Women Basics: Running

Running

1. Outdoor Research Avid Jacket Underarm mesh vents provide this trim windshell with a touch of air conditioning—and eliminate the swish-swish of most nylon jackets. $89; www.orgear.com

Womens Running Gear
Photograph by Mark Wiens

2. SportHill Essential Shimmel The racer-back bra provides plenty of support, and a half-zipper allows ventilation without undue exposure. $45; www.sporthill.com

3. Moving Comfort Fusion Bra With built-in cups and wide straps, the Fusion is supportive enough for C-cup women. And there's no rear clasp, so you can wear it out without feeling like an escaped Victoria's Secret model. $35; www.movingcomfort.com

4. New Balance Saba Short The synthetic shell is supple, the seamless liner eliminates chafing, and the waistband is smooth and flat. Bonus: An iPod Shuffle fits like a key in the liner pocket. $36; www.newbalance.com

5. Pearl Izumi Chase Splice Knicker A slight flare at the bottom and a stretchy nylon-Lycra blend keep you warm and dry without sagging or wedgies. $55; www.pearlizumi.com

6. Nike Revive These lightweight and sleek shades protect your peepers with two polycarbonate-lens options. $129; www.niketown.com

7. Helly Hansen Versa Trailwizard Jersey This shirt's dual-fabric weave makes it tough on the outside, soft on the inside. $50; www.hellyhansen.com

Women Basics: Hiking

Hiking

Womens Hiking Gear
Photograph by Mark Wiens

1. Mammut Blaze Jacket With a trim fit and a long hem, this lightweight proved itself an all-conditions shell thanks to a combo of Gore-Tex PacLite and XCR. $329; www.mammutusa.com

2. Icebreaker Super-Fine GT Track Singlet The essential shirt: It kept us cool in the heat and warm in the cold, and even the most sensitive-skinned said the New Zealand merino wasn't itchy. $85; www.icebreaker.com

3. Isis Strappy Cami We wish we could say this about all our underwear: soft, wicking, stretchy, breathable, and sexy. A built-in shelf bra gives plenty of support. $38; www.isisforwomen.com

4. Salomon smart Windstopper Jacket At 11 ounces, it's light enough for the mildest days, but Windstopper panels out front block a cold breeze. $130; www.salomonsports.com

5. Sporthill Ridge Short Smart details like a soft, hardware-free waistband made these shorts a fave. $40; www.sporthill.com

6. Ground Featherstretch Pant These pants perform like a soft shell, but the double front pockets, zip fly, and low rise make them look and feel like your favorite pair of jeans. $155; www.groundwear.com

7. Patagonia Ready Mix Pants Pack these superlight bottoms, with bonded seams for water resistance, when you think you don't need any at all. $130; www.patagonia.com

Women Basics: Travel

Travel

Womens Travel Gear
Photograph by Mark Wiens

1. Chaco ZX/1 The Sherman tank of sandals is now lighter, cuter, and more comfy, thanks to double straps and new midsoles. $95–$105; www.chacousa.com

2. Prana Twist Top It's soft and sensuous, but the cap sleeves make the Twist Top acceptable in places like India, where it's not ladylike to show your shoulders. $46; www.prana.com

3. Timbuk2 Hayes Daypack This organized hauler opens wide, accessing a water-bottle pocket, big and small cargo holds, a cell-phone pouch, and iPod slot. Narrow straps fit women's shoulders. $70; www.timbuk2.com

4. Isis Luella Capri It's a simple capri and more: Mesh front pockets vent the heat, Supplex nylon dries fast and resists wrinkles, and legs can be drawcord-cinched. $62; www.isisforwomen.com

5. Keen Chelsea A modern Mary Jane, the Chelsea combines a mesh-and-waterproof-leather upper with a rubber toe cap. $80; www.keenfootwear.com

6. Stonewear Designs Element Hoodie Testers bestowed the Element with favorite-hoodie status. Sleeves are cut long, with thumb holes, and the flared waist swings with the hips. $54; www.stoneweardesigns.com

7. Marmot Vogue Tank This athletic tank has stretch, but it doesn't stretch out. Bonus: a built-in shelf bra. $40; www.marmot.com

Women Basics: Cycling

Cycling

Womens Cycling Gear
Photograph by Mark Wiens

1. Ibex Spin Jersey Supersoft merino wicks moisture, never stinks, and is luxurious against bare skin. Three spacious back pockets swallow up tubes, bars, and other sundries and keep it all in place with taut elastic. $120; www.ibexwear.com

2. SheBeest Retro Jersey The '67 Mustang of jerseys, the Retro has classic lines and a sleek fit. A slight flare at the waist is flattering and doesn't bind, and a deep chest zip lets you choose how much to vent—or reveal. $70; www.shebeest.com

3. SheBeest Boardrider Capri At first our hardcore riders scoffed at these cute capris, then they refused to give them back. With articulated knees and a padded inner Lycra short, there's nothing frilly about the performance. $85

4. Specialized Body Geometry Jett Saddle Built in three sizes just for women with an ergonomically shaped cutout, this saddle is a smart upgrade. With a carbon-reinforced shell and hollow titanium rails, it's light enough to race but still extremely comfortable. $100; www.specialized.com

5. Cannondale L.E. Carbon Short For long rides, these shorts reign supreme. Ten-panel construction supports muscles, activated carbon does antimicrobial duty, and low-profile padding does away with the dreaded diaper look. $150; www.cannondale.com

Need to Know: Light Hikers (Women)

Light Hikers (Women)

The Fit: Women-specific shoes are generally designed to accommodate the average woman's foot, which tends to be lower in volume, narrower in the heel, and more slender overall than a man's foot. But when trying on shoes in the store, forget all that and just focus on fit, as your foot may not be average.

What to Look For: Be sure that the forefoot is wide enough for your toes to spread, and that there's no pinching or slipping in the heel. Walk up and down an inclined ramp, checking that your foot doesn't slide backwards on the ascent and your toes don't jam forward on the descent. Problems? Pick another brand, or even try the same model in a men's size. In this case, color and style never trump fit.

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