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Lightweight gear for spring and summer running

Power through unpredictable spring weather with our top picks for lightweight gear

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts

With the spring season fast approaching (and in some areas already here), many runners are enjoying the longer daylight hours and warmer running conditions. To help you get out and experience these prime running conditions, we’ve put together a list of lighter gear that’s more suitable for spring and summer running.

Best for runners seeking a lightweight cap with UV protection
Ciele Athletics GOCap SC

Ciele Athletics GOCap SC

A colourful running cap

Constructed with a highly breathable and fast-drying polyester fabric, the GOCap SC is ideal for running in warm, sunny conditions. The cap’s five-panel shape offers UPF 40 sun protection, while the SOFTcurve brim does an admirable job of keeping the sun out of your eyes and off your face. For runners who prefer low-light early-morning starts, Ciele has also added reflective detailing to ensure you’re visible to traffic.

Best for runners seeking cushioning without the warmth and bulk of higher-cut socks
Balega Ultra Glide No Show Sock

Balega Ultra Glide No Show Socks

A padded low-cut running sock

Constructed with a combination of friction-free threads mixed with quick-drying Drynamix yarn, the Ultra Glide No Show Socks are perfect for runners seeking cushioning while minimizing the risk of blisters. At the forefoot and heel, Balega has added lightweight cushioning zones while a compressive arch band with vent panels ensures a secure and highly breathable fit. The socks’ no-show height makes them ideal for indoor training or running in warmer conditions.

Best for runners seeking a sock with sophisticated construction for running in warmer conditions
Swiftwick Aspire One Socks

Swiftwick Aspire One Socks

A thin, lightweight sock with minimal cushioning

You can never have too many socks, and the Aspire One is a great addition to every runner’s kit. With their sophisticated construction, these socks provide excellent breathability and moisture management for additional comfort when running in warm weather. The socks’ low bulk, midfoot arch band and y-heel construction ensure a secure and supportive fit during long runs. In the toe area, Swiftwick uses seamless construction, which minimizes chafing.

Best for runners seeking lightweight weather protection

Runners seeking protection from wind and drizzle will appreciate the Houdini jacket. Built with an ultra-light recycled ripstop nylon fabric, the Houdini shrugs off wind, and, thanks to a DWR surface treatment, resists light rain and drizzle. Because the jacket lacks traditional waterproof/breathable membranes, it’s not only significantly more breathable, but also less bulky. In fact, the jacket can easily be stuffed into its own chest pocket, ready for deployment when the weather turns. The addition of a minimalist hood provides extra weather protection, while the half-elastic cuffs prevent unwanted drafts. This is an exceptional piece of running kit for changing spring conditions.

Best for runners seeking functional and flattering running shorts
Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts (Women's)

A soft running short with a comfortable, low-profile waist

The Chaser shorts, with their 5” inseam and wide, low-profile waist, are ideal for warm-weather running. Brooks has spec’d a soft, lightweight 4-way stretch outer fabric for unrestricted movement during hard efforts. The liner is similarly well-conceived and features a soft, sweat-wicking jersey fabric that won’t bunch up. The flattering wide waistband has an infinity drawstring for a secure fit and features two pockets for phone storage and other essentials.

Best for trail runners seeking lightweight shorts with plenty of storage
Patagonia Strider Pro 5" Shorts

Patagonia Strider Pro 5" Shorts (Men's)

Lightweight trail-running shorts

Constructed with a lightweight, fast-drying recycled polyester ripstop fabric, the Strider Pro 5″ Shorts won’t hold you back when you’re running in warm weather. Their 5” inseam does a great job of providing coverage without restricting movement, while the low-profile waist ensures comfort even during the longest trail runs. Patagonia employs a polyester crepe boxer-brief liner that provides exceptional wicking and, thanks to a Polygiene treatment, resists odours. Finally, the one zippered pocket and four drop-in hip pockets provide plenty of storage for energy gels and other small essentials.

Best for runners wanting cool hydration during longer runs
Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Handheld Bottle 18 oz

Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Handheld Bottle 18 oz.

A versatile handheld hydration system

Featuring an insulated 18-oz. flask, the Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Handheld Bottle allows you to carry and enjoy chilled water (or other hydration beverages) during your warm spring runs. The double-wall insulated flask is ergonomically shaped for easy carrying and allows for easy squeezing when you need a sip. The bottle securely sits in an adjustable and breathable harness that snugly fits the runner’s hand. As an added bonus, the harness also has a zippered pocket that can accommodate small running essentials such as energy gels or your phone.

