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Best Running Gear Reviewed & Compared

last updated Apr 01, 2019

Heading out for a run? What are you thinking about before you hit the road? The weather? Sure, but most likely you're making sure you're suited up in your favorite running gear, especially if it's a long weekend run. No matter the type of running you prefer, we've got you covered, literally. We want you to stay safe, comfortable and have gear that helps you perform better. Which is why our top picks are reflective to keep you safe, water resistant to keep you comfortable, or gear that will optimize performance. While our top picks are geared more towards running, they can be used for most any outdoor activities.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research

icon
 FreeMove Reflective Running Vest
95/100 our score
Ease of Use
95
Safety Hazards
96
Weight
95
Features
94
Advanced Features
95
FreeMove Reflective Running Vest
Why is it better?

A long range of visibility

Easy to move around in

Lots of reflective areas on the vest

Very lightweight fabric

Sizes for all ages/weights

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 FreeMove Reflective Running Vest
Test Winner: FreeMove Reflective Running Vest
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
14
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
12k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Anna Marie
By Anna Marie:

This recent update was performed to bring you the best running gear of 2018. The introduction and FAQ sections were both rewritten and updated to make the information more digestible and easier to follow. If you have any last minute questions, stop by the bottom of our guide and check out our updated frequently asked questions section!

Sorting Options
Ease of Use Safety Hazards Weight Features Advanced Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Ease of Use
95 %
Safety Hazards
96 %
Weight
95 %
Features
94 %
Advanced Features
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$15.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Ease of Use
94 %
Safety Hazards
95 %
Weight
94 %
Features
96 %
Advanced Features
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$16.97
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Ease of Use
94 %
Safety Hazards
93 %
Weight
92 %
Features
92 %
Advanced Features
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$15.16
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Ease of Use
91 %
Safety Hazards
92 %
Weight
91 %
Features
93 %
Advanced Features
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$15.97
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Ease of Use
89 %
Safety Hazards
91 %
Weight
88 %
Features
87 %
Advanced Features
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$11.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Ease of Use
87 %
Safety Hazards
89 %
Weight
85 %
Features
86 %
Advanced Features
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$21.98
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
Ease of Use
84 %
Safety Hazards
83 %
Weight
82 %
Features
83 %
Advanced Features
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
Ease of Use
81 %
Safety Hazards
80 %
Weight
79 %
Features
82 %
Advanced Features
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$24.48
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77
Ease of Use
79 %
Safety Hazards
77 %
Weight
75 %
Features
76 %
Advanced Features
78 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$9.47
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
Ease of Use
74 %
Safety Hazards
75 %
Weight
72 %
Features
73 %
Advanced Features
72 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (05.12.19)
Amazon Link
$169.87

Best Running Gear

1. FreeMove Reflective Running Vest

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
 FreeMove Reflective Running Vest
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
95
Safety Hazards
96
Weight
95
Features
94
Advanced Features
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.95
Pros:

A long range of visibility

Easy to move around in

Lots of reflective areas on the vest

Very lightweight fabric

Sizes for all ages/weights

Cons:

Zippered pocket can move around when heavy items are in it

Sizing can be tricky to figure out

FreeMove offers a highly reflective running vest designed to mold to your body and minimize the movement of the vest while you are out on a run. Featuring a lightweight, highly breathable mesh fabric combined with durable Velcro straps to hold it in place, combined with a front zippered pocket large enough to hold phone, keys, etc., you have just about everything you need to stay safe. It also comes with two reflective wrist/ankle straps for added visibility and a storage/carrying case.

Six Different Sizes
A rarity among reflective vests on the market, FreeMove offers six different sizes in order to help you get the best fit possible. This is an important and valued quality when it comes to having clothing while running that won't flop around.

Ultralight Mesh
With the bulk of the fabric consisting of ultralight mesh, it's easy to forget you're even wearing this. The mostly mesh design also keeps air flow at a maximum so you don't build up excess sweat.

Cost and Value
Compared to other reflective vests available on the market suitable for running, FreeMove keeps its price lower than many competitors. With a sleek design specific to fit a runners body, you can't go wrong.

