Running Essentials Every Runner Needs

Running is a pretty low-maintenance sport. You don't need a lot of fancy gear and equipment. But if you're planning to start running on a regular basis, here are some essential running items that will make your runs more comfortable and safer. 

Running Shoes

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. Go to a running specialty store where experts can evaluate your foot type and running style and make recommendations for the right shoes for you. Even if you're interested in barefoot running, it's still important to at least wear minimalist running shoes to protect your feet when running outside.

Technical Fabric Running Clothes

woman running
JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

Whether you're running in hot or cold weather, wearing clothes made of a technical fabric will help you stay dry and comfortable. A synthetic wicking material, such as DryFit, Thinsulate, Thermax, CoolMax, polypropolene, or silk, will wick the sweat away from your body.

Avoiding cotton is important because once cotton fabrics get wet, they'll stay wet. During cold weather running, running in technical fabrics will help keep you dry and warm. In hot weather runs, wearing clothes that wick away your sweat will help prevent chafing.

Also see: What Not To Wear Running

Good Running Socks

Summer Running Socks

When choosing a sock for running, the most important factor to consider is the material. Like your running clothes (see above), you want to stay away from 100% cotton. If you wear cotton socks, when your feet sweat or you step in a puddle, the moisture won't get wicked away. Wearing cotton socks in the winter will make your feet feel cold and clammy. And they'll cause blisters in the summer.

The best running socks are ones that are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax because they'll wick away moisture. For winter running, wool blends such as SmartWool are also a good choice. Some runners choose to wear double-layer socks (Wright Socks are one brand) for additional blister protection.


Cultura RM/Corey Jenkins/Getty

If you're running more than 30 minutes, it's important that consume water to stay hydrated. A general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during your runs is to drink 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. If you don't have access to water on your running routes, you'll have to carry your own fluids with you. Here are some water bottles and hydration belts that you can use to hold your fluids while you run.

ID and Money

You need to stay safe when running outside. Put your driver's license in your pocket or running belt, or wear an ID tag on your shoe. If you're wearing an ID tag or bracelet, make sure it has an emergency contact number on it. It's also a good idea to have money on you, in case of emergency. For example, if you're miles from home and the weather turns bad or an injury starts bothering you, you may need to take a cab or bus home, rather than risk running. Some extra cash may also come in handy if you need to stop and buy water, Gatorade, food, or first aid supplies during your run.

Running Watch

runner looking at watch
Westend61/Creative RF/Getty

A running watch is great for timing your runs, taking splits during races, as well as other things. While some running watches can track your heart rate and pace, beginner runners don't need anything that fancy. But a simple watch with a stop and start button can be helpful to runners so they can time their runs and use it to measure run/walk intervals.

Sun Protection

Female Runner Applying Sunscreen
Colin Anderson

Runners spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, so it's important that we take steps to protect our skin from sun exposure. Use a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners' faces because the sunscreen won't run into your eyes.

You can also wear a visor or hat will give your face extra protection. (Although you'll still need sunscreen on your face.) It will also help absorb sweat, so the sunscreen doesn't run into your eyes. A good pair of UV-blocking running sunglasses gives your face more protection and also help protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays.