A Heavy Sweater’s 4 Gear Tips for Summer Running

Gear tips to keep puddles of sweat away from your shoes.

It happens every year.

I embark on a longish run, and by the end, sweat is squishing out of my shoes with every step.

On the bright side, I could be tracked if I were lost. Otherwise, it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing.

See, I’m not just a heavy sweater for a girl. I’m a heavy sweater. This isn’t a point of pride or shame, it’s just a fact.

Once on a 13 mile training run, I lost 7 lbs of sweat, measured by taking my weight loss and subtracting the weight of the water I drank on the run. This is the level of sweat glands I’m dealing with, friends. Read on if you can relate.

I’ve gone through some trial and error to see what gear choices help wick sweat away before it reaches my shoes. Here’s what I’ve found.

Tip #1: Up top, less is not always more.

Instinctively, I thought that to cool down, I should wear less. I have tried running in just a sports bra, or in mesh or super light tanks such as the Nike Breeze tank. If puddles of sweat aren’t a concern (on shorter runs, or for less heavy sweaters), these are AWESOME options. If I’m running less than an hour in the heat, something like the Breeze tank or just a sports bra are amazingly comfortable.

After about an hour, circumstances change. In Atlanta’s hot, humid climate, I sweat more than is evaporating off my body. Eventually, the sweat beads up and rolls down my body into my shoes. So running in just a sports bra or a super light tank just lets the sweat roll down, not to mention that those light tanks stick to my body. Gross!

Contrary to my expectation, wearing a slightly more substantial tank top has helped wick away sweat from my upper body, keeping it out of my shoes. I don’t think a slightly heavier tank makes me hotter or more sweaty either. I’ve had luck with the seamless and lightweight styles pictured below. They wick sweat pretty effectively and don’t stick to my sweaty skin as much as some others. As a general rule, if it’s not mesh and doesn’t feel a bit slick to the touch (as opposed to feeling soft to the touch), it’s probably a winner.

Swiftly Racerback

Lululemon Switftly Tank

Brooks Versatile Light Tank

Oiselle Flyte Tank

105F Singlet*Silver HRGP 10

Lululemon 105F Singlet

Tip #2: Cool compression

I used to think of compression socks and sleeves as an accessory to be reserved for cool weather. I liked the squeezy feeling on my calves, they were way too warm to be comfortable in warm temperatures. I revisited the idea of compression gear last summer as I removed my waterlogged shoes from my feet before stepping into my house. I resolved to find some kind of barrier between my dripping sweat and my shoes.

After researching compression gear with a specific eye toward those that wouldn’t be too warm, I bought a pair of CEP compression sleeves and a pair of Zensah compression sleeves. The CEP sleeves are my favorite. They’re comfortably snug and breathe well. The Zensah sleeves are comfortable as well, but they aren’t quite as cool as the CEP sleeves.

These compression sleeves breathe pretty well.

Tip #3: Go low-tech with sweatbands

I got a cheap wrist sweatband in a race bag, and it was life-changing. If the sweat isn’t evaporating, it has to go somewhere, so having a tiny towel on my wrist is great. I wear that nasty old thing on any longer run or race. Its purpose isn’t complicated or innovative; it’s just there to absorb the sweat when fancy tech fabrics can no longer wick it away. Oh, and you can get them for super cheap, like this sweatband I got for the Peachtree Road Race.

Tip #4: Ice, ice baby

Shout out to Runner’s World for this tip: the night before a run, partially fill your water bottle(s) and freeze it on its side, so there is ice from top to bottom.

My go-to long run outfit

From last week’s long run:

  • Lululemon 105F tank
  • Oiselle Stride Shorts
  • Nasty Sweatband from Race Bag
  • CEP Compression Sleeves
  • Swiftwick Aspire Zero socks
  • FuelBelt handheld (old model purchased at TJ Maxx)

Before and after: sweaty but no shoe-puddles.



Have your shoes ever sloshed with sweat on a run? What tips and advice do you have to add to this list?


One thought on “A Heavy Sweater’s 4 Gear Tips for Summer Running

  1. I agree with everything you said about what works and doesn’t. And what is it with people pushing mesh?! They sell it saying it’s supposed to keep you cool but all it does is hang on to your sweat! So you’re running with sweaty mesh hanging from you. It feels like it never ever evaporates. One tip I can add is that I had that “shoe puddle” problem too until I changed up my socks. I went from Feetures to Balega, with their extreme moisture wicking version called “Drynamix.” And I think those Balega let the moisture evaporate (through my shoes?) better. It was a night and day difference. Fun times running in the southeast, right? 🙂


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