Tried and tested: Ten of the best bits of women's running kit for autumn
AUTUMN is arguably the best time of year to pull on some trainers and go for a jog; the temperatures are much more runner-friendly than summer, parks take on pretty red and yellow hues, and stamping through crunchy leaves is satisfying no matter how old you get.
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, comfortable running kit and handy accessories can make all the difference when it comes to motivation. This season you'll need quick-dry, high quality material in case of rain, and supportive trainers that'll see you safely over wet or muddy ground.
We put these 10 picks through their paces...
1. Women's Infrared Running Core 3.0 Leggings, £80, Kymira Sport
Who knew leisurewear could be so high-tech? These are made from 'infrared-emitting fabric' to help regulate body temperature, dissipate heat and evaporate sweat. They also claim to increase 'oxygenation and glycogen storage in the blood', to help you run faster, for longer.
I can't tell whether it's the technology, but these are easily one of the best pairs of leggings I've ever run in. The fabric's super-soft, the waist band's super-comfy, they don't raise up or slip down; I barely notice I'm even wearing them. The sleek design is also really eye-catching, and I get an unusual amount of compliments while in them. Pricey, but they feel like the kind of quality that will last.
2. GORE R5 Women Sleeveless Shirt, £59.99, GORE WEAR
This time of year calls for a little more coverage, but I'm still reluctant to wear long sleeves for running until deep into winter. With mesh inserts, this top feels airy – it's designed to be 'highly breathable' and specifically engineered for running – and doesn't stick to my skin, but still keeps me dry and comfortable, even on a faster, sweaty run.
3. Beachbody Go-To Twist Women's Training Shorts, reduced to £10 from £40, Activinst
Autumn might not mean you want to forgo shorts altogether; many runners find them more comfortable. These are uber-light and don't rub at all when I'm on the move, and would be suitable in warm temperatures too. They're quite short, which you might want to consider if you're on the taller side (but I'm 5ft 9 and I'm sold).
4. Libratone TRACK Air+ True Wireless Earbuds, £179, Amazon
I have to admit I'm a wireless newbie – I've spent years running with the long cord getting in my way. These new noise-cancelling wireless earbuds could do with a few more instructions when you open the box and set them up – but not having a cord flapping around is really freeing as I set off on a run. The earbuds sit in my ears comfortably without any danger of falling out – and, vitally, the sound quality is epic. The decent noise-cancelling element makes me feel in my own little bubble, without outside distraction, but does mean the sound of my own steps is somewhat amplified too (and remember – if you use noise-cancelling to run, stick to safe places without cars).
5. Dream Spin Leggings, £47, ILU Fitwear
These are so soft and comfy, I could easily wear them on a lazy Sunday around the house – but as their primary purpose is for workouts, I give them a go on a longer Sunday jog. They stay in place perfectly, and feel ever so slightly thinker than my usual leggings, keeping the cold breeze out. The curved design, with a stripe down the legs, also makes them nice and flattering. I'll be wearing these for yoga on cold mornings too.
6. Runderwear Original Support Running Bra (A-E cup), £45
Sports bra quality can vary hugely, especially if you're doing anything high-impact. This Runderwear one is specifically designed for runners; it has a really soft first layer that sits next to your skin, so no rubbing or chaffing, and most importantly, it gives enough support even for my longer weekend jaunt.
7. 361 Sensation 4 Running Shoes, £118.47, 361 One Degree Beyond
Without doubt the most important piece of kit for any runner, the right trainers, suited to your individual feet and running style, will help enormously. These offer plenty of ventilation across the front of the foot, and most noticeably, substantial support on the underside. The fit is snug and supported in all the right places – which is in part thanks to the padded tongue (under the laces). My only complaint is that there's not as much noticeable rebound as some other brands I've tried. A very solid choice though.
8. Darn Tough Women's Vertex No Show Ultra-Light Clover Running Socks, £14.40, Trekkit
If you're still wearing your everyday pop socks with your trainers, you need to pick up some running-specific ones. Your feet need all the cushioning they can get, especially if you run on pavements rather than softer ground, and these padded ones are made with merino wool for extra warmth, while still managing to be breathable when you work up a sweat.
9. Women's UA HOVR Infinite Running Shoes, £120, Under Armour
Designed for long-distance running, the technology claims to produce a 'zero-gravity' feel to help eliminate the effect of impact after impact – and I can't disagree. These rival my trusted Saucony Guides in terms of comfort – I find there aren't many running trainers that have a slipper-like softness inside and they feel extremely cushioned to run in. With gender-specific designs, these are contoured to mould specifically for women's feet with a high-tech sounding 'ergonomic EVA sockliner'. The shoe even has an inbuilt sensor that connects to Map My Run to track progress, so they could be a great marathon training choice.
10. Domyos 120 Women's Fitness Cardio Training Leggings, £10.99, Decathlon
I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much from leggings for a tenner – but these really surprised me. The waistband sits higher than most and there's added support around the middle, and I found them especially comfortable to run in. They're part of Decathlon's new Leggings For Everybody range, designed to suit a diverse range of shapes and fitness abilities, going up to an XXL. Best of all, there's a handy smartphone-sized pocket on the side of the left thigh, which it turns out is a really comfortable place to carry a phone, rather than pocket-height or in a running belt.