New Runner: Buying Running Apparel & Accessories

This story is part of an ongoing series aimed at new runners.

With running clothes seemingly as smart as your iPhone, it can be overwhelming to know just what you really need to gear up for a run. Actually, it’s not much.

Function and comfort should be at the top of your list; once preferences are narrowed down, you can have fun with fashion, flair and color. Forrest Gump hit the road in a pair of khaki pants and a button down shirt, and Will Ferrell’s character, Frank “The Tank” Ricard, opted to go streaking in “Old School.” (We do not recommend copying the style choices of either of those movie characters.) The best running apparel combines performance-oriented function with comfort and fashion.

Chances are you have some athletic clothes in the back of a drawer that are fine to get you started. That said, there are some basics that will make any run more comfortable. A previous “New Runner” installment focused on appropriate footwear—running shoes—but you’ll also need a shirt, shorts and socks. A hat and watch are useful accessories, and women will want (and need) a supportive sports bra. As for price, good options are available at every price point.

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