Tag Archives: Ilu

My best women’s winter running kit

Here’s my brief overview of my favourite winter kit at the moment at Women’s Running. Below the film there’s a link for each item. Merry Christmas!

SALOMON PEARL BEANNIE
Luxury with a pom pom! The thick knit of this hat will keep out the cold, ensuring you look stylish while everyone else is shivering in their shoes!
£24, salomon.com/uk

BUFF PLUM BOBBLE HAT
You can’t beat this luxurious bobble hat from Buff that will keep you warm while you wait to race or train. Knitted from Merino wool its thermal inner headband is so soft against your ears. It’s gorgeous!
£27.25, buffwear.co.uk

BUFF ZIGA MAGENTA
This wind resistant hat is designed for the winter trails. The beautiful fabric is brushed inside to give you thermal insulation and the reflective Buff logo enhances your safety. The colours are vibrant and the fit is snug.
£26.26, buffwear.co.uk

HELLY HANSEN CROSS INSULATOR JACKET
Such a luxurious look and featuring water resistant PrimaLoft Silver insulation to keep you toasty. Available in four colour choices, you’ll look stylish on the move, wherever you go in this quilt pattern. Keep the zip done up to the top for ultimate protection, and it’s so lightweight you can stash it anywhere.
£100, hellyhansen.com

HELLY HANSEN AIR JACKET
Stand out in this lightweight wind jacket with a stunning print! With a self-storing pocket this jacket can go anywhere with you. You’ll stay safe from the cold due to the elastic cuffs and edgeband and the quick-drying X-Cool fabric.
£80, hellyhansen.com

FALKE ERGONOMIC VEST
A slimmed down version of the FALKE insulating vest, which provides a snug and flattering fit on the trails. Primaloft lining protects you from the cold, and there are ventilation panels on the back. You get two zipped pockets and a high collar for ultimate protection. The stunning colour stands out and the design is about as feminine as you can get. Superior style.
£160, net-a-porter.com

ADIDAS GYM HOODIE
I felt snug and warm in this stretchy hoodie with two deep front zipped pockets and spacious, adjustable hood. The Climalite moisture-wicking fabric performed brilliantly and I loved wearing the striking, warm colour in low light conditions. Well-done adidas; a fashion-conscious, sustainable product made from recycled polyester.
£45, adidas.co.uk

ODLO BLACKCOMB EVOLUTION WARM BASELAYER WITH FACEMASK
How can you not love this winter kit? It’s already become an essential multifunctional baselayer for when the cold hits; all you need to do is use the facemask to protect from the wind (or as a cosy scarf). The seamless knitting technology is brilliant for staying sweat free, though the thermal insulating fabric is just thick enough to prevent overheating. The fit is super sleek.
£80.00, odlo.com

HELLY HANSEN NORVIZ LONG SLEEVE TOP
The advanced reflective fabric of this top is unbelievable – the whole top lights up when it reflects light. There’s a half zip plus thumb holes to keep your hands warm. X-cool fabric keeps you dry, but it’s the reflectivity that I was wowed by.
£75, hellyhansen.com

TRIBESPORTS HALF ZIP MID LAYER AND CAPRI TIGHTS
Affordable yet high quality, parkrunners will already know this range. We love this kit as runners have helped design it; the half zip mid later feels incredibly soft against your skin and has all the technical features you demand, the capris are really stretchy!
£52 & £32.50, tribesports.com

ODLO EBE RUNNING TIGHTS
Reversible tights with prints on both sides giving you two pairs of leggings in one. They were easy to run in, with a comfortable elastic waistband and feet light and smooth against your skin. Great winter style.
£65, odlo.com

ILU SEAMLESS TEXTURED LEGGINGS
The deepest waistband I’ve reviewed for a long time, these leggings, with a cheeky contrast of grey marl, win my winter award for comfort on the run. The design creates a slimming pattern. Mesh around the calves adds to the look and helps keep you cool.
£45, ilufitwear.com

