What Should I Wear When I Run? A Beginner’s Guide


If you’re wondering about the basics of running gear, you will always need a pair of comfortable shoes and good, breathable clothing that is not too tight or movement-restricting. We’re going to cover the rest of the gear you need in this article: what should I wear when I run – running gear beginners guide.

Running Gear For All Environments

No matter what sort of environment you are running in, you will need some basic gear. This will apply wherever you are, whether you live in a hot or cold climate, and whether you’re dealing with snow or the baking sun.

The first and most obvious thing you will need is a good, comfortable pair of running shoes. You should purchase these from a specialist shop to make sure that they fit your feet well and they support you; this will help to prevent injuries and running stress.

Running shoes need to be replaced regularly, around every 300 miles, as they will gradually wear out and stop supporting your feet so well. Make sure you have good, well-fitted shoes whenever you run.

Secondly, you should wear socks (Balega socks rule – Check out my recommendations). You might wonder whether this is a good idea in summer, but socks are moisture-wicking and will protect your feet from being rubbed against your shoes. They also help to keep your shoes more hygienic as the socks can be easily washed and will reduce the dirt/sweat that transfers to the shoe.

If you are female, you are also likely to want a sports bra for running in, as this will offer support and make running much more comfortable for you.

Other gear includes a moisture-wicking shirt that will help to pull the sweat away from your body, and either shorts or jogging pants (depending on the weather). Beyond that, you should be all set to hit the track; you don’t need anything else.

What Running Gear Should I Wear In The Summer?

In the summer, moisture-wicking gear becomes even more important, and you may also want to choose clothes that are part mesh to maximize breathability. Do not wear cotton to run in at any time, but particularly in the summer; it holds onto moisture and will make you hot and sticky fast. It will also chafe uncomfortably.

Go for light colors, as these will reflect the heat of the sun away from you and keep you cooler. You may want to choose a loose long-sleeved top if you plan to run in the direct sun, but it is better to run in the shade in short sleeves if you have this option.

You may also want to invest in a running visor, as this will protect your face from the sun and keep it out of your eyes. A peaked cap can work too, but it will make you hotter, as it will trap the heat against your head.

Make sure you have sunscreen on, even if you mostly plan to run in the shade. This is a good precautionary measure that will keep you safe. Finally, consider taking a hydration vest or belt, or have a holster or strap for your water bottle. Always carry cool water with you.

This will help you to stay at a good temperature, and if you are in danger of overheating, you can splash some on your face, wrists, and neck to cool down. If temperatures are very hot, do not go without water, and try to choose cooler parts of the day for running.

Related: Tips For Running In The Heat – Safely

What Running Gear Should I Wear In The Winter?

Running in the winter is a tricky balancing act; you need to be warm, but you also need to be able to strip down when you get too hot. The key is layering, as you can then remove clothing when the exercise warms you up.

Choose moisture-wicking gear, combining a long-sleeved top with either long pants or shorts (Check my complete guide to buying running shorts). A compression top is often a good way to trap heat against your body and wick away moisture.

If the weather is really chilly, consider adding gloves and a warm hat. These can easily be removed when you start to get hot but will make the first part of the run pleasanter and stop your fingers from getting too cold.

Related: Do you wear underwear under running tights? Will Chafing Occur?

Remember to take the decreased daylight in winter into account, and choose running gear with high visibility to make sure you can be seen even if it’s getting dark. You should also think about good grips for your shoes.

Related: How To Run In The Cold – Safely

What Running Gear Should I Wear At Night Time?

If you’re running at night, there are two things you need to think about: warmth and visibility. Visibility is the most important, especially if you plan to run on or near roads. Choose high-visibility gear with reflective strips. Ideally, you should wear this on both your torso and your legs to maximize its effectiveness.

In a pinch, reflective strips are better than nothing, but you should also aim for bright, light colors and florescent material if possible. You can purchase gear that contains an inbuilt light, but you need to be prepared to change the batteries if you do this, or the light will be useless after a short period.

You should also buy gear that is reasonably warm for nighttime running unless you live somewhere that stays hot late into the evening. Long leggings or joggers may be a good option, coupled with a long-sleeved shirt.

Related: How To Run At Night – Safely

What Running Gear Should I Wear When It Rains?

It can be tricky to manage wet weather running, and if you’re struggling, remember to opt for water-wicking fabrics. Do not wear cotton anything in the rain; it will soak up both the rainwater and your sweat and make for a very uncomfortable run.

Choose waterproof shoes with excellent grips. These are a must-have for wet, slippery conditions, and could save you from a fall. GORE-TEX uppers are often great if you can get them; they will keep your feet dry no matter what the weather is like.

You should also invest in a good waterproof jacket for running. These will still be sweat-wicking and well ventilated, so you won’t get soaked in your own sweat while trying to run, but they should keep the rain out – a difficult combination, but achievable with the right gear. For a great post on the best waterproof jackets for running, click here: Best Waterproof Jackets For Running!

You may also want to invest in a visor or hat to keep the rain off your face while you run. This is particularly true if you wear glasses, which will soon get wet and make it hard to see. A visor can really help with the visibility factor, which keeps you safer on a run.

Related: Why Do I Sweat So Much When I Run? How Much Is Too Much Sweat?

What Running Gear Should I Wear When I Run A Race?

When choosing the gear for a race, take the weather into account, and if it’s going to be cold, opt for layers so you can remove them to cool off. However, the most important aspect of choosing gear for a race is to choose your favorite, most comfortable clothes.

Do not hit the track in brand new anything – not new shoes, a new top, new shorts, etc. You need to have checked multiple times that your running gear works for you and you can depend on it before you try to race in it.


Choosing the right gear for a run makes a big difference to your running experience. Badly fitted or unsuitable gear makes running a chore and will soon convince you to give it up. Good gear is the best way to keep yourself running!

Coach Scott's Credentials: He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 17th half marathon race. 

 To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor CLICK HERE.

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