I Went From Hating Running to Loving It — Style Played a Big Part In It

Courtesy of Nicole Kliest
Leggings and Sneakers

My distaste for running goes back to high school gym class. The trauma of my P.E. teacher shouting at me to 'go faster' and 'make the 10-minute mile' is forever etched in my memory. For as long as I can remember, I've had zero affinity for the modality and up until a couple of months ago, have even quietly judged those who go on about the joys of running (sorry, guys!). Now, I have become one of those people — and I attribute a great deal of this athletic transformation from hater to beginning jogger to stylish running apparel.

The desire to live longer, healthier, and stronger were all motives that spurred my decision to try and become a runner. My boyfriend and I arrived at this resolution together, which quickly made me realize one very important factor in beginning a running routine: an accountability buddy is necessary. The second factor? Always having an assortment of running pieces clean and ready to be worn at all times. For me, a supportive sports bra, moisture-wicking top, running jacket (I live in NYC and it's still very cold), well-crafted leggings, and a great pair of sneakers are all items I've been heavily leaning on to keep me going. It may sound silly to the naysayer, but I'm completely convinced that if I didn't have these staple activewear items, I may not have stuck with running altogether. Ahead, hear from experts on why my theory isn't so crazy after all and why, if you're toying around with the idea of giving running a second chance, the secret might be sitting inside of your closet.

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Running Style Tips: Invest In Hard-Working Layers

At the risk of stating the obvious, a successful running wardrobe requires the right kind of layers. Of course, there are the tried-and-true pieces everyone knows about, like sports bras and leggings. But beyond the basics, I've quickly learned that certain top and jacket styles (and even socks!) can make or break your flow while running; nothing is more aggravating than an ankle sock that slips beneath your heel mid-jaunt. Bandier Chief Merchandising Officer Annie Chen stresses the importance of functional pieces for your run. "Our bestselling and customer favorites, All Access Front Row Bra and All Access Center Stage Legging are my personal go-to's," she tells TZR. "They’re both made with shape-sculpting, quick-drying fabrics and ideal for mid to high-impact [exercise]."

Running Style Tips: Buy Extras If You Can

"Activewear isn’t going anywhere and having an extra set or two is worth the investment," Chen explains. She suggests stocking up on your favorite staples so you're never left without something to wear (something I can personally attest to being *the worst*).

Running Style Tips: Find the Right Pair of Sneakers

Courtesy of Nicole Kliest

Another major component to achieving a strong running wardrobe is finding the perfect pair of sneakers for your feet and your running needs. APL's Design Director Cody Harris explains that there is no one style-suits-all when it comes to sneakers. "A great running shoe is different for every person. The same way everyone has different feet, different bodies, different strides, what makes a shoe great for one person might be completely different for someone else," he tells TZR. "There are still a few key features to look for when choosing a shoe; upper fit and outstanding cushioning. Choosing an upper that fits your foot, and cushioning that feels great to you are two key components to make sure you enjoy your running experience."

If you're like me and new to running, that might affect the shoes you choose. "There are unlimited styles of running shoes, everything from lightweight go-fast race shoes, ultra-cushioned everyday trainers, and rugged outdoor trail runners," he says. "New runners should also consider how their body moves and how much support they need while running. Whether they pronate or supinate, finding a shoe with the correct amount of support and maximum comfort is important."

When in doubt, Harris advises to simply try it on and see how it feels. "Once you’ve chosen a shoe, give it a few easy workouts to break in your new pair. You will know you chose the right shoe when your feet and body feel good after a workout," he says. "A good pair of shoes not only protect your feet but also helps cushion your entire body from the impacts of every stride. You know you have the right pair for you if you feel good after your workout and are excited about your next run."

Running Style Tips: Think About Your Color Palette

Chen and I are very aligned on our approach to picking running pieces. "I like to stick to neutral tones; black is always a safe bet," she tells me. While I can get down with a splashy print from time to time, I feel most comfortable and incognito for my run when I'm in neutrals. That doesn't mean my looks are boring, though — some of my favorite pieces include a chevron legging and a sleek black running jacket from LuluLemon.

Running Style Tips: Go For Fun Matching Sets

One of the easiest ways to love your running style, I've found, is to slip into a mood-boosting matching set. "When I see a fun fashion legging I love I always go for the matching bra," Chen shares. "It’s so much more fun to work out in a full look and then there’s no time wasted with putting a look together — just throw on and get moving!"