If there’s one positive we can take from the pandemic, it’s that a record number of people took up running – there were almost one million downloads of the Couch to 5k app during the first lockdown.
The beauty of running is you only really need yourself and the open road, no gym membership required. But choosing the right activewear and accessories will help to keep you comfortable, avoid injury and improve your performance. Plus, there’s no harm in looking good while you do it.
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Whether you want to keep it up or you’re thinking about trying it for the first time this January, we’ve pulled together all of the essentials worth buying. From the best running leggings to running tops and trainers to tech, read on for all of the must-have running gear to shop now.
Best running gear: running tops for women
Athlete seamless gym vest, £38, Sweaty Betty
From wearing it alone during the summer to layering up in the colder months, this vest from Sweaty Betty is a running staple. It’s close-fitting but so comfortable.
Layering running tee, £54, Free People
Free People’s activewear is as stylish as it gets, including this layering tee that’s perfect for running on those colder days. We love the thumbholes in sleeves for keeping hands warm and it’s available in navy or coral.
It’s Rulu Run Cropped 1/2 Zip, £88, Lululemon
Stand out on dark days in this reflective Lululemon top. It’s designed specifically for running, and cut just above the waist it pairs perfectly with high-waisted leggings.
GoodMove half zip run top, £19.50, Marks & Spencer
This zip-up running top from Marks & Spencer’s GoodMove collection feels premium quality with a budget-friendly price tag. It’s quick-dry and has a reflective design on the back for improved visibility.
Layering running tee, £37.95, Nike
Nike’s lightweight mid-layer has a zip design for controlled airflow and thumbholes for extra warmth.
Seamless sports top, £17.99, H&M
H&M does some of the best activewear on the high street, and this seamless long-sleeve running top has functional fabric to keep you warm and dry.
New Balance Q Speed Fuel tank, £20.40, New Balance
This jacquard New Balance tank top features a high neckline, wide back and thicker material than most for extra coverage this winter.
Best running gear: running leggings for women
Zero Gravity high-waisted running leggings, £95, Sweaty Betty
Sweaty Betty’s sports leggings are bestsellers for a reason. The Zero Gravity pair has been designed with running in mind and are so comfortable they feel like a second skin. They include a side pocket for your phone (it doesn’t budge, trust me) and a back zip pocket for your cards and keys.
Savu leggings, £160, WeAreNativ
If the beautiful design of WeAreNativ’s Savu leggings doesn’t make you want to go out on a run, we’re not sure what will. They’re made from highly durable, sustainable fabric.
Fast & free leggings, £108, Lululemon
True to their name, these Lululemon leggings give you total freedom to run as fast as possible. They’re made with material designed to create a low-friction surface that feels cool to the touch while you work out.
Go Move leggings, £25, Marks & Spencer
M&S has sold over 60,000 pairs of these leggings in the last 12 months. Supportive and sweat-wicking, with a price tag of just £25, we can see why.
adidas Own the Run leggings, £45, J.D Sports
These adidas leggings are made from clever fabric that helps you to stay at just the right temperature. They feature mesh inserts for extra ventilation and built-in compression to help protect your muscles.
Carbonite 7/8 tights, £80, Brooks
The reflective detail on these Brooks leggings makes them a great choice for your evening or early morning run. They feature a comfortable four-way stretch fabric and no-bounce pocket.
Best running gear: running trainers for women
Triumph 19 trainers, £145, Saucony
Pro-runners love Saucony trainers, and with their cushioned feel that’s protective but still breathable, the Triumph 19s are perfect for longer runs.
adidas Ultraboost 4.0 DNA Shoes, £140, J.D Sports
Super lightweight with a sock-like fit, you’ll definitely feel the difference in performance when you run in the adidas Ultra Boosts. Like running on a cloud.
HOKA Kawana trainers, £125, HOKA
New to the UK, the Kawana is not just comfy and light, but resilient too – something you need if you’re a keen runner.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 trainers, £104.95, Nike
Looking for a pair designed for shorter, faster runs? The aptly named Nike Air Zoom Pegasus are made with Nike’s React foam for a springy and bouncy feel.
APL Techloom Phantom trainers, £135, Selfridges
Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Garner has declared these to be the most comfortable running trainers, ever. They have a minimalist silhouette but maximum stability and promise to be very long-lasting.
adidas EQ21 Run trainers, £70, ASOS
Made from high-performance recycled materials, these adidas trainers have a mesh upper which enhances airflow in key sweat zones.
Best running gear: running bras and underwear for women
Run Times bra, £58, Lululemon
Specifically designed for running, Lululemon’s Run Times bra features padded, adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye closure for ultimate comfort and support.
Scoreboard sports bra, £74.14, P.E Nation
Made for low impact workouts, this P.E Nation sports bra is ideal for longer, slower runs. With its stylish colour-blocking and cut-out detail, you’ll want to wear it alone when summer rolls around.
Women’s running briefs, £14.40, Runderwear
Choosing underwear which is suitable for running can be tricky. You want something comfortable but not sweat-inducing and ideally without a VPL. Runderwear briefs are stretchy, lightweight, seamless and chafe-free, ticking all of the boxes.
Running briefs, £4.99, Decathlon
These seamless running briefs reduce chafing and follow your movements, staying firmly in place mile after mile.
Nike Training Pro sports bra, £25.60, ASOS
Nike is renowned for comfortable and supportive sports bras. With removable padding and adjustable straps, this one can be customised to fit just right.
Best running gear: running accessories for women
Fitbit Charge 4, £99.99, Argos
The Fitbit Charge 4 is one of the most popular fitness trackers thanks to its sleek design and multitude of features. It has a built-in GPS with an intensity map, heart rate monitor and sleep tracking. Plus, you can link it to your Spotify and use it to make contactless payments.
NURVV Run, £249.99, SportsShoes
NURVV measures your running using two smart insoles which have 32 sensors capturing your every move – pretty genius. The device is designed for all levels of fitness and will give you insight into how to improve your speed and reduce your risk of injury.
Lumen device, £349, Lumen
If you’re serious about making progress, Lumen is a portable device which will measure and track your metabolism. It gives you a recommended tailored diet plan to fuel your body correctly and optimise your workout based on the analysis of your breath. All you need to do is blow into the handheld device. So clever.
Jabra Elite Active 75t, from £99.99, Jabra
Waterproof and sweatproof, the Jabra wireless headphones have been designed for an active lifestyle. They feature HearThrough mode which allows you to adjust ambient sound and have a secure fit so you can be sure there won’t be any movement during your run.
Nike Lean armband, £17.95, Nike
If you don’t have pockets but like to take your smartphone with you when you run, this Nike armband is ideal. It’s waterproof and totally secure.
Sistema Renew Wave drinks bottle, £6, John Lewis
Like to take a water bottle out with you? This one features a hygienic ‘Twist ‘n’ Sip’ lid for opening and closing the bottle without touching the sipper top. It’s also leak-proof and easy to grip.
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