With summer in full swing across North America, there’s never been a better time to take your running to the next level. Regardless of if you’re a competitive runner, you run to stay in shape, or you’ve never really gotten into it but always wanted to start, this guide is for you.
Having the right running gear can make running more enjoyable, not to mention safer! While running is a safe activity, not having the right shoes, for example, could cause all sorts of foot and ankle issues and generally make you a less efficient runner than you otherwise could be.
This guide will focus more on the additional accessories that can improve your running or just make running more comfortable overall. If you’re looking for a review of more foundational equipment, take a look at our other guide on the best running shoes!
Let’s start by looking at the gear, and then we’ll cover some key buying considerations to help inform your decisions when you’re shopping for the best running accessories for women!
Women’s Running Accessories Overview
While not strictly necessary, having a great running belt waist pack can give you peace of mind while running by helping keep all of your other accessories organized. The Aikendo waist pack is soft and comfortable and comes in 5 different fun color options.
Having a comfortable and snug fit is essential, otherwise, a waist belt will quickly become more trouble than it’s worth. The Aikendo waist belt is great at maintaining a nice snug fit that doesn’t ride up or shift in a frustrating way while you’re running.
The belt has an adjustable strap that helps fit different body sizes and shapes all without sacrificing the snug fit that we love. Aikendo mentions that the adjustable strap will fit waist sizes 27″ to 44”.
This pack can carry a lot of stuff but is still really lightweight. Unless you’re doing weighted running for really specific training, you don’t want accessories that add a lot of extra weight. The extra pockets have a really large capacity and can comfortably fit all sizes of iPhones, wallets, and keys.
Even more amazingly, the pockets can easily fit an iPhone max or a phone that comes in a large, bulky case such as an Outerbox. Overall, this is a great way to carry extra essentials without using something heavier and awkward like a backpack.
Women’s running shorts with actual pockets? It’s a dream come true! The phone pocket keeps your phone snug and in place against your hip while you’re running, and the rear pockets have durable zippers that will keep any spare change, keys, or whatever else you need in place and not on the street.
We love these shorts for their breathable and lightweight fabric with a double-layer design. The inner fabric layer helps absorb extra sweat and keep you dry during an intense run, while the outer layer is breathable and helps to keep you cool.
The sizing guide shows a number of fit options and is geared towards women from 5’2″ all the way up to 6’1″, with waist sizes varying from 22.5″ up to 34.5″. The elastic waistband is comfortable and soft and won’t cause chafing during intense running.
One really underrated benefit of these running shorts is the reflective material on the outer layer. If you’re running at night or in any lower-light condition, the reflective material is great to make you stand out a little more to drivers or bikers who might not be paying as much attention as they should be. Safety, peace of mind, and comfort — all for a really low price!
Available in 3 great colors, the Gaiam women’s running hat is a great way to keep the sun out of your eyes and to keep you cool while running. Running in the summer during peak sunlight can quickly turn your running session into something more resembling hot yoga. If you overheat, you’re not only damaging your body and joints, but you aren’t really testing yourself as a runner!
The Gaiam women’s running hat is lightweight and breathable (you’ll barely even notice you’re wearing it!) By keeping the sun off your head, you’ll stay cooler and help prevent any possible sunburn on your face all without the bulk of a traditional baseball cap. Remember, you don’t want extra weight while running unless you’re doing very specific training!
This runner’s hat has the standard one-size-fits-most adjustable strap, and don’t worry if you have a ponytail or long braids. Gaiam built their hat with extra room in the back to accommodate ponytails or braids while still maintaining a snug and comfortable fit. The worst thing that can happen while running with extra accessories is that they become loose and distracting, causing chafing and just ruining the fun overall.
You won’t need to worry about that with Gaiam — it’s a great lightweight choice to stay cool.
Yes, you can wear long sleeves during the summer too! You might initially think that you’d get too hot wearing one of these shirts, but they are made from ultra-lightweight polyester. The fabric is engineered for maximum breathability to help you stay cool naturally.
These shirts are excellent for longer runs in the sunlight to help protect your entire torso from harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you have fairer skin or are just very prone to burning, wearing long sleeves can entirely prevent damaging sunburns. While the debate will rage on forever if sunscreen under a certainSPF does anything at all, there’s no debate on thin fabric layers preventing the bulk of the damage.
