More Thoughts On Women’s Running Shirts

women's running shirts

Runners at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon got their choice of a men’s or women’s cut shirt. (Photo: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon)

Many of you read my post decrying “unisex” race shirts in favor of women’s running shirts that I wrote back in September. After reading reports that the organizers of the Omaha Marathon gave men tech shirts and women cotton shirts with their race registration, I decided to write another op-ed about women’s cut race shirts on my column at The Washington Times Communities.

I honestly couldn’t believe it. Not when other races, like the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Baltimore Marathon, give runners gender-specific technical shirts. It was just one of many complaints runners had about the Omaha Marathon weekend of races, but it came shortly after I wrote a diatribe about “unisex” shirts here on my blog.

A few people voiced their disagreement to my position. Most of them were women who prefer men’s cut shirts because of fit issues and some were men who found it “silly.”

But the vast majority of readers—and I mean vast—have agreed with me. Fewer than 5 percent of the feedback I received—via comments, e-mails, tweets, direct messages and the like—were critical of my stance. A full 95 percent of readers—including a few race directors—wholeheartedly agreed.

If you’re not sick of me harping on this topic and you feel as strongly about it as I do, please consider sharing that column as well. The wider we spread the message, the better chance it has of actually being heard.

women's running shirts

Runners at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon received their choice of gender-specific shirts. (Photo: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon)

Female Runners Deserve Women’s Running Shirts

Let’s talk about shirts, specifically women’s cut race shirts. Sadly, most races don’t offer them as part of a runner’s registration kit. But, frankly, most should as running has become a female dominated sport.

The Omaha Marathon on September 22, 2013 recently found itself in the middle of a social media brouhaha after race organizer HITS Running Festivals handed out technical moisture-wicking shirts to male participants and cotton shirts to women, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Runners took to the race’s Facebook page to complain about the disparity, among a slew of other problems.

It highlights an issue women have been grumbling about for years: the lack of women’s specific shirts at races all over the U.S.

Read the entire story at The Washington Times Communities.

I would love for this to be the last time I feel the need to write about women’s running shirts. I’m sure no shirt will ever please all of the people all of the time. There will always be the person who a shirt doesn’t fit quite right.

But that’s the entire argument against “unisex” sizing. More runners will get the right fit with gendered sizing than a one-cut-fits-all approach, especially if races give the runners the choice of taking a men’s or women’s shirt, regardless of their gender, like the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. My husband and I ran that race in October and each walked away with a shirt that actually fit.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to, the host of NYRR's On The Run web + TV show, and a race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 20 halves, 6 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

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11 2013

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