Here’s Everything a Shape Editor Wore to Run Her Fourth Marathon, Tested and Reviewed

I’ve tested dozens of running brands over the years, but these are the only pieces I trust to wear on race day.

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Best Running Clothes for Marathons, According to a Fitness Editor

Shape / Marcus Millan

One of the most important parts of running a marathon — beyond the training, of course — is figuring out your race-day outfit. Wearing a cotton t-shirt or a pair of socks that are slightly too big may seem like NBD, but over 26.2 miles, you’ll feel every seam, snag, and hot spot. And when you’re already pushing yourself to your physical limits, the last thing you want to do is be uncomfortable in your clothing.

Over nine years and four marathon training cycles, I’ve put every athletic brand to the test for miles and miles (and miles). So when it was time to toe the start line for my latest race, the 2023 Boston Marathon, one of the only things I wasn’t worried about was my outfit. After testing the best running clothes for women, here’s what I wore on race day, from head to toe.

Editor's Note

Adidas sponsored Kristen's participation in the 2023 Boston Marathon. All product recommendations and reviews are her own.

Best Running Top

adidas Own the Run Long Sleeve Tee

adidas Own the Run Long Sleeve Tee


Why We Like It: The lightweight fabric dries quickly, making it a win for all kinds of weather.

It’s Worth Noting: The back of the shirt is slightly opaque (aka you'll be able to see the back of a sports bra).

This Own the Run Long Sleeve Tee from Adidas was the absolute perfect base layer and everything I needed on a cloudy, mid-50s race day. It’s super lightweight, so I knew I wouldn’t get too sweaty if temps got higher, and the quick-drying AEROREADY fabric proved to be clutch after a brief but sudden downpour left me sodden. The back of this crew neck tee (which runs true to size, BTW) is made with a stretchy, almost waffle-knit pattern that was ultra comfortable and breezy. The thumbholes kept my hands just warm enough during the early miles, and the iconic Adidas racing stripes were just the push I needed to charge up the famous Heartbreak Hill. I’m already planning to buy more in every color available. 

Price at time of publish: $45

Key Specs: Sizes: XS to XL | Colors: 3

Best Running Sports Bra

adidas Medium-Support Running Pocket Bra

adidas Medium-Support Running Pocket Bra


Why We Like It: So. Many. Pockets.

It’s Worth Noting: There are two separate size ranges for cup sizes A to C and D to DD.

Last summer, I declared myself done with armbands and moved to only wearing sports bras with pockets that could fit my phone. This Adidas medium-support running pocket bra is one of the best running sports bras I’ve tried. It has three separate pockets that are just big enough to hold gels, keys, IDs, and my phone (although I did need to take my phone case off). The thicker band held everything up and in place without sagging or chafing, and there’s a built-in bungee cord in the back if you decide to ditch your shirt mid-run. I’m a 32B, and I thought this sports bra offered plenty of support for my run, but people with larger cup sizes may feel differently.

Price at time of publish: $55

Key specs: Sizes: 2XS to XL A-C, 2XS to XL D-DD | Colors: 2

Best Running Leggings

Lululemon SenseKnit Composite High-Rise Running Tight 28"

Lululemon SenseKnit Composite High-Rise Running Tight 28"


Why We Like It: The tight, compressive fit keeps legs feeling energized on long runs.

It’s Worth Noting: The fabric is heavier and likely too warm for spring and summer runs.

Training for a spring marathon in Chicago means needing gear that holds up to any kind of weather, and the Lululemon SenseKnit Composite Running Leggings were with me every step of the way. The water-repellent fabric kept me feeling dry, even during snow or rain, and the four-way stretch made these compressive leggings feel surprisingly comfy. Plus, there were plenty of pockets that comfortably held my iPhone and several gels for hours at a time, without bouncing or slipping. Best of all for endurance runners, the SenseKnit fabric is engineered to support your legs and have plenty of ventilation. Heads up: These are definitely more for cold weather running, since the fabric is on the heavier side.

Price at time of publish: $159

Key specs: Sizes: 0 to 14 | Colors: 2

Everything a Shape Editor Wore to Run Her Fourth Marathon

Shape / Kristen Geil

Best Running Underwear

voenxe Seamless Thongs

voenxe Seamless Thongs


Why We Like It: They’re majorly ventilated to avoid swampy sensations.

It’s Worth Noting: They only come in thong form, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

I’ll never be someone who goes commando on a run, so I swear by these affordable seamless thongs from Amazon. The fabric feels silky smooth, and they’re a mesh design that feels sporty and dries quickly. I’ve never experienced any VPL with them, thanks to a laser-cut design that virtually eliminates noticeable edges. My favorite feature of these undies is that they have a slight grip along the edges, which helps keep these thongs in place during any activity.

Price at time of publish: $15 for 5-pack

Key specs: Sizes: XS to XXL | Colors: 7

Best Running Socks

Bombas Women’s Running Calf Socks

Bombas Women’s Running Calf Socks


Why We Like It: The honeycomb design supports your arches in style.

It’s Worth Noting: They’re thicker and warmer, so you may not choose them for hot, humid runs.

