Long gone are the days of throwing on sweat pants and your old college tee shirt to go for a quick jog in. These days, there are entire clothing brands dedicated to fitness fashion. Not only are running clothes more fashionable, they are also more functional. Brands have put the latest technology into their clothing to make running more comfortable and much safer. Below are some of these technologies and how they can help your running routine.
Outdoor runners are no longer confined to the daytime hours to get their daily jog in. A number of running apparel items now contain reflective logos and insets to ensure that on dimly lit streets or during the early morning or late evening hours, drivers on the road can see you. Brightly colored clothing along with reflective features ensure that no matter when you're running the road you will always be seen.
It's no secret that running makes us sweat. Not only can sweat-soaked clothing be uncomfortable, it can also be a hindrance to our workout. Sweating can cause discomfort, chafing, and can affect our body temperature as the sweat causes clothes to get wet. Many running tops and pants come equipped with moisture wicking properties which help draw the sweat away from our skin and out of the fabric, ensuring our skin not only stays dry and at a comfortable temperature, but also ensuring that our clothing dries as quickly as possible. Many brands have coined their own terms for moisture wicking properties, such as Nike's Dri-FIT line, but no matter what it's called, all these features aim to keep you comfortable.
UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is how effective fabrics shield your skin from UV rays. UV rays can are dangerous to our skin, causing sunburns, accelerated skin aging and in severe cases, skin cancer. When we're running the trails, exposure to sun is constant. Wearing clothing that is UPF rated helps protect our skin from those harmful rays without worrying about applying sunscreen. No runner wants to worry in the middle of a run about their sunscreen coming off with sweat or if they put enough sunscreen on. With UPF rated clothing, you don't have to!
We all hear the term compression when it comes to running apparel, but what do we know what compression clothing actually does? Compression apparel, which is form-fitting and usually made from a Spandex material, is used mainly to keep muscles warm while working out. When our muscles stay warm, it decreases the chance of straining a muscle or of our muscles getting fatigued, keeping our bodies in the best shape possible and ensuring we don't run out of gas before we're done with our run. Compression clothing usually also contains moisture wicking qualities as well, keeping our skin from producing any rashes or from uncomfortable chafing.
Insulated clothing is another feature that many articles of running apparel contain. No runner wants weather to stop them and with this kind of technology helping to keep body warmth in, it doesn't have to. Insulated fabrics help cut out the cold and keeps runners dry so no matter how cold or wet, you're run won't be ruined.
Many brands are now introducing clothing that has anti-bacterial agents. These clothing articles are laced with antimicrobial agents to kill bacteria in the fabric from sweat production. This means that those usually smelly and sweaty clothing items won't hurt your nose and can be washed less often. Smell better and do less laundry – sounds like every runner's dream!
With so much technology going into our running gear, running anytime and anyplace has become more realistic. Day or night, rain or shine, running has never been more safe, more comfortable, or more accessible.