New method, new format! This month, Another Mother Runner Gears Up launches our new and improved gear reviews. In order to make reviews more thorough and informative, we’ve ditched the ratings (too subjective), and will now discuss the pros and cons of the products we review. We’ve also upped our research into each product—all to help you make informed decisions. Let us know what you think in the comments! 

By Rachel Walker 

Fall is a time of seemingly endless transitions. Back to school and changing weather. Schedules packed with fall sports practices, orthodontist appointments, music lessons, and more. Fitting in our own workouts amidst the time crunch resulting from work and family obligations plus shorter days means many of us will be running in the dark or at twilight or dusk—making visibility even more essential. Add in wild weather swings from stand-still-and-sweat-hot to frost-on-the-ground, and we need layers and breathable apparel. We gathered a range of running tights, tops, socks, vests, and even a headlamp and put them to the test in a range of temperatures and terrain. 


Title Nine Brooks Running Seneca 7/8 Tights

These Brooks Running tights, available through Title Nine, feature a 72% polyester/28% spandex blend, high rise elastic waist with an internal drawcord, and three pockets—one in the back waist and two on each side. The compression feature feels tight at first, even when sized correctly, and the material is on the thicker side—ideal for a cool fall or mild winter day.

Pros: The compression is very supportive (and slimming), and the tights work well for indoor cycling and hiking. The pockets are convenient and easily accessible.

Cons: Initially, the tights may feel too tight. Once she began working out, the tights felt fine, but the compression wasn’t comfortable for all-day wear. 

Take it from a Mother Runner: “These would be perfect for a cool fall or mild winter day because of their weight and feel. And they’re very slimming, which was one of my favorite aspects.”

Sizing: XS-XL; True to size

Price: $88

Saucony Women’s Fortify Crop Tight

Made with 75 percent recycled nylon and 25 percent Spandex, these lightweight, calf-height tights have three pockets integrated into the waist band. A subtle reflective logo on the thigh claims to offer increased visibility, but it’s so small that it makes a negligible difference. The fabric is not as soft or buttery as other running tights and initially, our tester worried that the material might irritate her skin. Three runs later, though, those concerns were put to bed.

Pros: The high waist of the tights stays put and helped our tester be aware of her core while running—in a good way. The fit is comfortable, and the tights look good.

Cons: Accessing the waistband pockets is more difficult than it needs to be. Unlike thigh pockets that offer easy access while on the go, the pockets on these tights required both hands and stopping to retrieve a phone or gel. That said, the pockets held the contents tightly, no jiggling.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I pretty much live in crop tights from late summer until there’s measurable snow on the ground, and these have earned a spot in my rotation, thanks to their breathability and lighter weight.”

Sizing: XXS-XL; true to size

Price: $75 

Tracksmith Turnover Tights

Tracksmith is a New England-based, independent running brand launched in 2014 at the Boston Marathon. Founded by devoted runners and featuring a minimalist design, the products have an old-school, classic look. These tights are built for cold weather. Bonded seams reduce chafing and weight, and a back zippered pocket can hold a cell phone.

Pros: The thick/reinforced high waistband stays put and doesn’t droop, even during a long run. The fabric is incredibly soft and stretchy but not super thick—they may need an extra layer on really cold days. 

Cons: The only pocket is a small zipper one big enough for a gel or two, so if you like to carry your phone, that could be a problem.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I am 5’3”, and the tights are a bit long on me. If I ordered this brand again, I would look for a short/petite length. I also have a small waist relative to my hips/thighs, and I really appreciated how stretchy the fabric was.”

Sizing: XS-L; true to size

Price: $128

Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Shorts

Former cross-country runners will see themselves in these classic running shorts. With a 2.5-inch inseam, they’re short. They’re also cut to allow full range of motion. The piping on the seams recalls varsity designs, and the mesh inseam is treated with an anti-stink formula. These are lightweight and minimalist—so don’t expect extra pockets or storage (though there is an integrated key pocket in the back waistband).

