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68 of the Best Running Gear Essentials for Every Type of Runner

The On Running Performance Bra is shockingly lightweight for how much support it provides and is made from a single piece of fabric, so no clamping, wires, or even seams. Do you always seem to be juggling your phone or key? The Brooks Drive 3, which is equipped with a back pocket, is the ideal solution. You can also check out editor-approved longline sports bras if you don’t want to add an extra layer of clothing. 

Brooks

Brooks Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra

On Running

On Running Performance Bra

Lululemon Enlite Weave Back Bra

Knix

Knix Catalyst Sports Bra

Best Running Shorts

Whether you’re the bike-short or classic running shorts type (or both in one, like the pairs from Year of Ours and Daehlie, below), you’ll probably find a slightly higher waistband is the key to comfort. Other musts: chafe-free seams, zero wedgies, and comfortable fabrics. Below are four pairs that fit the bill, from a no-frills, lightweight classic by Norwegian brand Daehlie to a pair of pocketed bike shorts from New York–based brand Wolaco. These Nathan shorts and Janji shorts come recommended by SELF’s fitness director as great options for shorts that don’t ride up

Dahlie

Dahlie Shorts Oxygen

Lululemon

Lululemon Speed Up High Rise Short

Year of Ours

Year of Ours Terrain Shorts

Nathan

Nathan Front Runner Shorts

Janji

Janji 7″ Groundwork Pace Short

Wolaco

Wolaco North Moore Biker Shorts

Best Leggings for Running

The right compression leggings can make all the difference on your run. These four pairs of running tights all have waistbands that stay up mile after mile, seams that lay flat and don’t rub, and moisture-wicking fabric. In hot weather, the Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Crop can’t be beaten (except, of course, by shorts) thanks to the incredibly lightweight material. If you’re a pockets gal, try the Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity pair, which have a zip pocket at the back for keys and a credit card or ID, as well as a side pocket large enough for your phone. An added bonus with the Vuoris: super soft yet still wicking. Now that we’re heading into fall, a lot of these leggings can also double up as excellent hiking leggings.

Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings

Nike

Nike Dri-Fit Run Division Epic Luxe

Vuori

Vuori Stride Legging

Lululemon

Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise Crop Leggings (23 in.)

Best Tanks for Running

If the maximum mobility that a sleeveless shirt provides is calling your name, consider any of these performance tank tops. The Daehlie singlet is extremely lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, so you can move fast and stay dry. If you like something a little less bright, consider the Featherweight Tank from All Access, which is good-looking enough for any post-run lunch too.

Nike

Nike Dri-Fit One Luxe

Bandier

All Access Featherweight Tank

Amazon

Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Racer Tank

Dahlie

Dahlie Singlet Elite

Best Shirts for Running

Always checking your splits? Consider Oiselle’s Flow Shirt, which has a keyhole for your watch face. Coupled with thumb holes, you can keep warm and keep an eye on your pace in this long sleeve. In warmer weather, consider a shirt with UV protection, like this one below from Vuori—or opt for a breezy short sleeve in high-performance material and wonder how you ever ran in sweaty, sticky concert tees.

Oiselle

Oiselle Flow Long Sleeve

Athleta

Athleta Momentum Tee

Brooks

Brooks Sprint Free Long Sleeve

Vuori

Vuori Long-Sleeve Lux Crew

Best Running Jackets

In colder temps, opting for a few thin layers—a moisture-wicking shirt plus a rain jacket or rain shell—will serve you better than one bulky piece of constrictive outerwear. Ideally, your layers can be tied around your waist if you heat up or strapped to a running vest, as you need to dress warmly enough to be comfortable during your warm-up and cool down. Unsure of how warm your running jacket needs to be? One standard piece of advice when choosing layers is to dress for weather about 20 degrees warmer in order to compensate for how much your body heat kicks in on the run.

REI

The North Face Flight Lightriser FUTURELIGHT Jacket

Tracksmith

Tracksmith Session Jacket

Nike

Nike Impossibly Light Women’s Hooded Running Jacket

On Running

On Running Weather Jacket

Warm Running Essentials

Accessories are not an afterthought with running. High-vis headbands and gloves with touchscreen ability are key. If you chronically lose a single running glove (like me), this pair from Lululemon has a handy clip, and it’s water-repellent. If you aren’t sure if you’d rather have gloves or mittens, try the convertible ones from Tough Outdoors.

