Summer running: What should I wear?

Don’t let the heat keep you from running! Learn what to wear to stay cool, dry, and energized on summer runs.

a man and a woman running in hot weather on the mountain

When running in hot weather, you’ll be sweating a ton—there’s no way to avoid it. However, you can dress in technical apparel that will pull moisture away from your skin and dry quickly.

Is it okay to run in 30° (and up) weather? For most people, the answer is yes—as long as you prepare accordingly and listen to your body. Find out what you should wear to minimize discomfort, and learn to embrace the heat!

man with running longer shorts

What to wear for running in hot weather

TOP

If you’ve been running in cotton t-shirts until now, you will be blown away by how much more comfortable a technical t-shirt is. Instead of absorbing moisture, technical fabrics pull sweat away and dry on the go, so you never have to run in a soaked shirt. If it’s so hot you’re tempted to head out bare-chested or wearing just a sports bra, know that you’ll actually feel warmer than if you had a shirt on, because your sweat will cling to your skin, and you’ll be directly exposed to the sun. Plus, did you know that being sweaty puts you at higher risk for sunburn? That’s because sweaty skin isn’t as good at reflecting and dispersing UV rays. If you’re running in full sun, definitely cover up, and go for a top with built-in UV protection if you can.


BOTTOM

Hot weather = shorts, right? They’re the least restrictive and best at optimizing airflow. The downside is most running shorts (especially women’s) tend to ride up and bunch up when you run, causing your inner thighs to rub together and your skin to chafe—yikes! Many runners wear cropped leggings throughout the summer to avoid this, but this is not your only option. Try running with tighter, longer shorts (like cycling shorts, but designed for running)—they won’t ride up as much as regular shorts. You can also go for 2-in-1 shorts if you’d rather not wear something skin-tight. To be safe, wear anti-chafing cream anywhere friction occurs.
When it comes to colours, your best bet is to go for light or bright hues. Remember—you’ll be sweating a lot on your summer runs, and sweat salt tends to show on dark fabrics. Plus, light or bright colours reflect heat instead of absorbing it and are also more visible in the dark.

How to prevent blisters

When running in the heat, your feet will sweat more than usual. Keep blisters at bay by wearing shoes with mesh inserts and moisture-wicking socks.

The #1 mistake you can make is not wearing socks. It’s not good for your feet (they’ll be rubbing directly against the seams of your shoes), and it’s not good for your shoes (all that sweat and extra salt can damage the inside). If you think your socks are giving you blisters, it’s entirely possible. Try wearing running-specific socks—they’re designed with flat seams to prevent chafing and are slightly padded at the ankle to keep them in place.

woman running with cap, sunglasses and hydration vest because of hot weather

Essential accessories

A hat or visor

A hat is like a tiny, portable beach umbrella for your head. It lets you take a bit of shade with you wherever you go to protect your scalp from burning. Visors are great for people with lots of hair because they allow the scalp to breathe while still shielding your face from the sun.


Sunglasses

Can you wear regular sunglasses when running? Yes—as long as they’re not falling off, bouncing on your nose or making you too sweaty, you’re good. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays while you run, and they also do much more! They prevent you from squinting and straining your facial muscles, which helps you relax and conserve energy. Plus, they reduce glare and improve visibility; which are important safety features when running.


A hydration belt or vest

Staying hydrated is always essential, and especially when running in hot weather. Wearing a hydration belt or vest ensures you have water on you at all times—you’ll be surprised how quickly you get thirsty on scorching days! For shorter distances, a belt with one or two small bottles will let you carry just enough water to stay hydrated on the go. You may want to go for a vest with a larger capacity and multiple storage pockets for long runs. 

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