Gearing up for any sport—even one as simple as running—can be tricky. Walk into a sports store and the options are overwhelming. Before dollar signs start dancing in your head, remember that functional, fashionable pieces are available in every price range. Our guide will help you navigate the cheap-to-crazy-expensive options, so you can choose how you would like to invest.
With bras, more features and support generally come at a higher price point. It isn’t meant to be unfair to the generously endowed, but there is serious research and development put into designs to maximize runner comfort. Compression fabric alone (one piece of fabric across the ladies) works for smaller cup sizes, whereas Cs, Ds and beyond should look for both compression and encapsulation (think “divide and conquer”).
Champion C9 Power Shape Sports Bra, $20
Pullover styling and compression support (plus modesty panels—no high beams!) with keyhole racerback styling keep A- and B-cup chests secure. target.com
Brooks SureShot Racer Sports Bra, $38
This pullover compression bra has slightly longer, crop-top styling and a comfort-fit, wide bottom band. The breathable fabric has just the right compression for high-impact support for As and Bs. brooksrunning.com
Under Armour High Bra, $55
Soft encapsulation (for a feminine fit) is paired with compression and a hook-and-eye closure for dependable support for bigger cup sizes. Comfort gets a boost with a full mesh back and gel-lined straps to give shoulders a break. If you have a larger chest, it’s worth the investment. Why double up with two half-priced bras when you can buy one that does the job? underarmour.com
Start with a breathable, wicking material (found in all three of these styles), then consider what additional features are important to you. Flat seams, compression, visibility—with running shirts, if you’re willing to spend, you can have it all!
Adidas Sequencials Climalite Run Tee, $25
Lightweight fabric in this simple staple is cut into a flattering look, thanks to the dropped tail and cute crew neck. adidas.com
ASICS Lite-Show Short Sleeve, $45
Cap sleeves add serious style points to this runner essential, while body contouring and reflective seams (adorning you with 360 degrees of visibility) make this a great option for running during the early morning and at night. asicsamerica.com
New Balance Trinamic Short Sleeve Top, $75
With laser-cut venting and light compression, this shirt is ready to go as hard as you do—some research shows that compression fabric helps you push harder for longer. Body contouring and welded seams make for a sleek, smooth fit. newbalance.com
The best way to keep the weather from ruining your run is to have outerwear at the ready. Wind and water resistance are the basic tenets of these three pieces, meaning even the least expensive option is still somewhat of an investment. All are performance standouts, so the choice comes down to what works for you. Look for a comfortably trim fit—minimizing extra fabric means there’s less to blow around on windy days!
Pearl Izumi Fly Jacket, $85
With 360 degrees of reflectivity, built-in finger mitts in the cuffs, a zip pocket, cinchable waist and venting, this jacket is a solid fashion and function value. pearlizumi.com
Columbia Chioni Jacket, $100
A little more money buys a piece that does some of the thinking for you, meaning you can run at just the right temperature, thanks to mesh panels in high-sweat zones and element-resisting front, back and shoulder panels. It also has a stowable hood for extra protection. columbia.com
The North Face Flight Series Vent Jacket, $160
Whisper-weight performance fabric comes at a higher price, but it results in clean lines and an unencumbered, barely there feel that sets this jacket apart from the crowd. It builds on the attributes of the other two jackets by adding a cinchable hem and a fun low-cut collar. thenorthface.com