Best for runners seeking a technical running top with excellent breathability
Brooks Dash Half-Zip 2.0

Brooks Dash Half-Zip 2.0 (Women's)

A stylish half-zip running top

Constructed with a super-soft, highly breathable, and quick-drying DriLayer fabric, the Dash Half-Zip 2.0 is ideal for cool early-morning spring runs. The fabric consists of recycled polyester with a healthy dose of spandex, ensuring a form-fitting yet unrestrictive fit. Brooks specs a half-zip closure that allows for easy venting during hard efforts, while the addition of thumbholes at the wrists prevents unwanted drafts and ensures the sleeves don’t shift.

Best for runners seeking a luxuriously soft running top
Vuori Strato Tech Tee

Vuori Strato Tech Tee (Men's)

A running top with super-soft fabric

While many companies claim they use soft materials for their clothing, few can match the almost sublime hand of the Vuori Strato Tech Tee fabric. The fabric consists of a polyester/elastane blend that feels amazing next to your skin, delivers excellent wicking, dries quickly, and, thanks to the elastane, offers enough stretch for unrestricted movement. This is a simple, no-nonsense running top that’s ideal for warm-weather running.

Best for runners seeking a roomy fit with multiple performance fabrics
Smartwool Active Mesh T-Shirt

Smartwool Active Mesh T-Shirt (Men's)

A lightweight multi-panel merino blend running top

Runners wanting a roomy-fitting top with exceptional ventilation and wicking will appreciate the Active Mesh T-Shirt. On the front of the shirt, Smartwool employs a merino wool/TENCEL lyocell blend fabric that provides wicking and cooling. For the back, sleeves and shoulders, the fabric changes to a merino wool/TENCEL lyocell/polyester blend that offers wicking and cooling, as well as extra durability, thanks to the polyester. Finally, mesh ventilation on the sleeves and back ensures additional comfort when running in warm weather.

Best for runners seeking a lightweight top without resorting to a singlet
Brooks Sprint Free Short Sleeve 2.0

Brooks Sprint Free Short Sleeve 2.0 (Women's)

A lightweight running shirt

The Sprint Free Short Sleeve 2.0 top is the lightest running shirt offered by Brooks. Made of recycled polyester with 14 per cent spandex, this shirt delivers excellent breathability, wicking and ease of movement. Brooks also adds an antimicrobial fabric treatment that ensures the shirt resists odours, allowing runners to use it multiple times between washes. This is an excellent summer top for runners who want low weight without compromising skin coverage.

Products reviewed in this article:

Best for runners seeking a lightweight cap with UV protection

Ciele Athletics GOCap SC

Ciele Athletics GOCap SC

Buy Now - $54.99

Buy Now - From $45.00

Best for runners seeking cushioning without the warmth and bulk of higher-cut socks

Balega Ultra Glide No Show Socks

Balega Ultra Glide No Show Sock

Buy Now - $21.99

Buy Now - $18.00

Best for runners seeking a sock with sophisticated construction for running in warmer conditions

Swiftwick Aspire One Socks

Swiftwick Aspire One Socks

Buy Now - $21.95

Buy Now - $17.00

Best for runners seeking lightweight weather protection

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Buy Now - Men's $135.00

Buy Now - Women's $135.00

Buy Now - Men's From $64.93 (30% OFF)

Buy Now -Women's From $64.93 (30% OFF)

Best for runners seeking functional and flattering running shorts

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts (Women's)

Brooks Chaser 5" Shorts

Buy Now - From $31.93 (50% OFF)

Buy Now - $64.00

Best for trail runners seeking lightweight shorts with plenty of storage

Patagonia Strider Pro 5" Shorts (Men's)

Patagonia Strider Pro 5" Shorts

Buy Now - $105.00

Buy Now - From $50.93 (40% OFF)

Best for runners wanting cool hydration during longer runs

Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Handheld Bottle 18 oz.

Nathan Quick Squeeze Insulated Handheld Bottle 18 oz

Buy Now - $44.95

Buy Now - $40

Best for runners seeking a technical running top with excellent breathability

Brooks Dash Half-Zip 2.0 (Women's)

Brooks Dash Half-Zip 2.0

Buy Now - $69.95

Buy Now - $70.00

Best for runners seeking a luxuriously soft running top

Vuori Strato Tech Tee (Men's)

Vuori Strato Tech Tee

Buy Now - $71.95

Buy Now - $54.00

Best for runners seeking a roomy fit with multiple performance fabrics

Smartwool Active Mesh T-Shirt (Men's)

Smartwool Active Mesh T-Shirt

Buy Now - $89.99

Buy Now - $75.00

Best for runners seeking a lightweight top without resorting to a singlet

Brooks Sprint Free Short Sleeve 2.0 (Women's)

Brooks Sprint Free Short Sleeve 2.0

Buy Now - From $19.98 (56% OFF)

Buy Now - From $33.74 (25% OFF)

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