It’s essential to find running clothes that fit properly. Proper running gear is far more comfortable to run in than cotton T-shirts and other non-technical clothing that’s likely to ride up, fall down or chafe – the bane of so many runners’ lives. Wearing kit that fits well and makes you feel good, whatever size you are, can also make a huge difference to your mindset. Treating yourself to some stylish new running clothes can give you the confidence boost you need.
Many plus-size women say one reason they don’t run is that it can be a challenge to find good-quality, nice-looking sportswear. Some brands only go up to size XL or 18, despite the fact that the average woman in the UK is a size 16. However, things are improving. If you know where to look, it’s not hard to find high-quality running kit in larger sizes that’s both technical and flattering.
Often there’s more availability of larger sizes online than in store. If you can, buy several different styles and be prepared to return anything that doesn’t make you feel great. Spandex leggings or shorts will reduce chafing, and wide waistbands or a drawstring tie will keep the waistband where you want it – no riding up or rolling down. Go for technical fabrics that wick sweat away from your body, keeping you cool and dry.
When buying a bra for running, you may need to spend a bit more than the average high street sports bra costs, but it’s vital to get a bra that offers enough support to avoid serious discomfort. Go for sports bras that come in real bra sizes. We recommend you start by looking at the Runderwear Easy On Support Runderbra, Shock Absorber D+ Max Support Bra or Panache Sports Bra, and read our guide to the best running bras for expert advice on checking the fit.
We’ve found numerous options for plus-size women who run (or want to run), whether it’s from major sportswear brands and high-street stores or multi-brand stockists and smaller independent labels. Here’s our pick of the best.
In 2019 Adidas launched a sportswear range in partnership with plus-size brand Universal Standard, offering sizes up to 4X (equivalent to UK size 32-34), and now you can buy a wide range of gear in larger sizes – including high-waisted leggings in bold, fun colours, as well as tanks, workout tees and plenty of trendy three-stripe logo kit. The site features reviews from real customers and images with plus-size models so you can get a good idea of what might work for you.
We love the HEAT.RDY Training T-Shirt (£37.95, currently reduced to £30.36), a bright coral workout top with a flattering cut, made from soft, breathable material that will keep you cool and dry. You can complete the ensemble with the extra breathable high-waisted Aeroknit High-Rise leggings (£43).
Browse plus-size running gear from Adidas
The global sportswear giant launched its plus-size range in 2017 offering sizes up to 3X (equivalent to UK 30-32). Nike uses plus-size models – and plus-size mannequins in its flagship London store – so you can see how these sizes look in three dimensions.
The close-fitting, supportive Swoosh Run Leggings (£44.95) are super high-waisted with a generously cut waistband. They’re made of wicking Dri-FIT material and have a useful hidden pocket on the back. Other Nike kit we like includes the Breathe Cool tank (£22.95), with mesh panels to keep you ventilated, and the ½-Zip Running Top (£47.95), which is made from recycled materials and has long sleeves with thumb holes to help keep you warm on cooler days, as well as a dropped hem at the back for more coverage.
Browse plus-size running gear from Nike
Reebok has a number of sportswear products available in sizes up to 4X (equivalent to UK size 26-28). When shopping online, you can click through to the product page to find images with plus-size models so you can get a clear idea of what the gear looks like on a fuller figure.
The PureMove leggings (£70) will keep you cool when you break a sweat with breathable perforations on the back, and have a wide waistband that’s shaped to flatter and hold. The MotionSense fabric is designed to firm up or relax depending on the intensity of your session; we’re not sure about the benefits of that, but the pocket for your phone is definitely useful.
Browse plus-size running gear from Reebok
Marks & Spencer
M&S launched its activewear collection Goodmove in 2020, which has lots of affordable and well-designed sportswear items up to size 24, although unfortunately the website doesn’t show any plus-size models wearing the gear.
The Go Move Printed Leggings (£25) are snug-fitting and supportive, with a high waist and hidden drawstring for extra stay put-ness. They are completely opaque, so no worries about your underwear showing when you bend over. There’s a generous zip pocket at the back of the waistband and a phone pocket on the leg for stashing your essentials. We prefer the kingfisher blue colourway – but apparently so does everyone else, since it’s sold out at the time of writing.
Pair the leggings with the loose-fitting Mesh Back Relaxed T-Shirt (£19.50), with its subtly perforated back panel for extra breeziness, and on cooler morning runs, the soft and comfy Zipped Through Run Top (£29.50) too.
Browse plus-size running gear from Marks & Spencer
Online retailer Fabletics brings us a whole world of mood-enhancing bright colours and fun prints, available in sizes up to 4X (equivalent to UK size 32). The bold High-Waisted PowerHold Leggings (£69, or £49 for members) offer compression and a wide, mesh-lined waistband for extra support.
Browse plus-size running gear from Fabletics
The online fashion mega-retailer has a wide selection of plus-size sportswear available in sizes 18-30. Sitting alongside clothing from major sports brands, Asos 4505 Curve is a wallet-friendly range in trendy colours and styles. Check out these bum-sculpting leggings (£18) and this lightweight workout top (£16).
Browse plus-size running gear from Asos
Online-only plus-sized clothing retailer Simply Be has a selection from a huge range of sportswear brands in UK sizes 12-32. These affordable Sustainable Active Long Leggings (£25) in a fun animal print are made from recycled plastic bottles and go up to size 28. It has mesh panels to keep you cool, and there’s a pocket for your phone on the leg.
Browse plus-size running gear from Simply Be
Wolf & Whistle
Wolf & Whistle is known for its underwear and sustainable activewear, which is available in sizes 6-26. Soft and comfortable with a supportive waistband, the High Waist Curve Leggings (£35, currently reduced to £17.50, sizes 18-22) with their funky black and red leopard print will add a touch of glamour to your workout gear.
Browse plus-size running gear from Wolf & Whistle
Sturdy By Design
This small British company makes brightly coloured leggings, shorts, tops and bras and as the name suggests, they are solidly designed. The supportive yet stretchy fabric feels barely there. The leggings come in short, regular or long, in sizes up to 4XL (equivalent to UK size 22-24), and have a wide waistband with a hidden drawstring to ensure they stay put. We like the Retro leggings (£35.99), but there are dozens of designs to choose from.
Browse plus-size running gear from Sturdy By Design
British brand Pour Moi started out specialising in pretty lingerie that goes up to much larger sizes than standard high street brands. It has now branched out to offer sports bras that go from a C to a J cup and leggings in styles that flatter curves.
Pour Moi’s Energy Mesh Panel Sports Leggings (£30-£32, some colourways reduced to £22.40) are high-waisted with a wide waistband, and cut with very flattering panels. Made from lightweight fabric, they are close-fitting yet squat-proof, with mesh panels on the lower leg to keep you cool as well as a pocket for your phone. They’re available in several pretty prints in sizes up to 22, and you can pick up a matching sports bra in cup sizes up to G.
Browse plus-size running gear from Pour Moi
Forget boring black leggings and let your running wardrobe fill you with joy, thanks to the fabulously eye-catching prints from Tikiboo. It has a wide selection of high-waisted, full-length leggings, capris and “booty shorts” available in sizes up to 3XL (equivalent to UK size 24-26), including these ace Minty Leopard Capri leggings (£35.99). It also offers a few base layers and some tops up to 2XL.
Browse plus-size running gear from Tikiboo