Why is it so difficult to find maternity running gear? This is a question that pops up all the time in several of my FB running groups. Why are running companies not yet designing gear specifically for pregnant moms? In this article, I’m going to highlight some of the maternity running gear that I have bought, used, and loved during pregnancy.
Seriously, why is it so difficult to find maternity running gear? This is a question that pops up all the time in several of my FB running groups. Why are running companies not yet designing gear specifically for pregnant moms?
Because we only need it for a short period of time? Because it’s not “worth it” to them to design? I think they’re missing out on a huge market. Lots of women go on to have more than one child, so many of us will get more than one season out of maternity running gear. And, we might be in the market for new stuff when we become pregnant again.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of companies and websites that offer “active” wear, but most of it is athleisure or more yoga centered. I need that stuff, too, but I also want REAL running shorts that can accommodate my growing bump as well as tech t-shirts. The yoga tops and cotton tank tops just aren’t going to cut it for running. And there are companies that tout they’re selling “running” shorts. They’re athletic shorts, sure, but most of them are not designed with a true runner in mind.
I encountered this same problem years ago when I was pregnant with my son; and now that I’m halfway through another pregnancy, the same problem still exists. Many of the suggestions are to “size up” in your current brands. I think this works for some items, but not all? I don’t know about you, but I’m not super comfortable in a straight cut shirt once I have a visible belly bump.
In this article, I’m going to highlight some of the maternity running gear that I have bought, used, and loved during pregnancy.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
What to look for in a maternity run short: a wide flat waist band that you can wear under your belly as it grows, and a generous side split.
I’ve been able to get away with some of my “regular” pre-pregnancy running shorts up until about 20 weeks, but then the elastic band seems tight and somewhat uncomfortable. And if you’re like me and gain weight not just in your belly, having enough room in the leg is also important for overall comfort.
The best shorts I can find are Brooks and New Balance. These are brands I have used and loved for years. You might be able to get away with your pre-pregnancy size if choosing shorts with the wide waist band and a generous split, but I prefer to get one size up for increased comfort. Things are just going to get bigger, so I don’t want to have to spend again later in my pregnancy. The bonus: these are GREAT for postpartum when getting back into running if you’re not quite back to pre-pregnancy weight/size once cleared by your doctor to resume your runs.
Here are the shorts I love:
This short meets both criteria of having the wide waist band as well as a generous side leg split. It also comes in various lengths, pending your style and coverage preferences.
The shortest length is the 3.”
Then there’s the medium length with a bit more coverage at 5.”
And the longest length at a generous 7″ of coverage.
These shorts are very similar to the Brooks above. The also come in various leg lengths. This one here has a 3″ inseam:
Then there’s the medium length with a 5″ inseam.
I’m finding in my searches that maternity leggings are the most prevalent work out gear advertised by many companies. However, I’m skeptical about leggings not designed specifically as running tights.
You can get maternity yoga or leisure leggings at many places, but if you run in them, are they going to stay up or are you going to be tugging them up every five seconds?
That’s why I won’t invest in leggings unless they’re actual running tights. Again, you could just stick with your pre-pregnancy tights for a while. New Balance has my vote on this. Check out the wide waistband again, easily worn under the belly and perfect for postpartum:
The other running tights I found that I took a chance on and actually ended up being really great were Champion C9’s maternity tights. I can’t seem to find any C9 maternity clothing on Target’s website anymore. But it looks like these tights are available on Amazon, and for a great budget price:
Ok, the market seems to be totally lacking in this department. There are lots and lots of tank top and sleeveless style tops available. Most look to be more suitable for yoga than for running, in my opinion.
And then there are the “running for two” cotton tanks. They’re very cute and sweet, but not something I actually want to run and sweat in.
Really what I want is just a normal short sleeve tech tee that can adjust to my belly as it grows.
Some women suggest sizing up in your favorite styles or stealing your husband’s/boyfriend’s/fiance’s run shirts, but personally, I don’t find the fit flattering or comfortable.
My last pregnancy, I got a couple short sleeve shirts in tech wicking material with generous ruching on the sides. They were made by Champion’s C9 for Target, but like I mentioned earlier, I can’t find them anywhere.
The C9 Champion active T is the closest thing I can find this year to something similar. It’s not a maternity shirt, per se, but it’s cut is loose and flowy to allow room to grow. It’s not tech shirt, either, but it is made of moisture wicking material.
I have a Brooks Run Happy t-shirt that I’ve had for years and is not so form-fitting that I can get away with at 20 weeks pregnant right now. They currently have their Distance T which is short sleeve and more flowy to allow room for Bump. This might be a good one to size up in.
This is largely a personal preference as far as the brand and style you like to wear. Personally, I’ve come to rely on Brooks for both maternity, and then subsequently, nursing-friendly options.
Brooks makes sports bras that have things like adjustability, durability and excellent support. Brooks also offers sizing by the band and cup size, which will give much better support than a bra sized as S/M/L. The tendency with bras labeled as S/M/L is that as the cup size increases, so does the band, and this does NOT work for everyone. A lot of times, women need a smaller band with a bigger cup size.
Don’t be afraid to buy more than one or two new sizes during pregnancy and then postpartum. I have 4 Brooks sports bras in different sizes but in the same style. You will definitely get your miles’ worth by wearing them both before and after baby arrives.
My absolute favorites:
The Fiona is listed as Medium Impact, but I would argue that it’s high impact. The band has 3 sets of hook and eye closures and the straps have velcro and are adjustable from the front. The straps also pull out completely from the bra, making it super nursing friendly. It’s an H style rather than a racerback but I’ve come to actually prefer this style as it doesn’t dig into the sides of my neck. I also like that I can just unhook to take it off after my run. There’s nothing worse than trying to struggle out of a wet, sweaty sports bra after a work out.
The Fiona has been my go-to even before my last pregnancy. It washes and ages SO well. It’s well worth the money.
This is another great option during pregnancy and beyond: Adjustable velcro straps as well as a hook and eye closure in the back. Because it is a racerback style, you still have to pull it over your head to take it off, but at least unhooking it gives a bit more wiggle room. This bra also has some light padding which gives a bit more shape than the Fiona.
I’ve just recently added this bra into the rotation and I am loving it. It is not adjustable like the Fiona and Juno, but it’s a laser cut, making the straps and band super comfortable and soft. This one will certainly grow with me as my rib cage expands even though there’s no hook and eye closure. I never thought I would like a zipper front sports bra, but this one works. I typically put it overhead while it’s zipped as it seems to be easier, but taking it off is a cinch with the zipper. Also nursing-friendly.
As your belly grows, you may want some additional external support when running. Lots and lots of options on the market available, but I found the Gabrialla band to be the easiest to put on and the most comfortable to wear. You can also just throw it in the washing machine, which is an added bonus.
It comes in 3 different colors and different sizes as well to get your best fit. This belt might even be an option to wear when not running if the weight of your belly becomes uncomfortable with day to day activities.
I just wish I didn’t have to search high and low to find pieces that are designed for the pregnant runner in mind.
With each item highlighted above, consider long term use for the price of your investment. A lot of items will get you through pregnancy and early postpartum. Adjustable sports bras, if you choose to nurse, will get you well beyond the early months after baby arrives.
For more tips, current research and recommendations on running while pregnant, get your Pregnancy Running Guide PDF today.