Basic Running Clothing and Gear for Beginners

What Should a Beginner Runner Wear?

A woman stretching on a bridge along the Portland waterfront.
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If you're new to running, you may be wondering, What should I wear when running? One of the things I love about running is that you don't need any fancy running gear or expensive running clothing. All you really need to get started with running is a good pair of running shoes that are the right fit for you.

Running Shoes: Your Most Important Running Gear

Wearing old running shoes or running shoes that aren't right for your foot type and running style is one of the biggest causes of running injuries.

Therefore, it's not a good idea to dig out those old tennis shoes from the back of your closet and assume you can run in them. You need fresh, well-cushioned shoes that are designed for running, fit well and match your foot type and running style. Even if you have an old pair of running shoes that you think are comfortable, the cushioning may be worn out, so they probably need to be replaced.

When shopping for running shoes, don't pick a shoe because you like the brand, style, or colors. It's best to go to a running-specialty store, where experts can evaluate your foot and running style and make recommendations for the right shoes for you. Make sure that the salesperson watches you run and evaluates your gait. He or she should also measure your foot. Even if you're done growing, your feet can actually get bigger over time, due to falling arches, pregnancy, or weight changes.

You don't need to buy the most expensive pair of running shoes in the store, but investing in a good pair of running shoes is a smart idea that will help prevent injuries and increase your comfort while running.

You may spend a little bit extra but, once you know the right running shoe for your style and gait, you can shop around for deals when buying replacement shoes.


What Clothes to Wear While Running

When you're first getting started with running, you don't need to rush out and buy fancy running clothes.

Just wear comfortable clothes that you would workout in.

Women should make sure that they're wearing a good, supportive sports bra. Running-specialty stores are a good place to shop because they're have lots of bras designed for running. Try it on and test it out by running in place and jumping up and down. Your sports bra should fit you properly and not be too stretched out. Most sports bras need to be replaced after 72 washes, when the elasticity is lost, or if your weight changes significantly. If you have a large chest and have had trouble in the past finding a comfortable, supportive sports bra for running, try one of these recommended sports bras for large chests.

When you go out for your runs, be careful not to overdress. Once you warm up, your extra body heat will make it feel about 15 to 20 degrees warmer. So, for example, if the temperature is above 55 degrees, you'll probably be fine running in a T-shirt and shorts.


If you start getting more serious about running and start running much longer distances, you may want to start to invest in some technical running clothes.

Unlike cotton clothing, synthetic fabrics, such as CoolMax or Dri-Fit, wick moisture away from your skin and will help you avoid chafing. Although the technical fabric running clothes may cost a little more, you'll appreciate the comfort, especially during long runs. They also hold up a lot better through use and washing than workout clothes made of cotton. It's also a smart idea to avoid wearing 100% cotton socks. Wearing running socks that are a synthetic blend will help prevent blisters.