What I’m Wearing To Work Out In This Winter

I’m not as deeply into eco fashion as I am sustainable, healthy food and products.  But, although it is a bit of a departure, it seems like a logical topic to explore on this blog.  I need to wear something while I live an active, healthy life, and I need those clothes to be functional and well made.  I’m more likely to buy from a company if they also have core values around sustainability and ethical operations.  I have become enamored with some companies that have everything I’m looking for.  Over several years, I’ve developed a lovely little collection from a few in particular, and I’ll review some seasonal items.  They are expensive, but they last, and the companies stand by their products if something goes awry.  I give the full prices below, but I’ve rarely paid that.  I’m always on the lookout for deals (which should be coming up this time of year) and often get last year’s colors for a song.

I will admit that, just as much as the health factor, being able to put on a cute outfit motivates me to exercise.  New wind-proof vest?  I have to ride my bike!  Adorable, breathable top?  See you when I’m back from my run.  Go ahead and call me vain.  Whatever it takes to get me moving!

Patagonia Nano Puff series:  This super light, water and wind resistant, stay-warm-when-wet line is incredibly versatile, functioning as mid-layer or outerwear depending on conditions.  I have the jacket ($199) and the vest ($149), and wear them for all my cold weather, outdoor activities – even high output stuff like running.  I am the layer queen, and these are very easy to work with.  For example, the vest goes under a coat while I’m watching my son’s hockey games, or over a running/biking top in cool weather, or just around the house instead of turning up the heat.  The jacket goes over a long sleeve top for cross-country skiing, or over a short-sleeve top for below 40 degree running.  I wear them casually, too.  They look great and give plenty of room while still flattering curves.  I size down one size with Nanos, compared to other Patagonia items.  Nanos, like most Patagonia items, are machine wash and dry.

Icebreaker:  I love absolutely everything Icebreaker I have, from a hat to long underwear to the tops I’m about to review.  Icebreaker makes everything out of merino wool, in a variety of weights for every season.  Wool to work out in?  The hell you say!  But I assure you, this is the most awesome idea ever.  The fiber is naturally breathable, very comfortable on the skin, and nearly impossible to stink up.  The stink factor is a big thing for me.  Maybe I’m “special,” but I seem to be able to stink up all the technical, supposedly non-stink fabrics out there.  Even though my body doesn’t smell bad (due to my awesome DIY deodorant), a synthetic top will stink like crazy.  Whazzup with that??  Anyway, Icebreaker to the rescue.  I can wear the merino multiple times before washing, so they are perfect for travel.  The Tech Short Sleeve ($65) is a favorite year-round, and the Everyday Long Sleeve Half Zip (lightweight, $70) and Tech Long Sleeve Half Zip (midweight, $100) are my go-to cross-country ski and cold weather run tops.  Most Icebreaker items are machine wash, hang or lay flat to dry.

Smartwool:  They make a lot of different things, including my ultimate favorite socks.  The PhD micro socks (about $15), which come in lighter and heavier versions, are my favorite year round for hiking, running, and biking.  Smartwool also makes super cute every day socks.  All the socks hug your feet and fit perfectly (they come in different sizes).  My feet are never too hot or too cold – wool does it just right.  And again, wool doesn’t stink and I can wear more than once before a machine wash and dry.

If you buy these brands at full price, they do hit the budget pretty hard.  But go to a local store that carries the brand, or visit their websites to see what you want.  Then let your browser find your fave items on sale.  Patagonia has web specials all the time, usually for last year’s or last season’s stuff.  Icebreaker has their own sales, plus I’ve found them much cheaper at various online retailers.  REI carries both brands, and I recently bought some things on sale there.  So, go be gorgeous and warm!

Are you wearing any eco brands to work out?  Tell, please!

6 Responses to “What I’m Wearing To Work Out In This Winter”
  1. Ally says:

    I live in my Icebreakers and Smartwools all winter! I don’t think I’d survive without them. I rock climb in the cold so I have my fair share of cold-weather goodies… Patagonia’s bras and undies are also my favorite (expensive, but I love them). For insulation (synthetic & down) my hands down fave is Montbell; my true winter hero :)

  2. comagirl says:

    What great post! I, too, cringe at some of the prices which is why I shopped at Real Cheap Sports http://www.realcheapsports.com/, which i have been told is the unofficial outlet for Patagonia (actually right down the street).

  3. Michele says:

    I like Threads for Thought and Fashioning Change for ethical fashion.

  4. Rebekah says:

    I wear Icebreaker to the gym in summer as well — they do lightweight singlet tops which are way better than traditional sportswear at keeping me cool. Something about how wool is able to absorb a third of its own weight in moisture! They’re not itchy and I can wear them several times before they stink. Even when sweating bucketloads. AMAZING.

  5. Catherine says:

    I LIVE in Icebreaker and Smartwool all winter! I also love the Smartwool PhD socks, but in terms of apparel I prefer Icebreaker. I have a Smartwool half-zip hoodie that I adore, but it does stretch out quite a bit :/ I also have these tights from Athleta that are called Polartec Power Stretch Tights that I can only describe as sweatpant-tights. They are VERY thick and heavy, so really only suitable for very cold weather (I do not run in them, they are far too warm, but I walk my dog in them). Athleta is great for tall girls because their leggings come in long lengths (and don’t cost $100!).

  6. Lindsay says:

    You can rarely go wrong with Patagonia. Another sock company I’m obsessed with right now is Sockwell. Ridiculously cute compression socks. I also just wrote about my current workout fashion picks. http://www.balancingpilates.com/2013/01/10/fashion-for-the-fitness-conscious/

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