Summer Running Essentials

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If you want to run in the summer when it’s hot and humid, grab this gear to make things a little more pleasant (and safe!). 

Summer running is in a class of its own. The heat and humidity are intense, but in a weird way, I love it. Well, okay, maybe I didn’t love it quite as much when I was running while pregnant, but generally, I’ve love finishing a run DRIPPING in sweat.

When the temperatures and humidity rise, I’m extra diligent about hydrating and fueling my body well. I wear good sunscreen to protect from harmful rays and carry water with me, among other things. If you’re a fellow summer runner, you know that these things are absolutely vital to having a strong and safe run. While the basics of water and pre-run fuel are essential, there are also a few products I can’t run without.

I also have a whole post on 10 Tips to Not Hate Summer Running focused on good running habits like hydration and fueling, but this post is dedicated to the specific gear and products I use when I’m running in hot and humid weather.

Let’s get right to it!

summer running items

Summer Running Essentials

Hand held water bottle

A non-negotiable, truly. I love this one by Nathan (pictured below). It holds 18oz and has a great hand strap so you don’t have to grip it the entire time. I don’t wear water bottle belts often, mostly because I don’t love how they feel, but many other runners LOVE them. (Backcountry has a good variety of hydration belt styles.) Water is the single most essential thing to carry with you on a hot run, so whether it’s a hand held bottle, a belt or a vest, make sure you carry something. OR, plan to stop a few times along the way for water.

If you can plan your running route to pass a water fountain, refill your water bottle mid-run. Even on 4-6 mile runs in the summer, I usually drink my entire water bottle before I’m home so a refill is nice. If you’re training for a fall marathon, and are logging lots of miles, a water refill stop is mandatory. If there isn’t a water fountain on your route and you’re doing a longer run, circle back to your house or car to refill. Grabbing a fresh ice-cold water bottle mid-run from your car or inside your front door is always extra nice during summer training!

It’s also very important to be drinking more water than you generally would before and after you run. If you’re running consistently in the summer, focus on upping your water intake during the rest of your day. This will set you up for success for your next run.

Summer Running Essentials

LMNT Electrolytes

I put a a pack of LMNT electrolytes in my water bottle for all summer runs (in addition to lots of ice!) These electrolyte packets are a blend of sodium, potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes are especially key in the summer months to help regulate nerve and muscle function and maintain your water balance. Unfortunately, most sports drinks are full of sugar and while Gatorade and other similar sports drinks still provide electrolytes, they wreck my gut. LMNT gives the benefit of a traditional sports drink but without extra. They also taste MUCH better and don’t leave my gut feeling like it got massaged by sandpaper. Watermelon Salt and Raspberry salt are my favorite LMNT flavors.


Keeping the sun off your face will help keep you cool (and help prevent signs of aging!), but I find that hats are too hot for me since they can trap heat. I like wearing a visor for more breathability while still getting protection from the sun. (I have this visor.) I’ve heard some people soak their hats or visors in ice water or freeze them before a run to help keep them cool. Genius!

Goodr Sunglasses

I’ve talked about these Goodr Sunglasses so many times because they’re the best running sunglasses ever. They don’t slip (even when I’m absolutely SOAKED in sweat), they aren’t too tight, they come in a million different colors and they’re only $25-$35. I love my hot pink ones, but I also have them in green, white, blue and black.

running sunglasses

Good Socks

I’ve tried countless brands of running socks, but I really love the Bombas and Injinji socks. They’re both breathable and sweat-wicking. The Bombas are soft but still fitted and the Injiji’s are great since my toes are prone to overlapping in my shoes, even in shoes with wide toe boxes like Altras. I have a post dedicated to the best socks for running here.

There’s nothing worse that thick socks in the summer. I’m always looking for breathable and thin socks, especially for running in the heat. Running socks can affect your running performance more than you’d think, so it’s important to choose socks that keep your feet dry and blister-free. The WORST thing is getting a few miles into a run and realizing you have to run back home with a budding blister. You’ll likely adjust your gait to compensate for the pain and that can lead to bigger injuries. And your feet are more prone to blisters during hot, humid runs so prioritize good socks!

Lightweight EVERYTHING

For spring, fall and winter running (and the Peloton), I like my Fast and Free leggings, but in the humid heat, they’re just too hot. If you live in a climate with cooler mornings, they’re worth trying. I HAVE to wear shorts in North Carolina in the summer though. For the hot months, I’ve been running in the Fast and Free Shorts 6″  and they’ve been amazing. They’re so lightweight and I feel like I’m barely wearing anything.

I also love the Athleta Mesh Racer Run Short 4″ . They’re comfortable AND flattering, and a great option for a looser fitted short.

For tops, I love short sleeve shirts and tanks. My favorites are the In Motion Tank by Athleta, Zella Energy Tanks, the Lululemon Swifty Tank, and the Sculpt Tank from Lululemon.

I also really like to get tanks from Lululemon’s Mens line and have them hem them for me in store (this is free, in case you didn’t know!). This way I have a looser tank option when I want that! My favorite is the Men’s Metal Vent Breathe Tank.

Make sure everything you wear is also moisture wicking. Quick drying clothes are key to saying cool. No cotton allowed on sweaty runs!

Body Glide

I chafe a lot more in the summer.  Aside from wearing fitted shorts to help protect my poor inner thighs, I have to use Body Glide before every run. I also tend to chafe at my bra line (front and back) so I apply it there as well.

Frozen Towel for Post-Run

Freezing a wet washcloth makes the best treat after a hot run. It helps get your core temperature back down and also just feels SO good.

Running sunglasses for summer

And remember, even with all the running gear in the world, you still have to be smart when running in the summer. Respect the heat and don’t fall prey to thinking it won’t affect you. And be sure to read this post with more tips to enjoy summer running safely!

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