2. Sport2People Running Belt

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
 Sport2People Running Belt
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
94
Safety Hazards
95
Weight
94
Features
96
Advanced Features
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$16.97
Pros:

Doesn't slide around on waist

Fits large phones

Features reflective stripes

Earbud hole in the pocket

Stretchy material

Cons:

Should not wear directly on the skin

No water bottle holder

Runners are all too aware of the struggle of finding a way to hold keys, phone, etc., without having full hands or pockets that flop up and down as you run. The Sport2People running belt solves this problem, with a stretchy, waterproof belt that adjusts to fit most sizes. With one pocket large enough to fit pretty much all phones, and another smaller pocket to hold items such as keys or money, you'll have everything you need in a compact, sleek belt. This belt also features a hole for earbuds so you can easily listen to music on your phone, however, it does not compromise the waterproof nature of the material and zippers that keep your belongings dry.

Waterproof
The waterproof material combined with zippered specifically designed to keep water out of the pockets will allow you to run any time without your valuables getting damaged by water.

Multipurpose
Due to the compact nature of this belt, it's perfect to conceal at concerts, sporting events, or other such large gatherings to keep your valuables safe under your shirt or jacket.

Cost and Value
Price-wise the Run & Relax running belt is similar to others on the market, however, the large pockets that fit most modern cell phones and its waterproof, compact design are what sets it apart from the competition.

3. Physix Gear Compression Socks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
 Physix Gear Compression Socks
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
94
Safety Hazards
93
Weight
92
Features
92
Advanced Features
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.16
Pros:

Won't roll down like other socks

Reduces foot pain and swelling

Don't pinch

Fashionable colors/designs offered

No seams that will rub in wrong places

Cons:

Thin material may wear down after repeated washing machine use

Top band can be uncomfortable

Compression socks seemed to have gained popularity in the last decade for various uses. For those who stand on their feet for hours on end, plane rides, after surgery to help prevent blood clots, or yes, for runners, compression socks boost circulation, increasing blood oxygen flow to your legs and feet, helping to reduce swelling and fatigue. These compression socks from Physix Gear Sport are designed to hug your calves, heels, and arches, putting pressure in only the places that need it. Using a combination of nylon and spandex materials, the socks stay in place and will not slide down while you're on the go. Choose from a variety of colors and sizes.

Lycra Fabric
Perfect for use in wet weather conditions, the Lycra fabric composed of 80% nylon and 20% spandex has moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties that will dry fast after being exposed to sweat, rain, mud, etc.

No-Slip
Featuring "stay put cuffs" that keep these socks in place, they won't slide down your calf or around on your feet, allowing the compression to stay exactly where it needs to be.

Cost and Value
While these compression socks are slightly more expensive than some of the competition, these socks featuring superior design and quality are worth the few extra bucks. They are so confident in their product, they offer a money-back guarantee if you don't like what you get.

4. Apace Vision LED Safety Light

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
 Apace Vision LED Safety Light
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
91
Safety Hazards
92
Weight
91
Features
93
Advanced Features
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.97
Pros:

Comes in five different colors

Easy to take on and off

A long range of visibility

Operate for a long time on one set of batteries

Cons:

Better to use Velcro on dog collars than the clip option

Difficult to change batteries; they are tiny

Another safety product to take along on runs, use this in combination with or as a substitute for a safety vest. Coming with two lights, extra batteries, two short and one long elastic Velcro straps, and a mini screwdriver for easy battery replacement, you have everything you need to stay safe outdoors. Lightweight, waterproof and featuring three different lighting modes, you can use this for yourself or attach it to your dog, child, bike, etc., to ensure high visibility while out for a run, on a hike or on your morning bike commute to work.

Three Lighting Modes
Offering three lighting modes: steady, slow flash, and fast flash to fit any occasion. Boasting a battery life of up to 100 hours, you can choose whichever makes you feel safer and worry less about batteries dying.

Clips Anywhere
Hook it on to your clothing, belt, vest, dog collar, dog leash... Hook on just about anywhere, or attach it to one of the Velcro straps included to tie around anything.

Cost and Value
Coming with two lights and extra batteries, the price paid for a product that could save your life someday is well worth it. Makes a great gift for yourself or anyone you love at a low price point.

