Trail Running In The Rain

Trail Running In The Rain

If you live in the PNW you can’t be afraid of getting wet, but there is no rule that says you have to be wet and miserable. Here are our tips for enjoying some of the best trails in the world, even when it rains.


Getting out there. Contemplating getting wet is the hardest part. Planning to go outside in the rain while you are inside and dry can sometimes be an insurmountable challenge, but once you are out there, it will be fresh and muddy and so much fun! There is something so wonderful about working up a sweat in the rain. So dress for the weather and the activity and remind yourself, you will return to your dry abode more thankful for it than when you left.

When you trail run in the rain you will get wet, but you don’t have to get drenched!


Keep the water out of your eyes. A waterproof baseball cap (or a buff around your head if you run cold) works well for this. A visor can be a good option if you are an over-heater and also really cool. A couple of options for you...

Outdoor Research Vigor Cap

Prana Journeyman Trucker Hat Coal Classic Trucker Cap


Make it an ABC party (anything but cotton). Wet cotton is prime chafing material, so fabrics that don’t stick to wet skin are ideal. Merino wool or synthetic fabrics are going to be your best bet for staying warm while wet. Sun hoodies are a dark horse in this category.

Be bold, start cold. 

Wear shorts if it is 50 degrees or warmer out, then layer up and add a 150 base layer (merino wool) running tights under your shorts. For the top a 150 weight long sleeve and brightly colored synthetic T-shirt are great.

Click on each of the photos below to learn more about our recommendations for layers.

Lighter - OR Echo Hoodie

Heavier - Arc'Teryx Remige Hoody

Heavier - Mountain Hardwear Women's Crater Lake L/S Hoody

Argon T-Shirt

Echo Tee

Prana Ground Speed Short

Patagonia Men's Nine Trails 8in Short

Running shoes, to drain or not to drain. For running in wet conditions we recommend non-waterproof shoes. Waterproof shoes mean that water stays both out and in your shoes. So if you step in a stream, the water that goes over your ankle into the shoe won’t be able to get out.

After a run, dry your shoes as fast as possible to avoid them smelling, but don’t put them on a heater as the heat can warp or shrink the different materials. One trick is to remove the insoles then fill your shoes with crumpled newspaper.

Here are our favorite trail running shoes…

Lone Peak 5 by Altra (wider fitting)

Bushido II by La Sportiva (narrower fitting)

Topo Mens Ultraventure Pro

Topo Athletic Women's Ultraventure Pro

More blacktop than dirt? Check out the Athletic Phantom 2 by Topo.

Athletic Phantom 2 by Topo


Moisture wicking socks are king. Remember that thing we said about not wearing cotton? That is especially important for your feet. Wet cotton socks lead to extra pools of water and lots of chafing. Darn Tough’s “Run” line of socks comes in micro crew and no show styles which we love. If you get blisters between your toes, we recommend opting for a pair of injinji performance toesocks.


Darn Tough’s “Run” micro crew

Darn Tough’s “Run” no show

Injinji performance toesocks


Even with the perfect outfit, any wet fabric still can chafe. Applying petroleum jelly or Body Glide before you get wet works wonders. Otherwise that hot shower you are looking forward to post run could end up being much less enjoyable. This balm can go on your feet to avoid blisters and on the rest of your body (armpits, groin, thighs, nipples, etc) to avoid chafing.

Hydration vests. Humans don’t hydrate through osmosis of the skin, and when you run in the rain it can be hard to tell how much you are sweating. A hydration vest like the Salomon Active Skin 8 vest gives you easy access to water and doesn’t require you to stop your momentum to drink. This vest is marked as a woman’s but the adjustable straps make it a great choice for any gender.

Running Vest

Salomon Active Skin 8 liter hydration vest

A lightweight waterproof jacket with taped seams is a necessary addition, especially if you are going on longer runs or running in especially heavy rain. For trail running this is a great thing to run with in case of injury or emergency, even if you don’t wear it all the time. The Patagonia Houdini Jacket or the OR Helium II Jacket are great ultra lightweight raincoats. The Patagonia Storm10 Jacket is a slightly heavier weight coat that is ideal for longer runs into less trafficked areas.


Patagonia Houdini Jacket

OR Helium II Jacket

Patagonia Storm10 Jacket


Seattleites love wearing black, but hi-vis is your friend When it comes to running in the rain, function wins out over fashion so always make sure you are wearing bright, highly visible colors.


Cold hands? You might find that as you warm up the only thing that stays cold is your hands. The Helium Wind Convertible Liners from OR are the best option we have found to combat cold running hands. They are a lightweight glove with a waterproof, mitten style pullover that will keep heat in and rain out.

OR Helium Wind Convertible Liners

Dry stuff Things we recommend bringing and keeping dry - extra socks, phone, keys, emergency toilet paper. If you want your dry stuff to stay that way, it should go in a small waterproof bag. Check out these babies


SeaTo Summit Accessory Case

Sealline Blocker Purgeair Dry Sack - 5 Liter

Got more questions? Come into the shop to speak with one of our trail running experts!