, and Hind are also worth looking into, as are general running sites such as Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports. In addition, Track Smith is a new “Ivy inspired” line, although their clothes look like they’re more geared towards style than performance. 

Personally, I wear Nike Miler Dri-Fit tees with Gyakusou running pants on most days. Gyakusou is a collaboration line between Nike and Jun Takahashi (the designer behind Undercover). The more recent collections look a bit funky, but you can find older seasons on eBay (and at cheaper prices). Gyakusou’s clothes are really slim fitting, however, so be sure to size up. For baselayers, I wear Nike Pro Combats; for gloves, I wear Smartwool; and for shoes, I wear Flyknit Lunars. Other than that, I take a single house key and my Nike Fuelband, the second of which I use to time my laps.