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The sun’s out and bright and it’s a good day to stack up some miles. But running without the proper running gear in hot and humid weather could spell disaster. Your level of performance may drop or worse, lead to dehydration and other health consequences related to heat overexposure.
But don’t worry, I got you! Most of my runs happen under extreme heat and humidity (89.6°F with 83% humidity as of today), so trust me when I say I know how to dress up for a hot day.
Here’s How To Dress For A Hot Weather
- Wear a breathable top
- Wear short and loose shorts
- Choose thin running socks with vents
- Wear comfortable and breathable shoes
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear a Cap/visor
- Always bring a hydration pack
- Apply a Sweat-resistant sunscreen
Ahead, I will discuss what to look for and what to avoid when buying each of these running gear. I will also give you a few recommendations of some of my personal favorites and reviewed products.
One of the most important things to account for when running in hot weather is your choice of a running top. You certainly don’t want to look like a cocoon wearing a jacket, but you also don’t want to expose your skin to harmful UV rays and risk getting a sunburn.
In choosing a running top, choose a running top that is light, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying—usually fabrics made of nylon or polyester. It helps to choose dedicated summer gear because most of them have specially designed vents to allow your body to get rid of the heat.
A slightly loose-fitting (but not oversized) top helps with airflow.
There’s more to choosing a running top than what we’ve just talked about here. If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s a more detailed guide in choosing the perfect running top.
For men: I’m a big fan of the Under Armour Tech 2.0 T-shirt (shown below). It’s made of 100% polyester and has excellent moisture-wicking properties. It keeps you feeling fresh throughout your run and it keeps you cool despite the hot weather.
When it’s really humid, I prefer loose sleeveless tops like this one (link to Amazon) to allow as much air into my body as possible. Sometimes, when I’m running early in the morning or late in the afternoon where the sun isn’t too harsh, I go shirtless. There’s simply nothing better than skin in wicking away your sweat.
For women: Under Armour Tech is also available for women. Alternatively, most women prefer to wear sleeveless tops It’s more breathable and (according to some) fashionable.
The sleeveless top shown below is the Under Armour Women’s Tech Solid Tank Top.
You can also choose to wear a sports bra. They provide maximum breathability while still providing support during a run. The Adidas Alphaskin Bra (shown below) is moisture-wicking and quick-drying keeping you fresh throughout your run. Plus, it has mesh inserts that allow for maximum breathability.
What to avoid: When running in hot and humid weather, avoid tight-fitting shirts, compression shirts, thick shirts, and dark-colored shirts.
You don’t want to trap heat in your body. You also don’t want to prevent air from flowing in and out of your body by wearing tight and thick shirts.
Running shorts are crucial to every runner. A mistake in choosing running shorts can lead to many discomforts along the way.
You need to find running shorts that allow you to move as freely as possible. You also want something that protects your thighs against chafing, since chafing is very common in the thigh area.
Choosing something short in length helps keep most of your thighs cool and dry.
Like running shirts, the ideal fabric of running shorts is one that’s moisture-wicking and quick drying. You want something that keeps sweat away, not absorbs it.
In my experience, there are two great choices for running in hot summer months— split (or v-notch) shorts and 2-in-1 shorts.
Split/v-notch shorts allow the widest range of motion, plus, it’s usually very short which helps with breathability. On the other hand, 2-in-1 shorts (with breathable inner lining) helps protect your thighs from chafing without sacrificing breathability.
Anyway, if the types of shorts are confusing you, you can read this article that I made which explains the different types of running shorts in detail.
For men: My favorite 2-in-1 shorts when running in hot and humid weather is the Lixada 2-in-1 running shorts (Shown below). The reason why I use 2-in-1 shorts instead of just regular running shorts is that the long inner lining prevents my thighs from rubbing against one another. I have thick thighs and chafing in my thighs has been a problem until I started wearing 2-in-1 shorts or compression shorts.
What I like about the lining in these shorts is that it’s made with a breathable elastic mesh-type fabric. So unlike compression shorts, it doesn’t affect the breathability of the shorts as much.
Additionally, you can skip the underwear. The inner lining of this one already provides support. Wearing underwear under your running shorts will only likely become a potential cause for chafing and discomfort. You can read my advice on what to wear under your running shorts in a separate article.
Alternatively, if you don’t have problems with chafing in the thigh area, wearing regular split shorts is fine.
For women: The Under Armour Fly by 2.0 (shown below) is an excellent example of good running shorts for summer. It has a moisture-wicking fabric, it’s quick-drying and it has breathable mesh panels to help dump the heat.
What to avoid: Avoid wearing cotton shorts at all costs. They trap sweat and heat, plus, they are notoriously sweat-absorbing making it heavy and really uncomfortable to wear during a run.
Thin Running Socks
Socks are a commonly for granted gear for running, however, it is one of the most important gear to nail. Wearing the wrong socks can make a supposedly comfortable shoe really uncomfortable.
In choosing a pair of socks to use for running in hot and humid weather, choosing a sock that’s thin and low-cut help.
There are also running socks that have vents which helps with breathability.
Again, the ideal qualities of material used for a good pair of running socks are moisture-wicking and quick-drying. You also have to account for the elasticity. You want to find a sock that doesn’t slide down.
An example of a good running sock you can use for hot and humid weather is the Balega Silver No-Show socks (shown below). Like everything we’ve mentioned, it’s moisture-wicking, breathable, and thin making it perfect for your summer runs.
