Smart Threads, Runner's World, March 2016

March RW GearPerformance wear that cools you down, supports your muscles, even improves your form

[muscle and joint stabilizing]
1/CW-XSTABILY X TIGHTS, $150
A patented Support Web within the fabric of the tights, designed using kinesiology studies, stabilizes joints and muscle groups. Coolmax fibers wick moisture. And the men’s star print (shown) is a stylish step beyond basic black. Both constellation and polka-dot prints are available for women.

[protection in dark conditions]
2/COLUMBIA TRAIL FLASH HALF-ZIP, $65
Because most reflective patches make clothing look too technical for indoor or daytime wear, Columbia designed a new be-seen technology that’s invisible until you need it. Trail Flash reflectivity (men’s shown) looks like ordinary patterning until it’s struck by bright light, which then rebounds to alert motorists.

[protection against chafing]
3/ARC’TERYX ACCELERATOR & ENSA SS, $79/$69
Most high-end running apparel uses low-profile flatlock seams to reduce chafing. The Ensa (shown) and men’s Accelerator take seam-reduction one step further. Narrower Merrow seams join the fabric edges without any overlap and reduce friction zones.

[form correction]
4/ALIGNMED POSTURE SHIRT, $95
Many runners use visualization to help them run tall (“Imagine balancing an egg on your head!”), which is a hallmark of good form. This pullover (women’s shown) actually engages muscles to counter slouching. Elastic bands across the upper back open your chest and straighten your neck.

[effort tracking]
5/LIFEBEAM SMART HAT, $99
Instead of requiring a chest strap to monitor your heart rate, LifeBeam does it with something that many runners wear during every workout: a cap. Its forehead sensor is no bigger than your pinky fingernail, so it doesn’t interfere with the band’s sweat-mopping function. But it does relay your heart rate, calorie burn, and cadence to your favorite fitness tracker.

[protection in dark conditions]
6/PEARL IZUMI BIOVIZ HIGH-VISIBILITY APPAREL, $70-90
BioViz is a fancy word for a simple concept: fluorescent colors for days and strategic reflectivity for nights. Be seen from at least 223 feet (BioViz standard) in the Fly Jacket ($85, men’s shown), Flash Run Pant ($90), and Fly Tight ($70).

[heat and moisture management]
7/NIKE AEROREACT HALF-ZIP & PULLOVER, $130/$110
Sweat makes the fibers in this half-zip (pullover for women) become more compact, enlarging the spaces between the threads. Result? Better breathability as your output rises. As you cool down, the fibers expand again, plugging the gaps to keep you warm.

[heat relief]
8/ZOOT CHILL OUT SINGLET, $40
The same chemical that gives certain chewing gums minty-cool flavor also makes this tank tolerable in hot weather. Xylitol is applied to the fabric, where it reacts with sweat to deliver a cooling sensation.

[form tracking]
9/LUMO RUN, $149 (shorts), $169 (tights)
These capris (shorts for men) have conductive threads sewn into the waistband that transmit your movements to a sensor on your sacrum. The sensor withstands rain and laundering, its battery lasts one month on a single charge, and its accelerometer and gyroscope transmit data about your form to your smartphone.

[heat relief]
10/EDDIE BAUER QUANTUM SHORT-SLEEVE T-SHIRT, $60
This engineered polyester shirt (women’s shown) cranks up the A/C as you get hotter. Sweat causes the fabric polymers to expand and open the laser-cut channels across the back and chest.

[sweat protection]
11/LA SPORTIVA SONIC & SPEED T-SHIRT, $79
Three fabric innovations distinguish the Sonic (and women’s Speed). An ultrathin anti-friction treatment minimizes chafing. “Intelligent” polymers wick sweat faster. And the Polygiene treatment uses silver salts to fight odor.