A rainy run is like a ride on the log flume. No matter how hard you try to stay dry, you’re going to get wet—but that can be part of the fun. This doesn’t mean, however, that running in the rain has to leave you soaked. The right gear can save you from a soggy slog, and will make your puddle-splashing miles more enjoyable. Here are our top tips and advice—plus some gear recommendations—to keep you running through the raindrops.
Keep Rain Out of Your Eyes
Wearing something with a brim is one of the best ways to keep rain out of your eyes. For cold, rainy runs in the 30s or 40s, consider adding a light beanie or headband for warmth. A waterproof cap will help keep your head warm and dry(er). If you don’t mind looking silly, you can even slide a shower cap over your hat or visor. When it’s above 55 degrees, visors are best—they allow heat to escape through your head more efficiently.
In a driving rain, wearing a pair of light-tinted or clear glasses can help protect your eyes from getting pelted. A good anti-fog lens cleaner will keep your vision clear in the moisture and humidity.
Waterproof Your Wardrobe
Wicking apparel is key—it pulls moisture away from your skin, which helps prevent chafing and blisters. This is especially important for socks. For the rest of your wardrobe, running and fitness expert Jenny Hadfield, aka Coach Jenny, recommends wearing tighter tops and bottoms, since they will be less likely to chafe. Light-colored bras, tops, and bottoms become see-through when wet, so stick to darker colors in the rain.
Invest in a lightweight, waterproof shell jacket—not necessarily one that’s marketed to runners—to stay dry on cold, rainy runs and during other rainy day activities. These jackets may not breathe as well as running-specific ones, but they are best at keeping rain out. For warmer rainy runs, try an ultra lightweight rain-resistant running jacket or vest.
“Before a race, use a large garbage bag with a hole poked in the bottom for your head,” Coach Jenny recommends. “Fashionistas can use a smaller cinch bag for a better look—I once ran a half marathon in a white bag to stay dry, and my race photos were fabulous.”
Prevent Chafe and Odor
Use an anti-chafe balm or petroleum jelly on your feet to help prevent blisters and on any other body part that may chafe (arms, nipples, legs, sports bra seam lines, etc.). When you finish your run, get out of your wet clothes and into dry ones (or a warm shower) immediately. To help your shoes dry, remove the insoles and stuff the shoes with newspaper or paper towels, which will also help get the stink out.
How We Chose This Gear
Every piece of gear on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and use our own experience to determine the best options for your runs in wet weather. We hand-picked the gear below based on performance, price, comfort, technical features, style—and in some cases, personal experience—to build this collection of top essentials to keep you dry.
Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate gives you a tip about how to keep your jacket secure while running if the weather warms up or dries out.
Salomon Sense Ride 3 GTX Invisible Fit
Whether you want to skip through water crossings without hesitation or just commit to “No Days Off” in 2021, the Sense Ride 3 is a top choice for rainy day trail running. The shoe has a waterproof Gore-Tex construction that’s bonded to the mesh upper so it doesn’t feel heavy or stifling. At the midsole, a combination of TPU and EVA-based foam provides a firm ride with some stability for overpronators. The outsole is packed with traction—a Contagrip rubber outsole specifically designed for wet and sloppy conditions can help you find firm footing on any surface. And our testers also raved about the security of the cord laces, which tighten and loosen by an adjustable cinch that’s easy to operate with cold, wet hands.
On Running Weather Vest
In-between weather calls for an in-between layer that can keep your core dry and warm in light rain—without becoming sweltering when the sun pops out. This stretchy, well-ventilated vest can do all that, plus hold your phone, keys, and snacks in waterproof zipper pockets. It’s made of lightweight, high-quality fabric and is small enough to pack down easily when not in use.
Patagonia Houdini Jacket
The Houdini jacket’s best magic trick is its ability to protect you from a surprise onslaught of rain and wind—and then disappear up its own sleeve when you no longer need it. Made of ultra-lightweight ripstop nylon, the jacket is ideal at providing just enough weather resistance without turning into a sauna after you’re warmed up. We love the Houdini's smart details, like a drawcord hem and sleeves, an easy-to-cinch hood, and a carabiner loop on the zipper chest pocket for carrying the jacket while it’s stuffed down.
The North Face Resolve 2 Jacket
This longtime favorite jacket is fully waterproof with taped seams, so it’s the consummate barrier between you and the elements. The jacket is thin, but the fit is fairly loose so you can layer it over as many tops as you need, or take it off and easily pack it down if you get too warm. It’s got two zippered hand pockets to stow gloves and other small items, and a hood that can be tucked in the jacket’s collar. It’s already a bargain for the quality, but if you want an even better deal on it, find it in discontinued colors from previous seasons.
