The Best Rain Gear for Running: How to Survive Running in the Rain

rain gear for running

As a California native, when I see rain outside of my window, I also see a good excuse for a rest day or an indoor workout. But, even California has its rare wet winters, and I’m left with no choice but to brave the nasty elements. When prepared, running in the rain doesn’t need to be a miserable experience. In fact, it can be a great way to build up your mental stamina, acclimate your body to differing types of weather conditions, and even add excitement to your runs. Especially with the best rain gear for running in tow, running in the rain can be an asset to your training, as opposed to a hindrance. Let’s dive into the gear that will make running in the rain a success.

Electronics - rain gear for running

When the weather is less than ideal, listening to music or podcasts is essential to keeping me in the zone and not dwelling on the fact that I’m cold and wet. In addition, carrying a phone while running in the rain is important for safety should a rainy run turn for the worst. Thankfully, there are ways of running with technology that won’t break the bank. Here are my tech choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned.

1

          Watches

running in the rain

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is my favorite running watch and my best friend during any run or race. While it is a phenomenal running watch from many perspectives, a quality that shouldn't be ignored is its ability to withstand the rain. I've never once worried about bringing my Garmin Forerunner into a rain storm. For me, this alone is worth the cost of the product. If you want to learn more about why I love the this watch so much, read my review of the Garmin Forerunner 235

rain gear for running

The TomTom Runner is a great choice for any runner that's on a budget. Before switching to the Garmin Forerunner, the TomTom Runner was on my wrist for each an every run. Given the price, this watch offers a lot of great features, including its abilities to withstand the rain. If you want to learn more about this watch and all of its great features, read my review of the TomTom Runner. 

2

          Headphones

running in the rain

These headphones are cheap, but they work. I have run for over an hour in the pouring rain with these headphones and found they never failed to blast music into my ears. Granted, you will have to deal with a cord and less than ideal sound quality, but running in the rain isn’t about comfort or perfection. The fact that such a cheap product can withstand the elements to this degree is impressive.

running in the rain

As the name will tell you, these headphones are made for swimming. This means that even a heavy downpour is likely no problem. While on the expensive side, these headphones offer a good fit and sound quality despite the elements. There’s no need to worry if these headphones will short out in the middle of your run, as they are specifically designed to withstand water.

running in the rain

I love these headphones. They have over-delivered on value during my runs and been the most reliable pair of headphones I’ve ever owned. Given how much I love them, I’ve been hesitant to take them out during a downpour. However, they are designed to survive the elements and claim, not only to be sweatproof, but waterproof as well. This makes these headphones a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with cords during a run. In addition, these headphones offer great sound quality and will have no problem delivering clear audio despite the noise of the rain.


Check out my review of the Plantronics Backbeat Fit Bluetooth headphones and decide if they're right for you.

3

          Bags

running in the rain

It’s important to note that this pouch is water resistant, not waterproof. If you are running in heavy rain and want to be sure that your belongings stay dry, you will want to wrap them in plastic bags before putting them in this pouch. Despite advances in technology, there are very few options as far as waterproof running belts are concerned. If you want to be hands-free, you will need to double up on your water protection with both a dry bag and a running pouch.

running in the rain

Again, this bag is water resistant and not waterproof. If your belongings are also in dry bags though, this pack is a great option if you need more space than a typical running belt would provide. This pack also comes equipped with a hydration system, multiple pockets, and adjustable straps to ensure a good fit.

running in the rain

This is what I use to keep my phone dry when running in the rain. For being so inexpensive, this bag works extremely well. Even in heavy downpours, I’ve never had even one drop of water leak into the bag. Aside from its most important function of keeping my phone dry, I love that this bag is small and easy to carry. I can also still use my phone’s touch screen through the bag’s plastic coating, eliminating the possibility of rain exposure by needing to open it mid-run. The one note with this bag is that it doesn’t accommodate wired headphones well. I use this bag in conjunction with the Travelon Waterproof Headphones, which are wired. I have to do quite a bit of adjustment and finagling to position the wire so that I can snap the bag closed. This is no fault to either the bag or headphones, but something to keep in mind should you plan on using both of these products together.

