Loose to Tight: Why I Changed My Running Clothes

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Since I started running several years ago, I made quite some adjustments in the equipment I use. Not only did I transform from heavy cushioning in shoes to a more minimalistic style, I now also wear completely different shirts and shorts/pants. I went from ordinary everyday clothes to loose sportswear and recently decided to use tight-fitting clothes. Here are some of the reasons why I changed my mind.

Friction

As a heavy sweater it’s usually a matter of half an hour until my shirt is pretty wet in the upper half of it even in moderate temperatures. In the later stages of a run or on a longer downhill section my shirts tend to dry out leaving a crust of salt back. Now a loose shirt will move a lot and I often had issues with friction when the salty shirt rubbed on my nipples. Although I used jelly I sometimes had bleeding wounds. This changed totally when I started using tight-fitting shirts as they don’t move that much and are in my opinion more effective in transporting your sweat away from your skin to the outside of the shirt.

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Comfort

Loose clothes might be your first choice in hot temperatures as they allow more air directly on your skin. However in general I think tights and form-fitting shirts are the most comfortable option. They feel more than a second skin rather than clothes you wear and offer great mobility while running. Also sweat plays a role here. When a loose shirt gets wet it sticks to your skin on certain parts. I’d rather have shirt that sits directly on my skin all the way and not just on some spots where the chance is high that it slips out of the normal fit.

Compression

If you’re looking to buy tight-fitting running gear you most probably end up with compression clothes that sit really tight as their purpose is to squeeze your muscle tissue. Several studies showed some advantages of compression clothes such as increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles. This not only gets you a bit of performance improvement but also faster recovery. To be honest I don’t really feel faster because of compression clothes but they give me a great feeling of stability. And why not use something that proofed to be beneficial for performance and recovery?

To end this I’d also like to share the doubts I had before using tight-fitting clothes in the first place. I first refused these type of activewear mainly because I thought it looks silly. But now I don’t care a bit about how I appear to others when running and so should you. Although tight-fitting clothes expose your figure, you should always wear what’s comfortable for YOU!

I’d like to know your opinion on this as well! Do you prefer a loose tank top over a compression shirt and sweat pants over tights? And if so, why? Let us know by writing a comment below.

Here are some products that I use and can recommend:
Salomon S-Lab Exo Zip Tee
Nike Running Shorts
Salomon EXO Calf Sleeve

Happy running
mikula

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4 comments on “Loose to Tight: Why I Changed My Running Clothes”

  • Taylor says:

    About three years ago I switched over to more form fitting clothes myself (although I always wore compression boxers). I feel much lighter and these clothes help keep me comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside (I live in MN so I experience both extremes). Thanks for the writing this post!

    • Mikula says:

      Totally agree!
      I’m living in Switzerland so temperatures range from 15° up to 95°. I guess all those who are running closer to the equator don’t spend that much money on sportswear as we do 😉

  • Gear makes a huge difference. I don’t run, but ski and hike a lot. Sort of the same idea – no cotton, layers, good shoes.
    great post!

  • Alex says:

    I love my compression socks. They have helped me so much over the years and I am able to be on my feet for a greater length of time. There are some great compression socks out there.

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