It’s all about pockets

What to wear when running? Don’t wear cotton! Cotton socks cause blisters and hot spots. Cotton clothing feels hot, it gets heavy, it clings to you, and causes chafing. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Wear what’s called “tech fabric”. Different brands have their own trademarks. It’s light, it wicks away moisture from your skin, doesn’t cling, and dries quickly. It’s man-made fabric in varying combinations of material fibres.

When I started running I bought a bunch of cotton tops and had very hot and uncomfortable sweaty-back runs and chafed underarms before learning this.

I also learned you need pockets.

You need to carry stuff when running. Keys, cash, phone, inhaler, credit card, food, water.

It’s become almost my mission in life to find good clothes with good pockets. Over the past few years, companies have been getting better at putting phone pockets in running pants. A few companies I recommend are: Kippo, Lululemon, Target.

Women wear all sorts of different things on their lower half: Shorts both tight or baggy, capris, leggings, skorts.

Men mostly wear shorts! Though I have seen some men in leggings, or shorts and either long or short leggings underneath, or in tracksuit pants. You can get lightweight tech fabric track pants with zip pockets.

On the top half, I like long sleeve half zip tops in Winter, which let you cool down if necessary by lowering the zip. I wear tank tops / singlets in summer. I find T-shirts too hot, but some women and most men seem to prefer them for modesty.

Colours? I prefer a dark bottom half, less decisions. Fluoro tops are good for visibility. But you can basically go for it colour-wise. I am not a fashion blogger. Do what you like.

Dress-up is a huge thing in parkrun and running. I’ve got quite a collection of tutus and costumes after only 3 years of running. It’s not compulsory though!

I’m not going to go into the following hot button topics:

  • Good bras for women? This question always turns into very long threads! Like shoes, what works for you may be bad for someone else. What I will say is that you need to be measured properly. Go here.
  • Clothes for sub freezing temperature? Cue more long threads! I have never run in snow.
  • Compression leggings or socks to benefit running? I’ve never seen so much, “They work for me”. The science jury is still out, though the placebo effect is well known.

Now for some random recommendations:

  • If chafing still occurs from body part friction, many recommend Body Glide.
  • A few products for carrying things if you don’t have pockets: Flipbelt, Spibelt, Belkin arm phone holder.
  • When it’s frosty, I wear Sherpa fingerless gloves with flip-top mittens and hand warmers in them.

You also need water available when you run long and/or in heat. Camelbak and Nathan are good brands for water-holding backpacks with a “bladder” and pockets. You can also get belts with flask holders. They’re also making squishy bottles that are easy to carry in your hand when running, and you can get water bottles with a strap and or small pockets. If you need water, you can also just carry money.

It all comes back to pockets!

3 thoughts

  1. Pockets is just not enough on the longer trips. For shorter trips, I only need to carry phone, wallet, and keys, but for longer trips, there’s also phone charger, possibly food, and lots of liquid.


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