With so many running-apparel companies on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming to spruce up your running wardrobe for the coming year. For years I wore the same faded split shorts with quitter linings that I had in high school and college until realizing, There is something better out there. If you’re one of those runners who really doesn’t care, and who wears the same shorts and shirt two or three times per week on a run, I say more power to ya’. Just don’t show up to group runs smelling like a teenager’s armpit and we’re cool. But, if you’re a runner who cares where your apparel comes from, how it was made, and more, you really have limited choices.
Rabbit running apparel really distinguishes on the market by being the one of the only running-apparel brands that is made in the United States. Specifically, southern California, 100 miles south of Santa Barbara where the company is headquartered. Rabbit is also a female-owned company which was started by Jill Deering and Monica DeVreese, both very fast lifelong runners. In fact, Monica has co-owned Santa Barbara Running, a small specialty run store, with her husband since 2003 as well as working in other corporate realms in the retail running world. Jill, a former D-1 college runner, co-owns Rabbit and also practices law.
They started the company to address what they saw as poorly made running apparel, and with an eye on quality control they decided that the only way to achieve high-quality construction and fit is to personally oversee these details. While most every other running-apparel company manages these details from afar, Rabbit is able to observe the construction practices and working conditions of the people who sew their running clothes regularly. They are one of the only companies (to my knowledge) that source and stitch their athletic apparel in the United States. While eco-conscious companies like Patagonia certify manufacturing facilities in Vietnam, China, and Japan, I have a tough time believing that they have the same level of oversight.
However, ethics hold little water 20 miles into a long run if your thighs and nipples are falling off, so now for the review! I tested a few pieces from Rabbit’s collection, the To-A-Tee t-shirt ($45), the Speed Sleeves long-sleeve shirt ($65), and the Quadzilla short ($52).
If running shirts were given style points, this would be the clear winner. With a finish that feels and looks like cotton, and that hasn’t faded after a year of weekly washes, the To-A-Tee is the best crossover running shirt that I can wear to the brewery after a workout. Rabbit’s FreeSpeed fabric is a blend (51% poly/47% nylon/2% spandex) that seems to feel thin-t-shirt soft while being quick drying and shrink proof. This blend also seems impervious to the daily grind of salty sweat, abuse, and detergent, and my 2015 t-shirt still looks as good as the day I got it. This is also one of the few shirts that I’ve tried that are approved against bloody nipples.
Speed Sleeves Long-Sleeve Shirt
This is honestly my favorite long-sleeve running shirt. It is midweight without retaining sweat and getting baggy like a lot of warmer long-sleeve shirts. It also looks fantastic at aforementioned brewery when you happen to find that your trail run finishes unusually close. Other design touches include well-proportioned sleeves for those with ape arms as well as thumb holes for frigid mornings. But my favorite thing about this shirt is that the fabric is a cozy blend of 87% poly/13% spandex with Rabbit’s FreeSpeed fabric on the back for increased breathability and moisture management.
This lightweight, in-between-length short (5 inches), is very breathable and features one of the most supportive yet breathable liners on the market. The colorways and piping also evoke the dawn of the running boom in the United States and they have a bit of retro appeal. The updated Quadzilla short also has a well-placed back zipper pocket, which holds multiple gels, key fobs, or a dog leash without the feeling of pulling your waistband down. But none of this is important without a well-fitting short, and my only advice with the Quadzilla is to size down. I’m typically a 31-inch waist, but a medium on Rabbit’s size chart left me feeling like I was swimming in fabric. This is also a short for runners who like a bit of a lower crotch as the stitching for the inseam starts a good two inches below the brief.
Rabbit Apparel Overall Impressions
Rabbit makes very high-quality running apparel and I hope that their product line grows in the coming years. They seem to be focused on the right fabric blends for running comfort in addition to figuring out the best apparel cuts for the widest variety or runners. While I found the cut of their shirts absolutely perfect, their shorts were less so, but that is likely personal preference. Overall, the materials, construction, and attention to detail are as good as it gets on the market and the fact that this is the first American-made running apparel I’ve ever worn in 30 years of running is pretty profound.
I highly recommend Rabbit apparel, and the fact that they can manufacture in California and beat out the prices of Asian-made boutique manufacturers will keep me coming back for more. It is high time that more American running-apparel companies do the same.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Have you tried any of Rabbit’s apparel yet? If so, which items and can you share your thoughts on them?
- Does the fact that Rabbit apparel is made in the U.S. influence you?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]