The Best Running Clothes for Fall 2020
Long-Sleeve tees, pullovers, jackets and more
This article is part of our Fall Style Guide, a fortnight-long series aimed at helping you figure out how to dress for the coming season, which, as we’ve become accustomed to saying, is going to be quite like any that came before it. At least you’ll look good, though, right?
You don’t need us to remind you yet again how terrible 2020 has been, and how everything is unprecedented and nothing will ever be the same, etc. We’re going to ignore all that today and focus on one thing that is as true this year as it’s ever been: there’s nothing better than the first day each year, whether it comes in September or October, when you have to put on an extra layer of clothing to ward off that early-morning chill when you head out for your daily run. COVID or no COVID, they can’t take that away from us.
And, fortunately, we’re living in something of a golden age for fitness apparel — running apparel in particular — where innovative, high-performance fabrics are more affordable than ever, and designs are becoming more playful, more capable of allowing you to express yourself in some way beyond, simply, “I am a person who likes to run.”
Below, find a rundown of the types of garments we’re most excited to start wearing this season, and some recommendations for each.
The very first extra layer you’re going to call on come fall is a long-sleeve moisture-wicking T-shirt to replace the short-sleeve ones you’ve been wearing for the past six months. It’s a pretty minor step, but it’s going to make you feel awesome — until you realize you sorta jumped the gun like an idiot and you’re overheating, at which point, no problem, just roll those sleeves up and you’ll be good to go. Choose carefully here (and buy multiples) because, come winter, these will serve as your base layer.
Nike Rise 365
You are never gonna go wrong with the swoosh, and we’re particularly fond of the relaxed fit on this long-sleeve reflective tee.
New Balance Accelerate
It’s no secret that New Balance’s sneakers are top-notch, but they don’t get nearly enough credit for their apparel. This simple, durable long-sleeve is a reliable go-to in our running wardrobe.
Patagonia LS Capilene Cool Lightweight
Patagonia’s Capilene material is a a marvel. Moisture-wicking, extremely lightweight and admirably odor-resistant.
Tracksmith Harrier Long Sleeve
All the cool kids are coughing up the dough for this Boston brand’s classic, stylish pieces, and you probably should too. The Harrier is among our favorite pieces they’ve ever made.
Fourlaps LS Tee
Fourlaps is a relative newcomer that’s making an awful lot of very good, high-performance basics. Expect to see them around for a long time.
Arc’Teryx Motus Crew
These guys have been making high-end fitness and outdoor gear for a long time, and the somewhat high prices are much easier to swallow once you get your hands on one of the items and see how truly luxurious it feels.
One of the most useful garments in the running apparel universe, the humble vest is an indispensable tool in fighting off the cold while allowing you to maintain full mobility for your flailing Phoebe Buffay arms. They keep you warm in your core, where you need it most. And all those finance bros be damned, we think they look pretty cool, too.
Brooks Cascadia Thermal Vest
Brooks’ Cascadia line, which also includes trail running shoes and hard-wearing jackets, is an industry standard and has been for a long time. Year after year, it winds up being among our favorites.
Smartwool Smartloft-X 60 Insulated Vest
Using 50% recycled wool, Smartwool’s Smartloft-X 60 Insulated Vest is a lightweight, breathable and odor-wicking option that provides you with more warmth on your runs.
Patagonia Men’s Nano-Air Vest
This super packable, easy transportable Nano-Air Vest from Patagonia was designed to never slow you down. The stretchable, breathable FullRange insulation dumps excess heat, keeping you warm but not overheated.
Hill City Lightweight Insulated Train Vest
It’s kind of a bummer that Hill City recently announced it’ll be closing up shop, but it’s not a bummer that their prices have all been cut pretty drastically.
Smartwool Merino Sport Ultra Light Vest
You didn’t think Smartwool only made socks, did you?
Pullovers and Jackets
So, now things are getting pretty serious. On those days when a simple long-sleeve tee won’t cut it, we turn to pullovers, whether they’re half-zips or quarter-zips, as they tend to offer a bit more heft and, often, a higher neck. Or you could opt for a full-zip jacket, which can be more helpful in combating inclement weather. There are so many options with so many different specialties it’s sort of insane. But these are some of our favorites.
Nike Essential Running Jacket
Nike’s “Essential” line is a perennial go-to for us, thanks to its relatively low cost and consistently high performance.
New Balance Run Grid Half Zip
We have this thing in three different colors, and it’s one of our favorite garments, full-stop. The contrasting chest pocket looks cool and comes in super handy.
Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover
This is one of those pieces that isn’t quite like any other. The Airshed material is extraordinarily lightweight and does a fantastic job keeping wind at bay.
Tracksmith Session Jacket
A super simple, classic warmup-style jacket from Tracksmith that can handle anything you throw at it, whether it’s an actual run or just the running of errands.
lululemon Metal Vent Tech 1/2 Zip
The best thing about lululemon gear infused with the brand’s proprietary Metal Vent Technology is that no matter what you do to it — by which we mean wear it many, many times without washing it — it refuses to smell bad.
Janji Transit Tech 1/2 Zip
Janji is one of our favorite lesser-known running brands, and this piece offers tons of wind-resistance and breathability, not to mention a very sleek look that’ll work long after your run.
Rhone Swift Academy Jacket
Because there’s no reason your running jacket shouldn’t remind you of your days playing youth soccer.
North Face Essential 1/4 Zip Pullover
One of the things you start to learn when you pay attention to this stuff year after year is that any time a brand as significant as the North Face goes so far as to call something “Essential,” you’re generally pretty safe taking them at their word.
We realize these may seem like a strange choice for fall, but bear with us: we love the feel of running with compression shorts under our regular shorts, but when it’s 90 degrees outside, it can be a bit much. So fall is the perfect time to pull them out, assuming you’re not dealing with full-on pants weather.
Nike Flex Stride
As far as compression shorts go, the spandex liner on the Nike Flex Stride is among the lightest you’re going to find.
Fourlaps Command Training Short
The Command short from Fourlaps offers a nice trim fit and, most notably, a very useful phone pocket on the spandex layer.
lululemon Surge Shorts
This is about as reflective as a pair of shorts could be without starting to look straight-up silly. Without question, these will be our go-to shorts for nighttime runs.
Alright, now we’re really talking. And, to be honest, we’re in the camp that recommends sticking with shorts for as long as possible — remember, your legs are moving quite a bit, so they’ll stay warm longer than other body parts — so these are more of a winter thing for us. But if you like to take this leap a little earlier, we’re certainly not going to argue.
Nike Phenom Elite
Patagonia Wind Shield Pants
These pants from Patagonia pull off the admirable trick of being hugely wind resistant but also breathable, thanks to mesh panels on the back. (If you’re running backwards, you might want to find a different pair.)
Rhone Swift Knit Pant
These are some of the softest pants we’ve ever come across. They’re also pleasantly stretchy and nicely reflective. If you choose to just wear them on your couch, we won’t blame you one bit.
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