What to wear when running in the rain

Athletic man jogging in extreme weather condition
Our tips for what to wear when running in the rain protect you from slipping, waterlogging and chafing, even in a deluge (Image credit: janiecbros)

There are fair weather sports like baseball and rock climbing, and then there’s running, which if you’re a fan, you do 12 months a year, no matter what’s in the forecast. Running in the rain isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but few of us are going to let a little moisture get in between us and our training. It could be that you tend to hit the treadmill during damp days, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s far worse than just pulling on the right gear and hitting the trail or the road. But what is the right gear? In this article, we offer some tips for what to wear when running in the rain to protect you from slipping, waterlogging and chafing, even in a deluge. 

Man running in heavy rain

Running in the rain isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but few of us are going to let a little moisture get in between us and our training (Image credit: Tim Robberts)

Running shoes 

Yes, of course you want to run wearing running shoes, but in wet weather, not just any old pair will do. Rocky trails and even some road surfaces can get slick when wet, so you’ll want a pair of the best rail running shoes or hybrids with good tread to avoid slipping. No matter what type of running you’re doing, wear a pair with uppers that use a breathable, waterproof fabric such Gore-Tex. This will keep rain from getting in but also allow sweat to get out, for which your feet will thank you. Wear shoes with mesh panels to enhance their breathability, and make sure you know how to tie a heel lock to keep your heel from moving inside your shoes as you run which can cause rubbing. 

Waterproof running socks 

We know we just said to wear waterproof shoes, so why wear waterproof running socks too? Well, as we explain in our article on waterproof running socks, even if your shoes are waterproof, when you’re splashing through the puddles and the ankles of your socks get soaked, it quickly works its way down inside your shoes. Though wet feet on a short run aren't the end of the world, for a longer run, they can lead to rubbing and blisters

Young athletic woman running through misty nature

Though wet feet on a short run aren't the end of the world, for a longer run, they can lead to rubbing and blisters (Image credit: skynesher)

Leggings

If it’s not actually cold, you might be tempted to wear shorts for a run in the rain, since pants get heavy when wet, but we prefer the best running leggings for one simple reason: their anti-chafing properties. Look for a snug-fitting pair made using a synthetic fabric that doesn’t get heavy when wet and you won’t need to lube your thighs to avoid the dreaded chafe, which gets worse in damp conditions. 

Breathable synthetic running top

We generally recommend a proper running top for all conditions, but if you live somewhere with an extremely dry, temperate climate, it’s possible that you’ve been getting away with running in a cotton top. Cotton and bamboo both get heavy when wet and dry slowly, so opt for a breathable, fast-drying fabric, such as nylon or polyester with mesh panels, or even a lightweight merino wool top. 

Profile of male man exercising in the rain

Cotton and bamboo both get heavy when wet and dry slowly, so opt for breathable, fast-drying fabrics (Image credit: Dougal Waters)

Lightweight waterproof running jacket with hood 

If you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest or the UK where rain is just a way of life, you’ll want to invest in one of the best lightweight running jackets for cooler days. Choose one that is snug fitting with elasticated cuffs and hem, has a high collar and, ideally, a performance-ready hood that is slightly peaked. Basically, you want everything to stay in place when you’re on the go. Generally speaking, you want your jacket to have a streamlined fit, but if you want to fit anything underneath it, like your hydration pack or an armband for your phone, it can’t be too snug. 

Peaked cap 

If you find a hood annoying when you’re running, you can get a jacket with no hood, but you’ll probably want a peaked cap to keep the rain out of your eyes. Check out our list of the best running hats to find one that will stay on once you get going. 

Man running in rain wearing cap and waterproof jacket

You’ll probably want a peaked cap to keep the rain out of your eyes (Image credit: Ultimate Direction)

Reflective gear 

If you’re going to be road running, reflective gear is a good idea since rain makes it difficult for motorists to see you. Pick out shoes, leggings and a running jacket that reflective details and make yourself as visible as possible. 

Hydration vest with waterproof pockets 

You might be used to just sticking your phone in your pocket when you run, but of course, that’s a no-go when it’s pouring. A good option is to use a hydration pack that has a waterproof pocket for your phone, then you can wear it over your running jacket, however you may also be able to wear it underneath your jacket so everything stays dry. 

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.