Young woman running against morning sun
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Summer is officially here, bringing long, sunny days that are perfect for all your favorite outdoor activities. But it's also bringing the heat. For runners or anyone who likes to break a sweat outdoors, the heat can increase your risk of heat stroke -- but it can also improve your body's temperature regulation abilities (which decreases your risk of heat stroke).

So how do you get those improved heat tolerance benefits of hot-weather exercise safely? For one, take the intensity down a notch. Instead, stick to a moderate pace and use a smartwatch to make sure you maintain it. If you have the Apple Watch 9 or a Garmin smartwatch, you can track your estimated VO2 max right on your wrist. If not, you can substitute heart rate, which most smartwatches track.

But before you head out, make sure you're dressed and ready for the heat -- not to mention the sun -- by adding these essentials to your summer running gear.

The best running gear for safe summer runs

These items will help you stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, and help your body keep itself cool, even when running in record summer heat.

Mission Cooling performance hat


Keeping direct sunlight off of you as much as realistically possible during your runs can make a big difference in how intense the heat feels. So a great running hat, like this Mission Cooling performance hat, is essential.

The bill keeps the sun off of your face, while the light color reflects light rather than absorbs it. But what makes it especially great for running in hot weather is the hydroactive fabric. Like a cooling towel, the hat becomes cool when it's wet. Mission says this hat can cool up to 30 degrees below average body temperature within a minute of getting wet. Then, it can stay cool for up to two hours. 

Just wet it and ring it out in the sink before you head out and enjoy that cooling effect for your entire run.

Get the Amazon bestseller for $20.

What we like about the Mission Cooling performance hat:

  • The Hydroactive technology keeps this hat cool for up to two hours when wet.
  • The light color and UPF 50 fabric keeps sun off of your face and head.
  • Lightweight, adjustable design lets you get the most comfortable fit
  • The material is breathable so heat won't build up around your head as you run.
$20 at Amazon

Goodr OG Sunglasses


These Goodr sunglasses were made by and for runners. They're lightweight and slip-resistant, so you can work up a sweat without them bouncing or sliding around your face. And as far as sun protection functionality, they're hard to beat with their polarized UV400 lenses that block out harmful UV rays and reduce glare.

One reviewer said these 4.7-star rated shades are "the best sport sunglasses" they have ever worn. And multiple reviewers mention how comfortable they are and how well they stay in place even when running. 

At $25 for a pair, Goodr sunglasses are some of the most affordable sports sunglasses on the market.

What we like about Goodr OG sunglasses:

  • Polarized lenses reduce glare
  • UV400 is the highest UV protection rating, blocking nearly 100% of UV rays
  • Lightweight, nonslip frame makes it feel like you aren't even wearing anything while you run
$25 at Amazon

Coppertone Sport Water-Resistant Sunscreen Spray


Sunscreen is one of the most important parts of a good sun safety routine. Apply it not only before you head out, but also after being out for more than a couple of hours.

For runners, this sweatproof SPF 50 sunscreen spray by Coppertone is one of the best picks. It's quick and easy to apply. It's water resistant up to 80 minutes. And most importantly, it offers broad-spectrum UV protection. Spray it on before you leave and toss a can in your belt bag or running pack to reapply every 80 minutes on long runs.

What we like about Coppertone Sport sunscreen spray:

  • SP5 50 broad spectrum UV protection protects your skin from sun damage
  • Water-resistant formula won't wash away when you start to sweat
  • Convenient spray application makes it easy to reapply while you run
$15 at Amazon

Baleaf UPF 50+ sun shirt


While all clothing offers some sun protection, this Baleaf running shirt was specifically constructed with a high-density fabric that blocks 98% of UV rays while still being lightweight and quick-drying. The looser fit and wide side slits suggest this would be a breezier, more breathable shirt than you'd expect from something that's 100% polyester. It also means it would be easy to pull up the sleeves if the full coverage starts to feel too hot.

You can get it on Amazon for as low as $15 after coupon (reduced from $20).

What we like about the Baleaf UPF 50+ sun shirt:

  • The running shirt offers UPF 50+ sun protection.
  • The fabric is lightweight, breathable and quick-drying so you won't feel weighed down even though you're in long sleeves.
  • It's soft, stretchy and features wide side slits for a comfortable fit.

Shop men's sizes:

$15 at Amazon

Shop women's sizes:

$20 at Amazon

Polar Bottle


Staying hydrated is just as important as staying protected from the sun on your runs. The CDC recommends drinking cold fluids regularly throughout the day, even if you're not feeling thirsty. Dehydration can happen fast when temperatures are high and even faster when you're working up a sweat.

So carry this Polar Bottle with you and take frequent small sips while you run, rather than waiting until the end to gulp it down in one swig. 

The insulated water bottle keeps your water cold, while the convenient cap and squeezable design make it easy to drink while in motion. Those regular sips of cold water can help bring down your body temperature and replace fluids as you lose them, reducing your risk of dehydration.

Get it at Amazon for $14.

What we like about the Polar Bottle:

  • The tri-layer insulation keeps your water colder for longer, compared to most squeeze bottles.
  • The dash handle makes it easy to carry it or hook it to your pack
  • The pull-up nozzle is easy to open and close while running.
$14 at Amazon

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel


Frogg Toggs uses an exclusive evaporative material to make its cooling towels. You wet it, ring it out, and drape it around your neck or over your head while you run. The unique material won't drip or feel wet while you wear it, but it will steadily evaporate that moisture over the course of hours. That's what creates the cooling effect.

With more than 7,300 5-star ratings on Amazon,the cooling towel is impressively effective, according to reviewers. One even said, "it will take your breath away the first time you feel the chill from these little towels."

Get it on sale at Amazon for $13 (reduced from $15).

What we like about Frogg Toggs:

  • Unique evaporative material provides hours of cooling on your runs
  • Washable and reusable so you can use it on all your hot weather runs
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear while working out
$13 at Amazon

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