Somebody asked on Twitter yesterday where to buy summer (or general) running gear. The easy answer for shoes is always going to be: “go to a running store and get fitted.” Although I ran in shoes from Dick’s and Kohls for about a year and a half before I finally bought real running shoes. But what about other stuff?
For summer, around here, when it’s 85 degrees out and sticky humid, the answer for running gear is: performance fabrics. I do not, do not, do not, understand how anyone can run in this heat in cotton t-shirts. Or at all. I chafe really easily, so I upgraded from cotton to Under Armour as soon as I started going more than three miles. Performance gear is expensive, and sometimes hard to swallow, but I find that a $20 shirt that helps me avoid chafing is worth its weight in gold.
So for shirts, for the summer, I really like the EMS Techwick line (so lightweight and airy!) and the Under Armour Catalyst t-shirt as well as an older version of this running singlet. I don’t like shirts that have built-in support for running, so I prefer tanks without that. I highly recommend the Moving Comfort sports bras – they are pricey, but you can usually get a 20% or 30% off coupon from your local City Sports or REI, both of which carry them.
For shorts, I actually swear by my one Lululemon running skirt, which is amazing. It’s similar to this skirt, but doesn’t have as much going on in the back. If you are able to spend the $$$, I hear Lululemon running shorts are amazing (I have my eye on these, but spandex isn’t for everybody), and I also really like some of the shorts that Athleta sells. I’m very disappointed in the last pair of Under Armour running shorts I bought, so I wouldn’t recommend those, and am taking recommendations for running shorts that cost less than $50, if anyone has any suggestions. I like them a little bit longer, but I hate it when things ride up. One new trend in running shorts is to have a wider waistband that fits close to the skin – if you can find this, it’s really great. It doesn’t dig, it’s less points of contact for chafing, and it doesn’t cause a weird pudgyness around the waistline that most running shorts cause (the more confident you feel while you run, the less you will hate it.)
If you are just looking for something cheap, or you are just starting out and don’t want to invest, I would check out Old Navy – some of their athletic wear has come a long way, although some of it is really stiff, thick, and not breathable. I also was impressed by some of the stuff at Kohls this weekend – I picked up this skirt and I like it a lot. One thing to look for in a running skirt is whether the shorts underneath are long enough, and whether they have rubber around the leg openings, to keep them from riding up. I have definitely had mixed luck at Target – I really like some of the stuff from the C9 line, but I have trouble finding my size and a lot of their stuff is the same price as stuff from Under Armour or EMS, so I’m more likely to buy brands I know work for me. If you are going to run a lot of races, I wouldn’t invest too heavily in shirts – the more expensive races (10ks and up) usually give you a performance shirt and you will build a collection fast.
Another essential summer running accessory is a running cap or visor. It keeps the sun off your face (and you should also get sunglasses for running) and your hair out of your eyes, especially if you have short hair, and most importantly, it keeps your scalp from getting sunburned, especially if you are going for long runs. They are surprisingly expensive, but can usually be acquired cheaply at race expos or on clearance. (I got this one in purple for $12.)
Any other running attire questions or product recommendations?