Running attire and common decency. Help please!

Do people think it's ok to run around in a sports bra and leggings? Because I kind of felt like that was fine (plenty of blokes run without a shirt, and the average sports bra/crop top is pretty good on coverage), but some girl made a really snarky comment to her friend yesterday when I was running with my top tied round my waist and I suddenly panicked that I'd broken some sort of social rule by having a bare midriff.

1) am I right (no nipple exposure unless breast feeding = no problem), or is she (stomach out = offensive. Though interestingly, caking face in cheap orange foundation apparently acceptable...)

2) if she's right, what the hell do folk with bosoms wear to run reasonably hard in the sun and enjoy the experience? I am such a sweaty Betty and would just rather have bare skin, but really don't want to offend anyone.


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43 Replies

  • Personally I don't see an issue with just the sports bra & leggings. Most sports bras for us well endowed girls often resemble something Isembard Kingdom Brunell would be proud of so its not like you're out in a wee skimpy lacey number (were you??? Lol)

    I'm also pretty certain most of them are designed to be crop tops anyway??

    I too am a real SB but just not brave enough yet to be baring my midrift in public (&def not outdoors yet in Scotland!!! Brrrrr) x

  • Haha, not lucky enough to be well endowed so the beestings were well and truly flattened, and no, it's Lycra and practical, not lacy and racy!

    I'm not especially brave, just like to be comfortable.

  • You go for it! She was probably jealous.

  • I'd stick with it hun, if only I had the figure!! Probably she was just well jel 😜

  • Crop top style sports bra? In which case feel free to wear with leggings, no problem from me :) women on the TV wear them all the time for professional races (more 'bra' style ones, personally I'd think twice) Least you didn't get a kid yelling out of a car window 'your fat.. Ha ha ha' whilst you were out running :( I'm overweight not fat and wait until I hunt you down you little s**t because I bet you can't run as far as me!

  • Haha, I once overheard some teenage boy say to his friend "you run like a girl". Nearly invited him to come hill training with me to see if he could run like a girl too, or just cry like a boy... ;). Pond life.

  • Love it! Yes, if they'd come training with us they'd definitely be laughing on the other side of their faces!

  • I love knowing I could outrun someone. Makes me feel better.

  • Definitely! :D

  • There was a wonderful advert on tv recently trying to promote girls into sports, by sports England I think. Exactly the attitude more women and girls need to show. I think we do need to do more to overcome the negative attitudes a lot of girls have: exercise and being healthy is better than the extremes of being anorexic model thin or obese. You go with your sports bra: you are a real woman .

  • Yes it's good that. What I do find encouraging is the number of girls I teach who run, or do triathlons, or play in sports teams, or train in the gym - perhaps attitudes are slowly changing and girls are getting a bit less afraid to be strong. It's disturbing how much society equates being attractive as a woman and being fragile and vulnerable.

  • Boz's step grandad had an incident where he had a run in with a kid throwing ice at cars! When he told him off he said"what you going to do about it grandad?" and legged it off up a hill! Little did he know Vic had took up running late in life ( he was in his late 70s at this time)& was a seasoned marathon runner, he caught him by the top of the hill and handed him over to the authorities! He used to love telling that tale! :)

  • Amazing! Go Boz's step grandad :) I'd of loved listening to that story!

  • Tea_fairy, as I remember from one of your photos, you're beautiful. I wouldn't worry about anyone's sarky remarks- they're obviously jealous. I do agree with you though, when running, no nipple = no problem and loads of people, although not me obviously, wear little crop tops to run without causing a public nuisance. Just wear what you want :)

  • It's what I am planning on doing when it gets hotter and sometimes I think I can be a bit old fashioned!!!!!!!

  • I've considered the sports bra = crop top theory too, in working out what to wear between it and my outer tie round waist when it gets too hot layer. Who knew bras could be so confusing? Haha! Just realised I don't have a solution and am merely rambling in a supportive fashion :-)

  • Good, thanks all. Just needed to check because it really didn't occur to me that it might not be ok.

    Genuinely wonder whether she was so upset because I am milk-bottle pale and she was very fake tanned and perhaps might have forgotten what skin looks like underneath? Lord knows.

  • I saw a girl running in a crop top/bra affair a couple of weeks ago and she looked AWESOME! So much so I forgot to go when the lights went green, and I got tooted from behind. Her abs were fabulous (and she was pushing a running buggy with a small baby in, so she must have got back in shape after pregnancy very quickly).

    I would not dream of going out in one as my stomach sticks out further than my (non existent) boobs. Sad. I have got a couple of rather nice running vests from last summer though which were USA Pro from SD and they've got a built in bra, which was fabulous to stop what little there is flapping around.

  • Yep I have one of those! Nothing wrong with small boobs; less for gravity to get its teeth into :)

    If you're bothered about your stomach (which I suspect is just fine), try planks and leg raises. I've been doing both to improve my core strength for distance running and staying stable over rough ground, and they do seem to be giving me actual abs, which is rather nice. Am running quicker and stronger too, I think.

  • I recently started having a go at planking - ouch! Doing some core exercises too with my kettlebells. Stomach not enormous, but boobs concave!!!! Didn't manage anything gratifying even when breastfeeding. Hey ho.

  • She was just jealous. You probably looked seriously fit! I hope you sprinted past her with your head held high and disappeared in a cloud of dust....

