No way I can fit that! Really?


Running gear
Running gear (Photo credit: LShave)


I still cannot get over the differences between, men’s and women’s running and workout gear. I realize that men and women are different but style aside, I really have to wonder why the functionality is not the same. Men have a more boxy and functional design, with pockets and extra areas to hold an mp3 player or phone and possible a separate area for keys and money. One men’s shirt I bought had a little loop for my headphones so they would not get caught up as I ran.  This is not true for my women’s running gear.  They seem to be made for sleek minimalism.

This minimalist style would be great if I only raced or competed daily. I am not vain enough to want to show off my curves while I run.  I just want to run. The skimpiness of the design of women’s running clothing is very distressing to someone who may not be at their ideal weight. The shirt should not be painted on. That feels horrible when you sweat.

What is the deal with that?

There are many thin runners but there are also runners who are not. These runners want functionality because they are out there to run, be fit, train for an event or just have fun. It is not all about style all the time. It is about comfort mentally and physically.

I am the last person who should complain about style, but it was almost criminal that I had to buy men’s running gear for years because the style was more modest and I wanted to look more covered as I ran through the streets. Jiggle aside, (yes I jiggled a little) running can be very exposing experience for someone like me who was trying to hide the arms, the middle and the thighs. That was impossible for the most part in women’s running gear.

Here’s an example, I buy men’s running compression shorts. Why? It is because women’s compression shorts do not have pockets in them (trust me most of them do not, I just went shopping for some) and they are short. It’s like the designers of these shorts think that we will be carrying just keys and nothing else and that we want to show off our legs in something shorter than any skirt we would wear.

By now, the men should be screaming I want to see women in short shorts. Ugh, you do because we wear them appropriately (smirk). Trust me, when I was heavier there were some things I knew should not be seen in public in (for my own sanity). I kept them hidden. It is one thing to be proud of your curves. Yes, do that! But take care not to go overboard and get nominated for “What Not to Wear.” When you are out to run sometimes it’s just good to worry about running and not the clothes.

I live in the City and we carry keys, phones water and I sometimes do not want to wear one of those utility belts with things hanging off of them, for my stuff. I think they should offer an option with pockets just like the men’s version (I buy the men’s version). Functionality should be the one big designing factor in running gear. Ok, you can run without pockets but it’s more convenient to have them for your phone (or mp3 device), and keys.

Another thing that bothers me about women’s compression shorts are the lengths that are available in some running shops. Despite what anyone may think, it is not comfortable to run with your cheeks hanging out. Most running shops have a few lengths for women usually no longer than 8-inch inseams, but I can say that the shorter end, I found 2-inch inseams.  Most shorts are 6-inch inseams. This is just a little too short if you are tying to cover your thighs and you are over 5 foot 7 inches (or 170 cm).

I get that “the pros” like to be unencumbered when they run, but the rest of us may not want to show that much skin. I am glad that this year, that I found more choices in length of compression shorts, than in the past.  I was beginning to get worried that I would have to look “manly” during my runs.

When I was overweight, anything between 2-inch and 6-inch in length was too short. I am a tall woman with long legs. Now they seem to have gotten the message, as I can buy shorts that are 8 inches in length and they make a Capri length (which I saw many women running in this week in the heat).  This made me do my happy dance, but now my favorite running company needs to get on the bandwagon. You know who you are…

Then all they have to do is work on getting the functionality sorted out. Equality at last!





  1. As long as the pockets don’t have things flop flopping on my thigh as I run. I have a little pocket I go for my shoe from Road ID, and I can barely fit a car key in there. But it’s handy when traveling, I’ll put my hotel key card and a few dollars in the pocket and don’t have to worry about a waist pouch or anything. So true about shorts lengths! Nobody wants to see the back of my thighs exposed….

  2. So much yes! I have several really bright and tight tops and I’m just so sick and tired of them. So a few weeks ago I went to the running store and looked around and finally asked the sales person if they had *anything* less tight and more functional than flashy looking.

    She recommended I check out the men’s section (I’m really narrow shouldered so that doesnt fit me at all) or the children’s (and I’m not quite that slim :P)

    So basically, I’m still stuck in either bright pink or neon or pastel gear. 😦

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