5. Tough Headwear Skull Cap

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
 Tough Headwear Skull Cap
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
89
Safety Hazards
91
Weight
88
Features
87
Advanced Features
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.95
Pros:

Works under helmet

Does not make head overly sweaty

Does not shrink in the washer

Lightweight

Reflective icon on the front

Cons:

Not warm enough to wear alone in winter

Size runs a bit small

Everyone knows the best time to run is in cooler temperatures, which often means cold ears. It's hard to find a good beanie that will not move around on your head; and then enters the skull cap. The stretchy, breathable material is perfect on its own in cooler temperatures, or under a helmet/as a liner under a thicker cap in cold temperatures. Moisture-wicking and lightweight, you'll forget you even have it on. Easily throw it in the washer, and it will quickly dry for your next use. Good for runners, skiers, motorcyclists, bike riders, etc.

One Size Fits All
Composed of 89% polyester and 11% spandex, this stretchy material will fit any size head without being overly tight and uncomfortable for large heads, or too large for smaller ones.

Breathable
The breathable material will wick away sweat and water to help avoid a sweaty gross head while being thick enough to retain warmth while running around outdoors during a variety of activities.

Cost and Value
Not only does the skull cap crush the other competing running hats by maintaining a low price, but it also ranks at Best Value within our top ten picks for running gear by holding superior quality for the lowest price.

6. Thirty 48 Compression Socks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
 Thirty 48 Compression Socks
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
87
Safety Hazards
89
Weight
85
Features
86
Advanced Features
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$21.98
Pros:

Firm support 

Thin, therefore not over-constricting

Reduces foot pain

Easy to put on and take off

True to sizing

Cons:

May slip up when putting tight shoes on

No compression around the toe area

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common ailments that runners face, usually caused by repetitive tension and stress in the arch of your foot, aka the plantar fascia. This causes it to become inflamed or irritated, in turn causing a sharp pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. Improperly fitted shoes can also cause this to happen. The difference between these socks and the ones mentioned previously is where the compression occurs. These focus on compressing around the nerves and muscles to increase circulation and reduce inflammation, providing all-day comfort. The moisture-wicking material will feel comfortable underneath or over your socks and keep your feet dry. However, even if you don't suffer from this ailment, they still offer compression benefits for anyone.

No Pinch Points
The lightweight and stretchy fabric used for these socks not only allow full range of motion but do not have any pinch point around areas that usually would, such as at the ankles.

Moisture-Wicking
This will keep your feet dry no matter how you choose to wear these: with sandals, boots, slippers, high heels, etc. The shorter design also means they are easier to conceal.

Cost and Value
Not surprisingly these are cheaper than the compression socks previously mentioned, due to less area covered. However, for those who want less coverage or have plantar fasciitis, these are a high-quality product that will reduce pain and swelling effectively.

7. 4ucycling Windproof Athletic Pants

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.6
 4ucycling Windproof Athletic Pants
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
84
Safety Hazards
83
Weight
82
Features
83
Advanced Features
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Drawstring belt

Extra knee room

Block wind effectively

Zippered pockets

Great for a wide range of activities

Cons:

Large logo across the leg is visually obtrusive

Run a little short in length

Let's face it, it is extremely hard to find the ideal pair of pants to suit the needs of athletes. 4ucycling has broken that barrier and created a low-cost solution to your needs. Water-resistant on the front, breathable in the back, reinforced materials in all the right places, and a fleece interior will keep you comfortable. Zippered pockets will keep your belongings safe while you're on the move, and the extra material in the knee area will not restrict movement during training. An added reflective logo on the side will improve visibility while out in low-light conditions. The zippered bottoms of the pant legs are designed to be zipped over your shoes to reduce the amount of extra material flapping around while on the go. These work great for both men and women, just keep in mind that they do run a bit small, so it is best to order a size up.

Fleece Interior
While the outside keeps you dry, the inside is lined with thermal-retaining fleece to keep your legs warm during those cold, snowy runs, optimizing comfort.

Unique Design Specific for Athletes
Being that the front of your legs gets cold faster while running into the wind, the front is made with a double-layer synthetic material which is water-resistant, while the back is made of a breathable polyester/spandex material to help improve aeration and reduce sweat buildup.

Cost and Value
If you go to any retail store and search for wind pants designed specifically for athletes, it is unlikely you will find something as low priced as these while still retaining the same high-quality, unique features designed for a runners comfort and needs.

