Running Apparel for Changing Seasons

Allison Pattillo takes a look at some running apparel for the shoulder seasons from Patagonia, Smartwool, GoLite and Sugoi.

By on January 14, 2011 | Comments

Non-Gear GirlFall has already transitioned to winter everywhere that it’s going to, which means I (and you) have had a chance to test our shoulder season apparel. Here are some of the items I liked best … and looking forward to using again once all this Colorado snow starts to melt. Come to think of it, many of these pieces reviewed below would work well as part of a winter layering system.

Sugoi Versa Jacket ($120)
Sugoi Versa JacketThe Versa Jacket is one of those pieces I didn’t know I would appreciate until I tried it on a crazy, Colorado weather day—started off clear and 50, climbed to sunny and 60 and was cloudy, damp and fast approaching the high 40’s by the time I got home from my run. The Versa jacket is made of light (2.89 oz a square yard) Argon fabric that can withstand wind and is water resistant, but also has high breathability. It looks and feels like a jacket, but as soon as you start cranking the btu’s, the sleeves just tug off thanks to a series of nifty magnets. The magnets increase the weight a bit, but are super convenient. Full confession…..with “convertible gear,” once I remove the sleeves or pants legs, I never put them back on – but not so with the Versa Jacket, and I can even reattach the sleeves while on the move.

It also features a back vent for maximum comfort, taped elastic arm holes on the vest, Scotchlite detailing, two front zip pockets and one back zip pocket that is ideal for holding the sleeves when you are in vest mode.

I’ve worn this running, biking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing with good results.

[For our current favorite wind jackets, check out our best windbreaker jackets guide.]

GoLite Post Canyon Softshell Jacket ($110 – new for spring ’11)
I’m sure you will be shocked to discover that I have a lot of running jackets. Sympathetic or not, you can imagine my conundrum when trying to pack efficiently for my recent trip to India to run the Himalayan Run & Trek (report coming soon).

The GoLite Post Canyon Softshell jacket ended up being the perfect piece because it’s breathable and wind resistant qualities allowed it to perform well on the run, but the tailored fit and color blocking allowed me to look nice while sightseeing.

Since it’s made of 88% recycled polyester, the Post Canyon Softshell also goes easy on the environment. It’s 12% polyester content enables unencumbered movement, while two zip pockets hold the basics. On the women’s version, extra attention was taken to ensure a flattering fit at the cuffs—with a smooth, flattering top edge and elastic on the bottom for a secure fit. It’s flattering, athletic profile with enough room for a light insulating layer served me well in the Himalaya and back here in Colorado.

GoLite Post Canyon jacket

The author wearing the GoLite Post Canyon jacket in Nepal.

Smartwool TML (Thermal Mid Layer) Stretch Terry Tight ($150)
Smartwool TML (Thermal Mid Layer) Stretch Terry TightSmooth and sleek on the outside, soft and comfortable on the inside, thanks to terry looped wool, these tights are a good stand alone transitional piece, but work all the better when paired with a breathable base layer. Comfort details like a draw cord, elastic waistband, flat-lock seams, rear zippered pocket and stay-put, lock-down, ankle zippers mean these tights perform as good as they look and feel. They aren’t skin tight, but are slim enough to fit under a weatherproof layer, if needed.

These tights will serve you well for all of your winter sports, thanks to their sound design and layering capabilities.

Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Jacket ($139)
When I layered the Patagonia R1 Full-Zip jacket with the GoLite Post Canyon Softshell, I was ready for just about any weather. The R1 is a good mid-layer or base layer for winter activities, but can stand up to a hard day of sightseeing. For traveling, I could wash it in the sink at night and it was dry and ready in the morning. The R1 Full-Zip is lightweight yet warm, breathable and an indispensible travel, running and hiking piece. Flat-lock seams, taped neck seam, two front zip pockets and a chin guard at the top of the front zipper mean this jacket looks good and feels great. I truly wear it all the time!

Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Jacket

The Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Jacket takes a trip to the Himalaya.

Sherpa Adventure Wear Chandni Top for women and Chandra Top for men ($35)
Sherpa Adventure Wear Chandni TopWhether you’ll admit it or not, I know I’m not the only one who pulled out my favorite long sleeve running shirt from last year, and was gagging from the malodorous fumes 100 yards into my first cool weather run. It happens. So recycle it and buy a new one. A shirt I’m currently enjoying for its comfort, performance and nice price point is the Chandni Top by Sherpa Adventure Wear.

Sherpa Adventure Gear is based out of Nepal and makes quality gear tested and used by Sherpas, while also benefitting the greater Sherpa community through employment and donations.

The Chandni and Chandra (named for the Sanskrit word meaning moon) tops are made of a soft, naturally odor-resistant (woohoo), moisture-wicking and antimicrobial blend of polyester and bamboo charcoal. They also offer a UPF of 40+ and comfortable flat-seam construction.

It’s great worn as a basic, but good looking, tee, and has enough heft in the hem not to ride up as you run. And it’s an ideal mid-weight layering piece for any cold-weather activities that come to mind.

Call for Comments
Readers, what clothing work best for you as autumn turned into winter? Thinking about adding any of the above to your wardrobe before spring?

Allison Pattillo
Allison Pattillo a contributing author to