Looks like winter finally arrived in Northern California. After a two months of record temps – mid 70s during the day – and no rain we’re now enjoying a little of the wet stuff. This caused me to pull a few things out of the closet including a New Balance Windblocker Half-Zip and a pair of Brooks Spartan II pants.


The New Balance Windblocker blocks more than a light breeze. It does an excellent job in the rain as well. New Balance builds the Windblocker out of a combination of polyester and spandex so it has an almost wetsuit-like outer quality, shedding water with ease. The interior is lined with a very light fleece for warmth. I ran in the Windblocker in temps down into the 30s and was very comfortable. As you hit the 50s however, it’s a bit overkill. Detailing is awesome with good reflective pieces, thumb loops, and a small, zippered pocket.

No tights here. The Brooks Spartan II pants are a classic-style track pant. They’re made from a lightweight and soft combination of polyester and spandex. This moisture wicking fabric kept me warm as temps dipped into the 30s (which is slightly below the manufacturer’s spec). Brooks suggest the ideal temperature range for the Spartan II is 40-65 degrees. One note on the Spartan IIs: like most clothing items made from this combo of yarns, the Spartan II pants get pretty funky pretty quickly. Expect to wash frequently.


According to New Balance, the Windblocker uses a semi-fitted approach. I found this too constricting and moved up from my normal medium to a men’s large. Unless you like that very close to the body fit, I suggest you do the same.

On the Spartan II, Brooks employs a more relaxed fit. I found it perfect and also liked that Brooks offers three different inseam lengths for a more tailored fit.

Final Verdict

After running in these two items for a week or more now, I must stay, I’m pretty impressed. The Windblocker holds up in the cold and wet. And so does the Spartan II. Both items deliver comfort and protection, and at a moderate price point. Check them out if you’re in the market for some cold weather running gear.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review by GearGuide.