Before you start a running program, it's essential to purchase the right running clothes so that you’re comfortable while out exercising. There are so many brands available that it can be difficult to know what will best suit your needs. The wrong choice of running attire will not only slow you down but could cause injuries - for instance, choosing the wrong footwear for a jog in the snow could land you in the ER.
Running attire has improved so much when we think back to the days of cotton t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms. Today, running outfits are made with advanced technology. There are jackets made from fabric that is impervious to water, yet still breathable and sweat-proof. Exercise vests are now very lightweight, and it's possible to fold them to fit into your pocket if you decide to take them off during a run in the summer. The same garment can also feature air chambers that inflate when the temperature drops. Essentially, running gear has evolved to cater for all types of conditions.
Having the right gear for all weather conditions will make your running program much more enjoyable and efficient. Below, you’ll find our recommendations on the best running attire for all weather conditions.
Both spring and summer are great times to run, as long as it’s not too hot. However, the variations in temperature - from about 40°F in spring and as hot as 90 degrees in summer - means that you should have different running outfit options available. Here are our picks:
In the spring, when the temperatures are in the 40s, it’s best if you choose two layers of jogging attire. Choose a base layer that works for you - like a sweat proof vest - as well as the outer layer you’d like. Depending on the temperature, this might be a zip-up jacket (that you can unzip if it gets too hot) or a t-shirt.
Running tights are also a good option, although you should choose shorter tights if it’s really warm. Try to make either the top or bottom of your outfit breathable so that you remain comfortable.
For jogging in higher temperatures, a recommended combination is a breathable short sleeve shirt or running tank and lightweight running shorts or capris. Breathable capris are a great choice because they let the breeze in and allow sweat to evaporate.
If you’re running in temperatures above 80°F, choose tops and shorts made from lightweight, breathable, synthetic fabric that wicks moisture like Polypropylene or Nylon. This will help keep you comfortable and stop your clothes from sticking to you too much.
Some people love running in the rain, while others hate it! However, if you’re training for a big race, you’ll probably exercise out in the drizzle at some point. Here are our recommendations for running in the rain:
Avoid wearing too many layers while jogging in the rain, because your clothes will get wet and become heavier. Stick to one layer on both top and bottom made from synthetic, water-resistant fabric.
If it’s cold or especially rainy, you might also consider wearing a waterproof rain jacket. Make sure it’s lightweight and that your layers underneath are also waterproof so you don’t get cold and wet.
If you don’t have a specialist rain jacket for running, you could make a rain poncho by cutting arm and neck holes from a garbage bag. It’s not pretty, but having this layer will prevent you from getting wet and will keep you warmer and more comfortable.
Running in the rain is miserable if you can’t see! Consider wearing a hat with a brim or a visor to protect your face from splashes, or wear tight-fitting running shades to stop water going into your eyes.
If you live in an area prone to rain, consider investing in shoes recommended for rain running, to help keep your feet warm and dry as best as possible. Also, observe where you are running to prevent stepping in puddles that will soak your shoes and socks.
When the temperature goes below 30°F, you’ll need to step up to warmer jogging gear and specialist shoes to keep your temperature level and prevent injury. Here’s what we recommend:
Consider wearing a long-sleeve shirt, a tank top base layer, and a zip-up winter running jacket. Vests and hybrid jackets can also give you extra warmth. Make sure these are all made from synthetic moisture-wicking material to prevent you from becoming too sweaty.
For your lower body, get some long insulating leggings and underwear. You could also wear a pair of running shorts over the tights for extra warmth. It’s important to make sure that your legs and back are as warm as possible because you’ll lose a lot of your heat from there.
Wear a headband or hat to cover your ears and ensure you retain some heat.
If it’s bitingly cold, get some insulating gloves. and gloves to prevent your hands from getting too cold.
In low temperatures, you should also consider wearing insulated running shoes to keep your feet warm. Get some specialist running socks to keep your feet protected but not too sweaty, as this can cause swelling and blisters.
In snow, wear trail running shoes with enough grip to improve traction - this will prevent slipping and injury.
BONUS TIP: Regardless of the weather, your safety during your runs is vital. Be it in the early hours of the morning or late at night, having a high visibility accessory like a LED belt is a lifesaver. That way, oncoming vehicles will see you well in advance.
We hope you’ve now got a good idea of what to wear for different kinds of conditions when you’re out running. Having the right running attire will keep you going for longer - nobody wants to cut a run short because of becoming too hot, cold, or uncomfortable. However, finding what works best for you and your body may take a while, so prepare to try a few options before you settle on the best clothing combination for all types of weather.