8. Level Terrain Flip Belt

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.4
 Level Terrain Flip Belt
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
81
Safety Hazards
80
Weight
79
Features
82
Advanced Features
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.48
Pros:

Doesn't bounce while running

Looks like a regular waistband while on

Easy to attach earbuds to phone

Easy to forget you're wearing it

Durable material

Cons:

Not waterproof

Some get freaked out by the concept of no zippers

For the fashion-conscious out there, here is a product for you! Looking just like any waistband, the patented design of the Flip Belt has no semblance of a fanny pack. At 3 inches wide, simply slide it on like pants, store your belongings in one of the four available pockets, and turn it back around to lock in your belongings against your waist. This seamless design limits pinch points and provide a storage space that will not bounce while running, hiking, etc. It's thin enough to be concealed under your clothes and comfortable enough to forget you're wearing it. Keep in mind the sizes run small, so take a look at user reviews before purchasing to get the best idea of what size will be best for you.

Seamless Design
No buckles, zippers, or annoying seams to get caught on things or broken. This decreases the number of things that can get caught or cause hurtful pinch points.

Reflective
Sticking true to the safety theme we have going on here, the flip belt features two reflective strips and a reflective logo to keep you visible in low-light conditions.

Cost and Value
Compared to the other running belt outlined earlier, the Flip Belt is slightly more expensive due to its patented sleek and seamless design, however, compared to other belts available on the market, it holds a lower price point.

9. Physix Gear Compression Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77
 Physix Gear Compression Sleeve
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
79
Safety Hazards
77
Weight
75
Features
76
Advanced Features
78
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.47
Pros:

Does not restrict the feet

Comfortable material

Won't roll up or down

Reduces pain and swelling

Many colors to choose from

Cons:

Lower ankle sleeves can be too tight

Sizes run small

A good midpoint between the other two compression socks outlined, this no-sock option is great for those with varicose veins or problems with shin splints. The no-sock option is popular among those who don't like the constricting feeling of compression socks, yet need the support and anti-inflammatory solution that compression offers. These Physix Gear Sport calf compression sleeves will not roll up or down, will not pinch behind the knee, and provide the same moisture-wicking properties as the other Physix product reviewed. Choose from a variety of sizes and colors to suit your preference and needs.

Double-Stitched
The double stitched seams provide added durability to hold up to any activity you use them for, as well as provide a strong connection to hold up to your washing machine.

Fast Drying
The moisture-wicking properties of the material not only provide comfort but also allows for quick drying so you can leave them out overnight while traveling and put them on in the morning dry and ready for another hard day.

Cost and Value
Cheaper than the other compression socks outlined in this review, you can get the same great benefits of lower leg compression for a lesser cost.

10. Garmin Vivoactive Watch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
73.2
 Garmin Vivoactive Watch
Amazon Link
Ease of Use
74
Safety Hazards
75
Weight
72
Features
73
Advanced Features
72
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$169.87
Pros:

Can be used in the water

Very small and lightweight

Fast connection to satellites

Accurate distance measurements

Long battery life

Cons:

Cannot answer calls or texts through the watch, just see them

The display is fairly dim for use indoors

For the technology buffs out there, the Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch is the perfect running partne. Capturing data such as distance, time and pace, and syncing to your smartphone to display alerts of texts, call, etc., you'll have everything you need while out. The high-resolution touchscreen is easy to read in the sunlight, and you can customize the icons on the home page to those that are most pertinent to you. Use for a wide variety of activities such as running, interval training, golf, or as a way to track your daily step count to help achieve a daily distance goal. You can customize all screen available, as well as band colors and material. The batteries are long-lasting and rechargeable.

Optional Heart Rate Monitor
For an additional price, purchase the heart rate monitor which syncs to your smartwatch and provides instant data on where your heart rate is at currently and in the past.

Personalized
From the office to the trails and beyond, there's an app for that. Simply go to their Connect IQ store to download various features in order to get the most out of your watch for any activity you participate in.

Cost and Value
Not surprisingly, this is the most expensive item reviewed here. However, compared to other watches that offer the same features, the Vivoactive is one of the least expensive you can find on the market without compromising a lightweight design and a wealth of possible uses.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Ease of Use

When you start picking out running gear, you should consider how useful the gear is for running and what problems it could solve for you. We always like to ask ourselves what we need that our current running gear does not already provide. So by looking at common problems you experience with your current gear, you can have a good idea of what you are looking for in your next gear purchase.

For example, you may always have sweat dripping down your face and into your eyes which causes eye irritation and burning. You may decide that because of this need that you can solve this issue by purchasing a headband that will keep the sweat from running down your face. Once you have matched the product to the need, you are ready to decide if the accessory is worth purchasing or not.

