Women’s Distance Running Apparel: Not Just for Fashion

Women runners are often featured sporting branded sports apparel and gears—from wristbands and socks to water bottles and sunglasses. And so many women who engage or aspire to engage in distance running follow suit and go shopping for similar running wear. Others, on the other hand, simply ignore such sports apparels and dismiss them as mere brand promotions and sports fashionistas’ whims.

Well, those may be true. Some may wear distance running apparels merely for fashion, while some for sponsorship. But one thing’s certain: those apparels aren’t worn by athletes just for those reasons. A high performance athlete wouldn’t just throw on anything that first comes to hand in her closet. That’s because distance running apparels are specially tailored to serve various purposes.

First, there’s the “no cotton” general rule. This is what runners, and even athletes in other sports, follow—from their head band down to their socks. While cotton fabrics may be really comfortable to wear (and most clothing companies advertise their products as “100 percent made of cotton for your comfort”), it’s not actually that popular when it comes to sports wear. That’s because cotton is absorbent. And so when you sweat, the cotton cloth absorbs it. But while it’s a good thing that sweat won’t come trickling down your body, the down side is that the sweat doesn’t dry up easily and stays on the cotton cloth, making you feeling wet nonetheless. And wetness, as you know, may make you feel cold even during a summer run.

What sports apparel makers use instead are fabrics made of wick fibers. Such cloths wick, or draw away, sweat from the skin. And because moisture is pulled from the skin to the exterior fibers of such fabrics, you stay dry and warm even as the moisture on the cloth slowly dries up. Examples of such special fabrics are silk, Cool Max, Thermax, polypropolene, Thinsulate, and DryFit.

But aside from their sweat wicking feature, these fabrics are also lightweight and stretchable. They’re made to be super stretchable so that they’d fit your body like a second skin and cover as many sweating pores as possible. And they weigh far much lighter than similar clothes of ordinary fabrics, so you would be able to run with the least added weight to your body. Plus, their lightness allows you to wear about two or three layers of clothing for long distance runs during cold seasons.

Now, after the cloths, what about the clothes? For underwear, you should wear bras and panties that give you utmost comfort—the primary consideration when it comes to any sports wear. Both should have wide hems that are preferably located on the outside, so they wouldn’t chafe your skin during the run. For underpants, don’t choose flimsy ones that might gradually slide down your butt. Get ones that comfortably hugs your buttocks and hips. And whether you got small or big breasts, your bra should be just right as to provide enough support and breast bounce control without suffocating or making you feel uncomfortably bound.

Distance running apparel need not be expensive and branded. There are many local and online stores that offer affordable sports wear. So, whether you’re seriously into distance running and planning to become the next Deena Kastor, or you simply want to run miles to melt the flabs away, you better get yourself some proper running apparel.