Lululemon

Lululemon Run For It All Gloves

Amazon

Gore Visibility Windstopper Headband

Amazon

TrailHeads Ponytail Hat

Amazon

Tough Outdoors Running Mitten Gloves

Vests and Phone Holders

If your run is longer than 45 minutes, consider your fueling strategy. A general guideline is to sip about four to six ounces of water every 20 minutes, but you can customize that based on the weather and your personal needs. If you don’t want to carry a bottle, go hands-free with an easy sipping pack, like the 4L Nathan Pinnacle or the sleek Osprey Dyna 1.5—it’s a very lightweight pack. Six miles in and I had forgotten I was wearing it. (Except, of course, that I felt exceptionally well hydrated.)

Nike

Nike Slim Running Fanny Pack

Koala Clip

Koala Clip Original Phone Holder

Nathan

Nathan Pinnacle 4 Liter Women’s Hydration Race Vest

Dyna 1.5 Trail Running Vest Pack with Reservoir

Best Running Socks

Cushioned running socks that soothe tired soles, keep odor at bay, and help to prevent blisters are a handy (footy?) unlock in upping your mileage with ease. A mid-rise sock, like the Swiftwick Aspire 4 (which are great for sweaty feet), is often more comfortable, as it will prevent your ankles from scratchy plants while trail running. Balega Blister socks are great workout socks. The pair from Smartwool are ideal ankle height pairs, if that’s more your thing, thanks to the generous cushioning.

Amazon

Swiftwick Aspire Four Crew Socks

Rei

Balega Blister Resist No-Show Socks

Stance

Stance Performance Crew Socks

Smartwool

Smartwool Women’s Run Targeted Cushion Low Ankle Socks

Skin Protection

For protecting your skin, a high SPF face lotion and chapstick are essential. Dennis Gross sunscreen is great for sweaty runs and for people with acne-prone skin. And it doesn’t leave that dreaded white cast. Supergoop Play is ideal for the body. It comes in a giant pump-top bottle, which acts as a good reminder to apply liberally.

Amazon

Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion (2.4 oz.)

Amazon

Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Amazon

EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer

Amazon

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm

Hats And Sunglasses

Anyone who runs through the summer months might already be thinking about a hat or sunglasses—but don’t discount the damage even bleak winter sun can do while you’re racking up the miles. A running cap can help you push through mile after mile without causing your head to heat up. As far as glasses go, Goodr’s affordable polarized sunglasses are a great entry-level option, and Nathan’s have rubber grips to keep them from slipping all over the place.

goodr OG Sunglasses

Sunglasses

TrailHeads Race Day Running Cap

Nathan

Nathan Sunrise Polarized Running Sunglasses

Amazon

Under Armour Women’s Launch Run Hat

Anti-Chafe

Chafing thighs can ruin a run—and keep hurting for days after. Snatching up smooth, anti-chafe creams or balms are key to keeping your body pain-free and your runs comfy. Some come in deodorant-like sticks, like Bodyglide, while others come in a cream form. Using the sticks on thighs is great for mess-free application, and the creams on feet and toes help prevent blisters on long runs and backpacking trips.

Ulta

Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick (2.12 oz.)

REI

Bodyglide For Her Anti-Chafing Skin Protectant

Amazon

Chamois Butt’r Her’ Anti-Chafe Cream

Walgreens

Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick Unscented

Running Snacks and Hydration

If your run is longer than 45 minutes, consider your fueling strategy. A general guideline is to sip about 4 to 6 ounces of water every 20 minutes, but you can customize that based on the weather and your personal needs. A water bottle or hand flask, like the one from Nathan, is an easy place to start. If you’d rather go hands-free, consider water on your belt instead, or in an easy sipping pack, like the Osprey Dyna 1.5. It’s the most lightweight pack I’ve tried: Six miles in and I had forgotten I was wearing it. (Except, of course, that I felt exceptionally well hydrated.) 

Nathan Hydration Running Belt

Dyna 1.5 Trail Running Vest Pack with Reservoir

Running Safety and Tech

Running in the dark requires reflective gear at least, and maybe light-up gear if it’s really dark. A headlamp won’t slow you down, and a simple reflective vest can be tossed on over any top layer. Running alone? Consider bringing an emergency whistle with you or if you are heading deep into the woods on a secluded trail, opt for the GPS satellite device, the inReach Mini 2 by Gramin. And turn off the noise-canceling function on your wireless earbuds or headphones, or rather use Shokz OpenRun headphones that use bone conduction and keep your ears totally open. 

BioLite HeadLamp 330

Amazon

Shokz OpenRun Pro Open-Ear Bluetooth Sport Headphones

TCCFCCT Reflective Safety Vest

Amazon

Garmin inReach Mini 2

See more from SELF’s Guide to Running package here.

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