AMR GEARS UP: SUMMER RUNNING ESSENTIALS
By Sarah Bowen Shea
Maybe we are world-class sweat-producers, but it seems summer workout wear can get droopier than a toddler’s full diaper! Every year about this time, we get to feeling it’s time for something fresh in our drawer to keep us going strong through training for fall races—whether that’s a top free of sweat stains, running shoes that don’t stink, or scratch-free sunglasses.
We recruited BAMRbassadors to put a variety of active summer pieces through their paces. If you’re a sweaty-Betty, too, we suspect you will appreciate these pairs of shoes, sunglasses, shorts or tanks that’ll help you feel—and look—cool!
Free Fly Women’s Bamboo Motion Racerback Tank
This racerback tank is from a family-owned brand that’s all about making apparel out of bamboo. The natural fibers provide odor-resistance and temperature regulation with a soft, supple feel. The four-way stretch fabric and the cut of it makes, “this shirt is a little bit looser fitting, yet it still manages to be flattering.”
Pros: The fabric is soft yet didn’t get clingy when our tester sweat. “I wore this on a hiking trip in Glacier National Park, and it was comfortable all day long.” Our tester also liked that it didn’t accentuate her “mom belly.” (Her words, not ours.) Available in sizes XS-XL and six colors.
Cons: Very basic styling.
Take it from a mother runner: “This tank seems like the perfect ‘everything’ shirt: It fits nice, it feels and looks good, and you can wear it for workouts and lounging.”
Rabbit UPF Deflector 2.0
A long-sleeve hoody in a summer gear review? Don’t scoff: It has a UPF 50 rating, and it’s feather-light. This well-priced top is especially ideal for folks with sensitive skin: It even has a built-in brim on the scuba-style hood so your neck, ears, and face are shaded.
Pros: This top is made from 67% recycled polyester, 25% polyester, and 8% spandex, a combo resulting in an incredibly soft and lightweight fabric. Said our tester, “it’s thin without being sheer.” The top’s extra-long arms (Rabbit deems them, “extended cuffs”) have thumbholes. “I appreciate having the back of my hands being covered to ward off sun damage.” The laser-cut perforations under the arms “allowed air to circulate.”
Cons: The zippered side pocket is too small for a cellphone.
Take it from a mother runner: “This piece is so versatile—I wore it running, playing pickleball, and at the beach.”
Oiselle Long Roga Shorts
These beauties are a long-time staple in the Oiselle oeuvre—and in our workout drawers. They are made of a textured stretch-woven fabric that “somehow delightfully feels both crisp and supple.” One tester praised the 6” inseam, reporting it kept her inner thighs “chafe-free on double-digit runs.” The build-in technical liner is comfortable and generous.
Pros: Pockets! An extra-large, zippered pocket in the back-center of the short’s stretchy, compression waistband, “holds my iPhone secure and jiggle-free in total comfort.” A large, zippered pocket on the right side of the shorts securely holds GUs, keys, or #foundchange. (One guess who tested these shorts on Team AMR….) An infinity drawcord allows you to cinch the waist to ensure the shorts stay put. An inclusive size range (2-24/26).
Cons: The cut of the thighs can be a bit roomy/oversized on runners with slighter legs. (A boon for runners with more developed thighs!)
Take it from a mother runner: “I’ve loved Long Roga Shorts ever since discovering them about six years ago: They last forever, and are well worth the splurge-price.”
Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3
You’ll adore these shoes whether you wear them trail running or, like our tester Dimity, hiking. They have the signature wide toebox Topo is known for and, get this, they are also available in wide, an aspect Dimity-of-the-bunions really appreciates. The updated foam midsole is light and soft, yet also responsive. These kicks come in at a lightweight 8.3 ounces.
Pros: “The grippy, well-tractioned Vibram sole gives off Spiderman vibes: I feel solid on all kinds of rocks and trails.” Very few overlays of materials, so they are, “great for long, hot summer hikes” or runs. “The laces are long enough—and there are enough eyelets—to be creative with your lacing if you need to relieve a hot spot or double-down on narrow heels.”
Cons: Biggest women’s size is an 11 (fits more like a 10) so gals with bigger feet will have to wear the men’s version, like Dimity does.
Take it from a mother runner: “Took these beauties on a 8-miler right out of the box, and had no issues, which isn’t always the case for my bunioned and sensitive-toed feet.”
Smartwool Women’s Active Muscle Tank
This top is ready to run—or rumble: It’s really more of a sleeveless tee than a tank, and it’s definitely made our tester “feel badass” wearing it! It’s a midweight fabric that’s 56% Merino wool, 44% polyester. Wool is a wonder-fiber that helps the wearer feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—and it naturally fights stink.
Pros: “The fabric is a great weight and soft.” Our tester reported, “sweat dried really quickly on it.” It’s a unique style—different than any other tanks we’ve seen. The relaxed fit is forgiving.
Cons: Love the “Go Far. Look Good.” message on the chest of some colors, but we wish the brand name wasn’t also so front and center.
Take it from a mother runner: “This top is really well ventilated—I felt like I got a cross-breeze through the armholes!”
Price: $39 (currently on sale)
Nathan Sports Sunrise Polarized Running Sunglasses
These polarized shades are a great middle-of-the-road price point: a step up from $25 “fast-fashion” sunglasses, but not take-out-a-second-mortgage expensive. And their classic design is versatile: The tortoise frames with smoke-colored lenses “look nice enough to wear with dressier clothes, as well as for running or casual.”
Pros: The polycarbonate lenses provide 100% UV protection, and they are compatible with prescription lenses. The frames have a soft “Grip-Coat,” meaning they have a slightly soft, “brushed” feel. Thanks to rubber grips on the temple ends and on the bridge of the nose, “they didn’t bounce when I ran.” They also didn’t fog up, even when wearing a hat.
Cons: The size of these beauties might be too overpowering for gals with smaller heads.
Take it from a mother runner: “I love the weight of these glasses: They are lighter than the pair I normally wear.”
Rabbit Race Pace Tank
This fairly traditional-looking tank top has a few “cool” secrets, such as laser-cut square perforations along sides, which our tester appreciated. “The small cutouts on the sides provide a nice flow of air and help cool me down.” Also, the inside of this lightweight garment is “microtextured,” meaning it doesn’t cling. It’s available in sizes XS-XL and made from 100% recycled polyester.
Pros: This tank has a “super-flattering” cut, according to our tester. “I don’t like tanks that are tight or too close to my body, and this one
was roomy enough without it looking like it was several sizes too big.” She also dug the pattern: “I’m not usually a fan of prints but I loved the color and vibe of this tank!” This tank’s final secret? The comfort neck tape on the back reads “born to run free.”
Cons: Alas, only available in one solid and one print.
Take it from a mother runner: “This tank was so light and airy: I wasn’t a sweaty mess after a 4-mile run!”
Did we miss your favorite summer running essential?
Let us know in the comments below!