Clothing - rain gear for running

To be honest, I’m a runner who often only wears shorts and a tank top when running in the rain. I like the feel of the rain on my skin and usually don’t need to worry about suffering from the cold. That being said, I know that having the proper rain gear can be a game changer. Not only will it protect you from the consequences of being wet and cold for an extended period of time, it will also increase your enjoyment of the run by making it a more comfortable experience. Here are my clothing choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned.

4

          Men's Jackets

running in the rain

This jacket is a hybrid, which means the body and sleeves are water and wind resistant, while the hood and shoulders are fully waterproof and made out of Pertex Shield fabric. Reviewers praise its abilities to keep out rain, while also being lightweight and breathable. This jacket is built for the outdoors and a good choice if you want something that is both compact and able to protect you from the elements.

running in the rain

While many jackets are only water-resistant, this one claims to be fully waterproof. As it’s designed for cycling, it’s accustomed to the strong force of rain hitting it at high speeds. From the reviews, it sounds like this jacket may actually perform its function too well and cause a different kind of moisture when the warmth of the jacket results in sweating. This jacket promises to keep you safe from the rain and, as it’s designed for athletes, won’t be too bulky or inhibit your movement.

running in the rain

Wow, this jacket has it all. The material is waterproof, yet breathable, with fully taped seams to ensure that the water stays out. There is additional ventilation under the arms, and the shoulders are designed to optimally accommodate movement. If you have a small amount of belongings with you and you like listening to music while you run, there is a waterproof pocket in the chest equipped with a headphone port to make your listening a dry and easy experience. When you aren’t using it, this jacket stuffs down to be less than the size of a water bottle. What makes this product truly special though is its hood and mitts. Both are unique to this jacket and improve moisture control and warmth to your head and hands. Reviews rave about this jacket, making it one of my top picks.

5

          Women's Jackets

running in the rain

I love everything North Face. When I first put on one of their Denali jackets, I was blown away by its ability to not let eve one whiff of wind hit my body. That’s an amazing jacket. So, being a part of the North Face family, the Venture is worth looking into. This jacket is not built for warmth, which makes it a perfect companion on a run. It’s made of a breathable material, fully waterproof, and easily compacted for storage. While not a running jacket by design, it will keep you dry and is lightweight enough to not inhibit your movement.

running in the rain

This jacket is very similar to the Pearl Izumi mentioned in the section on men’s jackets above. Reviewers praise its lightweight and comfortable material, while also being able to keep the rain out. A common complaint is that the sizes run small, so that is something to consider when you order.

running in the rain

Designed for the outdoors, this jacket will protect you from both the wind and rain during your workouts. With ventilation pockets and a mesh lining, it will also keep you cool as you run. As the hood and waist hem are adjustable, it’s easy to get a waterproof seal with this jacket. This is a fairly standard rain jacket with few bells and whistles. If you’re looking for an economical option that will get the job done, this jacket is for you.

6

          Men's Shorts and Tights

When running in the rain, your legs are going to get wet. Unless you want to wear bulky rain pants and risk tripping over yourself, you need to decide if you’d prefer sopping wet shorts or sopping wet tights. As for me, I prefer to wear shorts and let my bare legs take the brunt of the rain. If the rain is coming down sideways or is especially vicious, tights will offer an extra layer of protection. Regardless of your preferences, it’s important that you choose shorts or tights made mostly of nylon, spandex, or polyester, as opposed to cotton. When cotton gets wet, it retains a great deal of water and will weigh you down and leave you prone to chaffing. Here are my shorts and tights choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned.

running in the rain

I have always loved how thin Nike’s tights are. They have a simple and form fitting waistband that won’t slide away or fall down when running in the rain. The legs of these tights are form-fitting, making them similar to a second layer of skin. Made with Nike’s Dri-FIT technology, these tights are not waterproof, but won’t bog you down if they get soaking wet. Available in both men and women’s styles, these are my go-to choice for tights when running in the rain.

running in the rain

Guys, it’s time to embrace the short shorts. If you aren’t wearing tights, you will want to wear shorts that won’t get heavy and soggy once they are wet. This eliminates using basketball shorts or any other type of long shorts. These shorts are a polyester and spandex blend, making them a good choice for combatting the weather.

