Your new LA Leggers Nike Dri-FIT jersey is made out of tech fabric, a major update on old polyester fabric. These tech fabrics are woven in such a way that they are “breathable.” They wick sweat away from skin, and have a silky and smooth feel to them. Years ago cotton was the gold standard, but runners and walkers nowadays all live by the maxim “Cotton is Rotten,” because it retains sweat and can cause terrible chafing.

As you outfit yourself (shorts or leggings, hat or headband, sports bra for ladies, and socks for everyone), remember to look for tech fabrics that will keep you drier and cooler on the road. As with shoes, it pays to shop at a running specialty store (like Road Runner Sports) or a high-end sporting goods store (like REI in Santa Monica), because you’ll want some high performance clothing next to your skin. It’s worth the investment in order to keep your tender bits, well, from getting TOO tender! One thing to consider is wearing a “foundation” garment like compression shorts: a sort of underwear under your running shorts (or skirt or leggings). Running bottoms usually have built-in underwear, but compression shorts make everything just that much smoother.

And while you’re at the running store, you will want to invest in a stick or container of anti-chafe balm like Body Glide or Squirrel’s Nut Butter. A swipe of these odorless, colorless balms should be applied pre-workout to those tender bits: any place where you might be rubbing such as between legs, along the sides of your body, or at places where your water belt might run like the small of you back. Men will definitely want to apply some to their nipples since those can be rubbed raw on a sweaty day, and women will want to make sure to address chafing from bras. Feet can be rubbed the wrong way too, and there are special anti-chafing products if feet are an issue for you.

Finally, you’ll want to take good care of that new Leggers jersey and all your gear by keeping it clean. The main downside of tech fabrics is that over time those complex polymers tend to trap odors. If you don’t pay attention, they get incredibly stinky and it is hard to get that stink out! Cotton does have an advantage there, so you’ve got to pay attention to keep odor at bay. Here are some simple steps:

  • As soon as your workout is over, rinse out those clothes. You can even take them into the shower just to get much of the sweat, body oils and salt out.
  • DO NOT let them sit in a laundry basket and get musty! Get them into the wash as soon as possible. At a minimum, do a pre-soak.
  • There are special sports detergents. I haven’t done extensive testing, but they are an option (see below).
  • No matter how you wash them: DO NOT PUT THEM IN A DRYER. As with stains, the dryer will trap odors in tech fabrics. Line dry!

Next week we’ll focus more on gear (belts and packs and so on), and it’s worth mentioning them here: they also retain sweat and since they don’t go into the wash (typically) they can harbor smelly bacteria. Rinse your belt/pack when you rinse your clothes to keep smelling sweet.

Related links:
For a fun, short video about clothing and gear, check out 11.5’s Mentor Jim Doyle’s 2020 video. Jim also covers hats and visibility.

For a deeper dive on training clothes, check out Coach John Phillips’ post on our Leggers site.

And if you want to know more about keeping your outfits smelling great (including reviews of detergents), read this piece.