When you think of Helly Hansen, you might think of ski gear and not running gear. Well, they’ve definitely got some really nice things for your next trip down the mountain, but their base layers are perfect for running in temps below 40, and their waterproof boots are the best way to warm up quick after a winter long run or race. I have a few specific suggestions that I promise will be well-received when discovered under the tree. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or an inspiring woman in your life … you can’t go wrong with these suggestions:First of all, take a look at the Merino wool base layers. They are soft and warm, have slightly longer-than-usual long sleeves, and can be paired with a thin windbreaking shell (if it’s windy out) to keep you from having to bulk up to run in near-freezing temps. I also think the fit is extremely flattering and has enough detail to just look, well, cool.
My favorites are the Lifa Merino 1/2-Zip, Crew, and Active Graphic Crew. The colors and styles range from the white/blue/coral that I am wearing in this picture to a Nordic sweater pattern to solid color (I picked out three other patterns I liked to show in the picture above but there are so many more), so there’s something for everyone. Prices range from $60 to $100, and the quality is such that this is a long-sleeve shirt that will last for years. To be honest, I wear mine as much as a “regular shirt” as I do for running, because it’s so comfortable and I like the way it fits and looks so much.
What’s also nice is that these shirts come in all sizes from XS to XXXXL. I am about 5′ 8″ and a chesty 145 pounds, and the size L was exactly right for me. I also fit into a medium, but felt more comfortable in the L because I wanted the shirt to be a little loose. I have always thought that the regular run of sizes in most shirts that stops at XL was not realistic because women of all sizes run and walk, and we all deserve clothes that performs well, fits great, and gives us confidence in how we look.
Second up in my recommendation for any gifts you need (for yourself, your partner, or anyone who doesn’t let a little rain stop them from supporting your running and racing) are boots from Helly Hansen. Up until this year, I had a pair of plain rubber boots that did a great job of keeping my feet dry, but not warm and definitely not supported. I got a pair of Helly Hansen’s Georgina boots and felt a little like like I’d been cheating myself all these years.
For starters, they are waterproof. I’m not sure if this was more appreciated at my husband’s cross-country races, after my own trail runs, or walking across the “parking lot of 10,000 lakes” to see the finish of the Columbia Gorge Marathon.
Also awesome is that these are not just waterproof shells to keep your socks dry: to test out the support I wore them to work one day and was happy with the results. They are super-warm but also breathable, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re cute. Every time I wear them, other women ask me what brand they are and how I like them.
I would say these run true to size. I wear an 8 in dress shoes and an 8.5 in my running shoes, and the size 8 is perfect even after a 10-miler when my feet are a little swollen. They have a huge variety of styles, so if the plaid/fur look isn’t for you (or her), check out styles like the more sleek Arabella, or the sportier Harriet … or any of their many other winter boots.
The Georgina boots are $160, and other styles range from $110 to $180. Like the Merino top I am currently trying to wear as frequently as possible, these boots are made to last and a smart investment for years of fall and winter race spectating and hikes.
If you’re shopping for Christmas presents, you can order up until December 16 to get them in time. All orders over $100 come with free shipping, too. By the way, they have men’s apparel and boots that are just as nice … happy shopping!