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Chicago Running Review

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What to Wear: Running in the Rain

Running in the rain can be one of the most enjoyable running experiences out there but it is also the most daunting! We’re here to help you shed the social norms of hiding on a rainy day and embrace one of the greatest joys a runner can experience with these apparel tips for running in the rain. Of course running the the rain is significantly more comfortable with the right gear!

Contrary to what you might think, our super savvy rain running staff recommends less rather than more gear for rainy runs and recommends focusing first on the next to skin layers. Here are their recommendations for running in light to medium rain and warm to cool conditions:

Lyndsey hates getting rain in her eyes and face and recommends running with a hat or hood (like this one on the Sugoi Firewall 180 Jacket) as well as sunglasses. Since it is typically overcast when it is raining make sure you use sunglasses with clear or lightly tinted lenses or a pair of photochromatic lenses which adjust to current lighting conditions. Learn more about the benefits of sunglasses.

Jeremy recommends that you choose a premium Merino wool top as it will keep you much warmer than a synthetic piece when wet. These Quest Crew tops from Icebreaker are a great combination of lightweight Merino wool paired with elastane which will help the garment hold its shape. On warmer rainy days, Jeremy recommends leaving the layers at home and not worrying too much about getting wet when you’re wearing a top like this. In colder rain, Ben points out that Merino wool still makes a great first layer beneath a jacket.

For cold and windy conditions, a jacket is an important piece of rain gear. While we have a lot of jackets that offer good water-resistance, these two pictured here are the only ones with taped, fully waterproof seams. We don’t select many fully waterproofed jackets since they don’t breath as well!

The Pearl Izumi Fly Reverse Jacket (on the right) is our only completely waterproof jacket and offers 360 degree reflectivity for low light conditions. Added bonus, it reverses to solid black for when you don’t want to stand out in a crowd! The North Face Stormy Trail Jacket (women’s pictured on the left), offers some taped seams but also some knit venting which sacrifices water resistance for temperature and moisture control.

Ben and Lyndsey agree that having techy underwear is one of the more important parts of your rain running gear. Both the Saxx Kinetic boxer brief (left) and the Icebreaker Pace hipster (on the right) are made from materials that help manage moisture and won’t get super soggy like cotton underwear when they inevitably get wet in the rain.

On top of your techy underpants, our crew recommends you go with less versus more. Consider shorts or capri bottoms over pants which may feel nice initially but will soon become waterlogged. Lyndsey doesn’t like how shorts get clingy once they’re completely soaked and recommends going with a more fitted bottom like Sugoi’s Jackie Knicker (left) or Nike’s Filament short (right) for the men. An added bonus, more fitted bottoms reduce the opportunity for chafing to occur which is a real concern in wet and rainy running conditions.

Last but certainly not least: rainy running footwear. Let’s start with some Merino wool socks these are Ben’s #1 gear recommendation for rainy runs. SmartWool‘s updated PhD running sock has a great fit to reduce the risk of chafing and will keep your feet warmer than synthetic socks when wet.

While not essential for most rainy runs, if you are really concerned about getting your feet wet, consider our choice for a Gore-Tex running shoe, the Brooks Ghost GTX. An internal Gore-Tex bootie allows moisture out while keeping your feet dry from rain and splashes. These are also great for keeping your feet warm on windy days.

Do you like these tips for running in the rain? Share some of your own with us!


Meghan Hawkins says:
Oct 10, 2012

Awesome blog Dan! I ran in the rain tonight with one of the recommendations-Icebreaker top! Thanks for the helpful tips!


fleetfeet says:
Oct 10, 2012

Thanks, Meghan! What did you think of running in the rain wearing Icebreaker?


Marathon Running Program says:
Nov 11, 2012

I like your blog. You efforts putting this blog together was worth the while.


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