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What Do You Need to Run? A Beginner’s Guide

Running is not the most expensive activity but to have a good run, there are certain things you may want to invest in.

Spoiler: It’s not that much!

All you need to run is shoes, clothes, the ASICS Runkeeper app, and maybe an armband to help keep your phone secure. It sounds simple, (and it is!) but you also have the option to include compression attire, hydration tools, moisture-wicking bands, and every technical gadget known to man. The sheer amount of running stuff out there can be overwhelming for the everyday runner. It can also give you one more excuse not to get out there and run: “I don’t have high-tech, NASA-quality wicking shorts, guess I’ll skip this run.” 

For the sake of keeping things simple, here are our thoughts on what you should actually put on before you get out there!

Running shoes

There are a lot of options out there, but let’s stick to the basics for now: Your shoes should be comfortable. They should be the right size. You should be able to run in them without feeling foot pain or ankle pain. We know there’s a lot of information out there about running shoes and the latest shoe technology, but we recommend focusing on a couple of key things when shopping for a pair:

  • Do you have narrow, average, or wide feet? There are options for every width.
  • What kind of pronator are you? Understand what’s good, bad and normal and how to determine your pronation type.  

Tip: Each shoe has its life. No matter how much we’re attached to some of our pairs, we should bid adieu to them for our own sake. To be notified when it’s time for a new pair, enter your shoes into Shoe Tracker—a feature in Runkeeper app that records how many miles you’ve run in a specific pair of shoes. It is like a journal for your running pair that prompts you when it’s time for new shoes. If you aren’t sure which running shoes are best for you, give the ASICS Shoe Finder finder a try or stop by your local specialty running store to get fitted by an expert.

Looking for more info about everything running shoes? Learn how to ace the lace game (don’t tie your shoes too tight!)

Socks for running

For starters, we definitely suggest wearing them. Additionally, and we cannot say this enough: Don’t skimp on socks! They’ll protect your feet from blisters and unsavory smells. Basic athletic socks will work fine as long as they aren’t made of cotton. Cotton is kind of a runner’s worst enemy. Cotton absorbs moisture, and when you mix that moisture with the heat and friction your feet generate when you run, you’re setting yourself up for painful blisters, calluses, and hot spots (yikes!). Instead, look for socks made of synthetic fibers, like polyester, spandex, and nylon—anything non-cotton is better than cotton. These fibers are moisture-wicking, meaning when they get wet, they don’t stay wet. Moisture-wicking socks will keep your feet as dry as possible, which is crucial for avoiding blisters. We also recommend socks with heel tabs for anyone prone to heel blisters.  With socks, it’s important to train with them leading up to race day to avoid any blistery surprises. 

Pro tip: Invest in socks. Moisture-wicking socks made of anything but cotton, like these, and these, and these

Shorts, pants, and leggings

The clothes you choose to run in will depend heavily on several factors: the temperature, your body type, and your personal preference.

We fully support wiggling around or running in place in the dressing room to test how the garment moves! If they fall down or bunch up, keep looking. Find something comfortable that makes you feel good—who says athletic clothing can’t be functional AND stylish at the same time?

How to dress for a run based on the temperature

Dressing for temperature can be a little tricky because your body will heat up as you run. In general when you’re choosing what to wear, add 15 to 20 degrees to whatever the temperature is outside. That’s what it’ll actually feel like once you’re out there running (the “Real Feel,” if you will).

Running shirts

Choose an athletic top that is comfortable and a bit loose-fitting. While you can run in a basic t-shirt, there are plenty of garments, especially for runners that are moisture-wicking, ventilated, and designed to reduce chafing. Make sure to layer up appropriately for cold weather with base layers and wind-blocking outer layers.

Sports bras for running

Ah, where do we start? Most people who wear bras will tell you that finding a good one can be…an arduous task. Finding a properly fitting athletic bra is perhaps a bit easier, but may also require trial and error. Fit-wise, if the bra’s band is too tight, you might find yourself adjusting and tugging at it during your run. That will get annoying really quickly! You’ll want the band to be snug enough to avoid chafing, but if you feel like it’s squeezing you like an orange in a juice press, keep looking.

There are also personal preferences to consider: do you want padding for extra support? How much compression do you need? Running is a high-impact sport, so feeling secure is a must. Finding yourself struggling to take your bra off after a workout? Consider looking for one with a zipper. 

Lastly, take care of your bra! Whether you hand or machine wash, let it air dry. The heat from the dryer will compromise the elasticity of the bra’s band over time, decreasing its support (and overall life span). You’ll want to keep your bra as long as you can—for your wallet and the environment’s sake.

Pro tip: If you run often, you might want a couple of bras to keep in your rotation, so if you find one you really like, get it in multiple colors! We have a great collection of comfortable and supportive bras.

The ASICS Runkeeper app

Now that you have your shoes and apparel sorted, let’s talk about something your run will be incomplete without. Us! Yes, running and we go hand in hand. Download the Runkeeper app. Sign in with your email address to get started. The app is user-friendly and has easy accessibility throughout all tabs. We have various training plans, stand-alone workout plans, and more. You can explore Guided Workouts to get audio instructions from a fitness coach to guide you throughout your workout session. The app will offer you both–companionship and cues.


One of the reasons running is so popular and universal is it requires so little. You don’t need a gym membership, expensive equipment, or anybody but yourself. You can run from home, from work, on vacation, or on a deserted island. Find the equipment that turns you into the happiest runner you can be, but doesn’t feel too tied to the “stuff.” After all, all you really need is shoes and clothes and you can hit the road!