Running in the cold and rain sucks. There’s no way around it for anyone with a regimented training schedule though, and the only solution — a running jacket — always seems to fall short. No matter how light they are, jackets that protect from rain and wind will never be as breathable as your favorite t-shirt. As your body heats up during a run, it expels moisture, and a jacket quickly becomes an inescapable sweatbox. But Nike’s new Sphere offers a way out.
Nike describes the Sphere as a “Transform Running Top,” which is a title that gets right to the point of what’s different about it as a layer. It features an ultralight rain shell that can be removed during a run and stashed away in a hoodie-style front pocket. What’s left beneath is a synthetic long sleeve shirt that’ll wick away sweat.
Even when that outer layer is on, the Sphere doesn’t offer full-body coverage in the same way a traditional jacket would. Like a poncho, it lacks sleeves and lower back coverage (but does have a hood), providing protection from precipitation in the key zones where its needed while leaving plenty of room for breathability where it can. Sure, the design looks a little kooky, but it might be the perfect construction for optimal shoulder-season running.
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