What to Wear Running: The Best Clothes and Gear for Beginners

If you’re a new runner or training for your first 5K, you may be wondering, “What should I wear when running?” The good news is you really don’t need a lot of fancy running gear or expensive clothing to be a successful runner. It’s a pretty low-maintenance sport—and there are plenty of money-saving tips for runners.

But if you want your runs to be as comfortable and safe as possible here are the most essential items to consider.

Running Shoes

When you get started as a runner you’ll need a good pair of running shoes that are the right fit for you. Wearing the wrong type of shoe is actually one of the most common causes of running injuries.

When shopping for running shoes, don’t pick a pair just because you like the brand, style, color, or price. You definitely don’t need to buy the most expensive pair in the store, but investing in a good pair is a smart idea that will help prevent injuries and make for more comfortable runs.

If it’s your first time shopping for running shoes, visit a running specialty store where experts can evaluate your foot and running style and recommend the right shoes for you. The staff will measure your foot, watch you run on a treadmill, and analyze your gait. Some stores even allow you to take them out on the road in the area.

During that visit you want to be sure that you are wearing run-specific socks when you try on shoes. The thickness of the sock will change the fit of the shoe. If you don’t have a pair with you, ask the salesperson for a pair to borrow.

Features to Look For

Here are a few things to consider when buying a new pair of running shoes.

  • Cushioning vs. lightweight. Shoes that are heavily cushioned are great for new runners—especially those that are heavier. However, cushioned shoes usually weigh more and may feel clunkier during a run. Try lighter weight shoes and cushioned shoes to see what you prefer.
  • Reflective surface. If you plan to run in the evening or early in the morning, consider a pair of shoes that include some sort of reflective material. You’ll be seen by drivers and cyclists more easily when you wear them.
  • Tread. Think about the surface where you are most likely to run. Will you run on a treadmill? On the road? On trails? On a track? Trail running shoes will have a deeper thicker tread than shoes designed for treadmill, track, and road running.

Quick Tip: Once you know the right running shoe for your style and gait, you can shop around for deals when it’s time for a replacement pair.

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