Walk, run or bike to work? These clothes are made for busy commuters

If you like to combine your commute with a workout, these clothing brands have you in mind.
Image: Legs of a young businesswoman on a bicycle
Getting to work while getting in your exercise is good for the environment, good for the body and likely good for workplace productivity.Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images
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By Amanda Loudin

For 36-year old Jesse Blondin, a manager in the Canadian federal government in Ottawa, there’s no better way to multi-task than to run to work. As a busy mom of two, running the four-plus miles to and from the office allows her get in her training, freeing up time for other areas of life. To Blondin’s way of thinking, that’s a win-win.

Getting to work while getting in your exercise is good for the environment, good for the body and likely good for workplace productivity as well. While there are no hard statistics on how many people run commute, the U.S. Census Bureau shows that about three percent of employees walk to work. The League of American Bicyclists reported that in 2017, over 800,000 people bike commuted.

Having safe roadways or pathways is one element to making run, bike or walk commuting feasible, but so too is having a good system and the right clothing. Blondin has her routine down pat: “Once a week, I drive into the office and drop off five lunches and snacks, along with clothing,” she says. “I take a shower before I leave, braid my hair and then use baby wipes or a towel to clean up once I get there.”

Lisa Blodgett, 50, another run commuter living in Maryland, does something similar. “I keep clothes and toiletries at the office and am fortunate to have a shower there to use when I arrive,” she says. “I usually get there, cool down a bit, and then head to the locker room to shower and change.”

Athletic wear with these women in mind

Both women are intrigued by the idea of a new trend in athletic clothing, however — “commuter wear.” These are pieces companies design with versatility in mind. A step above athleisure when it comes to formality, they are just as practical. Run, bike or walk commuters can cover their miles, do a quick clean up and then move on into their day. This style of clothing can also work nicely in reverse — leave the office and jump right into the next event. “I often run home and go straight to my kids’ activities,” says Blondin, “and it would be nice to have something on that isn’t necessarily strict running clothing.”

Run, bike or walk commuters can cover their miles, do a quick clean up and then move on into their day.

With women like Blondin and Blodgett in mind, Athleta recently created an entire line of clothing designed to move from commute to office and back again, featuring everything from pants to parkas. Athleta isn’t the only company with this objective in mind. Here’s a round up of clothing both women and men can turn to when looking to marry up commute time with training time.

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For women:

Athleta

The commute/work line of clothing contains four sets of pants and coordinating tops and accessories. These are tights with a bit of panache and detail, like the herringbone mercer tight and stellar trouser. They move with you for any activity yet carry over seamlessly to the office. Other pieces in the collection include sweaters, jackets, a button down and a commuter backpack.

Athleta Herringbone Mercer TightCourtesy of Athleta

Oiselle

A women’s running company, Oiselle has always set the bar high when it comes to style details. While its lines are heavy on the run wear, Oiselle’s offerings have expanded to include pieces to take you from point A to point B with the ability to look office ready upon arrival. Pants like the NBD and story capris form a foundation on which to build a perfect commuter line, and there are plenty of tops and even dresses and skirts that could easily serve a walk, run or bike ride to work.

REI

The outdoor clothing and gear company recently introduced its Wallace Lake collection, designed around classics like the Dolman pullover, down vests for cooler seasons, and a set of leggings in “chocolate plum” that dress up easily once you arrive at your destination. A men’s line is also available.

For men:

Icebreaker

This company’s merino wool-based line of clothing is a versatile collection to get you through an active commute and right into meetings. Consider the cool-lite compass shirt, a button-down flannel with a combination of elasterall for movement and polyester for wicking. Other good bets include the persist and connection model pants, both of which present well while allowing for movement on your commute.

Showerspass

For the bike commuter in particular, the rogue pant is a top choice. It’s water resistant so it can handle the rain, has reflective accents when cuffed, and a hem cinch to keep the pants away from a potential greasy run in with the chain.

Rhone Commuter PantMark Grgurich/Rhone

Rhone

This unique company has an entire line built around the workout-to-work lifestyle. Worth checking out: The commuter city pant, made of stretch fabric and featuring a reflective back pocket and cuffs, and the commuter pant, with an articulated knee for mobility, stretch fabric and a media pocket. Top it off with the Delta pique polo, made with Polartec for cooling and GoldFusion to fight stink. The sleeve features shoulder articulation for improved movement.

If you’ve never considered biking, running or walking to work, there’s never been a better time to give it a go, especially when it comes to clothing. For her part, Blondin likes the idea of commute-to-office wear. “There are plenty of times where I roll into the office at 8:59 and have to go straight into a 9:00 meeting,” she says. “I think it would be great to have something more presentable that serves a dual purpose.”

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