What to wear running as a beginner or intermediate runner, according to experts (2022)

Tips on what to wear on your feet and body

Author of the article:

Randi Mann

Publishing date:

Jun 29, 2022June 29, 20225 minute read Join the conversation

What to wear running as a beginner or intermediate runner, according to experts (1)

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Maya and Mike Anderson are runners, entrepreneurs and a very fit couple. They’re the owners of BlackToe Running, a retail store in Toronto, Ont. BlackToe sells running gear, but does so much more in the community, like providing shoe fittings and leading run clubs.

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BlackToe has been a mainstay in Toronto since it first opened in 2013 at Bathurst and King. The Andersons just opened the second location in Toronto, near Yonge and Eglinton, and we’re excited to see their brand expand. We met up with Mike for BlackToe’s second location grand opening to see the new place and learn about dressing for running success.

I wouldn’t call myself quite a beginner when it comes to running but put me next to an actual runner and I’m all sorts of beginner. The team at BlackToe can help runners at most levels unlock their potential, but I focused on getting advice for beginners to immediate runners. Not only for selfish reasons, but so many of us can also learn from the Andersons and their decades of running and coaching experience.

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Maya is a lifelong runner and Mike amped it up and started running marathons in his 30s. The couple started out their relationship with “run dates” and now lead running groups around the city. Their story is adorable and their running advice is much appreciated.

What to wear running as a beginner or intermediate runner, according to experts (2)

On running shoes

Q: What is your favourite running shoe?

A: Mike: That’s a tough one as the answer is different based on how I am feeling that day or the workout I am planning to do. I usually have about five pairs in rotation. I am running easy today so I will throw on a pair of New Balance (NB) 1080s for some extra cushion.

Maya: For practicality, I love the NB 880 Gortex in winter, even for long walks… not just running. I never wear winter boots…. ever. I am much more agile through snow, mud, and wet conditions with a running shoe like the 880 Gortex.

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Q: Have you had an adverse experience because of running shoes?

A: Mike: Running in the wrong shoes is never fun and I have lost a few toenails along the way!

Q: If I were a first-time runner, how would I select a running shoe?

A: Andersons: Beginners should focus on shoes that will keep them running comfortably and injury-free first and foremost. Someone who is just beginning their running journey shouldn’t be buying the most advanced racing shoe. Even elites shouldn’t run in those shoes every day. We have beginners focus on buying a daily mileage shoe, cushioned and durable [like NB Fresh Foam X 880v12, Asics Gel-Kayano 28 and Hoka Clifton 8].

Q: If I were an intermediate runner who wanted to improve, how would I select a running shoe?

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A: Andersons: More advanced runners will start to add more variety into their shoe rotation as they add more varied runs into their training program. This often means adding a more performance-oriented shoe into their rotation. [I like the FuelCell Rebel v2.]

Q: How long should I keep a pair of running shoes before replacing them?

A: Andersons: The rule of thumb is 500-700 km but that varies based on the model and runner.

Q: What should I know about running socks?

A: Andersons: Get a good technical running sock. Look for left/right foot differentiation, a formed heel cup, and a close form fit [like these Smartwool socks in women’s and men’s]. After that, comfort is key!

Q: Anything else we should know about running shoes?

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A: Andersons: The right shoes can make a big difference. Having shoes that are comfortable and you enjoy putting on your feet will help you get out the door more often.

On running gear

Q: What’s your favourite outfit to run in?

A: Mike: Shorts and a singlet – I like dark colours for the apparel and bright shoes!

Maya: Same! Shorts and a singlet, with lots of handy functional pockets in the shorts. Simple, loose, breathable.

Q: If I were a first-time runner, how would I select a running outfit?

A: Andersons: Technical fibres [that wick sweat] that are comfortable. Remember that you will be warmer than normal when you run so don’t overdress.

Q: If I were an intermediate runner who wanted to improve, how would I select a running outfit?

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A: Lighter, moisture-wicking fabrics are key for any runner. Along with apparel choices, using Body Glide on areas of the body where there is friction from the edge of a fabric seam or where your thighs may rub together, etc. The key is to be able to focus on your run, and not be distracted by skin irritation.

Q: What are key mistakes people make when selecting a running outfit?

A: Andersons: Dressing too warm, not using layers on colder days and wearing non-run-specific gear (because it chafes).

Q: Anything else we should know about running outfits?

A: Andersons: Find gear that suits your personal style. There are lots of good options for technical running gear, so find items you like that motivate you to go out and get running.

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On my favourites

I was an avid yogi. I literally didn’t miss a day of in-studio yoga for six years. Then the pandemic hit, and the studios had to close and I didn’t want to practice yoga at home. Enter running. I wasn’t net new to running at this point, but I was no means a runner. I’m still not. But I run anywhere between 5 to 10km a few times each week and have done so for the past 2.5 years.

Since returning to running, I’ve tried out a lot of gear, mostly because of my role as a Shopping Essentials writer. I also buy a lot of gear from lululemon because it’s what I know. I’ve also tried all sorts of gear from New Balance, Under Armour, Columbia, Allbirds, Knix, adidas, Nike, Asics and other brands.

I like to wear a legging or bike shorts with lots of pockets, a loose shirt that doesn’t expose my stomach, a cushy shoe, orthotics (I won’t run without custom orthotics, and recommend getting a pair, if possible) and sport socks. Haven’t explored enough into the land of left-right socks, but I intend to and am excited for my feet’s future.

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Favourite tops
New Balance – Q Speed Jacquard Short Sleeve
lululemon – Swiftly Tech High-Neck Tank
lululemon – All Yours Cotton T-Shirt (when I’m not going far and feeling slow)

Favourite bottoms
lululemon – Swift Speed High-Rise Tight
New Balance – Q Speed Utility Fitted Short
Allbirds – Women’s Natural Run Short (when I feel bloated)

Favourite shoes
Under Armour – women’s UA HOVR Machina 3 (love the Under Armour running tracking app)
Asics — Gel-Kayano 28

Favourite bras (I’m quite small-chested though)
lululemon – Like a Cloud Bra
Under Armour – Women’s Armour Mid Crossback Sports Bra
New Balance – Fuel Bra

Favourite socks
adidas – Originals men’s socks
lululemon – MacroPillow Tab Running Sock
Asics – Women’s Quick Lyte Plus 3-pack

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Shopping Essentialsis a new category that features highly researched products, new and exciting launches or behind-the-scenes info—learn more.

rmann@postmedia.com

instagram.com/randimann

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