Sweat-proof Summer Workout Gear

The latest products to help you keep your cool, even when you take your workout outdoors.
Woman jogging

It’s no wonder so many of us cower in the gym during the sweaty summer months — or stop exercising altogether in favor of lying down in a darkened, air-conditioned room. Sure, you can buy summer outdoor workout gear, but so much of it is skimpy enough to make Lady Gaga blush and, frankly, that doesn’t cut it for us.

But the mind and body benefits of a sunny workout are plentiful, and it’s a shame to forgo them just because we can’t find the right gear. (It goes without saying that sunblock and plenty of water are non-negotiable.)

So we’ve cut through the clutter and rounded up a few essential items that will keep you as cool as can be, as stylishly as possible, without showing parts of you that you’d rather keep to yourself.

Prices and availability may vary.

Mizuno Ascend running shorts
Mizuno Ascend running shorts
There are plenty of reasons why many of us wouldn’t dream of wearing shorts for exercising outdoors, but top of the list is fear of the dreaded “chub rub” — an affliction suffered by all but the skinniest of women when already short shorts ride up even further and cause sweaty thighs to chafe. Enter the Mizuno Ascend, whose generous 5-inch inseam makes these a great choice for women who want to wear real running shorts but shun the “bun-huggers” offered by most brands. Loose but not shapelessly baggy, a slight stretch (and reflective design) makes these great for every kind of activity. They come complete with a handy key pocket and a more roomy zip pocket on the side.
$39.99, mizunousa.com
Lucy Breakthru singlet
Lucy Breakthru singlet
It’s hard to find a good, wicking tank top that doesn’t have a built-in shelf bra, but for those of us who also need to wear a high-performance sports bra, the combo can feel horribly hot and constricting. Thankfully, the female-friendly designers at Lucy have come up with this gloriously lightweight and versatile top that our tester wore to run a half-marathon one weekend, and to spend the day walking around Boston with Bermuda shorts and sandals the next. The gathered detail at the neckline and cute drawstring at the waist give it a little shot of style, while the wicking fabric, plus the loop on the shoulder that keeps your headphone cord from repeatedly smacking you in the face, are pure function.
$48, lucy.com
Saucony Micro Mélange V short sleeve
Saucony Micro Mélange V short sleeve
If you prefer a little coverage on your arms, this semi-fitted, wicking T-shirt from Saucony is a great summer buy. It’s slightly thicker than you’d expect, but incredibly soft and it keeps you cool. Performance tees often have tight sleeves that can dig in; these are loose enough not to rub, but not so loose that they flap around and reveal your bra when you wave to a fellow worker-outer. A reflective logo adds a level of safety during dark hours, while 50+ UPF provides UV protection at the height of a sunny day.
$ 40, saucony.com
Saucony Grid Type A3
Saucony Grid Type A3
Bear with us here. Yes, these are billed as a racing shoe, but we tested these in all conditions and found them to be the lightest-weight, most breathable shoes that still have great grip and real support for all but the most problematic of feet. They hug the midfoot and heel, and give just enough cushioning to make them comfortable for long walks as well as short, fast runs. The gusseted tongue also makes them great for walking off-road, as it helps keep nature’s irritants — rocks, dirt, etc. — out. The one downside? Only one color combination, and it’s a little lurid.
$70, saucony.com
Mizuno Meridian skirt
Mizuno Meridian skirt
Don’t let skirt fool you — this is all skort, and its cute colors are just part of why we love it. Unlike many other running skorts, the Meridian’s undershorts stay exactly where they should — no chub rub here. The 14.5-inch outseam is actually flattering (imagine!) for pretty much everyone. A side zipper pocket keeps keys, credit card, even an iPod safe. And the “QuickDryPlus” fabric does what you’d expect it to. All in all, this was pretty much our favorite skort.
$55.99,mizunousa.com
CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator shorts
CW-X Stabilyx Ventilator shorts
They’re pitched at serious athletes, you’ve got to wrestle to pull these up, and you might want to consider going up a size, but once they’re on, boy do these feel good. You’d be forgiven for thinking that skintight black knee-length shorts are going to be awfully hot, but CW-X’s Healtha+ mesh panels get the air circulating, while the patented Support Web claims to engage certain muscles and act as an “exoskeleton,” somehow making you feel like you’ve got bionic power moving your legs ever forward. This all adds up to a surprisingly breathable, supremely comfortable and (let’s face it), ridiculously thigh-flattering experience. (Wear a longer top or loose shorts over them if you’re self-conscious about your bottom.)
$74.99, RoadRunnerSports.com for stores
ECCO BIOM Walk shoes
ECCO BIOM Walk shoes
Here’s a conversation starter: It turns out that yak leather offers tremendous breathability. Given that these ECCO shoes look so sturdy, we were amazed at how cool our feet stayed, even on long walks on hot city streets. These shoes tap into the current “barefoot” craze, designed to emulate the experience of barefoot walking through natural motion. That said, we felt the support was still there when we needed it, thanks to a “shank” system that stabilizes the midfoot, and this shoe’s sturdy construction goes a long way toward justifying the admittedly high price.
$195, eccousa.com
Brooks Gossamer ped
Brooks Gossamer ped
Even the lightest-weight outfit can go to waste if you’ve got red-hot feet thanks to your regular socks. Thinner socks can often cause blisters, but these peds from Brooks are robust enough to offer protection and arch support, yet seem to disappear once you’ve put them on. With a 13% Lycra content, they’re anatomically shaped (so make sure you buy the right size) and billed as running socks, but work for any activity and shoe type. They’re not cheap, but a week’s worth will keep you cool and blister-free all summer, which makes them worth every cent in our book.
$10, brooksrunning.com

Want more? Get thousands more articles, tips and recipes when you subscribe to WeightWatchers.com.
Learn more

ADVERTISEMENT
Free Newsletter Get it now
ADVERTISEMENT