Essential Running Gear For Beginners

When you first start running it is best to stick to the essentials and add gear as you add miles. But, what is the essential running gear for beginners?

The Essentials for Runners

Running Shoes

Essential gear includes running shoes

Running Shoes

Running shoes are going to make or break your running efforts, so they are probably the most important piece of gear you’ll have. 

My own thoughts on shoes for beginner runners is to just start out with a name brand running shoe that feels great.

Do not buy shoes in the Am, or at the beginning of your day. Your feet will expand as the day goes on by about 4%. So if you buy shoes in the morning, they could be too small that night.

  • You want to be sure your foot has a little room between your toes and the end of the shoe with the same or same weight socks you’ll be wearing when you run.
  • Try to get them almost the width of your thumb across your nail longer than your foot.

Your own style of running will determine what sort of shoe you need. There’s:

  • Running shoes for the roads
  • Trail running shoes
  • Cross-training shoes

Finding the best shoes comes with experience, and trial and error. So, look for a good shoe that your foot will have room to move a little from back to front and laces up to fit firmly but not tight from side to side.

For your first pair of shoes look for comfortable, premium material, adequate support and cushioning that feels right for you.

The Best Socks for Running is Essential

To tell you the truth I ran for years with whatever socks happened to be handy when I reached for them? I might have a pair of ankle socks on one day, and calf socks rolled down to my ankle the next?

Don’t do that!

Part of your essential running gear should be socks, right from the get-go!

Low cut running compression socks will make all the difference in the world. They will add support to muscles and increase the blood flow to your feet. 

The best running socks will give you more endurance because they improve the oxygen flow through your legs and feet, so they are worth it.

You should expect good running socks to:

  • Wick away moisture
  • Hold down odor and fungus from exercising your feet for long periods of time
  • Reduce fatigue and soreness from running
  • Be soft and comfortable

I would definitely consider good socks made for compression and support to be part of the original running gear for any beginner.

Sports Bras Make Running More Comfortable

You should know right away that I’m not a woman? However, having been around women all my life and women runners and athletes for a good part of it, I know a sports bra is essential gear for running women.

In fact, a sports bra is a must for some women.

All of my information for bras come from women who have run without them, and now advise me they would never dream of running in anything other than a sports bra.

I am advised that you do not want to get into jogging thinking your boobs flopping around is just part of the drill?

That’s about all I have to say about that piece of basic apparel for women, other than a run should be as comfortable as possible.

Winter Wear Makes Running Bearable

essential gear for running in winter

Fall is just setting in as I’m writing this, and it won’t be long before the days are cold. Paying attention to the best clothing articles to wear when you start running will help make running a natural part of your life.

Running in the cold and rain (up to a point) is just part of the drill for many of us. However, there are a few things beginners tend to look over when it comes to running when it’s cold, like:

  • You’ll want to add about 10 – 20 degrees to actual temperature when you decide what to wear on cold days.  You’ll find out quick enough that you will start out cold — but your body quickly warms itself up leaving you with too much warm clothing.
  • When the temperature starts dropping below 50 degrees start thinking about tights, gloves, a headband or skull cap, and sleeves.
  • Most people wear warmer shirts and start adding thermal wear to the mix when it gets in the 30s.
  • Before the temp gets in the 30s and sometimes lower, I am still running in shorts with T-shirts and a sweatshirt most days.

Layering clothes on cold days is a real plus for a couple of reasons:

  • Layered clothes are usually warmer than one piece of heavier clothing
  • As you warm up it’s easy to start shedding layers. You’ll learn to tie shed clothing articles around your waist and shoulders as your body warms.

Of course with a good treadmill or other cardio pieces in your home, you won’t need to battle the elements at all?

Storing Clothes You Take Off On A Run

The thing about layering clothes on cold days is that I always start out with more on than I wind up with. Even though it might not be essential, a good backpack for running is a great way to take care of extra clothes.

On my long running days, I usually wear a very light backpack with a bottle of water, my wallet, and keys, summer or winter. If I don’t have it along, I wind up hiding keys, and clothes tied around my waist and shoulders by the time I finish.


Here’s why I consider a stopwatch essential for my own running habit: I can set it for how long I want to run prior to starting out, and clear my mind of looking at my watch, or wondering how long it’s been?

Sometimes I know the route I will take, and time isn’t a factor at all, other times I take a different route, want to add to it, or it’s essential to get to the office by a certain time. In any case, you can get a very inexpensive watch with a stopwatch function.

If you don’t want a wristwatch, you can get a stopwatch to either wear around your neck, or carry in a pocket? Either way, for just a few bucks, you’ll find it a great piece of equipment.

Sun Shades

Unless you are running at night, you will find yourself squinting from either the glare or just facing the sun.

If you’re jogging for 40 minutes to an hour most days, 2 or three times that on the weekends, you might as well make life as comfortable as possible, right?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much a pair of sunshades will cost, but you can pick up a decent pair of wrap-around shades for just a few bucks and save your eyes, and maybe a headache?


Not me, but it generally looks like I’m the only runner without earbuds these days.

Personally, I expect a run to clear my head of all the collected garbage and noise, destress me, and leave me rather empty when I’m finished — most days?

When I do want to listen to either music or some motivational something or the other, I can tell you these are the best bluetooth headphones I’ve used.

I know, I know, they aren’t the name brand earbuds people spend a ton on for bragging rights. However, these earbuds stay in my ears quite comfortably with great sound for a fraction of the cost of most others of the same quality.

I use them when I’m in the mood, running or sitting in the library, but you will need to decide for yourself if headphones are an essential part of your own running.

What Are You Doing With Your iPhone?

Are you still carrying your phone in your hand while you run? There are two things that amaze me about that: 1) how inexpensive phone armbands are 2) that people are still carrying their phone or sticking it in their waistband. Given the price of an iPhone in comparison to an armband that protects it from falling and gets it out the way, I am amazed.

Not only are phone armbands inexpensive and provide a handy place to keep your phone, most now provide storage pockets and something florescent on them for added safety when it’s dark.


Of course, a lot of the gear you use will depend on your own budget, the climate of your area, and what time you run. You’ll also have to take into consideration your own goals and just how dedicated you’ll be to the activity.

For instance, if you’re only running to lose weight and you belong to a gym, you might not need to invest in winter running tights or cold weather running gear?

You could get your cardio in on a stationary bike, a treadmill, or a rowing machine, right?

On the other hand, if you run outside and are quite serious about your running, you will probably need good winter gear, especially if you live in a cold climate.

Let’s face it: essential running gear for beginners is really shoes (unless you’re running barefoot) and most any loose clothing that won’t chafe and bind.

However, in my own experience, these are fundamental to making your running comfortable and satisfying.  Whether you think of beginning to run for long term exercise and cardio or just long enough to lose a few pounds — get good shoes, socks, sports bra (if applicable), and stay warm.

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