What’s Your Running Style?

My running clothes don't have tags to help me match--it's just how I roll.

After transferring to a private high school my junior year, I developed quite a reputation. No, not that kind of reputation. Instead my friends all knew me to be relentlessly matchy-matchy. Given that we wore plaid kilts and were limited to three colors of shirts, sweaters, and socks, it wasn’t too tough. But I took it to a new level, matching my undies to my outfit. (Come on, we wore flap-in-the-breeze kilts—it was tough to keep a secret.) Eventually I kept the tradition alive to entertain my pals. It still gets a laugh 25+ years later (and, yes, I am sporting black bra and panties since I’m wearing a black sweater today).

No shocker, then, that I wear color-coordinated outfits when I put in my miles. Maybe it’s the way my (bossy) brain works, but I think it’s as easy to match as it is to clash. I do it even when my workout starts and ends in pre-dawn darkness. Let’s say I’m wearing my purple Sugoi running vest (my new favorite running essential!), why not slide on a vivid pink Asics long-sleeve instead of a yellow one? At least I mix brands. And I don’t intentionally take it all the way to my kicks: I was chagrin after Saturday’s 10-miler, when I realized my Saucony ViziPro vest was the same screaming shade of orange as the laces on my charcoal grey Nike Lunarglide+ 2s.

I’m not bragging about my color coordination—far from it. The fashionistas I admire are the chicas who dress with funky flair to stand out in a crowd or make a (lovely, loud) statement. Like RLAMer Ginny Flynn and beloved, tall Mel Faulkner. The bright pink knee-highs, leopard print or argyle running skirts, vivid tops, and the occasional pigtails. Now those girls know how to rock style!

Clash of the patterns with a side of sparkle (courtesy of

I'm hyper-conscious of style this because I’m writing a feature for Runner’s World about the merging of fashion and function in women’s running wear. Now it’s your turn to talk about your running style—or your disregard for it. Part of the article is going to be comments from real women runners about why they dress like they do when they're on the move. I’m hoping to get a dialog going here. Part of it may even appear in the magazine (with your permission). So start talking (typing!), gals: Tell me why you dress like you do when running. What’s clean? What matches? Or what tells the world to look out, here you come?

326 responses to “What’s Your Running Style?

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  2. If it’s loud and bright and can burn your retina’s out of your head then I say go for it. Hey if something happens you will be sure that people will remember that they saw me. The chick with the florescent yellow shirt and just as loud orange shorts? Yeah I saw her!

  3. My new favorite style is bright running shorts (I have orange ones from Oiselle and bright green ones from Lululemon), paired with a long-sleeved black top and compression socks. My running fashion fail is my wild hair – it’s too short for a pony tail, head bands bug me, and it’s crazy, frizzy curls when I leave it down.

  4. On training runs, I couldn’t care less – and I have a large variety of colors as I’ll run in my tennis skirts as well as running skirts, nylon shorts, leggings, whatever. But on race days, I like to match. 🙂

  5. I am a go together gal. I’ll put different colors of purple or blue together. I usually match pretty well. I love bright colors and a little sparkle. It makes me feel tough, pretty, and feminine. Just because I’m running doesn’t mean I have to look like a man.

  6. Love your post! It is right up my alley! My running style adds to the fun of running. I love the running skirt revolution and the fact that I do not need to pick up a new sport (tennis) to look feminine on the trails. Simple yet stylish is how I run.

  7. I don’t really care about matching at all. But my bottoms are always black, so it’s not really a problem. I do like to feel strong and some days I need a little push. So if my energy is low and I’m having to talk myself into a run, I wear my Suck It Up Buttercup t-shirt from and it gets me through every time.

  8. Matching All.the.way! I even make my nuun flavor selection to match my running outfit that day. But I love matching and coordinating. whether it is through colors or patterns–my skirt, socks, bra, and top always coordinate on any given day. I don’t feel run-ready unless I am put together and look what I consider to be cute.

  9. My sisters are natural born fashionistas in their daily life. One actually works as a clothes buyer for a major department store chain and sees Clinton Kelly on the regular. But I am definitely a fastinista! I almost always coordinate my outfit for a run, usually down to my sportsbra! I love getting compliments on my run/race outfits because usually they come at a point when my mind wants to quit. Looking good makes me want to be good.

  10. NOT matchy at all. I love loud, bright, fun, crazy. I give shout outs to anyone who’s outfit I love during a run. Now my good friend I run with likes to match, so running together is pretty funny. 🙂

  11. I like to Match!! I’m not able to alway match when I run but come race day I feel so much better when my outfit makes me look good!

  12. I definitely match, and will wear something dirty rather than not match. However, I rarely have to worry about that as I have three sets of running clothes for most types of weather. I have matching sets from For summer, my favorite right now is gym girls ultra in “Blue Crush”, with the wondergirl tank in “White/Pow print”. For the cooler months I have the tough girl top and skirt in “black”, “Ocean”, and “Red Kiss Play”. And finally, for winter, I have the Ice Queen Ultra Skirt in “Black” and the Ice Queen Jacket in “Red Kiss”. Those are my favorites, but I also have several Nike tanks, long sleeve tops, capris, and pants. NO SHORTS! I even try to buy smartwool socks to match the colors of my outfits, but never my shoes! Shoes have to fit right and function well, so no choice in color. 🙁 Bras don’t match either, as I go for function and fit, so they only come in white or black, however, I usually wear the same color underwear as the bottoms, LOL.

  13. When it comes to clothes out on a an everyday run I really can’t be too picky. I circulate about 3 pairs of shorts, my favorite tights, a couple of shirts and pants. If my matching favorites are clean and available I wear them, but it often doesn’t work out that way. And I never worry about matching my shoes because then I’d be super limited in what I can wear. Yes, a new matching set would give me that extra inspiration to run, but outside of that I am just lucky to get out the door sometimes and thankful to have anything to run in at all! I guess that’s one of the perks about country living though – if I look really goofy on occasion it really goes unnoticed for the most part.

  14. Guilty of spending more on my running clothes and shoes than my “regular” clothes, but they are never “matchy” outfits. I love skorts with leggings/capris/shorts underneath depending on the season. I try to stick to black or grey bottoms, and blue or yellow tops, so whatever combination I pull out of the draw in a rush will look ok together. Of course, race shirts are thrown into the mix, but it’s amazing how many are blue, yellow, or white.

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