Moreover, consider what may no longer be useful to you. Gear wears out and seasons change. You may no longer need a sweatband to keep sweat out of your eyes because you are now running in a cool environment and need a great lightweight jacket to keep you warm.

Safety Hazards

Safety is such an important part of running and running accessories that are intended to improve your safety are generally a worthwhile investment. Running itself may not have a lot of hazards, but you should always consider traffic, weather, and terrain in order to stay safe.

Considering these three hazards will help you make informed decisions as to what running gear you need to purchase. The better you plan ahead for hazards, the less likely you are to get injured. If you plan on running anywhere near cars or trucks, then you should always consider your visibility to drivers so try and find clothes that have bright colors and avoid clothing that is black or grey. Also, wear reflective gear if you plan on running at night, near traffic or in bad weather.

Also, an important safety consideration is hydration as a way to stay safe. When you are running, you will need to remain hydrated to help boost your performance and it will help prevent you from getting dehydrated which can cause major health problems. Runners have a variety of strategies that they can use to stay hydrated. Some people do not run long distances from their homes and can, therefore, grab a drink before and after they have finished running. Other people stop at a convenience store as a way to take a break. Or people who carry water with them in a water bottle or hydration backpack. How you choose to stay hydrated will determine what your needs are for accessories.

Weight

Runners should always try and look for running gear that is lightweight because the less that your gear weights, the better you will be able to perform. Heavy running gear requires you to use more energy while running which will cause you to get tired more easily and will slow you down. So look for lightweight gear that will ensure mobility and comfort. Make sure to consider the weight of your running shoes and any accessories you might be carrying. Maybe you need to trade some accessories in for lighter ones or maybe you are just carrying too much and should trade in your heavy hydration pack for a lighter water bottle or leave your smartphone at home.

Features

You may need to bring several items with you on your run: those that you can't leave home without. So if you plan running with a lot like, keys, chapstick, phone, etc..., try to pick the gear that will help keep these items organized and safe. How you choose to organize your gear will determine what you need to purchase. Many runners organize items by using pockets in their clothing, small backpacks, or running belts. Each approach is a different way to solve the same problem, but some might work better for you than others. Just make sure to plan ahead how you organize your running gear, so you can enjoy your run and know that your items are safely tucked away.

Advanced Features

Running and jogging should be enjoyable. Anytime you make your jog more enjoyable, the more likely you will want to do it more often. So make sure to pick the gear that will make running easier and more fun. If you are into performance, then you can look for running gear that will help you perform better. Maybe invest in an electronic device that can help give you a tip on how to increase your distance or speed. Who doesn't enjoy crushing their health goals? Or if you like music, invest in an armband and Bluetooth headphones so you can jam out no not have to worry about wires while you are running. There are tons of armbands to chose from to fit every need.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
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#1
ico Ease of Use
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#2
ico Safety Hazards
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#3
ico Weight
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#4
ico Features
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#5
ico Advanced Features
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expert tips icon
Picking the Best Gear for you

Our list has so much stuff in it, it's a lot to take in. But before you get lost in all the running gear you could get, think about the running gear that you need. What's the average temperature, humidity, altitude of the places where you're doing your running. This matters when it comes to the gear you're choosing. Are you a big sweater, again, if you're doing long distance runs this is going to make a difference in the kind of gear you're buying. What we're trying to say here is don't let your choices overwhelm you, just take some time to think about the running gear that makes you comfortable, and go with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What gear do I need to start running?

a:

It depends on the kind of running you are doing, but at a minimum, you will need a pair of good running shoes, and running clothes that will keep you comfortable and are appropriate for the weather. 

q: How should I dress when I am running in cold weather?

a:

It is recommended that you dress in lightweight layers while you are running. Dressing in layers helps your body regulate temperature. You can remove layers as you start to get warm and put them back on when you start feeling cold again.

q: How can I make sure I am seen by traffic?

a:

Make sure to wear bright and reflective clothing and gear, an LED running light or other kinds of running lights which will help drivers see you.

q: How can I protect my skin while running outside?

a:

You should always think about protecting your skin from sunburns while you are running outside. Wear lightweight, long clothing that blocks UV radiation or invest in a great quality sunscreen.

q: Why are some running clothes antibacterial?

a:

As you run, your body will produce heat and moisture which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If bacteria is a concern, make sure to invest in running clothing are naturally anti-bacterial.