Many people think running is an inexpensive sport. It can be. I have found it can also be expensive depending on the gear you purchase. For me, some gear is definitely worth paying for quality. There are other pieces of running gear that I look at as disposable.
Shoes and socks
Running shoes are the most important piece of equipment for me. My suggestion is to go to a running store and have a proper shoe fitting with a shoe professional. They will measure your foot. They will watch you walk barefoot and in shoes. They will ask you to run in the shoes. You should also talk about the types of surfaces that you run on regularly. You want shoes with the right type of tread for the surface. Shoe manufacturers use a lot of technology in the creation of running shoes. I wear a neutral running shoe. I did not know this before I had a consultation at the shoe store that specializes in running shoes. I wear two different types of shoes. I have a pair for pavement running, and I have a different pair with deeper treads for trails. For a good pair of running shoes expect to pay more than $100. The right shoes for you will pay off with less pain for your body.
While you are at the running store, take a look at socks. You want a pair with cushioning and wicking properties. Socks that are mainly cotton or wool will wick sweat away from your feet. Socks made from synthetic fibers will hold sweat in more. You want a sock that fits well. If you run very much in a loose sock, you will develop blisters. You will also want to consider the seasons when you buy running socks. In the summer, you will likely want a light-weight sock. In the winter, you may want a warm, wool sock. When running longer distances outside in the winter, you need to wear socks that will keep your feet from freezing. In the winter, I have been running in temperatures below zero. Wearing proper socks was a necessity.
Choosing running clothes can be an expensive proposition, or it can be inexpensive. I tend to be budget conscious about my running clothes purchases. There are so many choices for tech running clothes–from shirts to jackets to shorts or pants. Most running clothes will have an insignia or emblem that will reflect light at night. I don’t think I have purchased a piece of running attire that did not have some sort of reflective item on it. Of course, highly reflective clothing is recommended if you typically run at sunrise or after sunset. I look for clothes with few seams to help prevent chafing or rubbing. I look for tech products that wick the sweat away. Seasonal running plays a big part in my selection of running clothes. In the summer, I like lighter t-shirts and shorts that won’t ride up. In the winter, I look for items that can be layered. You have to consider that you will warm up while running in the winter, and it is easier if you can just take off layers as you warm up. There were some winter mornings where I started out with two shirts and a jacket. As I warmed up, I pulled off the jacket and one shirt. For winter races, I wear inexpensive jackets or over-shirts that can be tossed when I get warm. This is very common in full and half marathons in the winter. The volunteers plan for this, and they usually collect these items and donate them to a homeless shelter after they wash them.
If you have lower leg pain, you should consider compression socks or compression sleeves. They aid in recovery from running, especially with calf or shin pain. Compression products can be worn while running or afterwards. It is a personal preference. I prefer to wear compression socks when I am running a longer distance. I take them off soon after I finish the run. I have friends who are the opposite. You will have to experiment to see what works for you.
Picking out running gear is a lot of fun!