Spring Running Gear for Women
Running during spring months can be incredibly frustrating. Your heart wants to believe winter has finished, but deep down, you know better. You put away your cold weather gear, and optimistically hope warmer days are ahead. For a time they are… until they are not. If you have lived in Minnesota through at least one spring, you know it’s entirely possible to see the temperatures shift 40 – 50 degrees in a matter of days.
Knowing when to put away your cold gear, and transition into something less bulky is more art than science.
I recently wrote about the spring running gear I love. It was all from my perspective as a male runner. A number of our female readers said, “hey, where’s the spring running gear for women?” Good point. Sorry!
Feeling rather unqualified to write about spring running gear for women, I asked three of our writers Claire, Sara, and Jennifer along with fellow blogger Jessie from The Right Fits (a MN blog covering fitness fashion), for some help.
Below you will find some of the Spring running gear they love. Most (if not all) of these recommendations could also be applied to running in the Fall. Enjoy!
Shorts / Tights / Capris
Sara Welle – I am a huge fan of the Relay series by Athleta – skort, capri, tights. They’re all made of Athleta’s signature Pilayo, which is a breathable, wicking fabric that also has an incredibly soft handfeel. They have mild compression, which helps support the muscles, and both the capri and the tight have a mesh panel behind each knee to release heat. I’ll wear the tights in temps from about 25 degrees to 39 degrees, the capris from 40 degrees to about 55 degrees, and then the skort for anything warmer than 55. The skort, true to it’s name, has built-in boyshorts with silicone grippies around the leg opening. And let me tell you – these things DO NOT RIDE UP! For those with larger thighs or who perhaps just aren’t into running shorts (like me), this skort and all of Athleta’s running skorts are a godsend.
All 3 have Athleta’s wide waistband to prevent the dreaded muffin-top, a never-end drawstring to cinch them up as you get skinnier, and the amazing and generous pocket with locking zipper at the back of the waistband. All 3 also look fabulous at brunch!
Claire Walling – I’m a proud member of the “40 degrees is shorts weather” club. That said, capris are the universe’s gift to womankind, especially in the springtime. And you won’t get any sideways glances that men wearing ¾ tights often get. I love them for early morning long runs that start off chilly and end in warmer weather (or at brunch).
Jessie Benson– Like Claire, I’m quick to transition to shorts when the temperatures are in the 40s, especially for a race. Even so, I definitely think capris are a must-have for spring running (or “shants” as one of my running club friends calls them- Short Pants!) The Relay line from Athleta that Sara mentions is AWESOME, but I am also a big fan of Brooks apparel for spring running. I love the look and fit of their Pure Project line, particularly their seamless tights.
When temperatures rise to the upper 40’s to 50’s, its time to put on your quick drying and flattering-on-everyone Roga shorts from Oiselle; sometimes I’ll wear taller compression socks with those if I need a little extra warmth on my legs (and the benefits of compression) in that in-between weather. Tights/capris can get expensive, but you can usually find a good price on mid-range options like Under Armour or Nike at Dick’s Sporting Goods or similar stores. A few pairs of capris should last you several seasons, just be sure to wash your running apparel on delicate and only line-dry.
Jennifer Fitzharris-Funk – I may stand alone on this one, but for me, my running shorts don’t come out of the drawer until the temps are at least 50-60’. I’m a huge fan of running in capris and my favorite are CW-X tights. I run in the Pro and Stabilyx models and while pricey, the compression and muscle support they offer are worth it.
When I’m ready for shorts weather, I’ll usually transition with a 2 in 1 short. The Zoot 3” 2 in 1 is my favorite as it adds a little more warmth and compression to a spring running wardrobe than straight up run shorts.
Shirts / Tanks / Jackets / Vests
Sara Welle – Spring is all about layering the tops for me! I’m not a fan of traditional short-sleeve t-shirts, so I prefer either sleeveless or long-sleeve. For both, I highly recommend the Fast Track series from Athleta. The tops are made of REGUL8, which helps cool your body when you need it, and keep it warm when you don’t. They also have Athleta’s Unstinkable technology. Natural silver salts in the fabric give it an antimicrobial protection that lasts wash after wash. I won’t tell you how, but just believe me when I say that I’ve put this feature to the test, and it is true!
Like fall, I also appreciate my vest in spring. I can wear it over a lighter-weight shirt, and keep my core warm. Once again, you guessed it – Athleta! I love their Polartec Alpha Slice Vest. It’s the puffer without the puff to keep you warm, even when wet. It has a wind-resistant outer shell that is also water-repellent.
Claire Walling – Weather that’s perfect for running in short sleeves often isn’t great for grocery shopping or going to brunch with bare arms. I don’t have any specific gear recommendations because most of my gear is fairly old, hand-me-downs, or off the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. If you are a budget conscious runner like me, you can find some really good deals at these places. Target’s C9 line is also relatively inexpensive.
But if you don’t plan to go home and shower right after a run, some form of dry clothes are a must!
Jessie Benson– Layering for spring running is key! I’m not against tying a long sleeve around my waist, so I usually start a run with a long sleeve and then lose it once I warm up.
Arm warmers like those from Louva serve the same purpose (and they keep your hands warm). I have a couple of the run: swiftly long sleeves from lululemon that have been with me for many spring runs as a reliable base layer. Spring also brings spring showers, so a light rain jacket like the Brooks LSD Lite Jacket is perfect for wet runs. It packs into its own pocket, is incredibly light, reflective, and water-resistant. I like the LSD Lite Vest as well (Another tip for the rain? Put newspaper in your wet shoes after a run to help them dry faster!)
Jennifer Fitzharris-Funk – I find the best way to get through the temperature variation of spring running is a ½ zip top. The Asics Team Tech ½ Zip is perfect for keeping away the chill at the beginning of the run and mid-run I can unzip and push up the sleeves to cool down. When the temps get a little warmer, but not warm enough for sleeveless, I look for mesh/ventilated long sleeve tops. The Brooks Equilibrium line is my favorite, plus the nightlife version has bright/reflective details for added visibility.
I’m all about getting the most out of my gear, so my spring time jacket of choice, the Asics 2 in 1 is perfect as the sleeves are detachable. It’s also got mesh panels and a zip back vent to help avoid overheating mid-run.
Other Important Stuff
Sara – I find that a good baseball cap to keep the raindrops out of my eyes is a must. Also, it makes the birds less likely to attack you! I appreciate my Flow Arm Warmers from Oiselle. They can function as an extra layer under a jacket, or provide that little extra bit of coverage before you get warmed up. They’re easy to pocket or carry with once you’re feeling hot.
Jessie – A good sports bra is vital for running during any season, but as temperatures start to rise, you’ll want to be extra sure you have some good “support” (i.e. no chafing!) as your most “base” layer. Moving Comfort is the best in the business (in my opinion) with the perfect bra for all shapes and sizes. I also agree that a running hat is a great accessory in the spring to keep the rain out of your face; a lot of brands make quick drying options (like this one). During cooler spring runs, you might still need a light pair of gloves, like the Nike Dri-Fit Tailwind gloves. I also like to wear a thicker headband that I can use to keep my ears warm in the beginning of a run, and then just push back to use as a regular headband as I warm up, like those from Bondi Bands.
Jennifer – I’m an allergy sufferer and one thing I’ve learned over the years is that getting out earlier in the day helps me avoid sniffling and wiping my watery eyes and nose the entire run. While early runs are certainly helpful, to combat the sniffles I bring a buff with me (worn around my arm) – it makes a very handy tissue.
What other spring running gear recommendations do you have for women? With so many different combinations and options for keeping warm/dry, what have you found to be especially helpful?