Best Women’s Running Gear 2021 – Runner’s World

Best Women’s Running Gear 2021 – Runner’s World

There are more women runners out there today than ever before. And therefore, more women who need the right gear. Remarkably, it was only 49 years ago when Title IX was passed, requiring both men and women to have equal opportunities in sports. Sports bras didn’t even exist then. The “Jockbra” was released in 1977, the idea conceived when two women sewed two jockstraps together.

We’ve come a long way in women’s running gear—moisture-wicking tops, shorts with several pockets, bras that support all cup sizes. The options are many and broad, but that can make decision-making exhausting. To ensure you conserve your energy for your runs, we’ve compiled a list of gear to help you choose what to wear as you hit the road or trail. Below is quick info on several of these items; scroll down for in-depth reviews of these and others.

How We Chose This Gear

Every piece of gear on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and use our own experience testing to determine the best options for your runs. We hand-picked the gear below based on performance, price, comfort, technical features, and style to build this collection of essentials for women runners.

→ Looking for the BEST running shoes for women? Check out our list of recommendations so you can be geared up from head to toe. 🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏿‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️


Oiselle Pockito Bra

This pullover bra provides the medium impact A to D runners need on long, intense runs, where extra pockets are a necessity. The Pockito has three, one under each arm fit for a key or thin wad of cash, and one front and center for smartphone storage or easy access to gels or lip balm.


Shefit Ultimate Sports Bra

The Shefit bra has long swaths of Velcro on the straps and band for a personal fit. The bra has an impressively inclusive size range, beginning from A all the way up to I cups. You can adjust the bra from the front while wearing it—no contorting your arms to reach hook-and-eyes required. And the straps go from X-back to H-back and back, whatever your preference. One more thing: Did we mention it’s a zipper front closure?


Ciele Athletics GoCap

The GoCap is made of fast-drying Coolwick fabric that keeps your head from getting too sweaty on hot days. Multi-panel construction provides a sleek, comfortable fit. The soft, bendable brim and reflective accents are bonus features that both roadies and trail runners will appreciate.


Title Nine Vibe Tank Top

Like a wave, nod, or friendly smile as you pass a fellow runner on the road or trail, the Vibe Tank gives you all the fuzzy feels with its comfy lightweight fabric that comes in several colors. The double-stitch back design garnered compliments from running friends, said a tester, and the material didn’t become drenched with sweat as we racked up miles on humid runs.


Rabbit EZ Tee SS

It’s a mystery to us how Rabbit makes this top soft as butter, but we won’t lose sleep over that enigma—or in the EZ Tee. The shirt is cozy enough to wear to bed and functionally sound thanks to its stretch-woven, sweat-wicking material.


Janji AFO Middle Short

This flowy three-inch short is made of Janji’s AirFlatOut fabric—hence the AFO in the name—which is lightweight and has a four-way stretch. A moisture-wicking liner and a roomie back zipper pocket add to the appeal.


Baleaf High-Waisted Workout Shorts

These compression shorts are a best seller on Amazon. They come in three different lengths: two-inch, five-inch, and eight-inch. Flat-lock seams keep you chafe-free, and a gusseted crotch inseam allows unrestricted movement. The shorts have three pockets for incredible storage: two on the legs for easy access and one internal waistband pocket.


Brooks Canopy Jacket

The Canopy, which is extremely breathable according to our Runner’s World lab testing, has a stow-able hood, which doesn’t flop behind your head as you run. Plus, the front pockets have snug compartments to slide your phone into. The jacket’s light weight and packability make it the ideal for unpredictable weather when you may have to stash or zip up.


Bombas Merino Wool Running Ankle Sock

These plush socks have zoned cushioning, which adds comfort without taking up a lot of space in your shoe. The midsection of the sock uses Bombas’s signature snug, honeycomb knit, which adds support while still feeling airy and light. We especially love that the brand matches every purchase with a donated pair.


Lily Trotters Signature Compression Socks

With 15-20 mmHG of graduated compression, these socks stay firmly in place while you’re running—without gripping your calves so hard you want to peel them off the second you’ve stopped your watch.


Salomon Sense Pro 10

The Sense Pro 10 is one of the best women-specific race options we’ve seen. The two front flask pockets are positioned lower to fit around a woman’s chest, and the included flasks have straws to make drinking easy without pulling them out of the pockets. The design also features six additional pockets for quickly accessing essentials, including two zippered compartments for securely holding a phone or other gear. A rear pass-through pocket, a main zippered compartment, and a top-loading pouch provide tons of organization that make it capable for holding everything you’d need for races up to 200+ miles.


Junk Big Bang Lite Headband

Ideal for keeping hair strands and sweat out of your eyes, Junk’s Big Bang Lite is anything but, well, junk. The bands come in fun patterns, like Baja Grid here, as well as sports team logos, mix-and-match solids, and empowering mantras.



Whether you want to channel your inner Colleen Quigley with braids or copy Alexi Pappas’s iconic bun, these ties will keep your hair secure for your entire workout. Specifically designed for thick and easily tangled hair, Burlybands won’t slip off, break, or damage your locks. Plus, they resist stretching out and losing their snap, so you won’t have to keep buying more.


Goodr The OG

Goodr shades are affordable, well-built, polarized, don’t bounce, and come in a ton of fun colors. The original models fit a lot of different head sizes comfortably, but opt for the BFG if you have a larger noggin—or the Mach G if you’re into the aviator style. And at $25, these sensible sunglasses aren’t a liability when traveling or throwing in your gym bag—that’s why you see so many runners rocking them.


Knix The Dream Shorts

This pair of shorts is invaluable for that week each month when you need a little extra peace of mind on your runs. They feature a built-in, three-layered pad that can hold up to five teaspoons of fluid (the equivalent of what three regular tampons can trap), and will also protect against bladder leaks.


Garmin Forerunner 245 Music

As long as you have Bluetooth headphones, the 245 lets you leave one piece of technology—your phone—at home when you run and sync your favorite music from services like Spotify as you go. (If you don’t use Spotify, you’ll be able to manually add music and podcasts via Garmin Express.) Other advancements include performance monitoring and adaptive training plans, new safety features, and other upgraded health features—like menstrual cycle tracking and sleep monitoring.


Koala Clip Original

If you’ve tried everything from belts to armbands to comfortably tote your phone on a run with no avail, allow us to introduce the Koala Clip. This sweat-resistant pouch attaches to your sports bra so you can piggyback your phone and other essentials through your workout, hands- and bounce-free. What’s more, it comes in a rainbow of colors, and you can even personalize it with your favorite race manta.


Believe Training Journal

The Believe Training Journal combo is specifically designed to help you prep for your next race and toe the line at your best, both physically and mentally. It’s loaded with all the tools you’ll need—like pages for your race strategy, guided self-assessments, and performance goals—so you can stay organized and focused on reeling in your next PR.


Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress

A couple of our editors were dubious about running in a dress—“Isn’t that for tennis players?”—but the rest of our staff and several local testers were enthusiastic about a garment that’s functional, fun, and flattering. A built-in shorts liner, which is hidden under the skirt, has side pockets for storage. The chest area is also compressive enough for A to C cups to run bra-less.


Tracksmith Club Duffel

The Club Duffel has a main zippered compartment that’s constructed from a strong, rip-resistant canvas. Beautiful leather lines its bottom and handles, offering extra support where you need it most. Inside is one big open area just waiting to be filled with whatever gear you wish, plus a small zippered pocket for anything that needs extra safekeeping.

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