Clothing for Running
I recommend clothing made of synthetic fabrics like
polypropylene (polypro) that wick away moisture and keep you dry. Cotton gets
wet and stays wet, which makes it clammy in cold weather and sticky when it's
warm. Polypro doesn't have that problem; it performs well in both cold and warm
weather. Cotton will work just fine if you're just getting started, and then you
can always get more high tech if you decide that you're going to keep on
- Shirt. Any old T-shirt will do when you're just getting started. As
you get more serious, you can start with polypro fabrics and singlets (the
sleeveless tops that many runners wear).
- Shorts. Running shorts are typically
made of some type of synthetic material, come in slightly different lengths, and
some have minor accessories like an internal pocket for cash and keys. Some
people like to run in Lycra bike shorts. Bike shorts are comfortable for some,
and they eliminate chafing in the thighs for runners whose thighs rub together.
- Leggings. Once it gets cold, you can wear leggings (Lycra or polypro). These
fit loose, tight, or somewhere in between. Try them on and see what feels most
comfortable to you.
- Inclement weather. For the rain or particularly cold
weather, wear an outer shell. Inexpensive shells are made of nylon and will keep
you warm and dry for short runs, but they don't breathe, and so if you're out
there for more than 20-30 minutes, you're going to feel clammy (even if your
shirt is polypro). I recommend investing in a quality shell made of Gore-Tex or
other breathable fabric if you intend to run in cooler weather or the rain. The
high-tech shells will keep you warm and dry by letting moisture escape but
keeping out the wind and rain. They also have vents to help you regulate your
- Socks. I recommend running or hiking socks. They have reinforced
and padded heels, and they are synthetic, which means they dry quickly and slide
easily over your skin when wet (which reduces the risk of friction blisters).
Cotton socks don't dry quickly and get abrasive when they get wet, which
increases the risk of blisters.
- Hat. Any type of polypro hat will do as long
as it isn't too thick and wicks the sweat away from you. My favorite hat for all
outdoor cold-weather activities is made of Thermax. It's ultra-thin (even fits
under a bike helmet), comfortable, and wicks away the sweat. It keeps me warm no
matter how cold or sweaty I get.
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