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The Runner's Guide To Choosing Outerwear

The Runner's Guide To Choosing Outerwear

Nov 08, 2017

Style

The goal of our outerwear is simple – we want women to run outside all year long, in every climate. So we’ve spent the past several years designing a top-notch outerwear collection made specifically for the female runner. From lightweight insulation to shells and stow-and-carry designs, there's something here for all types of climates and runs. Use the guide below to pick the styles that work best in your climate, and remember a key rule – dress for 10-20 degrees warmer than the temperature outside, to offset the heat generated by your body while running.

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Cold and Clear

When it’s clear and sunny, life is easier, even at colder temps. As long as you have a pile of warm clothes waiting for you when you’re done, a simple long sleeve will meet your needs. Great choices for above and at freezing, with clear skies, are Lux and Wazzie Wool because they’re mid-weight but they wick moisture like crazy, so they never feel soggy.

  • Base Layer
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

As the temp drops below freezing, add PowerStretch Gloves or Super Puff Mittens for hands, and a Lux or Wool Beanie - plus something for your core. The Flyout Vest includes Polartec® insulation in the front of the garment, where you need it most.

  • Base Layer
  • Core insulation
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

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Cold and Windy

  • Base Layer
  • Windproof vest / shell
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

Wind can be tricky. While running naturally increases your body temp, wind naturally lowers it. So if it’s 50 degrees and windy, it can easily feel 40 degrees. And as the temps get harsher, so does wind factor. The other reminder for wind is that your body is working harder. It’s fighting against the wind, both pushing and stabilizing with every step. Above 50, a simple long sleeve plus a vest that works as a wind resistant shell, is a great solution. Your arms can stay out, and release heat, while the shell protects your core from penetrating wind. As temps get low, also pay attention to skin exposure to prevent frostbite.

  • Base Layer
  • Core insulation
  • Windproof jacket / shell
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

In the wind below freezing, a base layer with additional insulation (such as the Flyout Insulated Base Layer with Polartec insulation) is a good choice. With insulated pieces, they’re working in two ways that benefit you: allowing sweat and moisture to move away from your body and into the air, as well as keeping cold, driving wind away from your core. Breathability + repellency is the key combo.

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Cold and Rainy

  • Base Layer
  • Water resistant jacket or vest

Oiselle was born in Seattle, so we know cold and rain! Above 45 or so, a simple long sleeve (such as Lux or Wazzie Wool) plus the Vim Jacket are ideal. The Vim is a breathable but water repellant shell that will allow heat temperature to release, while protecting you from rain. While many search for “water proof” jackets, water proof is not ideal for running as it creates a sweat bubble inside the garment, trapping moisture - and making you colder/wetter inside the garment. A water-wise base layer (like wool) plus a shell (wind proof and water resistant) are the key combo to keep you driest, inside and out.

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Cold and Snowy

  • Base Layer + Insulated Jacket or Vest
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

Or

  • Insulated base layer
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

As snow gets heavier and accumulates, it layers on and can wet through most garments. Choose a mid- to heavy-weight base layer (such as the Flyout Insulated Base Layer, wool, or Lux), then add a water repellant shell (such as the Vim Jacket).

  • Base Layer
  • Puffy Jacket or Vest (with synthetic down blend)
  • Hat, Ear Band, Gloves, Mittens

As the temps drop well below zero, add run-ready puffy insulation. Ultra lightweight puffy styles, like the Quill Vest and Jacket, are designed for athletes. They include a Primaloft® synthetic down blend that won’t “wet out” like 100% down. It keeps its loft, the key to maintaining core heat in frigid conditions. Plus synthetic down blends are washer dryer friendly - another must for athletes.

Keep in mind that what’s closest to your skin matters a lot. Wool Baselayers, half zips, gaiters, head bands, and more - are ideal snow-running solutions. They maintain warmth, wick moisture, and go the distance.And always be prepared with accessories. Start cold runs with ear band or beanie + gloves or mittens. Lightweight versions like Plya Reflective Ear Band or the PowerStretch Gloves are also easy to stow away when you warm up - and then put back back on. With long runs, it’s common to start cold, warm up, but then as the miles go on, for the body to acclimate and cool down again. So layering on and off throughout the miles is essential.

Don't forget your legs!

While we’ve focused on upper body, tights are really important. Keep those quads and hammies warm! Our thickest winter tights are the new Flyout Tights. A mid- to heavy-weight loop back compression knit - they’re ready to go lots of miles in sub-zero temps.

Build up from the base - with easy on/off pieces

Start smart with the right base layer. But then think of a shell layer, such as the Vim Jacket and Vigor Vest, as a base layer enhancement. If it starts to rain, for example, throwing on a shell - that resists wind and rain - will maintain the integrity of your base layer for longer.  Plus, with Vim and Vigor Vest, the stow away process is easy - as the front hand pocket (in both styles) is also a garment stuff sack. Once turned inside out and stuffed, there is also an exposed elastic that is used to hold onto with your hand, or push onto your upper arm where it can hang out and not bother your arm swing.

Best - and perhaps most important of all - remember to get out of sweaty clothes as soon as possible following your run. From head to toe, a dry change of clothes not only feels amazing, but will protect you from becoming hypothermic - especially if you continue to be outside.

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Recovery, aka Leisure Time in the Cold

  • Base Layer
  • Insulated, Puffy, Fleecy (as needed)
  • Hat, Ear Band, Scarf, Gloves, Mittens

When we’re walking around in cold temps, without the elevation of heart rate that we get though exercise, we need our outerwear to keep us warmer. This can be achieved through a single warm garment - like our double high pile fleece Cat Lady Jacket and/or Call Her Jacket. Or through layering: Base Layer + Quill Vest + Cat Lady (or Call Her Jacket). As with running, layers are the key, going from thin and light (Lux, wool, Flyte), to Insulated, to Fleecy and Puffy.


More questions? Looking for more specific advice for your very specific running climate? Reach out to the real humans at Oiselle via [email protected], or tweet at us at @oiselle – we’re ready to help you put together a running wardrobe so you can hang with mother nature all season long.

Head Up, Wings Out!

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