Ciele Apparel Review

An in-depth review of Ciele apparel, including options for shorts, tights, shirts, and singlets.

By on February 20, 2024 | Comments

Perhaps best known for their popular running and athletic hats, Ciele is a Certified B-Corp that makes athletic gear including hats and headwear, apparel, and co-branded items like socks and footwear with partners like Stance, Puma, Salomon, and more.

For more than six months and through every variety of weather, I tested a collection of Ciele apparel including tights, shorts, tops, and a sports bra. Overall, these pieces are well-made, with recycled fabrics, aesthetic design details, and a true fit with a flattering silhouette. Below, I dive into each of the six apparel items individually.

Ciele W FSTTight

Living and training in Central Oregon, it’s common to see snowflakes flying even in May, June, or August, and I’ve become a fan of the Ciele W FSTTight ($130) when temperatures swing low and the wind bites. These cold-weather running tights are made with a stretchy recycled nylon and elastane blend that feels supportive without being restrictive.

Ciele W FSTTight - front view

A front view of the Ciele W FSTTight. All photos iRunFar/Alli Hartz unless otherwise noted.

They are a nice, medium weight tight — not too thin and not too thick — and they work well for a wide range of temperatures, from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to the mid-teens. After countless miles and washes over the last seven or eight months, I am happy to report that they’re holding their shape very well.

My favorite feature of these tights is their side pockets, which are big enough for a smartphone or a couple gels. They also have a comfortable high-waist fit and a wide waistband that never squeezes my midsection. My only complaint is that these tights don’t have an internal drawstring in the waistband. Unfortunately, they slide down as I run and I have to give them a tug every once in a while.

I still wear them a ton, especially for strength training at the gym. If only I could cinch them at the waist, they’d likely become my favorite running tights.

Men can check out the Ciele M FSTTight ($130).

Ciele W FSTTight - back view

A back view of the Ciele W FSTTight.

Shop the Women's Ciele W FSTTightShop the Men's Ciele M FSTTight

Ciele W DBSShort – Elite

The Ciele W DBSShort – Elite ($120) was so incredibly close to becoming my absolute favorite pair of running shorts this year. The only reason it fell short is because the brief-style liner would not stay in place, and it constantly gave me a wedgie.

Combined with the split-short design and ultralight fabric that loves to flap in the wind, this meant I was showing a little more skin than I meant to on the mountain trails. (Sorry if you were climbing a steep trail behind me.)

Ciele W DBSShort - Elite - front view

A front view of the Ciele W DBSShort – Elite.

Nevertheless, the inconvenience of picking a wedgie at the top of every climb (and occasionally mooning other trail users) was worth it because I love everything else about these shorts.

The women’s DBSShort – Elite is made with a thin, stretchy and oh-so-soft front panel and an equally soft, stretchy cooling fabric on the back. The waistband is — you guessed it — also incredibly soft.

Unlike the rest of these shorts, the waistband stays put (but never squeezes) and it has an internal drawstring that stows in a small front pouch. The shorts also have one tiny pocket on the front and three more small pockets on the back. I never used the pockets, but they’d work well enough for holding a gel or two.

Finally, $120 is pretty expensive for a pair of running shorts. While I love the weightlessness of these shorts – my pair of women’s size small weighs about 3 ounces, or 88 grams – and how they make me feel like I’m flying down the trail, I am bummed the liner doesn’t stay in place like it does in the other pair of Ciele running shorts I reviewed below.

For men, you can also get the men’s Ciele DBSShort – Elite ($120).

Ciele W DBSShort - Elite - back view

A back view of the Ciele W DBSShort – Elite.

Shop the Women's Ciele W DBSShort - EliteShop the Men's Ciele M DBSShort - Elite

Ciele W DLYShort 4″ Short Brief

The Ciele W DLYShort 4″ Short Brief ($75) took the top spot for my favorite running shorts this year. With a four-inch inseam and a zippered back pocket, these shorts are more practical for trail running — especially for long training runs and ultras. The brief-style liner is silky soft and never budged.

Ciele W DLYShort Short Brief - back view

A back view of the Ciele W DLYShort 4″ Short Brief.

