When I first started running I had never worn or even heard of a neck buff. I’d started to see people wearing them out on the trails and even more on the roads once the weather starts cooling down. But still, I had no idea about the uses and benefits of a buff (or neck gaiter). So why do runners wear buffs?
I received my first buff as part of the swag from the Georgia Death Race and it sat in its packaging for almost a year before I opened it. Since then having buffs has become part of my running kit. And some things I don’t leave the house without, when hitting the trails. Here is a quick overview of why buff are so valuable for runners.
- Versatility: Buffs can be worn in multiple ways, making them highly functional and adaptable for runners.
- Lightweight Layer: Buffs are lightweight, meeting the need for minimal gear during a run.
- UV Protection: Many running buffs offer UV protection, suitable for outdoor activities like running, beach trips, or boating.
- Quick to Add/Remove: Buffs enable easy adjustment of coverage while running, accommodating temperature changes.
- Benefits in Cold and Warm Weather: Buffs are suitable for both cold and hot weather, serving as sweatbands or cooling aids.
- Added Style and Mask Function: Buffs allow runners to accessorize and function as masks when needed, meeting mask mandates in various places.
Why do runners wear buffs?
Buffs can be worn in a dozen different ways. On both men and women. Check out the image below! Making the design one of the most functional and versatile of any layer you will bring with you on your run.
Lightweight Layer –
When running you want your gear and base layers to be as lightweight as possible. And with its versatility and lightweight design a buff checks all the boxes on the list.
UV Protection –
Most running buffs also provide UV protection. And I will bring a buff with me when I’m going to the beach or out on a boat for this very reason. So that’s one thing to look for when shopping for a buff.
Quick to Add/Remove –
Running outside can be a battle between being hot and cold. And the last thing you want to do is stop to change layer mid run. A buff allows you to quickly add or remove coverage while on the move. Ideal or starting off cooling and warming up as you run.
Benefits in Both Cold and Warm Weather –
While most people get that the extra layer is perfect for cold weather. But what many people don’t know is that buffs are great for warm and hot weather. They make for a great sweat band around your head or wrist. And feel amazing when you get them wet and put them on when it’s really hot out. They even make cooling buffs with materials that are cool to the touch.
Added Style –
It’s no secret that runners like to stand out. From bright shoes, to sunglasses and hats. And buff are a great way for runners to accessorize while maintaining functionality.
Functions as a Mask –
With many places like national park buildings having mask mandates. It’s important to have one just in case your out on your run and need to stop in some place. A buff qualifies as a mask and make it easy to make sure you always have one with you.
How to Choose a Running Buffs
When choosing a running buff there are a few things to take into account. First is material. I like something with a cool feel on the skin. This tends to make them more comfortable for wearing in the heat. And when your body heats up and begins to sweat in the colder weather. Besides that a lot of what people wear comes down to style. With tons of different design options available this is a great way for a runner to stand out in the crowd and add a little flair to your running look. But no matter what you choose. Just make sure you like the material and it’s comfortable for your needs. And if your even questions that, it’s better to return it and get something you know is going to perform right for you.
The humble buff, or neck gaiter, has proven itself to be an indispensable addition to any runner’s kit. As someone who initially had no idea about its uses and benefits, I can now confidently say that I never hit the trails without one. The key takeaways from this exploration of why runners wear buffs highlight its remarkable versatility, offering numerous ways to wear it, its lightweight nature, ensuring minimal gear interference during runs, and its valuable UV protection, making it a suitable companion for various outdoor activities. Furthermore, the buff’s quick and easy adjustability in response to temperature changes, along with its adaptability for both cold and hot weather, exemplify its practicality for runners.
Moreover, buffs provide a unique opportunity for runners to add a touch of style to their outfits while still maintaining functionality. Whether you’re looking to stand out on your run or simply need a mask for compliance with mandates in certain places, the buff has you covered. When selecting the perfect running buff, remember to consider factors such as material comfort and personal style preference. The right choice can greatly enhance your running experience, ensuring you stay comfortable, protected, and stylish during every outing. So, next time you lace up your running shoes, don’t forget to include a trusty buff in your gear – it might just become an essential part of your running routine, as it did for me.