Essential Kit for First-Time Runners

For first-time runners, make sure you have what you need for a great run.


By Zoe


So you have made the decision to start running! It may seem really easy in terms of what you will need in order to get training, but wearing the wrong running clothes to train in could actually lead to all sorts of issues such as blisters, chafing, and even injuries.

Running, as with any other sport can be expensive if you go all out for buying the latest gadgets and brands. You don’t necessarily need lots of gadgets, but here is a list of the bare essentials to consider.

Running Shoes

Your running shoes are the most essential item of your kit. They are ultimately what will help you to actually run, and buying a pair of cheap shoes might result in the following:

  • Your running technique is affected;
  • You suffer from blisters;
  • Or you end up with a long-term injury.

It’s really important to get the right shoes that are comfortable, durable and suited to what you need. For example if you plan to have a go at trail running, then the shoe needed would be very different to the shoe that you might run in on a treadmill. If you have issues with your feet i.e your foot rolls in slightly (pronates) then you might need a specific type of shoe that offers more support.

Pop along to your local athletics shop and get them to help you work out what shoe would be best for your requirements. Down the line, once you know what shoe works and what you are comfortable with, you could always source them cheaper online.

Running Shorts/Tights

Men and women alike are completely different shapes and sizes, so one type of running short/tight works for one, but not for another. If you have generous thighs that touch together then classic running shorts might not work for you unless you wear some tight cycling shorts/tights underneath - otherwise you may be prone to chafing, which can be very sore.

There are a great range of running shorts/tights on the market. Running tights are very popular and comfortable, but some people don’t want to wear something so tight.

For ladies that want something a bit less tight there are options such as wearing a Skort (skirt with shorts underneath) or even a dress designed to run in, and for men looser fitting shorts may be an option.

Try out a few pairs and see what feels the most comfortable.


Socks and their quality are often considered a low priority, but they are as important as any other item of clothing when running. Running with a cheap sock that is 100% cotton can potentially cause all sorts of issues over a longer run such as blisters and calluses.

If you are planning to do shorter runs to begin with, you might be able to get away with a cheap sock but down the line definitely consider upgrading to a more technical socks that are made from synthetic material such as polyester, acrylic and COOLMAX.

Running Top/Vest

There are lots of options for running tops, and T-shirts are often the most popular choice to begin with. If you are running short distances then a T-shirt may be fine, but if you start to run races and up your distance, you may find you need something more.

There are a great range of technical running tops in the market that have features such as lower arm pit designs to avoid chafing and tops that you can fit a key in if you are running outside as well as the all important moisture wicking fabric. Also, if you are running outside you may find in the colder months you need long sleeved and even a lightweight jacket.

Sports Bra

For the ladies out there, a sports bra is an absolute must when running, otherwise it can cause major problems. There are all sorts of varieties available for every shape and size to ensure you stay comfortable. The best thing to do is to pop along to your local athletics store and try some on and get someone to help you find something that works for you.

Running Belt

If you are planning on running outside and working up the distance, then you might want to consider a running belt which you can potentially carry keys and water. Some people find it hard to run with something around their waist, so there are other options such as bands that go around the wrist or rucksacks.

It does come down to comfort and what you realistically need, so if you only plan on running a few miles/km then you probably wouldn’t need anything - and if you know of water stops on the way, then you should be ok water wise - but a belt is always something to consider.


If you plan to run outside and you are running in when the sun is out then sunglasses and a running cap are crucial to your running attire as well as sunscreen. You can buy running caps from any sports shop - get a nice light one that is not too thick.

With sunglasses you can spend $25 right up to $500! As long as they have the appropriate protection i.e. UVA and UVB protection you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars (unless you want to) but do make sure they are comfortable and don’t fall off.

In Summary

Starting to run doesn’t have to be expensive but it is important to get the essentials to ensure you minimize injuries and maximize comfort. There are many stores that sell running clothes, so do shop around and check out reviews. You can always upgrade your kit as you go.

The main thing is to get started, find what works for you and enjoy your time running!

Happy Running!

UK born and based currently in Australia, Zoe has a passion for running as evident by her participation in excess of 30 running events, including five marathons, over the past 14 years. Wanting to share her enthusiasm for running, five years ago Zoe started a blog for the everyday runner “The Girl That Runs“. This blog has quickly built up a strong following amongst runners of all ages and experience levels looking for advice with easily relatable content. 

Main Photo Credit: Halfpoint/; Second Photo Credit: S_Photo/; Third Photo Credit and Eigth Photo Credit: Maridav/; Fourth Photo Credit: WorldReaper Studio/; Fifth Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/; Sixth Photo Credit: Kreangkrai Indarodom/; Seventh Photo Credit: AlenD/