Most wanted: Running gear for the marathon and beyond
You may or may not be running a 26-mile race soon, but you're still taking your fitness seriously—which means having the right gear for running in the crisp, leaf-crunching weather. There's another reason this is a great season to step into new footwear and running apparel—running gear is hitting a stylish and high-tech stride that enhances what has historically been a primarily functional role. Frankly, we're finding these new runner's duds inspirational. Editors-who-run John Dugan and Liz Plosser have selected some personal favorites. One warning: Once you're wearing running a kit this cool, you've got no excuses. Meet you on the trail.
Nike Lunar Glide+ shoes, $100 (men's and women's) available at Niketown (669 N Michigan)
Nike's latest, greatest sneaker eliminates the ubiquitous runner's quandary of having to choose between stability and cushioning by providing both in one shoe. (Bonus points for the sweet design and colorways.) The snugly fit (more slipper than sneaker) and soft (but not too soft) sole makes for a cushy ride. But lest you think you're going to plod slowly away atop pillows, the feather-light sneaks (the women's are a mere 8.6 ounces) make you feel like you've got rockets on your feet. Seeee ya!
New Balance 905 shoes, $94.95 at nbwebexpress.com
This year, New Balance 1063s turned around my running game—somehow their design gives support to my oddly shaped giant boats and has put some spring in my morning jog. I quit my gym, I lost weight—those shoes are that rad. I’m thinking of stepping up to a racing shoe (maybe even racing again) and number one on my list is the "premium lightweight stability trainer," the New Balance 905, which can be used for both training and racing debuting in January 2010. On the techy side, these are designed to hug the foot with a custom-like fit, control moisture and reflect 360º for safety. The 905 has a brighter, more aggressive look—which I’m digging—and marks a shift for New Balance away from fairly humdrum running shoe colors of the past. These babies pop.
adiStar Ride 2, $125 at shopadidas.com
The new elite running shoe from adidas has yet to hit the streets, but its talking-point attraction is a new technology allowing the shoe to flex more naturally with your movement. Active ForMotion involves “a panel of stretch material located in the upper midfoot section of the shoe reduces overall torsion stiffness, thus supporting the foot in its natural running movement.”
New Balance Women's NBX Shorts, $40 at nbwebexpress.com
At first glance, they look fairly simple. But hang on because there's a half dozen bells and whistles humbly at work in these shorts. First, the X-Static fabric is: antimicrobial (no yucky sweat germs), eliminates odor (no nose-pinching, post-run stink), regulates temperature (perfect for an Indian summer day or steamy treadmill session), eliminates static (no lame short bunching). Then, there's the subtle storage compartment—on the front of the shorts so you never again have to man-handle your butt as you try to grab that fiver out of the pocket for a post-run cup of coffee. Finally, the sewn-in, customizable "In Case Of Emergency" tag. Yeah, you'll probably never need it, but it's nice to know NB is thinking of everything, isn't it?
Nike Pacer Women's Low Rise Running Capris, $50 available at Niketown
Yeah, it's just a pair of black capris, but considering they're a staple of any runner's wardrobe come the crisp days of October, they'd better be comfy. And cute. Nike nails both of these crucial elements with the new Pacer. Dri-FIT fabric wicks sweat, flat seams minimize chafing, the low-rise waist is super flattering, mesh hems add some style, a back zip pocket stores your cash and ID, and a media-player pocket makes it a cinch to take your tunes on the road. Ladies, you will live in these suckers!
Nike Dri-Fit Tempo Track Two-in-One Men’s Running Shorts, $50 available at Niketown
Regularly jogging men, if you are still running in sweats or basketball shorts, I have news for you—there’s a better way—a much better way. If you can’t get over the fact that strangers will see your thighs and you won’t pony up for short and proper running shorts, the 7” inseam Tempo is for you. The built in boxer keeps one dry and they’re light as air, with a media pocket for your music player.
New Balance Women's Tissue Knit Tank, $36 at nbwebexpress.com
At first touch, you'll think, "comfy nightshirt that I want to wear on a lazy Sunday morning while reading the paper." While that may not be the ideal mind-set as you suit up for a run, be assured that this shirt is just right for jogging. No tight, body-hugging lycra, no weird cutouts exposing skin, no rough seams that chafe and scratch. Just a straightforward, cotton-feel that belies the intense technical fabrics in action (hydrophobic polyester yarns move moisture to keep you dry). The mellow lavender hue just adds to the experience. So you have it both ways in this tank—read your newspaper or run in it. Or both!
NBx Adapter Long Sleeve, $60 at nbwebexpress.com
Meet the clothing of the future you can wear now. The long-lasting high-tech fabric in this shirt has a layer of silver in it and is made to cool off in summer, insulate in winter—but we just think it looks like something you wear on another planet while cruising around. You could layer it for a cold-weather workout, but that would be a bit of a shame. It's meant to be seen.
ASICS ARD Women's Shimimel, $55 at asicsamerica.com
Each piece in the new ARD (advanced running development) collection is made with ultra-lightweight mesh, strategically designed for reflectivity, flatlock stitch and welded seam-free back mesh for breathability and comfort. While we dig the Shimmel's built-in shelf bra and zipper for temperature management, whatever you choose from the collection, you can pound the pavement confident that you've got on an A+ piece of performance gear.
Brooks Women's HVAC Seamless Long Sleeve Shirt, $98 at brooksrunning.com
Go, go gadget, uh, long-sleeve shirt! Thanks to its thermoregulating HVAC technology, this super-smart long-sleeved top detects changes in body temperature and reacts by moving heat from high- to low-heat areas, so you stay "thermally balanced" (in other words, comfortable). Bonus points for the stripey design.
RoxyAthletix Medium Impact Support Bra, $38 at roxy.com
Hopefully you've got a six-pack midriff you're dying to show off, because it'd be a shame for no one but you to see how fun this print-detailed sports bra is with its fashion-forward back cut-outs.
Brooks Women's Motion Vest, $60 at brooksrunning.com
We know, it's so cute—with its ribbed neck, wide ribbed waistband and funky quilted stitching—that it's almost a shame you'll be sweating in it. But please embrace its cuteness and slip into this butter-soft vest on a chilly fall evening.
RoxyAthletix Women's Halftime Hoodie, $58 at roxy.com
The good news: You're going to feel super stylin' as you jog along the lake path in this hoodie. The bad news: You're going to get stopped every half-mile by an admirer who's desperate to know where you found it. Surprise! It's an awesome new running line from surf company Roxy.
NBx Conduction Half-Zip, $75 at nbwebexpress.com
With a Chicago fall and winter coming up, runners will need some layering options. This New Balance jacket has X-STATIC fabric (which has a layer of silver in it) with antimicrobial, odor-eliminating and thermodynamic properties. It also has a music-friendly external storage pocket and 360 degree reflectivity, so you'll be visible when listening to Born to Run.