SUKISHUFU SHOOTING STAR LEGGINGS
A stunning print perfect for winter. I loved the leather look trim on the back of the waistband that gave extra support, as did the extra deep front waistband. The two-way stretch fabric provided a perfect fit, and with anti-fade and anti-pilling material these will last.
£90, stylesportif.com

ZAAZEE ERIN AND ELLA VESTS TOPS
These beautiful tops feature an exquisitely soft and super-stretchy material. The fit is flattering with ruched detail along the straps and back, you get an inner bra layer plus a stand-out design on the back that will make you feel you can conquer the world.
£38, zaazee.co.uk

ZAAZEE ESZTHER CAPRI
Bold, two-tone capris made from figure hugging SUPPLEX fabric for extra support. Using the same stretchy but soft fabric as the vest tops, I felt comfy in the wide waistband (with double support at the front). Great design; a brand to watch out for.
£60, zaazee.co.uk

ILU DOUBLE LAYER TANK
This is such a pretty, comfortable and clever top; featuring a very flattering outer layer that hangs loosely over the areas you want it to most! The blue trim finishes the look and the longer length is perfect. I can’t fault it for style. If looking as good as you feel is important, I recommend Ilu.
£37, ilufitwear.com

ADIDAS BOSTON BOOST 5
Fantastic racing flats that are incredibly responsive due to the boost midsole. Even though it looks like a low profile shoe you get a surprising amount of cushioning. The Torsion System in the forefoot will help you toe-off with speed and energy. This is also a shoe with a conscience – a portion of each pair goes to the Boston Runs As One fund.
£95.00, adidas.co.uk

SAUCONY EVERUN ISO TRIUMPH 2
It’s got to be the shoe of the moment; the EVERUN Topsole and Landing Zone in the heel mean lots more cushioning beneath your feet, and you can really feel it, even when you’re walking. The Isofit upper also feels thicker giving you more protection, especially around your Achilles and across the top of your foot. This trainer looks exactly how women want it to – a bold colour with just a pop of pink.
£135, saucony.co.uk

ADIDAS XT BOOSTS
These have been my favourite trail shoes for a few months now. The fabric of the high-cut collar flows from the shoe up your ankle, rather than stopping with a rounded top. This in-built gaiter keeps out dust, sand, mud, stones or other debris, as well as providing extra support for your ankle. They felt flexible underfoot and the Continental Rubber lugs are strong and effective, with four biting surfaces.
£110, adidas.co.uk

BROOKS PUREFLOW 5
The PureFlow 5 is the first Brooks shoe to use DNA LT, a 10 per cent lighter version of their adaptable cushioning, for a more natural feel that still protects from impact where you need it. A wraparound collar in the heel lends an ultra-plush feel.
£90, brooksrunning.com

ON Cloudflyers
12 “Cloud” elements built from zero gravity foam provide amazing cushioning while staying lightweight. Natural shoes to support your body’s natural gait.
£130, on-running.com

HOKA ONEONE Challenger and Vanquish
More to come soon….
hokaoneone.com

Apologies for rushed pronunciations :)

Apologies for rushed pronunciations :)

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Essential women’s running kit for autumn

It’s unbelievable… the Women’s Running office is already getting kit in for autumn/winter when it’s in the 20s, we’re in July and the summer holidays haven’t even started! I hate to say it, but before we know it the summer will be over and we will be eating our Christmas dinner! Eeek – I don’t know if that’s exciting or I want to cry!
What is for sure is that time has a way of dissolving… I’m hoping summer stretches out till the end of September at least (last year we were wearing shorts when we decorated our house on Halloween, so warm weather may you remain forever) but at some stage we are going to have to think about colder weather kit. Make sure you beat the chill with my sneak preview of what I think is going to be flying off the running shop shelves, as well as a few old favourites that are worth buying, and why I think the kit is great.
I’m refusing to wear capris until the end of September! Full tights are not allowed before the end of October, but there’s something for everyone here, and for whatever our beautiful British weather throws at us from September onwards. I’ve reviewed, and run in the kit, but I asked my 12-year-old daughter Amelie to model the pieces as she is a bit taller than I am; all the kit she has on is a size small. She’s a dancer not a runner – it was easier to let her ‘pose’ to get the pictures taken and avoid all-out war!

