How to Dress for Hot Weather Running

Tips for running outdoors in the heat

Runners need to take precautions when running in the heat and humidity to avoid heat-related illnesses. Your clothing choices can have a huge impact on your comfort and safety during hot runs. Follow these tips for how to dress properly for hot weather running.

Wear synthetic-blend clothing

Runners in race
Yellow Dog Productions

Avoid wearing cotton when running because it holds your sweat and doesn't dry quickly, which can lead to chafing. Synthetic fabrics (such as CoolMax or Dri-Fit) are much more breathable and will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur. Although the technical fabric running clothes may cost a little more, you'll appreciate the comfort -- especially during those long, sweaty runs.

Also see: What Not to Wear Running

Dress lightly.

Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process, and dark colors will absorb the sun's light and heat, making you feel much hotter. White and light colors will reflect the sun from your skin.

Choose your running socks carefully.

Summer Running Socks

Don't wear 100% cotton socks during your runs. Your feet will most likely be sweating a lot, and cotton tends to keep your feet wet, which can lead to blisters and discomfort. Look for synthetic blends like those made from polyester, acrylic, or CoolMax, which are best at wicking away moisture. Thinner socks are always more comfortable for summer running.

Also see: Best Summer Running Socks

Wear shades.

A good pair of running sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays. Also, wearing running sunglasses helps prevent headaches that come from squinting or exposure to bright light.

Use sunscreen.

Female Runner Applying Sunscreen
Colin Anderson

Apply your sunscreen (at least SPF 15) before you get dressed for your run. Some summer running clothes are made of mesh or very thin fabric, so they might not provide protection from the sun's rays. Also, your clothes move when you run (or you may choose to take off some clothes, like your shirt). So it's best to make sure you're fully covered with sunscreen.

For your face, use a sunscreen stick so that it won't run into your eyes when you start sweating. If you're going for a long run and know you'll be sweating a lot, be prepared to re-apply sunscreen during your run. Carry sunscreen wipes or a small bottle of sunscreen in your running belt or pack.

Carry a water bottle.

When heading out for a run in the heat and humidity, make sure you don't forget your most important running gear item: A water bottle. There are plenty of belt, backpack, or hand-held water bottle options. Go to a running specialty store and check out the different options to see which type will work best for you.

Also see:  Hydration and Running

Wear a visor, not a hat.

If you want to wear something on your head to block the sun, wear a visor. A hat is too constrictive and traps heat. A visor won't will allow heat to escape, but will still keep your face shaded. Look for a visor with a sweatband so that it can also help absorb your sweat (so it doesn't run into your eyes.)

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