What to avoid: Avoid socks made of cotton. The cotton fabric absorbs so much sweat, it’s unbelievable.
I have a recent bad experience with cotton socks. I was wearing one when I was testing out my new trail running shoes (I ran out of socks so I did what was unthinkable). Halfway through the trail, I was getting blisters at the back and the side of my foot. Then I started hearing something squishy like I was stepping on a puddle of water.
I thought there was something wrong with the shoe. But after trying the same shoe with a real running sock this time, the shoe instantly became one of my favorites.
Point is, wearing cotton socks, especially when it’s hot and humid, will make your good shoes feel worst.
If that doesn’t encourage you to stop wearing those cheap cotton socks for running, check out this article that talks about 5 reasons why you should avoid cotton socks for running.
Breathable Running Shoes
Shoes are probably the most important part of your running gear. In choosing a running shoe for a hot and humid day, wear a breathable shoe that you’re comfortable with.
Most modern running shoes offer good breathability. Hence, the main thing you should consider is comfort. If you’re struggling to decide what type of running shoe you should use, I made an article that will guide you into choosing the right running shoes.
Choosing a light-colored shoe will help with the heat.
A personal favorite is the Brooks Ghost 14 (shown below). It’s soft, comfortable, and fairly responsive making it one of the best daily trainers in my opinion. Plus, the breathability of this shoe is good.
I wear a Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 (link to Amazon). It basically has the same features as the Brooks Ghost 14 but it’s a stability shoe, it’s made for overpronated runners (like I am).
In other words, if you’re a neutral runner, go for Brooks Ghost 14. If you’re an overpronated runner, get the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21.
If you have no idea what neutral and stability shoes are, I made an article comparing the two. You can learn about them here.
What to avoid: Water-resistant running shoes are a big no-no when you’re running in hot weather. Not only it affects breathability, but it also traps your sweat inside the shoe.
Wearing sunglasses can help you see more clearly and protect your eyes from UV light when running in hot and sunny weather.
The most important thing when choosing sunglasses is that it has the necessary protection that your eyes need and doesn’t slip or bounce even when you’re running hard.
The worst thing that could happen is that you get distracted from your run because your sunglasses keeps falling off.
The Goodr OG (shown below) sunglasses has been a personal favorite for the longest time. I like the fact that these don’t look like typical sports sunglasses (imagine the old school, colorful sunglasses). It’s stylish and can be used for casual wear.
Despite its more stylistic look, it has an amazing performance. They don’t bounce nor slip even when you use them for trail running. Plus, they are polarized. They don’t glare and affect your vision when there’s so much sunlight.
What to avoid: Avoid wearing flimsy, metal sunglasses like most cheap aviator sunglasses. They don’t grip pretty well and they aren’t made for vigorous activities.
Also, avoid nonpolarized sunglasses. They tend to glare which could affect your vision.
Protect your face from sunburn or skin damage brought about by too much sun exposure by wearing a cap or a visor when running in hot and sunny weather.
A good running cap will provide shadow to your face to shield it from the harmful rays of the sun.
Choose a cap that fits well and feels comfortable when you’re wearing them. A cap with a mesh part helps improve ventilation.
If you’re looking for a hat that’s stylistic for a good urban run while giving you the sun protection you need without sacrificing comfort, the Under Armour Run Shadow Cap (shown below) is a good option.
Alternatively, you can opt for a visor instead. It protects your face from sunlight but leaves the top of your head open for maximum breathability. A great example would be the Adidas Superlite Performance Visor (shown below).
What to avoid: Avoid caps with metal buckles. Also, avoid caps that have no vents. They are very uncomfortable when you’re running in hot weather.
Hydration Waist Pack
Proper hydration is important. More so when you’re excreting more of your body fluids because of hot and humid weather.
In choosing hydration gear for a hot day, choose something you could easily access and doesn’t interfere with your runs like a waist pack. It has enough storage for your running essentials as well as some personal items.
Make sure your waist pack doesn’t bounce around when you run. The last thing you want is to get distracted from your run because you’re constantly fixing your belt or picking up your bottle.
The Nathan Peak Hydration Waist Pack (shown below) is a good example of a good hydration waist pack. The bottle holder is slightly tilted for easy access and the belt is secure so it doesn’t bounce around when you run. It comes with a free insulated bottle to keep your refreshments cold when you need them the most.
In addition, it has zippered storage for your personal items and some gels.
What to avoid: Unsecure waist packs. It’s annoying when something so easily preventable throws you off your run.
Last but not least… Sunscreen.
Protect your skin by applying a little bit of sunscreen before you head out for a run. Choose a sunscreen that’s designed for sports.
The last thing you want from sunscreen is one that’ll wash off and get in your eyes when you sweat.
This affordable sunscreen (shown below) does a good job of staying on your skin no matter how much you sweat. Also, it feels light and breathable (as long as you apple just enough). This sunscreen lasts for around 80 mins, most of your training sessions would be done before you even need to reapply.
What to avoid: Avoid sunscreen that isn’t sweat-resistant or doesn’t last long on the skin. You don’t want to keep reapplying sunscreen multiple times in a single run.
There’s no need to be afraid of the sun. As long as it’s tolerable and you’re wearing the proper gear, you’ll most likely have a good running experience.
But what do you do when it rains? I’ve made a separate guide to help you with your rain running gear. Be sure to check it out.