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It’s frustrating when you’ve got your afternoon run planned out only to be stopped by the heavy downpour of rain. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there. But over time I’ve learned not to let the rain stop me from getting a good run. Through my experiences, I’ve learned what to wear when running in the rain.
As a general rule, wear tight-fitting clothes made of moisture-wicking materials to prevent chafing when running in the rain. You should dress like it’s 10-20 degrees warmer to account for your body’s rise in temperature. Your main goal when dressing for running in the rain is not to stay dry but to avoid absorbing water.
But that’s not all, there are other things that you should consider when choosing your rainy-day running gear. Ahead, we will go through everything you have to know about choosing your gear from head to toe. I will also give you a few recommendations of the best running gear I’ve tried along with some tips for running in the rain.
What To Wear When Running In The Rain?
Tight Moisture-Wicking Top
When choosing a top for a rainy day run, go for a tight-fitting and moisture-wicking top. The ideal fabric used for a good running shirt is one that’s made with synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. They help draw out moisture which helps in keeping you fresh and light when you run.
A tight-fitting shirt also helps with overall comfort because there is no excess fabric that flaps around or sticks to your body when it gets wet. When it’s cold, wearing a long sleeve compression shirt helps with thermoregulation.
You also want to be as visible as possible, especially when you’re running on the road. Heavy rain makes it harder for vehicle drivers to see but wearing a bright-colored shirt will help. Think of neon orange, pink, or green.
There are more things to talk about when it comes to picking the perfect running top, if you’re buying one, be sure to check out the complete running top buyer’s guide that I made.
The Under Armour Tech 2.0 (shown in the photo below) is one of my favorite shirts for running. I use them for running in hot and humid weather as well as running in the rain (as long as it’s not too cold). They are very light and comfortable. They wick away moisture very well and they dry very quickly.
When it’s cold, you can go for a long-sleeved compression shirt. Compression shirts help with thermoregulation eliminating the need for multiple layers of clothing to stay warm. To save a little bit of money, you can buy this DEVOPS compression shirt which is sold in 2 packs.
Compression Shorts Or Tights
For your bottoms, the most comfortable for running in the rain is either tights or compression shorts. The traditional running shorts (like the short and baggy ones) tend to stick to your skin when it gets wet which can lead to chafing—particularly in the thigh area. They also help with thermoregulation.
If you’re torn between deciding whether you should go for shorts or tights when it’s raining, I gave my thoughts regarding that in another article.
I’m a big fan of the 2XU MCS Run Compression shorts (shown below). They have good compression, they feel awesome, they dry quickly, and they last long. However, they tend to be pricier than most of their competition.
If you’re not a fan of compression shorts, you can go for tights instead. They work the same way as compression shorts but they are much longer.
The CompressionZ performance tights (shown below) aren’t necessarily made specific to running. These are all-purpose tights that are great for running. They have good thermoregulation properties, meaning they’re fine if you use them in the heat or in the cold. They are also way more affordable than the bigger brands in the market.
Related post: Are Compression Garments Good For Running? (The Facts)
A Jacket With Vent
Contrary to what most people believe, waterproof jackets aren’t necessary when running in the rain. If you run in the rain, you will get wet—either from the rain or maybe with your sweat, so a jacket doesn’t even matter unless you use them to protect yourself against cold.
But if you decide you still want that added layer, I have a few tips when picking out your jacket. Go for a light, waterproof or water-resistant jacket. You don’t want to wear a jacket that’s heavy or absorbs water. Ideally, find a jacket you can stow away quickly in case the rain stops or it gets warmer.
Look for jackets with vents to allow the heat generated by your body to exit. You don’t want to be trapped with your own body heat.
A great example of the kind of jacket I’m talking about is the Baleaf packable jacket (shown below). It’s lightweight, completely waterproof, and it has breathable mesh vents all-around to help keep the heat out. In addition, it has a few zippered storages for your personal belongings so you don’t have to worry about bringing a belt bag.
More importantly, you can pack it into a small pouch which you can easily hand carry or put inside your running vest. That’s especially important when the weather suddenly changes.
