All the Gear You Need for the Shoulder Season

Navigating through fall can be challenging. It’s not summer, but not quite winter, and the weather can’t make up its mind. Plus, pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere tempting you into a warm, cozy oblivion that you might never leave. Don’t get sucked into the warmth, but rather head outside to enjoy the crisp air and fall colors.

Here are seven items to stock your closet this shoulder season that will keep you dry, visible, and warm on any run or hike, even as the weather changes from hour to hour.

The season’s changing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Morrissey

Footwear | Chameleon 7 Storm XX Hiker by Merrell ($180)

For the fall, sport a pair of light hikers that are waterproof but not insulated to keep your feet dry without being too hot. Photo: Courtesy of Merrell

Until the temperatures really get into the freezing digits, you won’t want an insulated hiking boot because your feet will be too hot. Rather, look for a shoe that is waterproof and add in a thick sock for any extra warmth needed. The Chameleon 7 Storm XX Hiker by Merrell will not only brighten up an overcast day, but are also completely waterproof with a Gore-Tex membrane. The shoes, inspired by Women Who Hike, have 3-millimeter lugs to keep you upright on slippery or muddy slopes and are lightweight enough to stay comfortable even after a long day hike. 

Lights | Light Bender Mini R by Nathan Sports ($20)

Stand out in the dark with reflective clothing and an extra light or two, for added visibility. Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Sports

Whether you are running or hiking, staying visible is a must as the days get shorter or if your hike runs long. The Lightbender Mini R by Nathan Sports is a simple light that can be used around your wrist or your ankle. The light includes red, green, or blue colors and has settings for a steady light or a blinking light. The Lightbender is battery powered and is water resistant. 

Socks | Crosspoint Mountain Sock by Showers Pass ($34)

These socks by Showers Pass will keep your feet dry and warm, without compromising comfort. Photo: Courtesy of Showers Pass

If your go-to running shoes or light hikers aren’t waterproof, don’t worry. The Crosspoint Mountain Socks by Showers Pass are waterproof socks that turn any regular footwear into one that can withstand the rain. The Crosspoint Mountain Socks have a three-layer construction to create a waterproof, windproof sock that is durable and seamless with a Merino-wool blend. Choose a higher crew cut to keep your ankles warm and protected from any breeze. Lightweight and high-visibility options are also available. 

Bottoms | PhD Wind Tight by Smartwool ($140)

These pants will keep you dry and warm on the gnarliest of days. Photo: Courtesy of Smartwool

Protect yourself from the changing elements in autumn by sporting a pair of lightweight, warm and windproof bottoms, like the PhD Wind Tights by Smartwool for both men and women. The slim-fit bottoms are made from a stretchy Merino wool so movement won’t be hindered, and the front has a windproof panel. The bottoms also have a DWR finish to keep you dry and reflective elements to keep you visible. 

Headwear | Skida Alpine Headband ($20)

Wear the nordic headband in the summer, and the fleece-lined alpine headband in the fall and winter. Photo: Courtesy of Skida

Keep your ears covered but your head cool with this fleece-lined headband from Skida. Inside the stretchy headband is a soft Polartec fleece to keep your ears warm and is moisture-wicking to keep you dry, even on a sweaty run. A variety of patterns and colorways are available. One size fits most. 

Outerwear | Nordic Ventrix Jacket ($160) and Vest ($140) by The North Face

Photo: Courtesy of The North Face

The Nordic Ventrix Jacket by The North Face is the ideal jacket for fall running and hiking. When the weather isn’t too harsh and the temperatures aren’t too freezing, pop on the Nordic Ventrix jacket to stay warm enough but not overheat and still have all the mobility you need. It’s water and wind resistant, and mid-weight with strategic insulation around the torso. The women’s version has an asymmetrical zipper with a high collar; the men’s version has a classic zipper with a slim cut. A Nordic Ventrix vest is also available.

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