If you’re struggling to find the best running gear for beginners you’re in the right place. In this ultimate beginner running gear guide, you’ll find the perfect running gear for runners heading out on the road or trail.
It doesn’t matter if you’re training for a 5k, 10k, marathon, or just running for fun you need the best gear. I’ve put together a list of the best beginner running gear so you’re running happily without preventable unpleasantness.
Best Running Gear for Beginners
As a beginner runner, finding the best gear can be overwhelming, confusing, and a money pit. If you’re not careful you can end up spending way too much money on things that really aren’t necessary.
There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to finding the perfect gear. Here are my recommendations for beginner runners these are just links, no affiliate links here, this is how much I believe in these products.
Well-fit shoes are important for all runners. As a beginner runner, you may not know what to look for. I recommend having your feet measured by a local running shop, they usually know what they’re talking about. Be prepared to try on between 5-10 pairs of shoes. Make sure to let them know if you have any injuries or sore spots. For example, if you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis you’ll need more support than someone with no pain and healthy feet.
I’m running with
Running Shirts and Tanks
Running shirts change with the season usually. During the winter and rainy months, you’ll probably want to use a few items like a t-shirt, sleeves, and gloves. However, during the summer months, if you’re like me, you’ll want to use a t-shirt or tank top only.
It’s important to find running tops that have minimal seams and tags so you don’t find yourself with chaffed areas of your body. Also, look for material that is odor “helping”. I say that in quotes because let’s be real, none of the odor-reducing fabric really helps, see my tips on laundry below!
Most running tops are made with minimal seams and tags so I go for funny quote tanks for the summer and I’ll find long sleeve funny quote shirts for the winter.
Every woman is built differently. Please hear me out. I’ve trained as a 36DD and 34B and there is only 1 brand of sports bra I will wear and that’s Brooks. When I was a 36DD I wore the Brooks Juno Sports bra. These have front adjustable front straps to customize the fit to you. You’ll have a higher level of support for long runs. There are also back closures to help you get in and out of them (because we all know that dance).
Currently, I’m using the Brooks Drive 3 Pocket Run Bra. It’s got a higher neck which I love and there are 3 pockets to hold your keys, license, and cell phone, goodbye running belt! You can find them at REI (cheapest), Amazon, and other sports retailers.
Running pants and shorts
I am most picky about my shoes and pants/shorts. There is only 1 brand I will wear. I’ve tried tons of different brands and I always go back to Zella.
I’m a mom of 2 and I need abdominal support if you know what I mean. I never snapped back after my girls so cheap pants don’t work. I also hate it when sweat marks happen during your run, you know the ones that look like you wet yourself. Ya, those companies can keep those pants.
I buy my running pants, capris, and shorts from Nordstroms. Hear me out before you scroll. They are cheaper than LuLu and Athletica promise. During a sale, you can pick these amazing pants up for under $40. They last forever too. I’m still wearing my capris from 2012!
I have tried them all! Silk, wool, and cotton, and for me, cotton work well. No need to buy high-priced socks if your weekly mileage is under 20 miles.
I like no-show ankle tab running socks and believe it or not, my favorites come from Target. I like to have the tab at the back to help keep the socks up and where they belong.
Socks for shin splint – if you suffer from shin splints, which is a common runner injury you’ll want to look into using compression socks. They will help with recovery and shin pain while running however, it’s also important to not overdo it and check with your doctor with any injury. They also come in fun colors and styles!
I am a girl who loves to listen to something while running. Sometimes it’s music or an audiobook on a very rare occasion I’ll listen to a podcast. My go-to headphones are worth every penny! I love Aftershokz headphones.
They’re bone conduction headphones which means they sit next to the ear so you can hear your surroundings. They also have incredible battery life I charge my headphones about once a week and use them 7 or 8 hours a week. For headphones, that’s great.
Many races don’t allow earbuds because you can’t hear your surroundings. These are approved for most races. Check your race to see their individual rules.
As a beginner, you may not want to run out and buy the best running watch on the market because these watches do a lot. Probably more than you need at the beginning.
I started with an Apple Watch in the beginning and just recently upgraded to a Garmin. If you’re running less than 7 hours a week you really don’t need to worry about battery life or some of the bells and whistles of these watches.
When you start running more than 2 hours at a time (and 3-4 hours on your long runs) that’s when I recommend going for a more powerful watch. I have a Garmin 245 Music which is a low to mid-range watch. It’s got an incredible battery life, I can connect my Aftershokz and Spotify playlist to my watch so I don’t have to bring my phone with me on my runs.
For me personally, I don’t carry hydration on shorter runs but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. I’m not a huge fan of hydration packs. I have one and I love it when I go on long trail runs however, if I can get out of wearing it I will.
Women are at a disadvantage when it comes to running packs. We are all built differently so I recommend using hydration belts for beginners because packs are expensive and hard to fit. If you are in need of a running pack I do recommend going to a running shop or REI and trying on a few in your workout clothes to see what will fit you best.
A great thing about REI is their return policy! You can try it out and return it if it doesn’t fit you well on your run.
My go-to running hydration belt has to be a Flipbelt. You can choose hip or waist depending on what you like. I personally like the hip fit but that’s just my personal preference.
This might come as a surprise to many but when you are running and sweating normal laundry detergent doesn’t touch the smell or stains that sweat makes.
People use vinegar and baking soda and that works for a bit. When you still notice smells after you wash with that it’s time to use something a bit more powerful. I love Power Wash by Nathan it really does blast the stink out of your grimy workout clothes!
When you’re starting out it can be overwhelming. I recommend adding new items slowly and get a feel for what you like and what you need while you’re out on the road or trail. I hope my beginner running gear recommendations make running more comfortable and fun.