Shoes
Merrell Allout Terra Trail, £100, www.merrell.com/UK
I couldn’t wait to get my feet in this brand new shoe from Merrell: I’ve always found Merrell’s trail shoes offer brilliant stability whether you are tackling mud, snow or rock. I love the hybrid sock-like tongue that prevents debris from the trail entering the shoe and causing discomfort. It seems lots of brands are offering this addition to shoes this year, and now we have it I wonder why it wasn’t thought of before: it’s so effective and means no more bending over to flick out those tiny stones that seem to find their way into the top of your socks and are so irritating. The lugs are really chunky and feel very grippy underfoot. I also found the shoes to be super light due to the UniFly cushioning system, which consists of soft EVA foam that Merrell tells me is 20 per cent lighter than standard EVA foams. There’s also a small rock plate in the forefoot that works to protect against the toughest debris lurking under our feet. The upper is tough, too. All round, one of my favourite trail shoes so far, and I can’t wait for a muddy cross-country race to really put them to work.

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Salomon Speedcross 3, £100, salomon.com/uk
These aren’t new but I’ve loved running in them so much in the last month or so I wanted to include them anyway! I first raced in them for the South Downs Trail Half Marathon in June, having only been out in them for a few short runs and they performed brilliantly. For comfort and stability I really rate them; even though they may look like they are rigid or heavy they are very deceptive. I’m not a fan of trail shoes that are too solid/inflexible in the upper, or if they are heavy as you begin to feel like you’re dragging a heavy mass of mud around on your feet. These feel strong and sturdy but aren’t heavy or rigid.

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There’s plenty of padding around the ankles that makes these shoes feel extremely comfy, even after you’ve been wearing them for a few hours. And they are so robust! I feel a couple of inches taller in these shoes and find them springy: the lugs give you a powerful grip. Salomon are clever designers and when they first bought out their ‘lace garage’, to allow us to tuck away our laces and prevent snagging on the run I thought it was so clever. Yes, for me and the Speedys it was love at first sight.

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INOV-8 TERRACLAW 250, £120, inov-8.com
I haven’t had a pair of these come in for review yet, but weighing just 250g, the Terraclaw 250 promises to be a lightweight and agile shoe. It’s one of those shoes that will serve you well whatever distance you are training or racing. It has multi-directional outsole lugs for great grip, while the fit has been engineered to keep the foot stable yet still allow the toes to splay. May suit runners with slightly wider feet as I’ve always found the toebox in Inov-8’s to be quite generous.

Terraclaw 250 W Blk Berry Blue side updated

Terraclaw 250 W Blk Berry Blue sole updated

Capris/tights
Saucony Bullet Capri, £45, www.saucony.co.uk
Over the last few seasons I’ve become quite a fan of Saucony women’s running kit. These capris are going to be one of my kit choices in autumn as I like the way they finish just below your knee (the inseam is 16.5inches) compared to mid-calf, as many do. For me the longer length is just irritating, as my legs don’t like the pressure of seams mid-calf. And with these you can run in them all year – saving you money! There’s a zippered back storage pocket as well as side cargo pockets, so you get plenty of space for essentials. The scalloped reflective trip on the side pockets and the back covers safety, and the wide waistband is a winner for any size.

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VAARA Sports Leggings, £55  vaara.com
Vaara’s capsule collection is aimed at the busy working woman, mother and gym goer who is just not prepared to compromise on technical performance or style…so it’s right up our street. The range includes cashmere knits, but I was lucky enough to review the sports bra and sports legging in black/coral.

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Amelie is also wearing the Vaara sports bra which is included further down this blog

The waistband of the sports legging really sets it apart as it puts such a pretty finishing touch; I thought it was very unique. It sits just above your hip bones and crosses over at the front, creating the ‘Vaara diamond’ – both flattering and a bright pop of colour for your winter wardrobe. These are leggings that will allow you to feel comfortable all day, regardless of whether you’re out on a run, or just flying around at work or doing chores. The soft material has great stretch, too.

