There’s a reason why so many 5K races and marathons are held during the fall: It’s the best season for running.
The cooler temperatures make it easier for even the most casual runner to get outside and crush their crush their goals without worrying about excessive heat or bone-chilling cold. However, picking the right gear for fall running can prove to be a little tricky as you prepare for a wide range of weather conditions and less daylight.
As you prepare to get out and make the most of the season, we’ve put together a list of fall running essentials that will leave you comfortable and ready for whatever comes your way.
Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirts
Brisk fall winds might feel great on your sweaty skin as you run, but that feeling will eventually turn into chills if you’re not prepared. Avoid that by wearing a long-sleeved top made of wicking fabrics. Tops made from nylon, bamboo, polypropylene and spandex keep you cool by wicking — or pulling — moisture away from your skin.
They can be pretty trendy, too: The Nike Pro Hyperwarm Long-Sleeve Training Top ($80; Nike) is made of polyester and spandex and features a cutout in the back. Only worried about performance? The REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Crew Top ($34.50; REI) is made of polyester and comes in a variety of solid colors.
Also, stay away from cotton. Tops made from cotton are comfortable, but it sops up sweat like a sponge and keeps it close to your skin, making you uncomfortable as you train. Keep those for low-impact workouts, like strength training or yoga.
The fall calls for something that gives the perfect amount of breathability and coverage to keep you comfortable without being too warm.
Cropped Run Pants
Shorts might be the go-to bottoms for summer running, but the fall calls for something that gives the perfect amount of breathability and coverage to keep you comfortable without being too warm. Made from a wicking polyester and spandex blend, FlipBelt Crops ($89) have a built-in FlipBelt waistline to hold your phone, keys, water and more. An additional rear pocket with zippers allows you to carry cash, cards and other valuables without worrying about them falling out. The light, breathable materials are perfect if you ‘run hot’.
Reflective Running Gear
Early morning — or late evening — runs during the fall probably mean you’re racking up miles in the dark, so it’s important to dress in a way that lets motorists know you’re there. The FlipBelt Reflective Belt ($32.99) is one low-profile way to illuminate up your body without looking like a neon glow stick.
The FlipBelt Reflective PT is made with high-quality materials, including moisture-wicking micropoly fabric and reflective 3M materials. Even better? It was designed in a large-pocket tubular design that allows you to securely carry all your gear — like your phone, keys, cash, medical devices and our water bottles — without the annoying bounce of backpacks and other activity belts.
Late-night runs during the fall require more illumination than a reflective belt. A lantern or flashing light — like the FlipBelt Million Mile Light — lets others know you’re there with a pulsing LED light.
The FlipBelt Million Mile Light ($16.99) is motion-activated, clips to your clothes or waistband and doesn’t need batteries, meaning you’ll never need to choose between carrying batteries and your safety.
Professionally Fitted Shoes
You wouldn’t drive a car without proper tires, so don’t settle for ill-fitting shoes for your run.
Make the fall running season the time you head to a running store to get fitted for the right running shoes for you. The professionals there can evaluate your gait and step and recommend the right shoe for your individual foot. Shoe fit is highly personal but can have a big impact on your comfort, so take the time to try on a variety of shoes to find the best match for your feet.