Essential Fall Apparel List

It seems that fall may be upon us. Honestly, some of my favorite morning runs are in the fall. That crisp fall air and beautiful sunshine as the leaves start to turn and eventually fall. However, making the transition from summer running to fall running is actually a significant switch in mind set and running apparel. Not only are fall mornings much cooler – often by 10-15 degrees compared to summer runs, but inevitably, if you run later in the morning, you will be faced with a warming sun which can cause overheating if you were too aggressive in your initial layering.

The general guideline that many runners including myself recommend, is to dress for a temperature about 10-15 degrees hotter than the current temperature. This is where a running journal and knowing your own body becomes very important. You need to know what apparel you feel comfortable in once you’ve been running for about 15 min. For example, if the outside temperature was 20 degrees, I would definitely wear shorts or a running skirt and a tank top. Even though I would initially feel comfortable in a t-shirt and capris I will be miserable after 15 min of running. This is because, once I get running it will feel more like 30 degrees to me and I will sweat and chafe if I’m overdressed. Again, documenting what you wear at different temps comes in very handy when planning your apparel.

This principle carries forward especially in fall and winter running. You should feel chilly when you start out, not comfortable in the current temperature. If you are comfortable when you start, you are likely over dressed and likely to overheat. For example, 2 mornings ago it was 3 degrees when I went for a run. It was chilly!!! I wore running capris, a tank and a thin long sleeve running zip. I dressed for what I thought I’d feel comfortable in if the temperature was around 15 degrees.  As it turned out I was even a bit warm in this choice since as I was running the sun was getting stronger so had I run much longer than a ½ hour, I would have been way too hot – this is where a zip feature on a running layer is very handy – a half zip allows you to be warm at the beginning and unzip to cool off as you go.

Fall running, as compared to summer running requires a much more diverse set of running apparel so that the weather will not dictate when and even IF you will run. If you have at least one of each of these essentials, you should be able to run right up until the snow starts to accumulate and another gear shift occurs. So here is my


(all apparel is pinned on my “apparel” Pinterest board)

1.       Thicker running capris with a draw string

a.       As with the running shorts, the draw string keeps them up and keeps annoyance and distraction to a minimum

b.       You want some warmth for those chilly mornings to keep your quads and bottom comfortable

c.       I just tried out a pair of Gap Fit running capris that have a slight compression to them as well as a draw string , LOVE them! Nice high waist and soft fabric

2.       Long sleeve half-zip running top

a.       Allows you to unzip as you get warm and acts as a good mid-layer as the weather gets even colder

3.       Rain jacket

a.       A running rain jacket with under arm zip open venting is a must as far as I’m concerned. It allows you to run in a drizzle or rain, but it is also a nice layer if it’s cool when you start your run but likely to be warmer as you finish. You can just layer underneath it with a tank top and when you get warm, unzip the underarm venting and it acts more like a vest. I have the classic Running Room jacket but there are numerous brands that make a similar jacket.

4.       Long sleeve running shirt

5.       Running tights with a water resistant/wind resistant panel on the front of the legs. If you have any plans to run in the rain you will need these. They keep your legs dry (as the rain drips down the front of your jacket it will fall onto your thighs and these panels keep your legs dry) and warm. The back of the tights are sport fabric so they are much more breathable than a pair of wind/rain pants. I have a fantastic pair from Saucony. They are my go to pants for damp fall runs.

6.       Ear warmer/buff

a.       Your ears can get chilly at the beginning of a run and a buff acts as an ear warmer and then can be pulled back to whisk the sweat away as you continue your run. I just recently bought a buff made out of bamboo which is supposed to be breathable and moisture wicking, I also have a basic ear band from Saucony which works well too.

7.       Light weight gloves or mittens.

a.       Fingers can get chilly on those cool fall mornings, so a thin pair of gloves that are made for running will keep you comfortable and warm. I love my mitten/glove combo from Lululemon. They are made for running and they are so comfy and just the right weight that my hands don’t sweat.

8.       Gore-tex running shoes

a.       I don’t run constantly in the rain so my shoes don’t take too much of a beating, however, if it was a rainy fall, I would consider buying a pair of these. They are built like a running shoe but the upper is made of gore-tex and will keep your feet dry and toasty warm – a must for keeping away from blisters and cold feet which can ruin any run.

9.       Running Vest

a.       I recently invested in a running vest to add some versatility to my running shirts and allow me to run without a warmer jacket longer into the fall season. I’m often cold when I start running, so a vest keeps my torso warm but nicely vents my arms to keep me cool as the sun comes out. I have a lovely bright pink Lululemon one, but again, many companies make running vests.

With these additions to your running apparel closet, you should be running well into late fall and enjoying the numerous “Beautiful Runs” that the autumn season has to offer.

Happy Running!

Beverly Gordon