Wearing the right running clothes can make your workouts more fun and can almost eliminate missed workouts due to ‘bad’ weather. Running clothes have come a long way in the past decade. If you’re still wearing cotton T-shirts and sweats when you jog or walk, than have I got some good news for you!
There are many moisture-wicking fabrics out there that are designed to take the sweat away from your skin to the outer part of the garment where it will evaporate and provide a cool and dry feel on the surface of your skin. What’s the big deal (you ask)? As cotton absorbs the moisture of sweat your running clothes will become both heavier and more abrasive. The uneven, sweat-gorged cotton threads will act like a sand paper against your skin and can cause uncomfortable chaffing when worn for a long walk or run. Cotton also traps this moisture against your body which will give you unwelcome cooling in the winter. The new micro-fiber fabrics available today are a tremendous improvement over the cotton running clothes of ‘yesterday.
So what separates all of the different types of brands and fabrics? Personal preference has a lot to do with it. I own and use running clothes made by Road Runner Sports (RRS Coolmax), Under Armor, Nike, New Balance, Target (C9 – Champion), and Reebok. Overall, I would say the primary difference in these brands is their style and resistance to wear. I have a lot of C9 running clothes and I like the way they look and I really like the fact that they cost about 30% as much as the other brands, but they wear out quicker. I found that my RRS and Under Armor running clothes seem to last forever and have little to no thread fraying after many miles of use. Sadly, the C9 apparel is not near as durable, but it can still endure many miles. The RRS Coolmax and Under Armor running clothes also seem to be slightly lighter than their competitor’s fabrics. So which is best? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. When I shop for myself, I tend to buy the cheaper stuff (C9)…but my Christmas list usually puts the RRS & Under Armor items at the top ;-)
Wearing the right clothes on a run can make weather much less of a factor. The ‘breathable’ fabrics above can help reduce the affects of a hot and humid day. And outer layers can reduce the impact of rain, wind, and a chilly winter run. I tend to pack by the layers – here’s what I’d recommend:
Running is the no-frills hobby. And while a good pair of shoes if the only must, you owe it to yourself to try some of the new fabrics for running apparel. Aside from the comfort, you may also find yourself running when the rest of the world flocks to the indoors. See you out there!