What to wear running is a question every runner asks themselves before heading out, whether they’re a beginner or have been logging miles for decades. I’ve been running for almost 24 years and have tried dozens of brands and styles of running shoes, running bras, tanks, socks, you name it! I have a few go-to brands for my running clothes and specific things that I tend to replace every couple of years.
Besides clothes, there are a few things I invest in that last for years, including:
Hyperice Hypervolt, a massage gun that’s great for loosening knots
Roll Recovery R8 – this helps massage muscles in a different way than the percussive nature of a massage gun. I like using this before I run.
My favorite running clothes come from Lululemon, Athleta or Oiselle since they fit well and last for YEARS. I like some Amazon activewear for athleisure or other workouts, but I find it doesn’t fit as well as the more expensive brands (I tried running in Amazon shorts last week and had the worst chafing).
I’m more forgiving for the workout clothes I wear for pilates or riding the Peloton, but I have high standards for running gear since being uncomfortable can ruin a run. I’m also pretty hard on running gear since I typically run 30 miles a week and get very sweaty, so I’d rather invest in quality gear that will last for years.
So, there are my top picks that I’ve had for multiple years and have logged hundreds of miles in.
The perfect short is hard to find and when I find it, they discontinue it. My main criteria is that they aren’t too short, have a back pocket for my phone that doesn’t bounce and has a comfortable built-in liner OR no liner at all. If you have a favorite pair of shorts that meets that criteria, let me know! The Lululemon Fast & Free is my absolute favorite, if I could only pick one, but it seems they no longer make them. These are other pairs I do like, but I’m back on the unicorn hunt!
Athleta Mesh Race Short – Nothing fancy but they are comfortable and cute. They’re a nice length with a 4″ inseam and come in a variety of colors. However, the pockets leave something to be desired. I hate side pockets so I never use it and there isn’t a phone pocket, so my phone stays home if I run in these. I wear an XS.
Amazon Biker Shorts 6″ – I was obsessed with the Lululemon Fast and Free shorts for years, but unfortunately they stopped making them a while go. Since then, I’ve tried SO many brands hoping to find a great alternative, and this pair of 6″ biker shorts from Amazon fits the bill. I’m thrilled to have found such a great option for a fraction of the cost!
Brooks Chaser 5″ Shorts – These are similar to the Athleta shorts, but I slightly prefer the look of these. I also find the built-in liner more comfortable. However, they’re so hard to find online!
Lululemon Fast & Free 7/8 tights – These running tights are lightweight enough for warmer days but also got me through all my cold runs during the winter in North Carolina. (If you live in a very cold climate, try to get your hands on their fleece lined leggings) While training for the 2019 Boston Marathon, I did all my long runs in the Fast & Free tights since they can hold a ton of fuel. I also love the pocket at the back of the waistband to hold my phone – it doesn’t bounce AT ALL. I wear a 2 or 4 in these. I’ve had a pair for 5 years and they still look brand new.
Amazon HeyNuts Leggings – I ran in these a few weeks ago when my Lululemon pair was dirty (and still too sweaty from the previous day’s run to even re-wear… tell me I’m not the only one who does that in desperate times!). I was dreading the run, thinking they’d slide down but they actually stayed in place really well and the waistband was more comfortable. They don’t have a pocket so I couldn’t run with my phone, but they’re a great budget-friendly option.
Tanks: This Athleta In Motion tank is the goldilocks of tanks. Not too loose, not too tight. If it’s too flowy, it annoys me but I find a form-fitting tank uncomfortable for running. I also don’t like crop tops for running. This Athleta top is my favorite – if you see my running in warm weather, you can almost guarantee it’s what I’m wearing. It’s flattering and the perforated fabric keeps me cool. Over the last few years, I’ve purchased quite a few and now own 6 or 7 colors. It also holds up well in the washer and dryer.
Short Sleeves: I don’t wear short sleeves often since I’d rather just wear a tank, but if I am wearing something with sleeves, I like this one from Amazon. It’s a lookalike for the Lululemon Swiftly but less than half the price.
Long-sleeved top: This Brooks long-sleeve half zip is far and away my favorite long-sleeved top. It’s so flattering, comfortable and holds up well in the wash. I have an XS.
On Performance Bra – I got this as part of a partnership with On Running last year and then ended up buying a second one since I love it so much. It’s supportive but not so restrictive that I feel like I’m putting on body armor. It has sewn-in padding too! I’m a 32 B/C right now and it works great, but if I’m on the C/D end of things (or larger, like when I was running while breastfeeding), I need more support and go for the…
SheFit Bra – This is the most intense bra I’ve ever put on (and I’ve probably tried on hundreds in my running life), but if you need serious support, this is what you want. When I was breastfeeding, especially in the first year, I was rocking F-G cups and no bra was cutting it. This was a game changer. It’s completely customizable and they’ll do a virtual fitting (that is not awkward, I promise) to help you figure out how to adjust it to your needs. Read my full review of SheFit here.
See all my favorite running shoes here.