Light Running Shoes
When choosing a shoe to wear when it’s raining, go for light and grippy shoes.
Avoid shoes that have improved comfort or uppers with too much cushion because they tend to absorb more water. Using a running shoe that has a good grip helps around tight corners when the roads are wet.
If you have a trail running shoe that is for all-terrain, you can use them on the roads too. They provide the grip that you need when running on a rainy day.
If you’re into trail running, one of my favorite trail running shoes is the Salomon Sense Ride 4 (shown below). It has a good grip on soft and muddy surfaces, but could also work for hard surfaces and even roads.
Another thing I like about it is that its uppers aren’t filled with too much cushion so you never have to worry about it getting heavy after getting soaked in the rain. So if you’re looking for a shoe to wear to trails and occasionally on the road when it’s raining, this shoe is a great option.
If you’re only interested and road running, I recommend the Brooks Ghost 14 (shown below) as a daily trainer. It has a good underfoot cushion, comfortable uppers but is also light and breathable. The blown rubber outsoles provide a very good grip, even when the road is wet. You never have to worry about slipping provided that you’re also running with caution.
Having the right shoe won’t do very much for the rain if you don’t pair it with moisture-wicking, thin running socks.
Blisters become very common when you’re running with wet feet. This makes the quality of the running socks even more important when running in the rain.
A good pair of running socks to use is the ones made of high-quality, moisture-wicking fabric that is tight-fitting. The most common ones are nylon, polyester, and wool mixed with some elastic components to help with the fit. This will prevent the socks from absorbing rainwater which could lead to discomfort and blisters.
Wearing cotton socks is a big no-no. Cotton absorbs so much water that you’d start to hear a squishing sound after it gets soaked. In addition, it feels pretty rough and uncomfortable when wet.
There are lots of reasons why you should avoid wearing cotton socks not only when it’s raining but even when it’s not. I covered all of them in a separate article. If you wish to learn more you should check it out.
A favorite of mine for a rainy day run is the Balega Ultraglide (shown below). One of the most common things that could happen when you’re running on wet socks and shoes is rub spots and chafing. The Balega Ultraglide is designed with a special “textile lubricant” (as they call it) to prevent that from happening.
True enough, I’ve worn these socks in a lot of long runs where it rained in the middle of my runs and I never had any problem whatsoever. They dry quickly too.
Running Hydration Vest
If you’re going for a long run, it helps if you wear a running hydration vest with a little bit of storage in it for your jacket and personal belongings.
The advantage of wearing one is that you’ll be able to take out your jacket or some additional layers as needed and simply put them back in case the rain stops or it gets warm. You don’t want to run with a jacket strapped around your waist, do you?
Choose a lightweight hydration vest that fits you perfectly. I made a guide to how running vests should fit in another article. The last thing you need is a vest that swings or bounces around as you run.
The Salomon Active Skin 8 (shown below) is one of the best running vests in the market, in my opinion. They have accessible storage where you can simply take out your gels and other running essentials, and they also have main storage at the back for your jackets and layers. Perfect when you’re running for long hours where the weather can change without notice.
They come with 2 free 500 ml soft flasks and they are compatible with a 1.5L bladder at the back (not included in the purchase).
A Cap Or Visor
If you’re running in heavy rain and the downpour starts getting to your eye and affecting your vision, wearing a cap or a visor helps.
If possible, choose a cap that’s waterproof so it doesn’t absorb water which could lead to odor. Like your clothes, they should also be moisture-wicking.
The cap’s purpose isn’t to prevent your head from getting wet but to shield your eyes from the downpour, so wearing a visor is okay too.
A good example of the kind of cap I’m describing is the Sealskinz all-weather cap (shown below). It’s 100% waterproof so you don’t have to worry about drying them or getting rid of the odor after your run. Despite the 3-layer construction and a little bit of insulation, it’s still breathable enough to use for
When running in the rain, take extra caution. There is definitely an increased risk of you slipping or getting involved in an accident. But with the right gear and the right mindset, going for a run when it’s raining can actually be fun.
But what if you’re running in hot and humid weather? What do you wear then? Well, you can check out my summer gear guide to find out more.