Where to look for plus-size running kit – and what to look for

·3-min read
Photo credit: kali9 - Getty Images
Photo credit: kali9 - Getty Images

Women

Many mainstream fitness brands now offer stylish, technical kit in larger sizes. Adidas, Nike and Reebok offer plus-size ranges for women, while Lululemon and Fabletics offer their core collections in an extended range of sizes (Lululemon up to a UK 30 and Fabletics to a UK 34). Some great non-specialist brands, such as Next, M&S and Simply Be, also offer activewear ranges for plus-size women.

Photo credit: Philip Haynes
Photo credit: Philip Haynes

What to look for...

A high-support bra:
For women with a larger cup size (D+), encapsulation bras – which have two cups and individually support each breast – will provide more support than compression bras, but what’s really key is to find a bra that fits you well. Most of the support actually comes from the band, so make sure it fits snugly (bands with a hook-and-eye closure will provide a more tailored fit) and look for wide, cushioned straps that can evenly distribute the weight. Shock Absorber, Freya, Runderwear and Pour Moi all offer high-quality, high support running bras for women with large cup sizes.

Well-cushioned shoes:
Running puts stress on bones, tendons and ligaments, and this is increased by extra weight. Cushioned shoes will reduce joint impact, while a firm midsole provides extra stability. The Asics Gel-Kayano 28 is highly cushioned, yet stable.

Comfort:
Tops and tights that are either seamless or have flat seams will help to reduce chafing, particularly between the thighs. Look for leggings with a wide, comfy waistband, too, so they don’t dig into your tummy or fall down when you run.

Get the look:

Hansi (above) wears: bra: 3XL; top: UK 22; leggings: 3XL; shoes: UK 6

Model height: 6’4”/ Waist: 52"

Men

Nike and Adidas lead the charge in active apparel for plus-size men, with ranges that extend to 5XL. Next, non-specialist retailers Very and Sports Direct offer a wide range of branded apparel in extended sizes, including items that aren’t always available direct from the brands themselves – Under Armour being a good example. Most trusted running brands, including Lululemon, Iffley Road, Bam and Sundried, go up to 2XL, but if you need larger sizes, Nike’s extensive range is your go-to.

Photo credit: Philip Haynes
Photo credit: Philip Haynes

What to look for...

Longer shorts with a wide, comfy waistband: Some larger runners may feel more comfortable in shorts that come longer down the leg, which will also help to reduce chafing between the thighs – so look for shorts with a longer inseam. With running tights, look for a wide, elastic waistband to give your stomach the required coverage and support.

Flat seams and moisture-wicking fabric: For tops and bottoms, look for fabric with flat, ergonomic seams to reduce any chafing and maximise comfort; and for breathable, moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry.

Well-cushioned shoes: Heavier runners should opt for running shoes with a thick midsole of fairly firm cushioning to protect joints and provide a stiff, stable ride. If you have wider feet, look for a wide toebox so your toes can splay. New Balance and Brooks offer some models in a wider fit.

Get the look...

Yassen (above) wears: top: 3XL; shorts: 3XL; shoes: UK 13

Model Height: 5’4”/ Dress: UK 20-22

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