Dressing for summer and winter runs is simple. When it’s hot, it’s either T-shirts or sleeveless tanks and shorts; when it’s cold, it’s about layers. But choosing the right gear to transition between seasons can be tricky, since a run can start at near-freezing temps and finish in almost balmy heat. The solution is adaptable layers.
Here are a few of our favorite transition pieces to keep you moving through the hard-to-dress-for temps of fall and spring.
INVEST IN A VEST
Try: UA Vanish Hybrid Vest
When it comes to staying warm as temps begin to drop in the fall or staying comfortable as the spring thaw starts, a vest is a runner’s best friend. Keeping your core warm is key to staying comfortable on a chilly run, and a vest is the optimal piece of clothing for fall through spring running. A vest allows you to modulate your temperature perfectly. Zip it all the way up when you start your run, and once you warm up, roll up your sleeves and undo the zipper a few inches at a time to allow some air flow. (During winter’s chilliest days you can wear the vest under your running jacket for an added layer of warmth.)
Try: Basic Arm Sleeves
Take a lesson from cyclists and turn a sleeveless tank or T-shirt into a long-sleeved one by adding sleeves for slightly cooler days. When it’s still warm but beginning to cool down, adding sleeves to your summer gear gives it a few extra weeks of wear. (They’re also great when packing for a trip, rather than bringing a sleeveless and long-sleeved option for run tops.)
LOOK FOR ZIPPERS
Try: 1/2 Zip Long Sleeved Top
Look for options with zippers so you can add air flow when things warm up. When it’s zipped, it’s a cozy turtleneck style on a chilly morning, but you can unzip it to allow air to hit your neck and chest to cool you off as the sun starts to peep out from behind the clouds.
FIND A RAINCOAT THAT MOVES
Try: UA Outrun The Storm
Investing in a run-friendly raincoat is your best bet for ultimate cozy comfort. A run-designed raincoat has plenty of movement in the shoulders so your arms can swing; make sure to do a few strides when trying one on. In the winter, you can add a fleece layer underneath to keep in the heat. (Note: Don’t wear a sleeveless shirt under a raincoat unless you like the feeling of plastic sticking to your skin once you start sweating a bit.)
TIGHTS, NOT SHORTS
Try: UA Speedpocket Run Crop
Runners should think about protecting their knees at all costs, and unless temps are hovering over 65ºF or you’re actually racing, you won’t be mad about running in tights. For the between-season times, a 7/8 crop offers the perfect amount of airiness: You can add high socks so your legs are totally covered, or opt for a low sock that allows a few inches of air on your bare legs. (Men who prefer running in baggier shorts can still wear a crop tight underneath their running shorts to keep knees from freezing.)
FIND THE RIGHT GLOVES
Try: UA Storm Run Liner
A thin glove is better than a thick one in cool weather, since you don’t want to have sweaty palms your whole run. Look for a glove that has touch-screen capabilities so you’re not constantly trying to pull one off to snap a photo along your run route, and look for a pair that feels comfortable when flexed. Think about feeling slightly cool when you step outside in them: It’s easy to go overboard when temps first drop and wind up in heavy gloves that are more suited to a deep winter blizzard than the first few brisk days of fall as you get used to the chill in the air.
TOP IT OFF
Try: UA Run ColdGear® Reactor Headband
Skip a full beanie for a warm headband to keep your ears cozy in the shoulder seasons. With a headband, you can easily take it off as it warms up and shove it in a pocket or loop it around your wrist to use as a sweat mop for your forehead. Since your ears are the main appendage you’re trying to keep warm with a beanie, a headband is the perfect lightweight layer to top off your fall and spring running wardrobe.