What to Wear When Running

Your Guide to Running Clothing

“What should I wear when running?” We hear this question a lot!

No matter your experience and level of running or walking, having the proper attire is crucial for a great workout experience.

When it comes down to comfort and performance, having the right clothes is just as important as having the right shoe!

Wearing shirts, shorts or socks made of certain materials while running can cause discomfort and negatively affect your performance. Don’t risk chafing and getting blisters from wearing the wrong fabrics.

We’ll start off with what clothes to avoid when running — you may be surprised!

What Not to Wear When Running

We have a saying around here: cotton is rotten! Your skin is highly likely to chafe when wearing cotton. Feet are especially prone to blisters when wearing cotton socks.

Ditch your cotton t-shirt and pants, and don’t even think about wearing those cotton sweatshirts and sweatpants on a run. Cotton holds moisture, and doesn’t allow your body to properly regulate temperature. You'll freeze in the winter and overheat in the summer. 

Let’s not forget about socks. Wearing high performance, non-cotton socks decreases your chance of getting blisters and calluses. Much like with shirts and shorts, cotton fibers in socks will chafe.

Running Clothes and Body Temperature

Whether running in hot or cold weather, your attire impacts your comfort and performance. When looking at clothing material alone, cotton is the clear loser when it comes to helping regulate your body’s temperature.

Once cotton gets wet with sweat, it stays wet. For runners in hot weather, this can be incredibly uncomfortable. In cold weather, it can even be dangerous.

To illustrate this in action, we’ll show you why you should ditch cotton for your socks:

Why not to wear cotton socks:

Have we convinced you that cotton is rotten? Now that you know what not to wear, learn more about clothing material we recommend for runners and walkers.

What Clothes To Wear When Running

Technical fabrics are the answer for your running and walking apparel needs. Clothing made with this kind of fabric offers features and benefits unmatched by 100 percent cotton or cotton-blended clothing.

Learn how to layer your running apparel for cold weather running

Best Clothing for Running: Technical Fabric

What is technical fabric?

Technical fabric is lightweight, high performance fabric designed to move moisture away from the skin. This helps you control your body heat — even in cold temperatures!

Technical fabric typically uses synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester or Lycra. 

For attire that will keep you dry and comfortable during your run, stop by our store and let our staff help you find running and walking clothing to fit your needs.

Man and woman running

Technical Fabric is Breathable

When running, you want breathable fabric. Breathability is defined by determining by how much air flows through fabric in one minute, and is measured in cubic feet per minute.

It’s easy to see the best option: technical fabric. In this example, technical fabric made from synthetic materials allows your body to breathe, sweat efficiently, and regulate core temperature.

Wearing a technical shirt keeps you cooler because moisture is moved away from your skin to a greater surface area. This allows evaporation to occur more rapidly, meaning a synthetic shirt can keep you dryer and cooler than not wearing a shirt!

Technical Fabric is Lightweight

In addition to breathability, weight is an important factor to consider when choosing running apparel.

Because technical fabric is designed to wick moisture away from skin, it stays lighter throughout your workout — versus cotton, which holds moisture.

On its own, a dry standard cotton t-shirt weighs about 8.5 ounces, whereas a dry standard synthetic shirt weighs about 4.5 ounces. When sweat is added, the cotton shirt becomes even heavier.

Technical Fabrics in Running Socks

Socks are an important element of your exercise wardrobe. As we’ve mentioned before, cotton retains moisture. Add heat and friction from your shoes, and the chance of getting blisters is high. Fungus also thrives in dark moist areas like your shoes.

Technical socks will wick moisture away from your feet, making you more comfortable during your workout.

In addition to being lightweight and breathable, technical socks can provide additional support and comfort with features like cushioning, compression panels, and reinforcement panels.

Running Clothing Tips Recap

  1. Avoid cotton and cotton blended fabrics!
  2. Choose technical fabric made from synthetic fibers.
  3. Select socks, shirts and shorts made from technical fabric.
  4. Wash technical clothing with products that will protect (rather than depreciate) its moisture-wicking properties. Here are our recommendations for taking care of technical running clothes.

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