What to Wear Racing: The Best Gear for Marathons

March 25th 2019 | Callie Sierra

It’s springtime, which means two things: the weather will be a bit unpredictable and people will be gearing up for marathons across the country. Whether you’re taking on the London Marathon, Brighton Marathon, Greater Manchester Marathon or another 26.2-mile challenge this year, there’s a few must-have clothing items for any race. In this post, we highlight our top running essentials to help you accomplish a marathon in comfort, safety and style.

Technical T-Shirts: Stay Warm and Dry (and Race in Style)

T-shirts made from technical, dry-wicking material will wick away moisture while keeping you warm and dry for your run, which is perfect for cold, spring marathons. At The Charity Clothing Company, we offer a popular technical running t-shirt that we’ve had specially milled to be softer than ever before and to perform superbly when worn.


One of the best things about designing your own custom technical t-shirt is that it allows for unbelievable creativity. We actually print each panel of this t-shirt before it’s sewn together, so your design can literally flow from seam to seam. And, because we use sublimation printing and pantone dyeing, your special design will be clear and vibrant, no matter how many races and wash cycles the shirt sees. Are you running with someone in mind? Perhaps someone fighting an illness? We can even print photographs on a shirt to make it a truly special, motivational piece of gear.  

 TCCC Tip: Pair the t-shirt with a set of technical leggings for a great spring running combination for marathons, training or any outdoor activity.


Running Vests for a Sleeveless Option

Another key item is a running vest. This is actually one of our best-selling products at The Charity Clothing Company and we’re honored to be the leading supplier to the charity sector. As with a technical t-shirt, look for high-quality vests that are made from moisture wicking fabric to help you stay warm and dry. It’s a great layering piece, too, should the weather be on the warmer side on race day. (Keep an eye on the race-day forecast! You may also want to have a pair of technical running shorts available should that be more comfortable than leggings.) 



TCCC Tip: For stylish inspiration, get bold with your vest design! In addition to sublimation printing and pantone dyeing, we offer contrast trim on our running vests. Meaning that we can custom dye the trim of your vest in any colour, and mix and match the colours of the neck and arm trim. You could also use the same pantone colour for the dye and stitching for a perfect, polished finish.


Socks and Shoes, Perhaps the Most Important Gear

More than any other gear, investing in a good pair of shoes and socks is critical for a successful marathon. Look for shoes that have enough cushion and support to take you from the starting line to the finish line. While athletic shoes come in a seemingly endless array of styles and colours, this is one area where comfort will trump performance and appearance.

The Virgin Money London Marathon website has a helpful article on “10 Steps to Shoe Heaven” to help you make sense of all the options. The article suggests that you ask experts to help you get the right fit. In fact, at New Balance’s flagship store on Oxford Street, sales advisors will film your stride and take a laser scan of your feet to help you find the perfect shoe.

Don’t forget about good socks, too. Look for lightweight, comfortable socks that are moisture wicking and not too worn out. For more, see these two articles from the Standard on the nine best running socks (2018) or the best running socks (2015). 

TCCC Tip: Make sure you purchase and test your shoes well ahead of race day. Ideally, you’ll train in the same shoes you plan to run the race in. This will help you prevent any unplanned blisters or hotspots, which could be painful and even end your race before you reach the 26-mile marker. Make sure to test out your socks, too!


Jacket/Gilet: For Uncooperative Weather on Race Day

You always hope the weather will cooperate on race day, but you can never be sure. If it doesn’t, plan to have a lightweight, waterproof jacket or gilet to stay dry in the event of rain. You can layer a high-quality jacket over your technical t-shirt or running vest for an extra layer of warmth and water protection.

At The Charity Clothing Company, we offer a popular high-visibility waterproof cycling jacket that can do double duty as a lightweight marathon jacket. It can also be stuffed in your pocket should you need to shed a layer.





TCCC Tip: While you’ll likely start and end race day in the daylight, your marathon training schedule may be a little less predictable. Look for a jacket or gilet with reflective details to help you stay visible at night, in the winter or in inclement weather.

Put the Fun in Functional!

Our last suggestion for racing gear is less about comfort and performance and more about having fun. If you’re running to support a charity or with a corporate or social running club, consider creating customised, motivational gear, like this embroidered sweatband. You can design it with your name, logo or an inspirational message to keep you moving along the course. Small accessories like this would also make a great giveaway item to promote your charitable cause at the event.


TCCC Tip: Look for opportunities to raise awareness of important causes at the marathon. Did you know that the Virgin Money London Marathon is the largest annual fundraising event on the planet? Since it began in 1981, runners have raised more than £890 million!


We hope your training is going well and that you’re ready and healthy for this year’s marathon. Please get in touch with us anytime to talk about race-day gear or tips. We’ll see you out there in a few short weeks, and hopefully it won’t rain!