Field Tested: Women's Running Apparel

I'm a big believer in using gear for new purposes (i.e., something for which it wasn't originally intended). With that in mind, I took two pieces of cycling apparel and have been logging my running miles in them for the past few weeks. I must say, they've adapted well. Here's the lowdown:

SmartWool Women's Cottonwood Jersey--You're probably thinking: Why would someone run in wool when the temps are rising? The truth--at least as I found it to be while testing this shirt--is that in a desert climate like Santa Fe, the site of Outside's HQ, spring and early summer bring on a wide range of temps and some serious wind. I've worn the Cottonwood Jersey in cool and hot temps, and I never really felt uncomfortable. During my early morning runs, when the temps were in the 50s or 60s, the wool gave me warmth, and when I ran during the heat of the day, with temps in the 80s or so, the shirt proved to be highly breathable. It's a loose cut, which subtly skims your figure, and the raglan sleeves are good for broad shoulders. It also has a 1/4 zip, side seams, and mesh panels in the armpits, which are all great for temperature control. A zip pocket on the left side has just enough room to stash your keys or whatever little other odds and ends you need to take on your run. $95;

SmartWool Arm Warmer--I wore these with the Cottonwood Jersey, and they make a great combo for both style and performance. I donned the black arm warmers, which have a pattern of thin, colorful stripes, making for a nice contrast against the blue/gray of the jersey I wore. And, as with the jersey, the arm warmers kept me warm in cool temps. I also wore them when it was hot and windy outside, and they did a great job of protecting me from the burning rays of the sun--altitude is around 7,000 feet here--while keeping me cool by letting enough air through to take care of my sweat. The fabric is seamless, giving it a smooth look and feel, and doesn't budge, even when you're pumping your arms and moving against the wind. $25; 

--Aileen Torres

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