Are you looking for the best running gear for women? Whether you are brand new to running, or an experienced runner, having the right gear for the sport makes all the difference. Women in the U.S. aren’t just running for fun either. According to Running USA, over 60% of participants in a road race in 2018 were women. Running is a very popular activity for women, so it is crucial for us ladies to have the best running gear for maximum comfort.
What Should Women Wear for Running?
While running in your pajamas is an option (we’ve done it before when pressed for time), it’s not necessarily the best option. There are many companies that provide female running apparel specifically for women’s comfort and performance. And today, much of it is considered stylish and cool running gear for women. If you are a new runner you might be a little overwhelmed with all of the choices. There is some must-have running gear that all female runners need, like a really good pair of supportive sneakers.
It is important to wear clothes that are comfortable for you, so buy the size that fits but leaves you breathing room. And don’t forget that your body will heat up as you start running so dress like it is about 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual outside temperature if you will be running outdoors.
The absolute best running gear for women
▷ Shirt: If you will be running outdoors, the shirt you choose will depend on the weather. Depending on the temperature, you’ll need a tee shirt, tank, or long-sleeved shirt. One that is comprised of wicking material will pull the sweat away from your body and dry quicker than cotton. The Neleus Compression Workout Athletic Shirt fits like a second skin with four-way stretch technology and two-way air circulation to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
▷ A vest or Lightweight Jacket: The best women’s running apparel has to include a jacket or vest for when the weather turns colder. Running jackets should be comfortable and allow air to pass through so you don’t overheat. The right jacket can enable you to run all year round. No doubt you’ll take a run in the rain at some point. Brooks Women’s Canopy Jacket is a breathable, water-resistant jacket with pockets, thumbholes, and reflectivity. Plus, it packs really well so you can run in the rain even on vacation.
▷ Shorts or Pants: Again, in the summer months, you’ll most likely want to run in shorts if you live in a warmer climate. Running pants and shorts should have a pocket as well for tissues (your nose will run at some point), keys, or a phone. Lululemon’s Run Speed Short has a back zippered pocket for small essentials. Other running pants that I really love and shared several times on my social media are the Baleaf running shorts for under $20. They fit just perfect and are truly the best shorts for running for me.
▷ Sports Bra: This is a must-have running essential for women. Choose a sports bra that provides good support for your bust size and minimal chafing. Women with a larger chest should also consider coverage and fit so they are not pulling or adjusting the sports bra while running. Soft, stretchy fabrics will help you feel better for longer. Some, like the High Impact Sports Bra from Tfscloin, even comes with a pocket in the back for your phone. With sports bras in general it always makes sense to have your style of sports bar fitted beforehand. This can happen at a local running gear store. Depending on your breast you may need more or less support than others.
▷ Socks: You might not give too much thought to your running socks, but athletic socks have come a long way from your high school gym class days. The Rockay Accelerate was voted as the top sock because they are made with ventilation zones to make a breathable sock with a cushion so it won’t give you blisters. Plus, they are made of 100% recycled materials! Please also check out my guide to the best running socks in 2020.
▷ Gloves: As part of the best running gear for women, especially if you live in a colder climate you will have to keep your hands protected when the weather turns. Unigear Lightweight Running Gloves feature the newest fiber material for maximum thermal protection, and they are touchscreen friendly.
What Running Gear Do I Need?
If you are not comfortable while running, it can ruin the workout. That is why it is important your running apparel is made for working out. Investing in the best running gear for women will help ensure your runs are pleasurable and not painful or uncomfortable. There are a few more items that will make your run a little easier.
▷ Water Bottle: You most likely won’t need a water bottle for a short run in the winter, but in the summer, keeping hydrated is important. A water bottle that attaches to a belt is a necessity for long, hot runs outdoors. URPOWER makes a running belt with multifunctional zipper pockets and room for two water bottles.
▷ Moisturizing Body Rub: If you are planning to run a long distance (10+ miles) then you might want to consider Body Glide to reduce chafing. The applicator makes it easy to apply to the areas of skin that are sensitive to rubbing. It contains Vitamins A, B, E, and F to moisturize the skin.
▷ Headband: If you have long hair or bangs that are going to get in your face, a headband will keep your hair off your face and sweat out of your eyes. The Halo II Headband Sweatband comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is made of fabrics that will absorb sweat to keep it away from the eyes, face, and glasses. It also has non-slip grip technology that holds your hair back even during the most intense run.
▷ Sunglasses: Sunglasses are often needed unless you always run in the evenings after the sun has gone down. A polarized pair can filter out the reflected glare from the sun and block out harmful UVA and UVB rays. There are many different types, depending on your budget. My favorites are Knockaround Sunglasses. They are pretty affordable and super comfy.
▷ Running Watch: And, as you get more serious about running, you’ll want to know your time and distance, a running watch that tracks this information will be necessary. The Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch has built-in GPS to track how fast and how far you run as long as 24/7 heart rate monitoring. I wrote a full running watch comparison if you’ll need more information on which running watch you should pick.
What is the Best Women’s Running Shoe?
Running in old sneakers is never a good idea and could result in blisters or an injury. Instead, invest in a good pair of running shoes to complete your running gear for women. Some avid runners have their tried-and-true favorites, but as a new runner, you might have to try out a few to find your perfect fit.
I always recommend getting fitted for your ideal running shoe at a local running store or by a running coach. The way you run defines the shoes you’ll need for your running adventures. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to serious injury and could take away the joy that running is all about.
Those new to running should look for extra cushioning and support to prevent injury. A good choice for beginners is the Brooks Ghost 12 Running Sneaker. This running shoe provides neutral support with cushioning. Another good choice is the Asics Gel Cumulus 22, which uses gel technology to absorb impact.
If you plan on logging miles, the best running gear for women will make those miles more pleasurable to run to keep you comfortable. The technology in today’s running apparel has made for better fitting and functioning clothes.
Sabrina Wieser is a running expert based in New York City and the founder of Runningbrina - She is a USATF Level 3 and IAAF Level 5 Endurance Certified Coach and experienced marathon runner. She completed over 35 long-distance races and helped over 200 clients to cross their personal finish line. Her expertise in enhancing running performance through training and nutrition has been recognized by many within the running community and different media outlets such as Huffington Post, the Dr Oz Show and adidas running.