Pros: Absolutely no chafing and great range of movement. Cute color that’s a nice change from black. Comfortable all around.

Cons: None

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I would wear these shorts for up to 90-minute runs, but probably not for longer, as I find a bike short style better for me for long runs. I’ll definitely continue to wear these, and they have made me like the traditional running short style again!”

Sizing: XS-L; true to size

Price: $128


Tentree InMotion ¼ Zip

Review: A long-sleeve, zip-neck shirt made from recycled water bottles, this layering piece from Tentree is likely the most environmentally friendly piece of apparel reviewed here. Tentree plants ten trees for each piece sold and is a certified B Corp.

Pros: Sleeve length was great, and the design and color appealed to our tester.

Cons: Unfortunately, the fabric was stiff and lacked stretch, making for an uncomfortable wear. The sizing felt off, as well. Normally a size small, our tester wore a medium and found it almost too tight.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I would much prefer a blend fabric with a little give instead of the stiffness of the recycled water bottles. I love the mission behind the company and the idea behind the product, but I would not recommend this item to other runners.”

Sizing: XS-XXL; Runs small.

Price: $52.80

Brooks Run Visible Thermal Hoodie

Review: An insulated, reflective long sleeve running hoodie that can be worn alone or over other layers.

Pros: This shirt is bright and visible with long sleeves (not too short for our self-proclaimed “gorilla-arm” tester). Its textured thermal inner lining was smooth and handy, and the white color was great for days that started off cold and then got sunny (the white did not absorb the strong autumn sun). 

Cons: The hip-length felt short to our tester, who wished that the hoodie was longer. Additionally, the hood did not have much of a collar that covered the neck or chin, which could create more exposure than desired in cold winter weather.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I will definitely get lots of use out of this hoodie, not only for running and walking, but also for cross-country skiing in the winter. This is the perfect weight for Nordic skiing.”

Sizing: XS-XXL

Price: $120

Vuori Daydream Crew

A lightweight, long-sleeved tee made from a soft polyester, the Daydream Crew ends above the hips. The shirt is low-profile and looks sporty but fashionable. It’s breathable, wrinkle-free, and versatile—an excellent piece to go from the morning run to the coffee shop. The shirt is great for brisk mornings and could be an underlayer when it gets colder.

Pros: The fit of this shirt is ideal. It drapes without looking baggie. The soft material feels wonderful against the skin, and it breathes well on long, difficult runs. 

Cons: None. Literally.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “When I first got this shirt, I wore it straight for five days because I liked it so much. It’s cozy and flattering (a rare combo), and the only drawback is that I want to wear it as much for daily use as for exercising.” 

Sizing: XXS-XXL; true to size

Price: $64

Mountain Hardwear Polartec Power Grid Full Zip Hoody

A mid-layer fleece made from 60 percent recycled polyester, this full-zip jacket traps heat while wicking moisture from the body. Mountain Hardwear is known for its technical apparel used by extreme, endurance athletes, and while this hoody would be great for ice-climbing (for example), it is equally appropriate for staying warm on those chilly, transitional fall days. A longer back offers butt coverage, and the sleeves come with thumbholes on the cuffs. Other features include two zippered hand pockets, elastic binding at the hem, and a three-piece scuba hood.

Pros: This thin fleece delivers surprising insulation without overheating. The fabric is wonderfully soft. 

Cons: When fully zipped, the jacket’s neck went higher than our tester liked or wanted.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “This was the perfect layer I needed for a cool, fall day. I could also see it working well as a layer during my winter runs. It is super on the inside.”

Sizing: XS-XL; true to size

Price: $160

Oiselle Lux Mile One Pullover

A classic Oiselle piece, this shirt has a boxy style that ends just below the waist, a mock turtleneck, and a buttery soft feel, thanks to the brand’s proprietary Classic Lux polyester blend. Long sleeves can be pulled down on days when you may or may not need gloves. It’s got a substantial feel without being bulky and is warm enough to suffice on frosty days. Wear it under a fleece or a windproof jacket when the temperatures drop further. 

