With marathon season in full swing stateside, those looking to get in on the action either need to take their running regime indoors or layer up to beat the impeding cold air and wetter conditions. We've been road-testing gear for ladies from singlets to shoes, indoors and out, and have selected 10 essential pieces that will keep you warm on a run in the park or cool you down when training indoors.
Track & Field Fitness Top
Made with Lycra and multifilament polyamide—the kind of blend used for pro racing suits—the Fitness Top from Brazilian label Track & Field ($62) is a fully supportive sports bra with a vibrant pattern to energize you from the start. The stretchy fabric adapts to the shape of your body, maintaining comfort on a long run. Get your hands on one online or at their NYC boutique.
Nike's no-nonsense Miler ($25) singlet is a straightforward staple worn by seasoned runners. The signature Dri-Fit fabric is incredibly lightweight, and its high-performance moisture-wicking properties and loose fit make for an ultra-comfortable run no matter how long the distance. The Miler comes in seven different colors and features flat seams to prevent chafing.
Lululemon Swiftly Short Sleeve Tech
Lululemon's stylish ultra-soft knit Swiftly Tech shirt ($58) works well as a base layer or on its own. The Swiftly is woven with yarn made from actual silver—a technique that yields what they call silverescent—in order to continuously kill odor-causing bacteria that typically build up in a shirt after several wears. The seamless construction significantly reduces chafing and and gives you absolute freedom of movement, and the strategically placed ventilation openings keep you feeling (and looking) fresh on a long run.
Nike Dri-Fit Wool Half-Zip
The soft Half-Zip from Nike ($80) is well insulated yet breathable, with a wool outer layer to get through chilly days or cool-down sessions. Flat seams add comfort, built-in hand warmers keep you toasty, zip pockets let you carry a little extra with you and key reflector strips add an extra safety precaution.
Packed with ultra-warm PrimaLoft fill, Aether's Space Hoodie ($295) offers substantial insulation without the weight, and the "made-in-North-America" jacket's slim silhouette looks sharp while still allowing for plenty of movement. The pocket within a pocket holds your iPod, complete with a stitched opening to pull through your earbuds cord through, keeping it secure inside the coat and from getting tangled while your arms are swinging.
The Icebreaker Swift Short ($60) blends soft merino wool with Lycra spandex in a flattering cut that looks fast, even if you aren't. Even with just a 2.5-inch inseam, the trunks manage to hide an unobtrusive interior key pouch while showing off those sexy gams you worked so hard to shape up.
Pro Winter Training Pant
For those really cold days, it's best to stick with the Pro Winter Training Pant ($125) from the winter sports gurus at Helly Hansen. Added stretch and articulated knees let your legs reach a full stride, while reflective stripes add a bit of panache—and nighttime safety—to a winter jog.
2XU Elite Compression Tights
Squeeze your soreness into submission with these Elite Compression Tights from 2XU ($149). By applying pressure to your muscles, the tights promote circulation and stave off the buildup of lactic acid, allowing you to get moving again sooner. We tried several brands and 2XU had us at the top of our game after a 5K or a long day on the mountain.
They might look a little odd, but the benefits of individual-toe sneakers outweigh any style shortcomings. Adidas' Adipure shoes ($90) are among the sleekest we've found, fitting to your foot like a padded sock. The shoes aren't designed for running—they're supposed to increase stability and dexterity for strength training—but we've found that they also help with balance and strength on the treadmill. Best of all, they're washable—after a month at the gym simply toss them in the washing machine and they'll smell just like new.
K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light
Moving outside on uneven terrain calls for a thicker sole. The K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light ($135) features the brand's patented Blade-Light technology, which provides a cushioned crash pad without the extra weight. The shoe's P2i ion-mask technology provides water resistance on rainy days, and the seamless upper is exceptionally comfortable, even at mile 26. Having always associated K-Swiss with tennis, we were admittedly wary of their running shoes. However, their recent Runner's World award for Best Debut certainly caught our attention, and they've clearly put the time into R&D for the current line of superior running shoes.