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


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.

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"


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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