Buying Guide

Waterproof Running Gear for Rainy Day Runs

Mother Nature doesn’t get to dictate when you work out. With the right running rain gear, you can run without getting completely soaked.

Last updated: October 21, 2021
The Best Gear for Running in the Rain

Your workout schedule won’t always coincide with temperate, sunny days. From drizzles to downpours, the weather can be wildly unpredictable. But a rainy day doesn’t need to be an obstacle to your training.

Plus, you might find you actually enjoy running in the rain, since it beats the heat and leaves the trails empty. While the competition stays indoors, build speed and endurance with gear designed for running in the rain.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the clothing, footwear and other gear you’ll need to get results without getting drenched.

What Kind of Rain Gear Do I Need?

Rain protection varies from water-repellent to water-resistant to waterproof:

  • Water-repellent gear repels water from the fabric’s surface but isn’t designed to keep you dry for extended periods.
  • Water-resistant gear is just that—it resists water penetration, though there are limits to the amount of water and length of exposure it can withstand.
  • Waterproof gear is your tried-and-true-stay-dry-in-any-weather gear. Waterproof items generally have sealed seems and specific zippers to prevent water from seeping in.

Water-resistant items are ideal if you plan to break a sweat in moderate rain, because most water-resistant technology allows internal moisture to escape while still offering rain protection—and breathability is key for sweating in the rain. While fully waterproof gear keeps you dry, it’s more difficult to ventilate, so look for features like zippered underarms.

7 Rain Running Essentials

Review this list of rainy day essentials to ensure you have what you need to run safely and comfortably in wet weather conditions.

1. Rain Jacket

The right jacket can make the difference between returning home soaked and staying dry. Look for a jacket that protects you from both water and wind and has fully taped seams and pockets that’ll keep your electronics dry.

You’ll also want the jacket to be breathable and sweat-wicking so you stay dry underneath. And search for one with a hood to help keep the rain off your head and neck.

If it’s cold out, choose a jacket with synthetic insulation rather than down. Synthetic insulation retains warmth even when it gets wet. You might also decide to layer a breathable fleece jacket under a waterproof shell, depending on the temperature and what’s most comfortable for you. Here are some of our top picks for every type of rainy weather, from sprinkles to sheets.

DRIZZLE

You’ll need gear that is lightweight and water-resistant. Look for jackets designed to keep you active and help you stay dry in wet weather. A breathable Nike Repel jacket will do the trick. You can choose one that compliments your style — and provides enough warmth for the season.

STEADY RAIN

You’ll need gear that helps keep you dry even when the weather’s not. Choose a jacket that protects you from the elements without being cumbersome. You’ll need an anorak or running jacket with a durable barrier to wind and rain. Some Nike jackets fold into a pouch, making them perfect for unpredictable weather. If you’ll be carrying your electronics, make sure the pockets on your jacket are secure. And if it gets chilly, layer a Nike Tech Fleece under your rain shell.

DOWNPOUR

You’ll need gear that is waterproof and provides complete protection from the elements. Look for a jacket with a sturdy GORE-TEX membrane, which allows sweat to evaporate without letting water in. Then, play in the rain. Splash around. You’ll stay dry.

2. Running Shoes

Whether you’re running on roads or trails, you’ll need extra traction when running on wet surfaces. Shoes with a lugged outsole can help prevent injury on slippery spots. You’ll also want to make sure your running shoes are breathable and wick moisture away from the skin.

And since moisture can lead to friction and blisters, fit is even more important in the rain. So choose a pair of running shoes that don’t slip on or rub the back of the heel.

If you’ll be running in the rain regularly, you should also opt for a pair of running shoes with a GORE-TEX lining. The GORE-TEX membrane prevents water from getting in while also allowing water vapor to escape so your feet stay drier. But since water can still get in around the shoe’s collar, waterproof gaiters come in handy.

3. Waterproof Gaiters

Gaiters cover the tops of your shoes to seal out rain. If it’s really pouring, they may be your only hope of staying dry. An over-the-ankle pair should be sufficient for running in the rain, but you might opt for a taller gaiter if you also hike through snow. Pick a pair that’s snug so it doesn’t ride up but also isn’t so tight that it’s uncomfortable.

4. Running Socks

Cotton socks absorb water, leaving your feet feeling heavy and cold. Opt for a pair of moisture-wicking running socks made from a blend of synthetic fabrics. Depending on the temperature, you might choose a lightweight pair or a thicker pair, but ensure they fit well with your running shoes.

5. Water-Resistant Pants

While shorts are fine in warm-weather drizzles, water-resistant pants will keep you particularly dry and prevent chafing in heavier rains.

Weather-resistant ripstop will protect you from the elements the most, but if you feel more comfortable in a pair of leggings, grab a pair of Dri-FIT leggings rather than a cotton pair. The high-performance microfiber construction will allow moisture to evaporate more quickly from the surface of the fabric.