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BoomBoom Athletica 26.2 Leggings £98, boomboomathletica.com
One of many new brands that are offering cross-over kit that you can workout in but also head out in (whether it’s to the shops/school run/cafes), these sleek black leggings are meant to feel tight to provide the benefits of compression technology. So you may have to struggle in to them, but once you’re in they feel like a second skin. I’ve also recently reviewed the elite tank (Amelie is wearing the blue version in this picture… you can find it here), which I loved, so I had to give the leggings a slot.

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What you get with these brands offering fewer items that are multi-functional is much better quality than some of the global brands with a vast collection of kit.

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Why pay so much for a pair of leggings? The texture of the fabric against your skin is very soft and smooth; it feels luxurious! I really liked the hypoallergenic silicon strip on the inside of the waistband that helps prevent the tights riding up around your waist. It’s a strange sensation at first, but it’s effective. You’ve got mesh panels behind the knees, which definitely help with ventilation. Overall the fit was just about perfect (I tried a small). There’s also a subtle reflective logo on the right ankle. I personally would like to see a bit more reflectivity for the really dark months. If you were going to invest in one pair of decent leggings for the winter months I would put these on your wish list.

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Ilu Compression Leggings, £60, ilufitwear.com
Turning up to a race and feeling relaxed is important, right? These compression leggings are designed for comfort.

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Amelie is wearing the Ilu pants and chic seamless jacket

There are lots of details that make them stand out though, it’s not just the overall style. The deep ribbed waistband allows them to sit gently against your hips and tummy, and I really like the way the ruched ankles fitted.

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Great to wear whether your training, gyming or racing.

Tops/jackets
Ilu Chic Seamless Jacket, £70, ilufitwear.com
This jacket is available in three distinctive colours, blue (my pics), coral and grey; to be honest, I think all of the colourways work. This isn’t a heavy jacket, it’s a zip-up you can either wear whilst running when the temperatures do start to drop a bit, to give you that extra layer (until the true winter cold sets in), or you can just as easily wear it before/after your races, or casually as you are out and about – that’s why I’ve included it.

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It doesn’t look like a traditional running top/jacket, and that’s the beauty of it. There are mesh panels under the arms and along the sides, thumb loops so you get mittens built-in, and beautiful ruching all over the garment. It’s uber cosy. This is a jacket I will be happy to throw on to run in until the cold forces me into thermals. I also know it will look great when I’m dashing out the house, as I’m prone to do about 10 times a day.

Odlo Flender Down Vest, £130, www.odlo.co.uk (Available from mid August)
My sample hasn’t quite arrived – once it has I’ll update this blog. Odlo are one of my favourite brands, especially when it comes to running gilets as they always seem to get them right: warm enough, light enough and stylish. I’ve run in very similar vests for the last two winters so I know this vest will keep me warm, and I always use mine to layer up on the way to/from races when it gets really cold, as well as using as a layer against the cold when I’m running.

Odlo Flender down vest

They feature ‘Pertex Soft Micro’, a ightweight and soft microfibre material that is perfect for insulation. The fabric wicks sweat away from the interior, while providing excellent weather protection on the exterior. There’s also a mesh fleece back. This is also lightweight, very soft, micro fleece, brushed on both sides, with an anti-pilling finish. I love my Odlo vests, and will wear them around the house in the winter as they are so cosy and so effective at heat retention.

Glofaster Light-up Jacket, £99 www.glofaster.com
If you like to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology then the new range of Glofaster kit is for you. Their new light-up running jacket will be a great hit during the darker months, especially as you can link it up to a heart-rate monitor and your smartphone to make it flash in time with your heart rate! How amazing is that! In the quest to become more visible technology is also becoming much more fun. You can programme them to work a variety of ways, for example if you want your heart rate to reach a certain level you can programme the jacket’s lights to be on solidly when this is achieved, or change pattern when you are ‘in the zone’. If you are a runner who likes to get into their music when they run, the jacket can flash in time to your playlist! The LEDs can be seen 200m away, so there is the added benefit of being seen while you train. I don’t know about you but even though I hate the dark nights during winter I can’t wait to wear mine!

