Running Clothing Features
There are several key features to look for when shopping for running clothing.
Moisture-wicking: Moisture-wicking fabrics transport perspiration away from the skin to keep you dry and chafe-free while you’re running.
Quick-drying: Fabrics that dry quickly, such as polyester and nylon, keep you comfortable as you work up a sweat. If you’re caught in a passing rain shower, they’ll dry quickly to keep you from getting cold.
Sun protection: Items with UPF ratings provide tested protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. The higher the number, the better the protection. See the REI Expert Advice article, Sun Protection Clothing Basics, for details.
Thumbholes: Many long-sleeve tops for cool-weather days offer thumbholes to increase hand coverage and warmth so you can possibly skip the need for gloves. They also help to keep sleeves in place as you run. A few styles even have mittens built into the sleeves.
Inner liner: Some running shorts include an inner liner that acts as underwear. The liner wicks moisture and dries fast to prevent chafing.
Compression: Some shorts, tights, shirts, and socks for running are designed with compression for a very snug fit.
Packable: Some running jackets and vests pack away into their own pocket for compact storage.
Insulated: Lightly insulated styles provide a bit more warmth with minimal weight.
Chafe-free seams: Look for flat or welded seams placed away from areas that could impede your stride or natural running motion.
Mesh vents: Many tops are augmented with cooling mesh panels for high-heat areas such as your back, underarms, and sides.
Reflectivity: If you run at night or in the cool hours of dusk or dawn, you’ll want gear with reflective accents to be better seen by drivers.
Pockets: These can unobtrusively hold your ID card, debit card, and keys. Common on shorts, concealed pockets are sometimes offered on shirts as well.