There’s no other brand I trust more with my feet than Bombas. These calf-height socks stayed up for the entire race, and the honeycomb pattern added extra support where I needed it most on my arches. Each sock is ergonomically designed for a certain foot (so yes, you’ll need to see whether you’re putting the left sock on your right foot), and they’re moisture-wicking to keep you dry and avoid blisters. Case in point: Despite rain, drizzle, and fog, I finished the marathon with nary a blister in sight.

Price at time of publish: $18

Key specs: Sizes: S to L | Colors: 2

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 Running Shoes

adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 Running Shoes


Why We Like It: These lightweight distance running shoes optimize running efficiency.

It’s Worth Noting: The tongue is extremely slim and sits flush against your foot, so it’s not very padded.

I already wrote a love letter to these shoes in our 2023 Shape Sneaker Awards, but to recap: I did all of my long runs in the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 running shoes and was continuously impressed by how well they supported me and gave me that bouncy energy return all runners crave. These running shoes are lightweight but supportive enough to go the distance with two layers of resilient foam and a carbon-infused midsole. And on the rainy race day, I felt incredibly confident with every stride, thanks to a texturized rubber outsole that prevents slips on surfaces like wet asphalt. Trust, these are my new go-to shoes for distance runs and races. 

But hey, don’t take it from me: The top three finishers in the men’s race were all wearing the Adizero Adios Pro 3 Running Shoes, so I was in elite company. 

Price at time of publish: $250

Key specs: Sizes: Women’s 5 to 16 | Colors: 5

Everything a Shape Editor Wore to Run Her Fourth Marathon

Shape / Kristen Geil

Best Running Hat

Nike AeroBill Tailwind Cap

Nike AeroBill Tailwind Cap


Why We Like It: It’s extra ventilated to keep your head cool.

It’s Worth Noting: You’ll want something slightly heavier for cold weather.

While I wore a ~vintrage~ 2014 Chicago Marathon hat for race day, this Nike AeroBill Tailwind was my go-to for training. It has laser-cut perforations to keep your head from overheating, and the Velcro closure is super easy to adjust on the run. 

Price at time of publish: $30

Key specs: Sizes: One size | Colors: 8

Best Sunscreen for Running

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40


Why We Like It: Its sweat-proof formula protects skin in humid, sweaty conditions.

It’s Worth Noting: Fair-skinned runners may need higher than SPF 40.

A cloudy day is no excuse to skip sunscreen. The Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen is my favorite sunscreen for running. The SPF 40 formula goes on clear (read: no white cast) and smooth for a silky, barely-there finish. Despite wearing it in hot, humid weather, it never sweats off or causes my eyes to burn.

Price at time of publish: $38

Key specs: Sizes: 0.68 oz, 1 oz, 1.7 oz | Key ingredients: Red algae, frankincense, avobenzone

Best Mascara

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara



Why We Like It: The thickening formula gives curled, dramatic lashes a lift.

It’s Worth Noting: It’s not waterproof.

Was mascara necessary for running a marathon? Definitely not — but swiping some on my lashes makes me look (and therefore, feel) more awake. The cheekily named mascara instantly lifted and volumized my lashes, and the formula stayed put for the entire day, without any raccoon-like smudges under my eyes. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Key specs: Shades: Black, brown | Formulas: Waterpoof and non-waterproof

Best Brow Gel

Glossier Boy Brow

 Glossier Boy Brow


Why We Like It: The gel-pomade blend visibly thickens and tames brows.

It’s Worth Noting: The hold isn’t super strong.

I balanced out my mascara with slightly fuller brows, using Internet-approved Boy Brow in brown to give the illusion of thickness. My brows looked lush the entire day, despite the rain and wind. 

Price at time of publish: $17

Key specs: Shades: 5 | Key ingredients: Beeswax, oleic acid, soluble collagen

Everything a Shape Editor Wore to Run Her Fourth Marathon

Shape / Kristen Geil

Best Lip Balm for Running

LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask

LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask


Why We Like It: The ultra-moisturizing balm lasts for hours.

It’s Worth Noting: The Berry flavor might smell overpowering to sensitive noses.

I needed a lip balm that would last the entire day, so before boarding the busses to Hopkinton, I slathered on the Laneige Lip Mask. True, it’s technically meant to be used while sleeping, but I knew that the long-lasting formula would get me through a 10-hour race day. My lips felt totally moisturized the entire time, despite drinking water or Gatorade every mile on the course.

Price at time of publish: $24

Key specs: Flavors: 4 | Key ingredients: Vitamin C, coconut oil, shea butter, and murumuru seed butter

Best Anti-Chafe

BodyGlide For Her Anti Chafe and Moisturizing Balm

Body Glide For Her Anti Chafe and Moisturizing Balm


Why We Like It: The easy stick application ensures you don’t miss a spot.

It’s Worth Noting: The stick is pretty small, so you often need to go over spots multiple times. 