6. Moisture-Wicking Tee

It’s your jacket’s job to keep the rain out, but it’s your shirt’s job to wick sweat away. Together, they’ll help keep you dry and comfortable. Nike Dri-FIT shirts and tops are designed to keep you dry and come in a wide variety of colors and styles.

In colder weather, select a long-sleeve tee or layer a fleece between your shirt and running jacket for extra warmth.

7. Hat or Visor

Your hooded running jacket may keep your head dry, but it won’t keep the rain out of your face. A wide-brim hat (or a visor in warmer weather) will shield your face so you can see clearly enough to navigate your route.

Design and Materials: What to Look For

Here’s a few key innovations we use for weather protection:

  • ACG: All Conditions Gear to get you outside in, well, all conditions. This Nike collection is designed to keep you active in all climates.

  • Nike AeroLayer: Designed for warmth without weight, it’s a layer of lightweight insulation sandwiched between a water-resistant shell and a breathable mesh lining.

  • Nike AeroShield: Technology that pairs a waterproof layer with strategic ventilation zones for a soft, breathable barrier against the elements.

  • Nike HyperShield: Lightweight, breathable fabric that blocks wind and rain, making most items water-resistant or waterproof.

  • Nike Shield: Fabric with weather protection properties against wind and rain, making most items water-resistant.

  • Nike Therma: Fabric designed to let small amounts of body heat escape without letting cold air in, so you stay warm without overheating.

8 Tips for Staying Safe in Rainy Weather

  1. Choose clothing with reflective elements: Visibility is worse in the rain, and that puts you at greater risk when you cross the street. To make sure drivers can see you, opt for a running jacket and pants with reflective material or add reflective tape to your running clothes.
  2. Don’t run during a thunderstorm: Check the weather before your run. If there are reports of thunderstorms, stay indoors and run on the treadmill or choose an alternative at-home cardio workout. While getting struck by lightning isn’t likely, it’s the leading cause of death related to the weather.
  3. Dress for the weather: Even with waterproof clothing, you’ll get wet running in the rain. That can make you feel colder in low temperatures and even increase your risk of hypothermia. Be sure to wear warm enough clothing to protect yourself. On the other hand, avoid too many layers on a hot day. Rather than helping you stay dry, layering will weigh you down in the rain.
  4. Be proactive about chafing: Moisture can cause chafing as you run, so apply an anti-chafing product to areas of friction like your underarms and inner thighs. You might also wear a pair of shorts with compression liners on hot days or a pair of compression tights under your running pants on colder days.
  5. Bring dry socks: Soggy socks can slow you down. If you start to feel uncomfortably wet or notice your shoes are rubbing more than usual, changing your socks can help you keep running when you’d otherwise be ready to throw in the towel.
  6. Stay hydrated: Just because it’s wet outside doesn’t mean you can forgo drinking plenty of water. Bring a hydration pack, water flask, or water bottle with you on your run, and drink water at regular intervals.
  7. Exercise caution: For the most part, running in the rain is safe, but slippery areas can increase your risk of injury. Even if you have running shoes designed to give you maximum traction on muddy trails, you should still watch where you step. Survey the area as you run and avoid landing anywhere that seems precarious.
  8. Change out of wet clothes right after your run: You’ll produce plenty of body heat during your run, but staying in wet clothes once you’ve cooled down can increase your risk of hypothermia. Moisture can also lead to yeast and other infections, so put on a set of dry clothing as soon as you return home from your run (or right after your post-workout shower).

FAQ: Running in the Rain

Is It Okay to Run in the Rain?

It’s best to opt for the treadmill during thunderstorms, but you don’t have to let rain stop you from getting in your run. Just be sure to wear protective, reflective clothing. Also, remember to dress for the temperature and always remove your wet clothes immediately upon returning home.

What’s the Best Running Rain Gear?

The best running rain gear is constructed of fabrics that resist the elements like wind and water. It’s also important to wear reflective garments when running in the rain and choose running shoes that have sufficient traction for wet surfaces.

Can You Catch a Cold Running in the Rain?

Running in the rain by itself won’t make you sick. However, the lowering of your body temperature from running in the rain can make you more prone to getting sick if you’re exposed to a virus. Viruses are commonly transmitted by touching an infected surface, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, or breathing the air around an infected person.

Related Stories

Everything You Need to Get Started Trail Running

Buying Guide

Everything You Need to Get Started Trail Running

How to Choose Sun-Protective Clothing

Buying Guide

How to Choose Clothing to Protect Your Skin From the Sun

What to Wear for Cold Weather Running

Buying Guide

Running in Cold Weather: How to Dress for Success

Choosing the Best Athletic Socks for Your Performance Needs

Buying Guide

Choosing the Best Athletic Socks for Your Performance Needs

Benefits of Running in Tights

Buying Guide

Benefits of Running Tights and How to Wear Them