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Ask Chris Black: Thoughts on Stylish Windbreakers That Won’t Overheat a Runner?

Photo: georgia-bayliss

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, Chris Black is here to answer it in a regular column.

Thoughts on lightweight shells or windbreakers that won’t weigh down a runner? Looking for something full-zip (no anoraks or ponchos) and technical enough (water-repellant, or at least resistant) that also is stylish.
When pounding the pavement, one must be light! Below are some options to keep you dry but not suffocated.

Photo: retailer

The Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket is the best. It comes in every flavor (black, Andes blue, and mango (a.k.a. orange). It’s very light, has a hood, and folds up into a pretty small portable pouch. I own one and it often comes in handy.

$79
Photo: retailer

Of course, Nike makes a good option. The Windrunner Jacket is simple, water-resistant, and ripstop. It has some subtle reflective details which are always useful in case you jog at night or in bad weather. In addition to the black shown, you can also get it in a few other colors if you buy from Nike.

Photo: retailer

Outdoor superstore REI has one (on sale!) called the Co-op Swiftland Trail Run Jacket that looks very nice and is now even more affordable. Packable, ripstop, and windproof, it also features laser-cut underarm vents and drop-in front pockets for your Maurten Hydrogel Sports Fuel.

Photo: retailer

I know you want full zip, but hear me out. District Vision just released its Theo Membrane Shell, which is very light, water-resistant, half-zip, and packable. It’s more expensive, but definitely the coolest option, and something that is guaranteed to impress your (virtual) running club.

Do you have any favorite audiobooks? And by that I mean: Are there any books that you think are better listened to because of their narrators?
Timely question! I am about to do a long drive and have been looking into this exact topic. I can’t just have some boring voice. I need some SPICE!

[Editor’s note: All of the audiobooks below are available on Audible, and for $15 a month, you can get all of them for free via a monthly subscription to Audible, which offers a 30-day free trial. The Amazon prices shown are for individual downloads of each book.]

Photo: retailer

First on my list is The Chiffon Trenches, the new memoir by the legendary André Leon Talley, who also narrates the audiobook. Nothing sounds more appealing during this decidedly unglamorous time than Tallley regaling me in his distinct timbre with salacious Anna Wintour gossip and tales of Karl Lagerfeld serving cocaine for dessert.

Photo: retailer

If you haven’t read Kitchen Confidential, now is the time to listen to Anthony Bourdain (RIP) himself read it to you. His voice is comforting and familiar, and his stories about the restaurant industry, drugs, and sex don’t get old.

Photo: retailer

Because someone in publishing is brilliant, a version of Nora Ephron’s classic Heartburn is available read by Meryl Streep. The classic novel about the breakup of a perfect marriage is somehow pretty funny. Somewhat privileged East Coast life, love, betrayal, bewilderment, loss, regrouping, and … did I mention Meryl Streep? Excellent!

Need your recommendations for summer-friendly “house shoes” — I got the North Face ThermoBall Traction Mules on your tip, and love them, but they’re not the best for warm weather. Ideally, something as affordable, comfortable, and versatile (i.e. good for the occasional outdoor errand or short stroll), but not another sandal or Birkenstock that I’ve already seen.
If your home pedicures have the digits looking right, then the warmer weather should inspire you to let them breathe. I have said before that Birkenstock Arizona is a great choice, but, for you, we can go more in-depth!

My go-to summer house shoe is the Hoka One One Ora Recovery Slide. The all-black version is PLUSH. Its breathable design features the brand’s rockered midsole, which keeps the legs and feet loose and relaxed. Great for post-workout or just shuffling around the home. Put comfort first. The ones shown are sized for men, but you can get the same pairs for women here and here.

Another option is the all-black Oofos Ooah (damn that is a lot of o’s). These don’t have the big boy sole, and the overall look is less aggressive, but they also put comfort first. They mold to the foot, and the arch support is excellent. Your gait will thank you!

Photo: retailer/

The faux leather Thunderbird from Malibu Sandals is a suitable Birkenstock Boston replacement if you’d rather something other than the above open-toe options. A hand-woven clog with a murdered-out gum sole, this pair can be dressed up easily, but is just as suited for bumming around the house when temps rise.

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Ask Chris: Thoughts on Stylish Windbreakers for Summer Runs?