Even though I was confident that all of my clothing choices would leave me chafe-free, there’s no such thing as being too prepared against painful hot spots. I applied Body Glide for Her around my armpits, under the band of my sports bra, and at my waistband, counting on the Vitamin E-enriched moisturizing balm to protect me from agony. True to its stellar reputation among runners, I peeled off my wet race clothes and was delighted to find only clear, non-irritated skin. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Key specs: Key ingredients: Vitamins A, B, E, and F

Best Running Watch

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 with Starlight Sport Band


Why We Like It: You can easily control your music, podcasts, and texts from your watch.

It’s Worth Noting: The GPS tracking isn’t as consistent as other running watches.

Instead of a tricked-out running watch, I stuck with my trusty Apple Watch for this run. I wanted to focus on having fun and staying in the present moment, instead of obsessing over my pace and how many miles I had yet to run. The Apple Watch let me easily read encouraging texts from friends while on the run, and I could respond with a voice memo at the tap of a screen. Plus, it was super easy to change my music without getting my phone out of its pocket. 

Price at time of publish: $399

Key specs: Watch sizes: 41 mm and 45 mm | Band sizes: S/M and M/L | Colors: 4 | Available cellular connectivity

Best Recovery Tracker

WHOOP 4.0 Health and Fitness Tracker

WHOOP 4.0 Health and Fitness Tracker

Best Buy

Why We Like It: The data offers endless ways to analyze your performance and recovery.

It’s Worth Noting: There’s no screen, so you’ll need to access an app to check your stats.

While I didn’t truly need the WHOOP to tell me that I had pushed my strain to the max on race day, I definitely wanted to be able to gauge my sleep, recovery, and overall stress in the days leading up to and after the race. In fact, I have my WHOOP 4.0 to thank for prompting me to go to bed a little earlier than I’d planned the night before the race, and I monitored my heart rate variability and recovery scores in the days post-race to help determine when it was time to start working out again.

Price at time of publish: $30 per month membership

Key specs: Colors: 36+ | Battery life: 4 to 5 days

Everything a Shape Editor Wore to Run Her Fourth Marathon

Shape / Kristen Geil

Best Running Headphones

Shokz Open Run Headphones

Shokz Open Run Headphones


Why We Like It: The headset sits comfortably on top of your ears, leaving you free to notice your surrounding environment.

It’s Worth Noting: There’s no way to know exactly how much battery life is left.

I’m big on safety while running, which is why I turned to open-ear, bone-conducting headphones from Shokz years ago. These headphones have an eight-hour battery life, more than enough to last me through several days of training runs, and they’re incredibly comfortable. Plus, they stay in place; I can’t tell you how many people I saw on the course chasing after dropped AirPods.

However, a big downside of these headphones is that there’s no accompanying app or place to see exactly how charged your headphones are (when you turn them on, a voice tells you whether the battery level is high, medium, or low). So despite my headphones claiming they were charged the night before the race, I turned them on before my start time to realize they were totally dead — something that could have easily been avoided if I could have seen the exact charge. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Key specs: Battery life: 8 hours | Style: Wraparound frame and wireless, open-ear fit

Best Running Gels

Huma Chia Energy Gel Variety 12 Pack

Huma Chia Energy Gel Variety 12 Pack


Why We Like It: It’s easy on the stomach (read: no unwanted cramping or emergency bathroom situations).

It’s Worth Noting: The Huma PLUS energy gels have double the electrolytes as the originals.

Ask any distance runner how they stay fueled on long runs, and you’ll probably get a passionate, evangelical speech extolling the virtues of the best running gels, chews, or drink mixes. I’m no different when it comes to these Huma Chia Energy Gels, which I bought by the dozens for my long runs and race day. I’ve yet to find a flavor I didn’t love (although the Apple Cinnamon was a particular fave), and the natural ingredients were easy for me to digest while moving (IYKYK). Plus, the nutrition checks out: They have a 2:1 glucose-to-fructose ratio, which maximizes your body’s absorption and use of carbs, and some flavors have 25 mg of caffeine for extra energy. And not insignificantly, they’re easy to open and eat while on the move. 

Price at time of publish: $28 for a variety 12-pack

Key specs: Flavors: 8 Huma Original, 4 Huma PLUS | Caffeine: In select flavors | Key ingredients: fruit puree, powdered chia seeds, brown rice syrup

Our Testing Process

During the course of four marathon training cycles and countless half marathon races under my belt, I’ve found the best running clothes for women through hours of real-world wear. For each product listed here, I wore it at least three times over my nine-week training cycle from February to April. Each test run was at least three miles or 30 minutes, with long runs lasting from 12 to 20 miles and 2 to 3 hours. For the best running clothes, I analyzed whether each piece fit properly, whether it was quick-drying, and whether it was comfortable enough for all-day wear. For makeup and skincare, I noticed whether the product was easy to apply, if it left a cast or residue, and how long-lasting it was. Finally, for running accessories and tech, I judged sound quality, accuracy, battery life, and comfort.

Why Trust Shape

Kristen Geil is a senior commerce editor who specializes in testing and reviewing fitness and running gear. She’s run four marathons (including the Boston Marathon) and is a USATF-certified running coach and NASM-certified personal trainer. She recently led Shape’s 2023 Sneaker Awards, testing multiple pairs of running shoes herself and choosing winners in 14 comprehensive categories. 

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