Tracksmith Turnover Tights
These tights are a savior for unpredictable winter weather. Tracksmith’s soft and durable Inverno blend fabric repels raindrops and keeps you warm when the wind starts to blow—but also stays breathable if the skies clear and the sun peeks out. Plus, a back zipper pocket at the waistband lets you keep keys, cards, or fuel dry and secure.
Lululemon Fast and Free Shorts
Honestly, these shorts are what runner dreams are made of. They have staying power for both short and long runs—they don’t roll. The high waist keeps the shorts in place even when the pockets are loaded down or damp from precipitation. There is also an inner drawstring for added security if necessary. As far as thigh rubbing goes, these babies keep your legs chafe-free. If a 10-inch inseam feels too long, Lulu also makes a shorter cut.
Gore Waterproof Hat
Rainy day runs can feel like joyful, puddle-hopping adventures or miserable slogs—and sometimes the difference just boils down to whether or not the drops are beating against your face the whole time. A good rain hat not only protects you from that gentle water torture, but it also beads water off the cap and brim, so your hair doesn’t get too wet and cold. Yes, this waterproof cap is on the expensive side, but if you’re determined to maintain a dry head while sprinting through a deluge, this is the cap for you, thanks to its GORE-TEX construction and heat-sealed seams. Despite all the protection in its waterproof membrane, the hat is lightweight, comfortable, and fairly breathable. Just be warned: It’s available in only one adjustable size, which might not fit bigger heads.
Arc'teryx Calvus Cap
This water-resistant hat has a generous bill to keep the sun and rain out of your eyes so you can focus on the trail ahead. It’s made of a lightweight, breathable polyester with mesh on both the sweatband and side panels to vent all that extra heat. Available in two sizes, the Calvus cap sports a stretchy strap that cinches to fit most heads.
Drymax Maximum Protection Mini Crew Socks
“My favorite socks are Drymax,” says Coach Jenny. “I’ve worn them in races in the jungles of Fiji and Borneo and they dry very quickly.” The science behind these socks involves using Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fibers, which have an insanely low coefficient of friction. The material generates less heat from rubbing, so your feet stay cool and blister-free, and offers a little extra protection if you’re slogging through puddles.
Shower’s Pass Crosspoint Socks
When it’s cold and rainy out, but you’re determined to pretend like it isn’t, these fully waterproof socks are the perfect things to slide your feet into. Surprisingly comfortable for weatherproof footwear, they’re made from a durable knit exterior and a moisture-wicking inner lining, with a membrane that’s as breathable as can be without sacrificing its waterproofing superpowers sandwiched between. Our tester was skeptical they could handle the steady drizzle of the Pacific Northwest, so she first tested them by stepping into a half-full bathtub while wearing a pair. To her surprise, her feet stayed completely dry—and ready to dart out the door and get muddy.
Jaybird Run XT True Wireless Headphones
These buds are some of the smallest and most comfortable you’re going to find, and are perfect for taking your music out in the rain. An update to IPX7 waterproofing means they’re fully waterproof, so they can withstand torrential downpours without harm. Improved Bluetooth reception also gives the buds a rock-solid connection to your cell phone that won’t cut out in stormy weather.
Gore R7 Shakedry Jacket
Gore’s fully waterproof Shakedry jacket is inconceivably light and breathable considering how much protection it gives you from rain and wind. True to its name, water beads off the rain shell’s surface so that the jacket feels dry almost immediately after you take it off and give it a good shake. It’s got a close, flattering fit that won’t billow in the wind, and an elastic hem to keep it in place. The hood is roomy enough to fit a hat, but will stay put without one if you need it to. Plus, the whole thing packs down into a pocket when you no longer need it. Yes, it’s pricey, but the jacket lasts—one tester has had hers for almost two years with no degradation of its waterproof capabilities.
Armpocket Waterproof Aqua Band
The Best Gym Bags for Runners most comfortable and secure armbands you can buy, thanks to a soft inner fabric that won’t chafe your arm and a powerful Velcro strap to hold your phone in place. This model isn’t specifically designed for running—it’s more of a water-sports band—but it’s a lifesaver on the wettest days when you don’t want to run with a Ziploc-wrapped phone scrunched inside your usual armband. Both a zip seal and snap lock give your electronics twice the protection from rain getting in. Just make sure your phone will fit in the band’s case before purchasing.
It’s never a bad idea to keep an extra stick of Body Glide on hand. This balm is sweat- and water-resistant, won’t clog pores, and doesn’t feel greasy. Use it everywhere and anywhere you suspect chafing or blisters might pop up during a run.