Running is a simple sport and requires very little specialist kit. That said, there are still some performance and comfort benefits in buying the right gear.
The most technical and most important purchase will be your running shoes. These are dealt with in another article; the purpose of this article is to advise you on what kit you need when starting out so that you maximize your comfort and potential.
While you may be able to start off running in ordinary non-running-specific gear, the likes of beach shorts and football shirts are not really designed for the demands of running anything other than short distances. They will often flap around unnecessarily, leaving you with chafed skin and generally uncomfortable. Instead, choose running-specific items from the kit.
Here are the basic items of kit you’ll be needing if you want to take your running more seriously:
The importance of good running socks cannot be stressed enough. Your feet will thank you for it. Buy some decent running socks that are seamless and have been designed to wick away moisture and sweat from the foot. These can help massively in reducing friction and prevent blisters.
Look for socks with more padding in certain areas to aid the shoes in cushioning. Some socks are designed to be left and right-specific, so look out for these and wear them on the correct feet!
Running shorts should be comfortable, lightweight, and have the ability to wick away sweat when you train. Most running shorts come with a pant liner so you don’t have to wear anything else with them. Try them on first, as some of the inners can be a little restrictive and chafe if you don’t get the right size.
Most shorts come with elastic waistbands, but it is worth paying a little extra to get a drawstring as well, so you can tie the shorts to your specification. Elastic-only shorts often move down a little, especially in wet conditions. Your shorts shouldn’t be so tight that they cut off circulation around your waist but not so loose that they flap around all the time either. Ideally, buy some shorts that have a small zipped pocket where you can safely store a key or even emergency cash.
When the weather gets cold it is advisable to wear tights to keep your legs warmer and thus reduce the chance of injury. Running tights can be custom fit to hug the legs more efficiently and stop the wind and rain from penetrating the leg itself. This helps to reduce injuries from cold muscles and also means that you can enjoy your running more even when the weather is far from ideal.
Tights should be snug fitting and comfortable. It is important to try them on before you buy because many manufacturers have different cuts to suit different styles of runners. Generally the more expensive the tight, then the more comfortable they will be, and the better at keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.