What Run Oregon is Wearing: Staying Warm with Smartwool PhD

PhD Light Long Sleeve Shirt

Smartwool PhD Thermal Body Mapping Technology: Understanding the body in motion.

“Body mapping shows that sweat isn’t gender neutral. And comfort creates efficiency. That’s why we address men’s and women’s bodies differently, zone by zone. Body mapping technology allows us to put the right amount of breathability and warmth where you need it most. That means details like mesh panels on Smartwool PhD tops where men sweat the most and women’s-specific breathability zones on PhD socks. It all adds up to serious comfort, making you more efficient over the long haul.”

From Drew:

With winter coming, wool running clothing offers some amazing benefits. Firstly, there is the warmth level, especially if you want to modify how you layer. When it comes to wool running gear, Smartwool has begun marketing their PHD Running line. From their website:

I was asked to test the PhD Light Long Sleeve Top and the PhD Run Light Elite Low Cut Socks. The socks were an immediate hit, especially on trail runs. The thickness allows formore cushion, especially on longer runs. On a cold morning (28 degrees) a few days ago, I went out for a run with a tremendous amount of elevation gain. I had on both the top and the socks. Typically I would have added a second lighter layer on top for the sake of the temp and then stripped it off part way through. The PhD top was perfect, only having to pull the sleeves up near the end of the run. I honestly expected my feet to get much warmer but they didn’t, which I must attribute to the “Activity Specific Mesh Zones” as advertised by Smartwool.

Smartwool PhD tights

From Geli:
I got to add two new pieces of SmartWool clothing to my running gear as well: I’m very excited about the PhD Printed Tights, since I’ve often struggled with finding the right clothing during colder and wetter weather. The inside of the tights is soft, and when I first put them on they fit like a glove. The waistband is wider than some, so it doesn’t dig into the skin, nor does it slide around. There is a zipper pocked in the center back that is big enough for my smartphone. There also is a side pocket on the thigh, which could hold my phone, but is great for things I need to access during the run, such as food, tissues, etc. Temperature control of the wool is fantastic. I ran a 10k that started at 43*F, and I felt warm enough at the start. During the race, I warmed up and the sun warmed up, and while I was shedding layers on my arms, my legs stayed comfortable without overheating. I look forward to trying these tights in wet winter conditions.

The second piece of SmartWool was a new pair of PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks. Smartwool socks have been my favorites for wet weather running for several years, and this pair of cold weather running socks is quickly shooting to the top of my list of favorites. While the padding level is listed as “light cushion,” the heels and toe area of the socks are very soft and quite a bit thicker than the rest of the socks. The socks’ fit is snug and warm without constricting. These socks will definitely make my feet happy during winter runs.

Sock Specs:

  • 51% Merino Wool, 46% Nylon, 3% Elastane
  • Knit in USA
  • Run-specific fit
  • Virtually seamless toe
  • 200 needle construction provides high-density cushioning while maintaining light weight
  • Sock Height: Low Cut – 2.25″ overall height

Shirt Specs:

  • Main Body: 56% Merino Wool 44% Polyester. Mesh: 54% Merino Wool 46% Polyester
  • Warmer Merino/polyester blend helps fabric move moisture, dry quickly, and maintain its shape in high-sweat activities in colder weather
  • Minimal Merrow seam construction provides superior durability and is soft against skin
  • Integrated thumbhole openings for additional coverage
  • 360° reflectivity for visibility

Tights Specs: 

  • Slim Fit; Mid Rise
  • Knitting method concentrates Merino against skin and nylon/elastane against the elements
  • Draw cord for customizable waist fit
  • Secure zip pocket on back and drop-in pocket on left side for additional storage
  • Size M inseam: 27.5″ (70 cm)
  • Knit in Vietnam: 44% Nylon, 36% Merino Wool, 20% Elastane
  • Garment Weight: 260 g = 9.17 oz

Company: Smartwool (check them out on Facebook or on Twitter @Smartwool)

Products & Price: 

  • PhD Light Long Sleeve Top – $85.00 – available in 4 colors (at Smartwool or Amazon)
  • PhD Run Light Elite Low Cut Socks – $17.95 – available in 5 colors (at Smartwool or Amazon)
  • Women’s PhD Printed Tight – $120.00 – available in 2 print and 2 solid colors (at SmartWool or Amazon)
  • Women’s PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks  $20.95 – available in 3 colors (at Smartwool or Amazon)
More about SmartWool:
The Smartwool story started on a rugged Colorado ski slope with the belief that toes didn’t have to be cold. One simple pair of Merino socks challenged the conventional wisdom and forever changed the way outdoor enthusiasts looked at their feet. It’s not just about the Merino, though. It’s what we do with it that makes Smartwool different. For over 20 years, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of Merino to create smarter, more capable products from head to toe.
Thank you to Smartwool for providing us with samples Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.


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Ultra runner with an ice cream addiction.

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