7

          Women's Shorts and Tights

running in the rain

See my review above of the Nike Men’s Pro Cool Compression Tights. I love how thin and form fitting these tights are. They are a great choice for running in the rain, as they won’t drag on your legs once they are wet.

running in the rain

These tights are made out of nylon and spandex. While they aren’t waterproof, they have water-resistant pockets to keep your belongings safe from sweat and light drizzles. Reviewers like that these tights are thick enough to not be see-through while also being form fitting. Be aware that they are high-waisted. The waistband can be folded down but, when running in the rain excess fabric can weigh you down. These pants may not be your best option in a downpour, but they will serve you well in less extreme weather.

running in the rain

These shorts are 100% polyester, which is a good fabric choice when running in the rain. While they won’t keep you dry, these shorts are lightweight, won’t bog you down when they get wet, and don’t have a lot of pockets that will collect water. These wouldn’t be my first pick on a regular run, as they are pretty simple, but their simplicity will do you well in the rain.

8

          Socks

When running in the rain, your socks can be the difference between an enjoyable experience and a blister-burdened mess. Don’t take your socks for granted and be sure to pick up a pair that won’t cause you problems when they get wet. Here are my sock choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned.

running in the rain

I love Balega socks. The two most important factors when choosing a pair of socks for me is whether they fall down and whether they cause blisters. Well, these socks have been with me for hundreds of runs and never once have they fallen below the lip of my shoe or caused even a red blemish on any of my toes. As far as rain is concerned, these socks hold their own. I’ve soaked my feet in puddles and been caught in rain storms with no consequences. While these socks are pricey, they will last you a long time. I have a pair of Balegas that I’ve owned for over five years. Given their quality and durability, these socks are a great choice for any run, wet or otherwise.

running in the rain

When running in the rain, you don’t want your feet squishing in your shoes at every step. Thick socks are comfy on cold winter days by the fire, but they’re less comfy when they’re soaking wet and making lakes in your shoes. Swiftwick socks are tight and thin, making them unlikely to slide around and retain water when they get wet. As far as rain and socks are concerned, less is often more. Swiftwick understands this and has designed socks that won’t be scared away by a few raindrops.

Headwear - rain gear for running

It’s challenging to run when you have rain filling your eyes and streaming off of your face. Headwear such as glasses, hats, and headbands can make a big difference in directing the rain away from your eyes and giving you better visibility on the road. Here are my headwear choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned.

9

         Glasses

running in the rain

The lenses of these glasses pop out, allowing you to switch them for differing light conditions. Running in the rain can be a challenge, as there are times when it is dark and stormy and times when the sun is glaring through the drizzle. These glasses allow you to choose between yellow, clear, or dark lens, which makes it easy to adjust the tint based on the weather conditions.

running in the rain

When you’re running in the rain, there’s nothing worse than having bulky equipment that only makes the rain more of a hindrance. These glasses are sleek, streamlined, and designed for the fast movement of athletes. The thin arm bands allow for a secure fit without being bulky. While these glasses come with one set of lens, like the Tifosi’s, additional lens can be purchased separately and interchanged to accommodate differing visibility needs.

