It is a given fact that we are all born naked. As young children and adolescents, we learn how to wear clothing and appreciate fashion sense. As many of us begin our running careers, we remember the charm of adolescence and the bare look. Proper clothing is important in any athletic event, including marathon running. During the early years of marathons, men and women would be conservatively clad from head to toe. Unfortunately, trends in running fashion have changed over the years. It seems as if the less clothing, the more successful a runner will be.
Many marathoners fail to understand that the ultimate goal, aside from competition, is ultimate fitness. This should include fashion sense. A serious marathon runner should pay careful attention to proper and well-fitting running shoes, sensible and comfortable clothing and protective gear. When preparing for a marathon, a serious runner should focus on comfort, speed, fitness, emotional health and proper nutrition.
Running Fashion Disasters
Many beginning marathon runners make horrendous fashion mistakes while trying to appear to be fit, fashionable and cool. Some of the most horrific fashion disasters include choice of socks. As any marathon runner knows, socks should be worn for comfort and should not be seen above the shoes. Although mid-calf patterned socks can add a burst of color, they are tacky and draw attention to the wrong places. Heavy socks can cause feet to retain moisture, eventually leading to athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. Anklets made from high quality cotton or light-weight silk and cotton blends are a better choice, as they allow the feet to breathe and do not add additional bulk to running shoes.
Many men runners make the serious fashion mistake of tucking bulky T-shirts into ill-fitting shorts. Running shirts that hug the body and fit properly can allow fluid movement without the embarrassment of a long T-shirt hanging below running shorts. Men runners, especially new to the sport of marathon running tend to buy clothing at thrift stores or outlet chains going out of business. Wearing a triathlon suit (tri-suit) is simply not appropriate for a marathon or even a short training run. This type of gear is heavy and draws attention in the wrong ways. Tri-suits are designed for events including running, swimming and cycling.
Some women, eager to elude an aura of sexiness do not have the sense to use hair bands or ball caps to contain long, flowing hair. The last thing fellow runners want to encounter during a marathon is to be entwined with long sweaty hair brushing into their faces. There are several types of fashionable hair accessories appropriate for women with beautiful locks. The time to let hair shine and flow is after crossing the finish line.
Novice women marathoners seem to think that a full face of make-up will impress their male counterparts. Dripping mascara and eyeliner can cause a mess, especially if you are sweating or running in drippy weather. A good moisturiser is best, as it helps hydrate your delicate face and protect it from sun damage. A professional woman runner does not want to look like a zombie or witch when crossing the finish line. Dripping or running make-up can also obstruct vision. Save the make-up, perfume and long hair for the after-party!
Some men, mostly those new to marathon running, think that running shirtless is cool and sexy. Running shirts are designed to accommodate all temperatures. The newest running shirts include fabrics designed to hug the body and allow for comfortable movement. Cotton and silk blend shirts help maintain the body’s core temperature without overheating. Running shirtless in rain, sleet or snow is simply not cool.
Another running fashion faux-pas is wearing shorts over tights. This is one of the worst looks for men and women. Choose tights or shorts, but do not wear both together. The bulk of the combination can cause excessive sweating. Runners generally have well-toned legs and buttocks, so why not show them off?
A running fashion trend from the late 1980s included matching colours and coordinated accessories. This has long gone out of style. Head-to-toe colour coordination simply draws unwanted attention. The length of running shorts has also changed significantly since the 1980s. The best short length is well below the buttocks and above the mid-thigh. Knee-length shorts are worn in the gym, but not for marathon running.
New Trends in Running Fashion
Running skirts, a take-off from current high-fashion tennis fashions have made a comeback in running fashion trends. The newest running skirts are made of breathable and fluid-moving fabrics including spandex and silk blends. Most running skirts include compression shorts underneath, which keeps private parts well covered and aerated. Some of these compression shorts, which are similar to women’s panties, include buttock-enhancing inserts. As the new front-runner in women’s marathon fashions, running skirts are available in a variety of lengths, colours and designs.
Day-glo colours have been featured as one of the newest and hottest trends in running fashions for both men and women. The biggest fashion trend in women’s running gear features fluorescent colours in shoes, tank tops, running bras, jackets and accessories. The most popular colours as revealed during the New York Fashion Week include bright greens, yellows, pinks, blues and oranges. Bold stripes and designs were featured on leggings and jackets. Noted designers including Betsey Johnson and Tory Burch focused on the performance and comfort of fitness clothing while keeping a close eye on fashion.
During Fashion Week, many lifestyle designers revealed fitness-inspired lines to their 2015 spring and summer collections. According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, the “U.S. athletic apparel market will increase by nearly 50 percent to more than $100 billion at retail by 2020.”
Speed, Style and Sense
Depending on your fashion sense, running style and experience, the most important item for a marathon runner is proper-fitting and comfortable shoes. Running shoes can range in price from US$60 to US$300. When purchasing running shoes, it is important to consider your style of running, your fitness level and the amount of support needed to insure comfort and speed.
Adequate cushioning is important in good running shoes. Soft or light cushioning may be appropriate for training or trail running, but may not be the best choice for marathoners. Most athletic shoe stores will test your gait, assess your running experience and work with you to find the perfect shoes for your needs.
Before running a marathon, you may want to test a few pairs of running shoes to insure that you will not suffer from painful blisters, tension-related burns or stress fractures. A good pair of training shoes will help build your strength, as well as your confidence. If you are determined to become a serious marathon runner, the investment in a good pair of running shoes is certainly worth the benefits.
You can be fashionable and sensible while building your speed, stamina and confidence. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as you are comfortable and well prepared for your marathon competition.
What is your running fashion? Share with us your fashion sense and see if the running community agrees with you!