10 things that make running in humidity easier
It's not the heat that's the worst, but the humidity.
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It’s no surprise my half marathon run time in August was far worse than my one in April. Running is hard any time of year, but add on a thick layer of humidity in the air during the late spring and summer and your body is going to have to work double-time to cool you off. Add some heat to said humidity with some top-performing gear to help you crush your cardio goals.
From sweat-wicking clothing to hydration packs, here are 10 running essentials that’ll make your runs in humid weather feel like more of a walk in the park.
1. These Lululemon running briefs
You’d be (lu)xtremely lucky to go for a run in a pair of Lululemon’s newly released Swift Speed Race Brief made of slick Luxtreme fabric, which fits like a second skin, stays cool to the touch even on the hottest days, and zaps moisture away from your body. Due to its minimalist construction, you won’t have extra material getting in the way of your personal record, and there are strategically placed pockets that give you quick access to gel packets and your phone. The high-rise design leaves you feeling tucked in despite not a whole lot of fabric, and runners love the briefs for everything from long-distance races to jogs around the neighborhood.
2. These sweat-wicking headbands
If you’re that person who sweats so much it always ends up in your eyes, it’s time for a cooling headband. Coming in a set of 10 in cute colors that’ll match any running outfit, these headbands stay put without slipping. They’re made of a breathable chinlon (a thin type of nylon) and a nylon/Lycra blend and work to keep hair away from your face to reduce moisture buildup. Of their 7,500 Amazon reviews, one shopper says, “Miracle of miracles: these actually work as described! I’ve completed four workouts wearing them and they’re simply fantastic.” Plus, there’s no need to store them after summer, as you can wear them year-round as a gaiter or neck warmer.
3. These absorbent sweatbands
If the last time you’ve seen a sweatband was in a ‘90s boy band music video, it’s time for you to reconnect. Instead of running with a chunky and not-very-aerodynamic towel across your neck or stashed in your waistband, opt for a wrist sweatband to easily dab away sweat on the fly. These ones are made with a lightweight and non-slip organic cotton, spandex, and nylon blend. Each six-pack comes in 10 colors, and the bands retain their shape even after multiple washes, according to reviewers.
4. This popular hydration belt
I once relied on questionable public water fountains during long runs. Don’t be like me. Instead, get the Nathan Peak Hydration waist pack, which features everything you need for a satisfying run in humidity: an angled 18-ounce water bottle that won’t bounce around, extra stretch pockets for all your essentials like keys, phone, and nutrition packs, and lightweight material that’s easy to wash after sweaty runs. The pack fits waists or hips between 26 inches and 44 inches.
“I’ve used this on road runs, trail runs, trail races—anything you can think of, and it’s worked perfectly,” says one reviewer. “Even with an iPhone 11 Max, I can fit my car keys in the zipper pocket. The loop on the side allows me to carry gloves, a shirt, or anything I need to in case it gets hot/cold. Water is easy to access, and it’s overall great.”
5. This Lululemon hydration vest
If a hydration belt isn’t for you, take advantage of extra real estate/storage opportunities in your chest region with one of Lululemon’s most innovative products. The Enlite Hydraffinity Vest easily fits over your sports bra or a shirt. Its back pocket supports any 1.5-liter reservoir as a handy solution to hydration, and it features pockets throughout for all your essentials, like keys, cards, and gels. Customers appreciate that it stays in place while you run, doesn’t chafe, and adds an extra source of chest support.
6. This anti-chafing solution with nearly 19,000 reviews
There’s no worse feeling than hitting your (literal) stride, only to feel distracted by uncomfortable chafing, be it between your legs or under your arms. The solution isn’t to wear long sleeves or long pants, but to grab some editor-approved Body Glide. Our commerce editor Courtney Campbell says, “It wasn’t until my runner friend recommended Body Glide that my life seriously changed forever.” This best-selling anti-chafe balm with nearly 19,000 reviews is made of plant-based ingredients, is free of allergens, petroleum, lanolin, and mineral oils, and won’t leave behind a sticky residue.
7. These breathable running shoes
There are two ways to approach your shoe game when going for runs in humidity. You can opt for a breathable, lightweight model like the Nobull Knit Runners featuring a stretch knit upper that mimics the feeling of running barefoot (minus the hard pavement on your sole). The pair have racked up several thousand reviews across platforms, and I reserve mine for runs on the hottest days of the year.
Alternatively, you can go the “maximal” route with brands like Hoka One One, according to managing editor and certified running coach Amy Roberts, since their rocker-like soles are designed for switching back and forth from running to walking—and in serious humidity, taking walking breaks might be a safer and more comfortable alternative than pushing through the pain. I can confirm that after two years of running in my Hoka One One Arahi 5s that they still feel like pillows on my feet, and I definitely plan to re-purchase them once they’re on their last legs.
- Get Nobull Women’s Knit Runners from Amazon for $159
- Get Nobull Men’s Knit Runners from Amazon for $159
- Get Hoka One One Women's Arahi 5 Running Shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $129.99
- Get Hoka One One Men's Arahi 5 Running Shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $129.99
8. This quick-drying Athleta tank
Once you switch over to paper-thin, almost translucent fabrics for your humid outdoor runs, you won’t go back to that thick cotton stuff. This barely-there fabric acts as ventilation on your body, and you can even experiment with unique sports bras underneath for a fun pop of color. One 5-star reviewer says, “This is the perfect top for running. So light and airy, and it sits just right at the waist with the Run With It shorts. Perfect for really warm runs.”
9. This Adidas sports hijab
If wearing a hijab in humidity has prevented you from venturing outside altogether, let this highly breathable and quick-drying hijab be your saving grace. It features an undercap to absorb sweat and keep hair in place, reflective details for enhanced visibility, and a snug fit to prevent it from slipping off during runs. “The thing is absolutely weightless, the material evokes only positive emotions from touching the skin. Perfect stitching and cut,” says one 5-star reviewer.
10. This Under Armour running visor
We all know hats are crucial for protecting our eyes and skin from sun damage, but that extra layer above your scalp can retain more heat—and moisture—than necessary. You’ll love the open-air feeling of Under Armour’s running visor, which features small vents to push heat away from your head without exposing your scalp to excess UV rays. One reviewer says it’s great for running because it omits the need for sunglasses, which tend to accumulate moisture around your cheeks and fog up in the middle of a run.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.