Pros: This shirt feels like a wearable best friend. The yellow color is bright and great for visibility at dusk or dawn, and the mock turtleneck is not too tight. 

Cons: For a slightly larger breasted woman, the shirt’s cut may look more boxy than svelte. Our tester said that the fit felt great, but didn’t always look as flattering as it seemed.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I wore this shirt on three different mountain runs as the weather was turning from summer to fall, and it was versatile. I liked wearing a layer underneath because when the sun was shining, I got pretty warm pretty quickly.”

Sizing: XS-XL; true to size

Price: $84

Oiselle Firecracker Vest

Fall is the season for vests, and Oiselle’s technical Firecracker offers protection from wind and rain. This vest also places a premium on visibility with a broad reflective stripe on the front and back. Cinch it shut at the waist with an interior drawcord. The vest also has two zip pockets. 

Pros: The lightweight fabric has a lovely, flattering drape so it felt great and did not look boxy or formless. Secure pockets have high-quality zippers that can be operated with one hand (key while on the move!). And the two big insets of reflective material add confidence that others will see you while running.

Cons: While the big reflective segments on the right shoulder (front and back) are great in the dark when cars have their headlights on, the black base color made our tester feel too blended in with her low-light surroundings. 

Take it from a Mother Runner: “I adore the supple, lightweight nylon fabric. It moves with my body when I’m in motion, and it doesn’t crinkle or make other annoying noises.”

Sizing: S-XL; true to size

Price: $112


Black Diamond Cosmo 350 Headlamp

A compact, battery-operated headlamp weighing in at 79 grams, this affordable light has remarkably good visibility—350 lumens and that can illuminate up to 64 meters. The light’s settings include red LED night vision, dimming, strobe, and lock mode, and it is waterproof. 

Pros: So light that you barely feel it and with an elastic that stays put. This is a no-frills headlamp that’s good for running in waning light or in the dark.

Cons: Unlike higher-end models, this headlamp lacks a back blinker, which reduces the user’s visibility.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “Dark morning mean running with a headlamp, whether I like it or not. I’ve tried many different brands and return to Black Diamond for their durability and longevity. I like this headlamp for its size and ease, but I wish it had a blinking light in the back so that other runners, motorists, and cyclists could see me.”

Sizing: One size

Price: $35

Black Diamond Lightweight Softshell Gloves

Sometimes all you need to stay warm on those transitional days is a pair of thin-but-warm gloves. Black Diamond’s stretchy and weather-resistant softshells deliver, offering breathable protection. Equipped with digital material on the thumbs and index fingers, they let you work your touchscreen without taking them off.

Pros: Excellent fit, thin enough to not feel bulky, but still warm, these gloves will protect your hands without overheating them.

Cons: None

Take it from a Mother Runner: A good pair of lightweight gloves is hard to find – ones that won’t cause you to sweat too much, will stay on, not bunch up, and keep your fingers warm. THESE ARE IT! They fit well and they kept me warm, but not too warm. “

Sizing: XS-XL

Price: $35

Injinji Merino Toe Socks 

Toe socks: they sound like they could be completely annoying (sand between the toes, anyone?), and yet those who use them SWEAR by them. This season’s wool models are antimicrobial, soft, and warm but breathable. Stated benefits of toesocks include a fit designed to move with your foot, freedom for toes to flex and move naturally, and reduced friction. Our tester reviewed the Outdoor Midweight Mini Crew and the Run Lightweight No-Show Wool. 

Pros: The Midweight mini crew was the perfect height and weight, landing just above the ankle. 

Cons: The Lightweight No-Show was a dud; it fell too low on the ankle, causing the tongue of her shoe to rub against and irritate her skin.

Take it from a Mother Runner: “It only feels weird initially when you put them on. Once you get your feet in your shoes and start running, you quickly forget that they are even between your toes. I’ve been wearing Injinji for years.”

Sizing: S-XL

Price: $21

Check out all of the AMR Gears Up columns here!

Did we miss your favorite fall running item?
Let us know in the comments below!