  • I shouted "I'm terribly sorry, didn't aim to upset anybody" and gave her what I suspect was quite a spiky look. But yes, did keep running.

  • I would say its totally OK, she was probably jealous, and you need to be comfy when you run. I often do just that and I prefer to do my own thing!!

  • From a male perspective, I think it is totally fine, and no, not in a lascivious way: at a lot of the events I take part in it is the outfit of choice for the female athletes (I admit I do find it a bit odd if it's a bloke in a sports bra, but chaqu'un a son gout), and in Crossfit gyms, it tends to be sports bra and quite brief hotpant-type shorts, coupled with compression knee socks (often in rainbow stripes, for reasons that escape me - blokes too). There is nothing provocative or titillating about it - it's practical and comfortable attire for doing strenuous physical exercise, and in those environments - Crossfit gyms and OCR events, I've never seen any blokes leering or making comments. The converse also applies - a lot of the men are very muscular types who compete topless but the women aren't drooling over them as if they were Chippendales.

    I have no idea why some people (inevitably those outside the sports/fitness) cannot get beyond the idea of the body as sexual display, nor the idea that we should hide our bodies if they don't measure up to other people's standards, or what we imagine other people's standards to be.

    I will wear what is practical and comfortable for me, and if anyone has a problem with that, then that is their problem, not mine.

  • Rignold, as always the voice of intelligent, well considered, reason. Could not agree with you more :)

  • What rignold said. Wear what you want

  • What you said. Thanks.

  • One word Tea - Jealousy ! From what I remember of your photo you are a beautiful lady . Some people like to make themselves feel better by being horrible to others .

    There is nothing wrong at all in what you were wearing , so don't let them make you think otherwise xxx

  • Wear what you like and stuff them! I not warm enough yet but there is nothing worse than running in too many clothes so uncomfortable and off putting! Enjoy running loose and free!!

  • Crop top and leggings, yes, well I am planning to when it gets warmer. I'm a bit larger chested and wear the well upholstered type of sports bra, granted I do go for the ones that do look like outer wear - there are some that don't. I have run with my top rolled up and belly sticking out, was hot you see and didn't give a stuff really about the people I went past. I hate getting too hot, love the feel of air on my skin, it's cooling and refreshing, so I will be giving it a go with the crop top/bra. You go for it, I'm with Rignold, your comfort is most important.


  • Gofor it! Bet you looked great and they were really jealous! If and when I get toned abs I'll definitely be buying a crop top! Ps love your orange foundation quip! Excellent! :)

  • Ok firstly what a little cow, i'd have kicked right off. Secondly, no there is nothing wrong with what you are describing you wore, she was a jealous, silly little girl!! Xx

  • Last summer I frequently ran in a bra (crop-top style) and shorts, I buy bras in any colour apart from white as I feel they look less bra-like, and more crop top-like.

    Happy running.

  • TTF - you wear exactly what you want. You did not break any etiquette rule and have the complete support of C25K respondees here.

    I conducted a scientific experiment:

    google-imaged "girl running" and "woman running".

    = plenty of photos of girls wearing crop-tops with bare midriffs (and just one young lady on the beach with non-running bra and an impending wardrobe malfunction).

    It is Miss Orange-Snarky with the problem, not you.

  • Interesting how women can be so vile to each other. I've really noticed this recently.

    You're fine as you are. Be confident and be you! x

  • I see no issue with it at all. She was most likely jealous.

    Crop tops are actually in fashion at the moment, so I see loads of teenagers wearing them as general daywear.

    I too am a sweaty betty - so would love to wear a crop top - sadly my tummy is not as toned as I would like and I would be far to self conscious.

    There is a lady who I see occasionally running who just wears a crop top and leggings and she looks amazing! Very gazelle like.

    Keep doing it Tea Fairy. Haters gonna hate :( - after all how many of us have been heckled in some form through running.

  • I wouldn't worry. I look forward to running "naked" come summer (naked for me is short running tights and a running top, no cellphone, no keys etc).

  • I have a lovely coral coloured Lidl bra crop top. I love it to bits and would love to run in it without a tee shirt. Sadly, having lost over four stones I have more spare flesh round my midriff than I'd like to inflict on the general public. You don't though so go for it TF!!!!

    Having a tango face made me laugh. I had one recently when I used some free sample foundation I'd found in a magazine at the hairdressers. It didn't look orange til it dried. I couldn't get the damn stuff off!! It dyed my skin! I went out like that. It provided much mirth.

  • Funny enough. I put my (scaffolding based) sports bra on last night and my running tights and looked in the mirror to see if it was acceptable to run like that. I chickened out and put a top on but regretted it all the way around. I think it is acceptable but was worried about what other people thought. I might wait a couple of weeks for the weather to warm up and them brave it. :)

  • You should get one of these for next time you run past her ...

  • Wow - they look fab. Sadly I have pale celtic skin so I keep a layer on even when its hot to protect me from the sun... Which is worth bearing in mind before you strip off too much.

  • I'm certainly hoping this sort of apparel is acceptable as I am thinking of wearing it come the warmer weather, mainly because I am feeling very warm when running at the moment and have to push my sleves up, even though it is below 5c, so dread what I am going to be like when it gets into double figures! I have seen some crop tops in sports direct that would go over a sports bra if I am not quite brave enough.

  • hey I often run in a sports bra, and get equally funny looks and comments.. but I say , ‘run in what you want/ so long as it is comfortable/decent’

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