10

         Hats

running in the rain

What I like about this hat is that the brim is very large and flat. There’s no need to worry about rain flowing onto your face, as this wide brim will more than shade the entirety of it. With a large logo on the front and a variety of colors to choose from, you’ll also have no problem being seen by cars, bikers, and other runners on the road. That being said, it is a larger hat. The next option listed may be the right choice for you if you’re looking for something more streamlined.

running in the rain

This hat is designed for athletes. The fabric is breathable, moisture wicking, and dries faster than cotton. So, while you may get drenched during your rainy runs, your hat won’t take as long as other brands to dry off afterwards. Reviewers praise how lightweight this hat is and how securely it fits. However, some complain that it is too small. For those with larger heads, the option above may be a good option. Now that we’ve looked at one that’s too big and one that’s too small, let’s look at one that may be just right.

11

         Visors

running in the rain

While hats are great, when running in the rain, the top part of the hat is just more fabric that is prone to getting wet and soggy. A visor is a great rainy run option, as you are still able to avoid getting rain on your face, but there is less fabric that needs to dry out when you get home. This visor is great, as it has a large brim and a thin headband. In addition, the Velcro adjustable strap allows you to find the best fit and prevents the visor from falling out of place when you run.

running in the rain

The best thing about this visor is that it’s stylish. You’ll be able to choose from a number of different patterns and colors to add some flair to your rainy runs. This visor is a headband with a brim attached. This means that the headband isn’t adjustable, but it does fit snugly around the head. There is also a hole in the back for ponytails, which is a nice feature.

Lights and Reflective Gear - rain gear for running

Running in the rain requires extra caution, as it can be hard for drivers, bikers, and other runners to see you through the elements. Lights and reflective gear are a great way to not only increase your own abilities to see through the rain, but also for others to see you. Here are my light choices as far as the best rain gear for running is concerned. Also, be sure to check out my review of the best running headlamps.

12

         Lights

running in the rain

If your visibility is good, but you want to make yourself known to passing cars and bikers, this light is for you. Clipping on to the heel of your shoe, this LED light will illuminate your feet without getting in your way as you run. If you want greater visibility, this light can be worn around your waist.

running in the rain

This light packs a powerful punch of either red or white light that can be adjusted to illuminate 30, 215, or 360 feet in front of you. In addition, you can choose to have the light either flash or hold steady based on your preferences. The unit is lightweight and comes with an easily adjustable headband for a secure fit.

running in the rain

You’ll be ready for the next electronic dance party with this vest. What I like about this choice is that it’s lightweight at only 6.5 ounces while having a lot of light power. Designed with two bands that loop around the front and back to connect to the main light source on the back, you can choose between 6 colors and 5 flashing modes at any given time. Go ahead and try not to feel like a Ghostbuster in this one.

13

         Reflective Gear

running in the rain

With the neon yellow color and multiple reflective strips, this vest provides a great deal of visibility. This vest comes with two reflective arm bands and a reflective bag, giving you a number of visibility options when running in the rain. The downside to this vest is that it is a vest fully made of fabric, adding an extra layer of material that will get wet as you run.

running in the rain

This vest is lined with reflective tape, making it easy for cars and other athletes to see you on the road. Given the large amount of reflection this vest provides, it isn’t bulky and is adjustable around the waist and shoulders so that it doesn’t slide around. This version comes with two reflective arm bands as well, which adds even more protection.

If you head out for a run in the rain, you’ll see one runner who’s almost naked, while another who’s covered head to toe in clothing. There are a lot of options to choose from when running in the rain and no one option is best. These diverse options offer differing benefits and drawbacks, making it important that you take the time to experiment with multiple types of equipment. Once you understand what rain gear for running makes the most sense for you, running in the rain will no longer be a burden or hindrance to your goals. In fact, you may find yourself craving the storm clouds in no time.

Resources:

http://heavy.com/tech/2015/06/best-waterproof-earbuds-headphones-swimming-2015/

http://www.runnersworld.com/cold-weather-running/nine-running-jackets-for-the-rain

http://running.competitor.com/2014/11/photos/photos-10-rain-jackets-for-runners_117292


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