When I started running four years ago, I hadn’t thought of dedicated running clothing. I used to be a die-hard hot yoga fan, so I ran in clothes meant for low-impact exercise. I quickly learned that this outfit gave me no support, no compression and almost no breathability, especially on long runs. The pants that supported me during a vinyasa class sag during a run and my beloved tanks left me overheated.
As someone under five feet tall and quite petite, I’m no real stranger to wearing clothes that, well, don’t fit properly. Pants tend to be too long, shirts are always oversized, and work clothes sometimes make me feel like a kid playing dress up. My latest foray into running was no different. Although my discomfort increased, my interest in what the other short runners in my running club were wearing also increased. To blend in with the crowd, I went with my usual dress code of shopping for sportswear in the kids’ section. But I quickly realized that the almost slim fit I sometimes found in children’s winter coats didn’t translate to running jackets and tops: the sleeves were too short and the chest was way too tight.
The best running gear for short runners
After lots of trial and error (and continuing to focus on what worked for other running shorts), I finally found my running holy grail. Read on to find the best running gear for runners under five feet tall, from coveted athletic apparel brands like Brooks, Tracksmith, Girlfriend Collective, and more.
Running leggings and tights
What’s better than leggings with pockets? Leggings with a short crotch! The Girlfriend Collective Compression Pocket Leggings come with a rare 23 3/4 inch inseam that sits perfectly at my ankles. The fabric is slightly thicker than other leggings I’ve tried, making them ideal for colder winter runs.
The Lululemon Fast and Free High-Rise tights are specially designed for running. Its inseam is slightly longer, but it remains short enough not to roll up at the ankle. The fabric is thin and airy, allowing extra freedom of movement on speed days, but still keeping you warm in the colder months.
Best of all, the pockets in both of these running tights are deep enough to fit your phone, keys, and fuel perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about wearing a running belt.
Finding running shorts that aren’t too long has been a difficult task, especially if I’m looking to wear bike shorts or compression running shorts. These Girlfriend Collective high waisted running shorts are my holy grail. They’re shorter than your typical compression bike shorts, which means they hit perfectly mid-thigh instead of skimming the top of my knees.
For a more classic style, the Tracksmith Twilight Split Shorts are my dream varsity shorts. Similar to the tank top (which I mention below), the best thing about this collection is the fabric: all the pieces are light, breathable and moisture-wicking, so these items are perfect for hot and humid days. The shorts are super smooth and airy, so they move well whether you’re doing quick workouts or easy recovery runs.
Initially, I wore regular low cut socks, not knowing the wonders of specialized running socks. That all changed when I noticed the fun and vibrant colors of Bombas socks popping out of a friend’s shoe. I grabbed a three-pack of socks and never looked back. They are soft, comfortable and fit a size four.