Of course, if you’re running during the fall or winter, or even on a particularly cool spring day, these shirts are also a great choice. They include a side zipper pocket to hold phones, cash, or keys and will help keep you dry and comfortable long after your run is over.
Available in 6 bright and vibrant colors, they also offer a variety of sizes comfortably fitting women from 5’1″ up to 6’2″.
While the rest of the other pieces in our guide are nice to have, this running vest with a hydration bladder is truly essential. CamelBak is a leading manufacturer of sporting equipment and is known for their high-quality and long-lasting products that can stand up to all levels of running and other competition.
The lightweight mesh design makes the entire vest only weigh in at less than half a pound, though this will of course be heavier once you fill it with water. That being said, water is worth the extra weight. You can fill the bladder with up to 50oz of water or your favorite drink to keep you hydrated on your longest runs.
The flexible rubber drinking tube means you can easily run and sip without missing a step. Hydration is arguably themost important part of running — without adequate water, your muscles will start to seize up and spasm and ruin your workout before you get the most out of it. Not to mention, dehydration can be extremely dangerous.
CamelBak built the vest for maximum comfort. Like the other items in our guide, it has a snug fit and won’t jostle around while you run. It also contains several zipper pockets so you can easily hold a phone, keys, wallet, or anything else you’ll need along with your water stored in the hydration bladder.
There’s even a stretchy overflow pocket you can use to bring a poncho in case you get caught out in the rain. The hydration vest comes in two colors and is adjustable to fit most body shapes and sizes. Even better, it comes with CamelBak’s satisfaction guarantee — if anything ever happens to your hydration vest, they will replace it free of charge!
Considering hydration is very important to runners, especially long-distance runners who might find themselves far away from home for a while, this is really one piece of gear that no serious runner should be without.
Buying Considerations and FAQ
Since most of the items in our guide are adjustable and will fit women’s bodies of all shapes and sizes, your buying consideration points can narrow down considerably. Most important of course is your budget. While running isn’t known as an expensive sport, a good pair of shoes along with afitness tracker can start to add up quickly.
Alongside your budget, the next thing to determine is how much you actually bring with you during your runs. If you’re carrying a lot of extra items, then you should probably make sure you get a running belt to handle all your extra carrying needs.
Other than the CamelBak vest, these items can generally be considered extras that make running easier and more fun but aren’t strictly necessary. If budget is a concern, and you need to choose, our suggestion would be to go for the CamelBak vest.
Having the built-in hydration bladder means you won’t have to carry a water bottle, and the ease of using the flexible drinking tube is really unmatched. Keeping hydrated while running is too important to ignore, regardless of your training plan, and the vest is the perfect way to stay hydrated and cool.
Please note the answers provided below apply to all products in the guide unless specifically mentioned:
Where are these items manufactured?
All items in the guide are made in China.
Is the CamelBak vest good for those 5′ or less?
While CamelBak states that it’s designed for women who are 5’1″ and up, it can still comfortably fit women 5″ and lower, though there might be a little more wiggle room as the vest won’t fit quite as snugly.
Can the Aikendo waist belt fit phones that have pop sockets on the case?
Yes, the belt pockets are large and stretchy enough that they can accommodate a phone with a pop socket. You shouldn’t have an issue even with larger phones in larger cases.
A quick overview of the brands covered in this guide where applicable:
Aikendo is a smaller sporting equipment manufacturer that sells its products via major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.
Gaiam is a sporting equipment company made with women in mind. Originally a yoga equipment company, they have since expanded into other sports and now make a line of running gear as well.
Baleaf is an activewear brand that promotes environmental sustainability and conscious consumption. They create versatile activewear that can be used for many sports, so you don’t need to buy an entire closet full of gear to suit your many interests.
Arguably the world’s leading supplier of hydration equipment, CamelBak is synonymous with quality and sustainability.
Putting It Together
This guide contains running gear to fit every training method of even the most avid runners. From the nice to have additional pockets of the Aikendo running belt to the must-have hydration of the CamelBak vest, you’ll be able to find something to kick your running game into high gear.
These helpful products come in a variety of sizes and bright colors to suit every taste, body shape, and size. Whether you’re a long-time runner who’s training for their next race, a hobby runner who is staying in shape and exercising, or you’re looking to take up running for the first time, these running accessories will fit every skill level.
We hope this guide on this summer’s best running accessories for women has been helpful. Have fun running!