female trail runner moving uphill wearing Nathan apparel and pack

First Look: Nathan Running Apparel Handles Perspiration, Precipitation, Sun, and Snow

After starting with hydration gear in 1985, Nathan Sports now dives into performance running apparel.

Today, Nathan adds apparel to its extensive gear lineup. The running brand, which currently makes hydration belts, vests, flasks, gloves, and other running accessories, unveils two full apparel lines — and they are extensive. There are 12 women’s styles and 10 men’s in total, each with different features and color options, comprising shorts, joggers, tights, tees, jackets, ultralight layers, and more.

“We’ve been running together for decades, and our collection of running essentials continues to deliver on intuitive design, premium quality, and a focus on what matters most,” Nathan wrote. “Now, that extraordinary attention can be found in our new line of Nathan running apparel.”

I tested out a variety of gear — shorts, shirts, and two jackets — just a fraction of what Nathan now offers. (For this review, styles are available in both men’s and women’s unless we note otherwise.)

In short: Nathan’s new apparel line is definitely built and focused on the dedicated runner. The line includes all types of layering, and the apparel (both tops and bottoms) is racked with features. Overall, we found the sizing accurate, and most everything comfortable, well-designed, and, best of all, loaded with pockets.

Nathan Running Apparel

clockwise: a long sleeve, a jacket, and tee, and a pair of shorts laid out on table

For me, Nathan’s new apparel has hit the trifecta: performance-oriented, comfortable, and versatile. (Though if I was ranking those qualities, I’d put comfort first.)

Depending on the layer, Nathan’s fabrics use nylon, polyester, TENCEL, and elastane (anywhere from 7% up to 18% for the layers with four-way stretch).

Every single item in Nathan’s apparel line (except for the tees) has at least one pocket and at least one reflective hit. (Most items have more.) It was obvious straight out of the box, and straight out onto my first run, that Nathan put in some serious research, development, and testing into its new line.

Specifically, the brand set out to make sure runners are (1) comfortable and equipped, and (2) visible whether on the road or trail.

The other design feature evident across most of Nathan’s apparel is the brushed tricot pocket linings that deliver bold pops of pattern. This isn’t just for style, but it does look cool.

The soft linings sewn in serve as extra protection for those items like sunglasses, a phone, etc. And you won’t have to worry about scratches or carrying a microfiber cloth. The hooded jacket we tested below even has touches of the brushed tricot on the back of the neck, where the hood rides when down.

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Nathan Running Apparel Review

Nathan Traverse Jacket (Women’s Only)

author in the Nathan Traverse jacket in red
The author stretching in the Nathan Traverse Jacket

The Traverse Jacket, though not my favorite piece tested, was actually the piece I ran with most often. It falls somewhere between a zippered shirt and a “jacket” in the more traditional sense of the word.

Shirt qualities? It paired great in warmer weather with just a sports bra or tank. It also has thumbhole loops on the cuffs. And while the fabric is thicker, there’s ventilation in the back, making it more breathable than I expected. Jacket qualities? It’s windproof, water-resistant, and has two zippered hand pockets.

Most times, this was a piece of outerwear for me, but it does have the versatility to act as an in-between layer.

Nathan Dash Tee

Already one of my go-to running shirts, Nathan spent some time designing this tee. Its Tri Blend fabric is super soft, and it has great quick-drying properties, as well as other standard apparel features we probably all look for in running tees (like flatlock seams and reflective hits).

The shirt has what Nathan calls a “comfortable stretch side split seam” (shown below). Basically, this looks similar to a flattering drop tail. The shirt definitely kept moving with my torso as I jogged, twisted, and sprinted, and I didn’t notice any pulling or bunching while pounding out a fast run.

Yes, a tee is a tee, but for $45 and the quality, this is a pretty nice one that has definitely made its way into my rotation of favorite workout shirts.

Nathan Essential Shorts

close-up view of the Nathan essential shorts
The Essential Shorts and Dash tee pictured on the author

I tested two of the three running short styles from Nathan. (The third style, the Crossover Shorts, in women’s only, are high-waisted and tight-fitting, which I personally think look better for indoor workouts than running.)

Enter the Essential Shorts. I loved, loved running in these. They have a wide mesh panel on the sides to allow for wicking and breathability, and a light, airy feel. From stair workouts to hot trail runs — even workday commutes — these shorts performed great.

The waistband does ride a little low on the hips, but it is comfortable and has a really nice brushed band.

Onto the real features: The zippered pocket (these have three total) on the Essential Shorts is located on the back right, at a slight angle. The pocket placement is good, and the pocket actually runs across the whole back of the shorts, so when you do have a few small items stashed in there, the weight is spread out evenly.

The pocket also has a nice, easy-to-locate paracord loop pull — light and, in my opinion, better than a standard zipper.

The two other pockets are located on the sides of the shorts, as a drop-in style incorporated into the mesh panels. They can just fit a phone, although we preferred these pockets for stashing energy chews and snacks. And one even has an elastic clip loop for keys.

I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair of running shorts as light as these, let alone a pair with three nicely incorporated pockets. Note: The men’s Essential Shorts, with the exact same materials and features, look different, with a 9-inch inseam.

Nathan Tour Jacket (Men’s Only)

Nathan men's tour jacket front and back with hood in black against white background

While this jacket is only available in men’s sizing, that didn’t stop us from testing it. Women can order one size down, which is what I did, and the sizing worked out pretty well (see notes below).

I mainly wanted to test the Tour Jacket because it’s the burliest jacket in Nathan’s lineup, and given the approaching weather forecast, I wanted something I could wear in harsh winter elements. I wore the Tour once in 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit and light snow, and once in 30-ish degrees and rain.

The Tour Jacket isn’t lightweight, but it’s not meant to be. It’s “built for the elements,” and in that regard, it succeeded. The DWR coating is good and beads water well, even on the wettest days. The venting on the back also worked out great — I never felt too warm or stuffy, and it kept me dry even on my rainy run.

The elastic cuffs and trim on the neck and hood are comfortable; the same goes for the hood (i.e., it fits my smaller head). I was worried the sizing conversion would turn up issues, but luckily, the hood, shoulders, and hem fit me well.

And this jacket was just slightly on the roomier side, perfect layering with a light fleece underneath.  The sleeves were a tad long, but other than that, no complaints.

My only con: I did wish it had one more pocket, maybe an internal or chest pocket, when I was running in thermal tights (no pockets). Nathan did let us know that it originally designed a few of the jackets with internal pockets. But given the plethora of pockets in its short and pant layers, the brand removed that element in the design.

That being said, the zippered hand pockets on the Tour were enough to stash a phone and, when needed, gloves.

Overall Feedback

As you can see, I loved testing a few of the new Nathan apparel pieces. I couldn’t test everything, and it’s worth noting I only had about 3 weeks to test. Given the exhaustive list of apparel Nathan just debuted, we’ll be sure to keep testing these — and more styles — in the future.

Also, don’t miss the first Nathan apparel deal! To kick off the launch of its apparel line, Nathan is offering everyone a 15% discount, available on your first apparel purchase. Visit Nathan’s website for more details.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.