Here is a short video showcasing the jackets:

Gore Mythos So Light Lady Vest, £89.99, www.goreapparel.co.uk
I put in this piece of kit with my practical, mum head on as it’s so reflective and fluoro, yet retains the understated simple style I expect from Gore. I really like that it has two pockets as I tend to travel on foot with a few accessories. Also, being able to zip up the collar to keep the cold out is a bonus for me as I hate the first 10 minutes of running in the autumn/winter when the cold air somehow always finds a way of sneaking in through your kit.

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I am quite tiny, so the Gore XS fits perfect, and I know with this vest I will be running with a base-layer on underneath. It’s also made with a tapered fit, so it is definitely flattering. I know Gore kit is a bit more expensive, but none of my Gore running gear has ever got holes in or worn out (yet!) and I can never part with it.

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If I want to be sure to be warm in the winter I will always wear Gore. Every year Gore tweaks it’s running kit and I’m always excited to see what they have on offer each season.

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Saucony Reflex Jacket – white, www.saucony.co.uk
Saucony’s new range offers quite a few jackets, but I’ve picked the Reflex as my favourite as I think it’s the most practical/stylish offering for the darker months. What do you get? 360 degree high reflectivity with through little bubbles that are all over the jacket. It’s like being covered in tiny cat-lights. If there aren’t any lights shining on you the pattern is hardly noticeable. The fabric is also coated so it also provides the wind and water resistance you know you’re going to need. And there are mesh panels under the arms for ventilation, and freedom of movement. There’s more than enough storage space with zipped pockets on the front and one on the back right. I’m waiting for a sample, so for now this is what it looks like.

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Socks
Bridgedale Active Compression Sock, £28, www.bridgedale.com
I’ve become a convert to Bridgedale socks after spending the summer favouring their Speed Diva, due to the extra cushioning they offer. I really like thicker, cushioned socks, even in the heat, not just for protection from blisters but also for cosiness. These compression socks have just been launched and will help aid blood circulation and improve oxygen supply to muscles to increase stamina. The close stretch fit of the socks also reduces muscle vibration and enhances recovery. You’ll stay dry with Coolmax fibres. I also think the Black/Fluoro colourway is stylish.

529 Compression Active 008 Black fluro

Bridgedale Speed Trail, £15, www.bridgedale.com
Staying on the theme of thick winter socks, the Speed Trail is a variation on the Speed Diva, which offers more underfoot cushioning, and warmth, whilst at the same time keeping over foot ventilation. It’s also slightly longer so will keep the winter chill away from your ankle. I love the padding in vulnerable areas. Just about perfect for autumn.

635 RUN Speed Trail Wmn 413 Turquoise shadow

Sports Bras
VAARA Sports Bra, £35  vaara.com

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Offering mid-support (the bra is available in sizes 6-12), this sports bra will suit women who are a smaller cup, or are heading to a yoga or Pilates class. For me it was perfect to run in, though I have to admit I need little support in this area being an A cup (three lots of breastfeeding seemed to cause my boobs to shrink away to nothing! So I blame my three girls for this!). It was comfortable during running, as well as when I’ve been wearing it all day after returning from the gym, largely due to the wide band that sits just beneath your boobs. I loved the cross-over straps as they were adjustable to get a really tight fit. There are removable cups – I decided to leave mine in of course! As I said above, this bra is definitely suitable for smaller ladies.

Running Buggy
Bugaboo Runner, £583, bugaboo.com
Bugaboo’s first foray into the running stroller arena is loaded with intuitive functionalities. Practical features include speed control brakes, high spec suspension systems, mudguards, adjustable handlebars and a fixed front wheel for stability that are built to deliver whether heading out for a leisurely jog on your local footpath or taking on the trail on untrodden paths.

Bugaboo