Bare Essentials

Novice athletes may have a difficult time determining which running gear is essential and which is optional. We will provide an overview of running essentials, as well as considerations for individuals that may find themselves running more frequently.

Supportive Shoes

A good pair of running shoes are a worthwhile investment, but they can be expensive. If you are hesitant to spend the money, check your closet. A pair of shoes that are in fair condition, have compressible soles, and can be secured to provide ankle support should suffice.

Running more? Consider buying running shoes.

active wear

Athletic Apparel

Cotton apparel will work for running until it becomes saturated with water and sweat. Cotton may work for short runs, however, runners may soon find themselves cold and uncomfortable. Clothing made from “wick away” materials is preferred because they help runners to regulate their body temperature and stay dry. For women, sports bras promote comfort and support while running. Running shorts are another important piece of apparel. They are worn without underwear to reduce chaffing, while ensuring that our sensitive areas remain well ventilated!

Running more? Consider buying running shorts.


Anti-blister and chafe products reduce friction when applied between body parts that rub against one another, such as your toes and thighs. These balms and lubricants are typically affordable ($5-10), and last a long time.

phone armband

ID and Money

You should always carry identification such as a health card/insurance when running in case of a medical emergency. Cash or a debit/credit card is also useful if you need to stop a buy a snack or drink.


We recommend bringing your phone with you for safety reasons, as you may need to make an emergency call. Smart phones have plenty of useful Apps that come in handy while running. They can help you navigate, track your runs, forecast weather, and store your playlist.

Running more? Consider buying a running belt or armband.

Better gear can make your running experience more pleasant, but may not translate to improved running performance. Most running stores have knowledgeable staff that will give you an honest opinion about running products. Keep an eye out, and do your research before buying gear. Unnecessary gear may actually slow you down, so don’t be afraid to bare the essentials.



Aspiring runner, triathlete, and exercise junkie for more than a decade. Chris mostly provides technical writing for Aspiring Runner by examining evidence-informed running practices.

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