What Do Sprinters Wear?
To sprint your fastest, you need the right outfits for track practice and competitions.
Based on my experience as a competitive sprinter and track coach, this article will detail what sprinters wear and give some examples of the best options.
What This Article Covers:
- What Should Sprinters Wear To Track Practice?
- What Should Sprinters Wear At Track Meets?
- Track & Field Uniforms
- Frequently Asked Questions About What Sprinters Wear
What Should Sprinters Wear To Track Practice?
What sprinters wear to track practice will depend on the weather and the workouts being done. Typically, sprinters will be best prepared for track practice if they wear the following pieces of athletic wear:
- Track Spikes
- Running Shoes
- Running Shorts
- Running Pants
- T-Shirt or Tank-Top
- Sweatshirt or Long-Sleeve Shirt
- Running Hat
- Running Sunglasses
Best Track Spikes For Sprinter
You can check out my articles on sprint spikes to learn which track & field spikes are best for you.
Track Spikes & Running Shoes
The essential items that sprinters wear are shoes for sprinting and track spikes. Spikes are used for sprinting and competition while running shoes are used for warm-ups, plyometrics, and other activities.
Sprinting spikes provide grip, are lightweight, and ensure that sprinters can apply large amounts of force to the ground. With features like removable spike pins, carbon spike plates, and light materials, track spikes allow sprinters to run faster than any other type of footwear.
Regarding running shoes, sprinters should look for supportive running shoes with good grip and a responsive feel.
Best Running Shoes For Sprinters
I have some articles on running shoes for sprinters, which you can read to learn more about the best options.
Here are some links to learn more about shoes for sprinters:
Spandex & Running Tights
Spandex shorts and running tights are good items at the base of a sprinter's outfit.
I wear spandex shorts under my running shorts, as they form-fit to my body and allow unrestricted movement without bunching up or limiting my range of motion.
Depending on the weather, I will also wear running tights. This help keeps you warm while giving you an unobstructed over-garment that you can wear during your sprints.
I prefer running tights that do not have liners, as I find these to be the most comfortable.
Running Shorts For Sprinters
Regarding running shorts for sprinting, I prefer lightweight shorts that are five to seven inches long.
Because sprinters have large leg muscles, it is essential to wear running shorts that are big enough to let you achieve a full range of motion but small enough to be lightweight and aerodynamic.
In track practice, wear comfortable shorts that allow you to sprint without restrictions.
When competing at a track meet, you can opt for the same shorts you wear at practice, but I prefer 1/2-length racing tights. These are aerodynamic and form-fitting, allowing you to sprint freely and feel fast.
T-Shirts & Tank Tops For Sprinters
At track practice, I wear a t-shirt or tank top. Most of the time, I wear a t-shirt to help keep me comfortable and protected from the sun. Still, if it is warm or I aim to sprint very fast, I will switch to a tank top so that my arms feel free to swing without obstruction.
Avoid wearing either too-tight or baggy shirts, as poorly fitting shirts can be distracting and make you uncomfortable when you sprint.
Sweatshirts & Long-Sleeve Shirt For Sprinters
In addition to shirts with short or no sleeves, I advise athletes to bring a long-sleeve or sweatshirt to practice.
Long sleeve garments help improve your warm-up, keeping you warm between sprint reps or protecting yourself from the sun.
Hats & Sunglasses For Sprinters
Hats and sunglasses are suitable accessories for sprinters to wear at practice.
A hat can help keep the sun off your face, while sunglasses are good if it is very bright, windy, or rainy to help keep your eyes comfortable.
I wear the Oakley Flak 2.0 XL sunglasses, and I find that they fit well, are very light, stay on when sprinting, and the lenses are great.
What Should Sprinters Wear At Track Meets?
At track meets, sprinters should wear similar clothes to practice, such as spandex shorts, running tights, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses.
During your warm-up, you will wear items over your track & field uniform, such as sweatpants, a sweatshirt, a hat, etc.
Regarding racing, you want to wear minimal clothing to stay light and run without restriction. Typically when racing, you will wear spandex shorts, running shorts, and your track & field singlet, essentially a track uniform tank top.
Some athletes opt for speed suits, which are one-piece spandex outfits that include both the shirt and shorts in one. These are form-fitting and moisture-wicking and often have elastic properties to them.
Why Do Sprinters Wear Tight Clothes?
Most sprinters prefer to wear tight clothes when they practice or compete because these clothes allow sprinters to run fast without baggy fabrics getting in their way.
Tight clothes are more aerodynamic and lightweight than regular clothes, making them optimal for when you want to sprint your fastest.
What Shoes Do Olympic Sprinters Wear?
Olympic sprinters wear top-of-the-line track spikes and quality running shoes.
Spikes that Olympic sprinters commonly wear include the Nike Air Zoom Maxfly, the Nike Superfly Elite 2's, or the Adidas Adizero Prime SP2.