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The Right Running Apparel

The Right Running Apparel Hollie Sick Run Tri Bike Magazine Contributor

Finding the right running shoes is essential for running well, but what about running apparel? How do we find the best running apparel for our needs?

Running gear is not cheap. These days, it can easily cost $60 for a simple running top. So how can you choose the running gear that’s best for you?

What To Look For In Choosing Running Gear?

First, what do you really need?

The answer depends on your personal preferences, your training level, where you live, and your training goals. In other words, it depends on you and your needs!

A basic running outfit includes:

  • Proper running shoes
  • Moisture-wicking running top
  • Underwear
  • Comfortable shorts
  • Sports bra for females
  • Running socks (these make a HUGE difference in alleviating blisters)

Running Shoes:

Of course, running shoes are your number one piece of equipment. There is no best running shoe for everyone. To learn which one is best for you, it’s essential to go to your running store and get fitted by the experts. They’ll be able to find the right shoes for you and your training, thus making you less susceptible to injury.

How to Purchase the Right Running Clothing

Clothing is essential for your comfort when you run. What has become the basic rule for running apparel is: “cotton is rotten.” Avoid cotton clothing, especially socks, as the material can create chafing and blisters. Besides that, cotton doesn’t do anything to regulate body temperature, so you’ll feel cold in the winter and hot in the summer. When cotton gets wet, often from sweat, it stays wet and can irritate and scratch the body. This can easily cause blisters and chafing.

What Kind Of Material Should You Look For In Running Gear?

You will want to look for technical (also called “tech”) fabric, which is designed specifically for the sweating that accompanies running or any strenuous activity. The material draws sweat away from the skin and into the outer surface of the material, where it evaporates. This works to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, as you might guess; it dries much faster than cotton.

What are technical fabrics? Most people have heard of Nike’s “DryFit,” but almost every running manufacturer has its own brand of technical fabric.

Moisture Wicking Running Top:

Running tops vary so much these days. There are thousands of them. Some keys to look for in running tops are:

  • The material.
  • The fit.
  • The comfort.
  • Compatibility with your climate.

An excellent-fitting running top is usually made of some form of nylon. It will feel cool, light and comfortable. If you live in a warmer area, you might consider getting something with mesh paneling in the back and sides that will help regulate body temperature. A good running top doesn’t have to be expensive. You can shop for last season’s tops to find less costly ones.

Most running tops cost between $20-$80.

Shorts, Pants and Capris:

Finding running bottoms can be challenging. Like finding a good fitting pair of blue jeans. How many people want to shop for those?

What to look for in running bottoms:

  • The comfort.
  • How they move with you while you run.
  • Special features that you prefer, like pockets to hold your keys, your phone, or gels. Or an underwater liner.

Most running bottoms are lightweight and are usually made from nylon or spandex. They breathe well and move with you.

You can expect to pay between $30-$150 for running bottoms. That higher-end price might shock people, but there are running pants, such as those by Gore-Tex, that can actually keep you dry in rain and snow storms! Plus you can always shop last season’s models and find deals.


Underwear makes a big difference when running. As with other pieces of clothing, you want to find underwear that wicks away moisture to prevent chafing. You want to look for something that is comfortable and moves with you. In the winter, you might also want to look for something that protects you from the wind.

You can expect to pay $5-$20 for a good pair of athletic underwear.

Sports Bras:

Ladies, your sports bra is every bit as important as your running shoes. Most running stores will offer a sports bra fit to ensure that you get the one that properly supports you. You should not need to wear two bras. There are athletic sports bras in every size that give you great support. A proper sports bra reduces unwanted movement.

What to look for in a properly fitted sports bra:

  • The comfort. It’s essential to find one that lets you breathe but also doesn’t allow much movement.
  • Special features. Some sports bras are made so you can hold your cell phone or gels!

Good quality running sports bras cost between $20-$80.

Running Socks:

Running socks play one of the most significant roles in running comfort. Do not, I repeat, do not buy cotton running socks. Cotton socks set you up for blisters and chafing. Your running socks should be made of technical and moisture-wicking material.

What to look for in running socks:

  • No cotton. Seriously I cannot emphasize this enough.
  • You want socks that fit well, aren’t too tight and don’t slide off.

Proper running socks aren’t going to fall, and they’ll prevent blisters and enhance your running experience.

Most running socks cost between $8-$30 per pair.

Finding the proper running clothing can sometimes be as challenging as finding the right running shoes. At the end of the day, you primary goal is to be comfortable when you run!



Hollie is a runner, hiker, swimmer, residing in California. She has worked in run specialty for nearly 8 years and has fit hundreds of people for shoes. Outside of the running world, she enjoys the general aviation world, her two cats, and spending time with her spouse.