There are several different types of running clothes, including shorts, sweatpants, tank top shirts, and jogging shoes. Each piece typically is designed to provide runners, joggers, or power walkers a comfortable and efficient experience. Several factors come into play when choosing running clothes, such as weather conditions, temperature, and purpose. Professional running clothes used by Olympians usually are slightly different that normal running clothes.
The top garment for runners is usually something lightweight and often sleeveless to reduce underarm sweating. Since a large amount of sweat may be produced, old T-shirts are often used for running clothes in warm or hot climates. Runners sometimes use a thick upper garment, such as a hooded sweatshirt, in cold weather conditions to keep the body warm.
Bright colors may be used if running is outdoors and at night. This helps make runners more visible to pedestrians and street traffic. Women's running clothes also include a sports bra, which is meant to alleviate uncomfortable movement of the breasts.
The bottom garment in warm or hot climates is usually shorts. The shorts are usually above the knee in length so that they do not interfere with the natural motion of the legs. Sweatpants are often used in colder climates, as they are usually made of heavier material and cover the legs completely. Spandex pants are often popular for the lower garment; they can vary in length and feel like a second layer of skin. The shorts or pants may be pocketed for carrying running accessories, although a great deal of them are not.
Jogging suits are also made so that the top and bottom are of the same material. This can allow runners who like a particular fashion or feel of material to get the same experience for the top and bottom. A specialty ensemble known as a sauna suit is a jogging suit designed to promote sweating. This is used for weight loss but usually only under supervision of a coach or trainer since dehydration and overheating may occur.
Perhaps the most important portion of running clothes is the shoes. Running or jogging shoes usually have a larger flexible sole that absorbs impact. Different manufacturers make different styles to enhance the springing motion by adding springs or air cushioning to the sole. The sole in some styles of shoe have treads for greater traction.
Professional track shoes are quite different since they have cleats. Cleats are small spikes that protrude from the sole of track shoes for added traction when running on a track. Professional running shoes often are different, as the sole is quite thin; the reduction in weight can lead to faster times during a race.