on the run

Everything Chinatown Runners Founder Victoria Lo Wears While Running

Photo: Courtesy Victoria Lo

Welcome to On the Run, a Strategist column where we ask discerning runners to tell us everything they wore and brought on their most recent run, from shoes and socks to headphones and energy gels. Running-gear preferences are very personal and change depending on the season, so instead of declaring one pair of shorts or one sports bra the categorical best, we hope this series captures what works best for one particular runner on one particular run — and that maybe you can find something in it that works for you, too.

For this installment, I spoke with Victoria Lo, founder of the global running collective Chinatown Runners. A graphic designer by day, Lo started Chinatown Runners earlier this year to support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in response to recent anti-Asian violence and discrimination. The purpose of Chinatown Runners, which began in New York and is now a network of running crews throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, is to “promote the exploration, nurturing, and protection of AAPI neighborhoods,” she says. Here, she shares everything she wore during a recent hot and humid 8-mile run in Central Park organized by Chinatown Runners in collaboration with the LGBTQ+ running club Front Runners New York.

Lo likes the square cut of men’s running shirts. She typically turns them into muscle shirts by cutting off the sleeves and creating deep armholes. “My partner makes fun of me because there’s very little shirt left,” she says, “but I like to have these DIY tank tops for the summertime because you still have the modesty of having a shirt on, but it’s super well-ventilated.” She opts for the Nike Dri-Fit tops because they’re affordable and breathable.

Even in the winter, Lo loves running in shorts because they help keep her cool. She prefers the fitted biker-short silhouette over looser, more “billowy” styles because “the more form-fitting the fabric is, the less likely it is to rub, chafe, or bunch up,” she says. This Lululemon pair is one of her favorites due to its snug high-rise waistband and the silicone grip at the leg openings that keeps them in place. She adds that Lululemon shorts are definitely worth the price, as she’s had a similar pair for eight years and they’re “still holding up.”

“I always have my phone with me for music and just for safety,” says Lo, “but I don’t like carrying things in my shorts’ pockets because they tend to chafe or jiggle too much.” Instead, she stashes her phone in the back pocket of this sports bra, which is much more comfortable. As she says, “if you have something in between your shoulder blades that lies flush against your back, it really doesn’t move.” Lo tells us she owns five of these bras in different colors from the female-founded Senita Athletics.

As “somebody who’s had blisters and all sorts of unpleasant foot injuries,” Lo knows the importance of high-quality, sweat-wicking socks. She’s been wearing Stance since 2015 and loves both these ankle socks for the summer and the brand’s technical wool socks for the colder months. Unlike cheaper socks, she says they last longer and don’t develop holes in the forefoot area.

Nike’s Alphafly shoes got a lot of attention when pro runner Eliud Kipchoge wore them to break the 2-hour mark in the marathon and when they were nearly banned from the Tokyo Olympics because of concerns that their propulsive carbon-fiber plates gave competitors an unfair advantage. Lo originally bought hers for a marathon she was supposed to run in 2020 that was canceled because of the pandemic, and she now just wears them on longer training runs. She confesses this is a bit “controversial” because “you really should be using these for your marquee races or any sort of really important events,” but the shoes are also just really fun to run in. As Lo says, “they’re pretty bouncy, pretty fast, and incredibly light,” so she was happy to get some use out of them after her race ended up not happening.

Like lots of other runners, Lo loves Garmin watches because they’re incredibly accurate for tracking GPS data during runs. Although she primarily uses it for running, she likes that the Fenix model has tracking modes for tons of different sports, from indoor and outdoor cycling to stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, it’s built with shatterproof and scratchproof glass for extreme durability. “I’ve fallen more times than I care to admit with that watch on,” she says. “It’s hit the concrete directly, and there’s not a single scratch on it.”

“A visor or hat not only helps keep the sun out of your eyes but, for me, it keeps the sweat from really getting into my eyes and on my face,” says Lo, who is an ambassador for Ciele and loves the brand’s sweat-wicking headwear for hot-weather runs. She says the visor is “not as hot as a traditional running hat but still has a big enough bill to keep the sun out of my eyes.” This isn’t the first time Ciele has come up in an “On the Run” column: Precision Run founder David Siik told us he owns around ten of the brand’s hats, which are made from recycled materials.

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Everything Victoria Lo Wears While Running