The waistband is soft, comfortable, and it stays in place. Like the DBSShort – Elite reviewed above, these shorts also have an internal drawstring that can be tucked into an internal pouch and forgotten. The shorts material is a light and stretchy recycled fabric that breathes well and moves with you. My pair of women’s size small shorts weighs about 3.7 ounces (104 grams).

These shorts are so comfortable that I ended up wearing them for all of my long runs while training for the Western States 100, and then most of my mountain runs throughout the remainder of the year. I also wore them at the IMTUF 100 Mile trail race in September. After hundreds of miles, these shorts still look great and are not showing any wear.

While $75 is a hefty investment in running shorts, I never chafed or felt any discomfort in these shorts. I’ve loved wearing them.

Men can avail of the Ciele M DLYShort 5″ Short Brief ($80).

Ciele W DLYShort Short Brief

The Ciele W DLYShort 4″ Short Brief on the right in full flow. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Shop the Women's Ciele W DLYShort 4Shop the Men's Ciele M DLYShort 5

Ciele W FSTSinglet

Over the years, I’ve moved away from wearing tank tops on long runs and races when I’m also wearing a hydration vest, but I’ve made an exception for the Ciele W FSTSinglet ($80). The reason I tend to opt for sleeves is that I like a little extra protection from my hydration vest material and long hours of sun exposure. However, this singlet has more coverage than the typical tank top, and I love its flowy fit and breathable fabric.

Ciele W FSTSinglet

The Ciele W FSTSinglet. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

This running tank top comes up higher around my neckline and it covers the back of my shoulders where my hydration pack could chafe. The shoulder straps measure slightly more than 1.5 inches (4.5 centimeters) at their narrowest point. The mesh fabric feels light and breathable, and there are slits on either side for added airflow (and style.) Note, if you’re a fan of Ciele hats, this top uses the same fabric.

The tank top has a flattering silhouette that hangs comfortably and feels flowy. The only thing I don’t love about this tank top is that the mesh fabric doesn’t feel amazing when I pull the shirt up to wipe sweat off my face. On very hot days when my face was covered in salt, this experience felt a little abrasive compared to some of my other, softer running shirts.

Men can check out the Ciele M FSTSinglet ($80).

Shop the Women's Ciele W FSTSingletShop the Men's Ciele M FSTSinglet

Ciele W FSTTShirt

Like the singlet above, the Ciele W FSTTShirt ($95) has a flattering, flowy fit. Although it looks boxier than the singlet, it hit at just the right spot above my hips to look great. I also love the sleeves, which fit long and loose on my upper arms.

Ciele W FSTTShirt - side view

A front and side view of the Ciele W FSTTShirt.

This running t-shirt is exceptionally breathable, and the loose fit along with side slits allows plenty of air flow. It’s also comfortable for running, and I never experienced any chafing.

Made with recycled COOLmatic | PLUS fabric, the women’s FSTTShirt is light and airy, with good sun protection, although I couldn’t find any UPF rating for the fabric.

It’s the kind of shirt you could wear for a morning run and then to brunch. Because the shirt I tested is white, I avoided wearing this tee on long runs or under a hydration vest in an attempt to keep its bright white fabric stain-free. I didn’t exactly succeed, but it still looks good from several feet away. I was impressed that after many washes, this shirt still retains its shape.

There is also a men’s version available, the Ciele M FSTTShirt ($95).

Ciele W FSTTShirt - back view

A back view of the Ciele W FSTTShirt.

Shop the Women's Ciele W FSTTShirtShop the Men's Ciele M FSTTShirt

Ciele W QKCBra

When it comes to fun style and soft next-to-skin comfort, the Ciele W QKCBra ($60) is a winner. Don’t be fooled by the cute design with the side cut-outs — there’s a lot of tech in this sports bra.

Starting with the fabric, it’s made with a blend of recycled nylon and elastane with cooling mesh on the back to increase breathability and minimize sweat buildup, and finally, a soft and supportive elastic band around the base. Admittedly, I don’t need a whole lot of support up top, but this bra gave me more than enough support while running — it fit like a firm hug.

Ciele W QKCBra

The Ciele W QKCBra. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

The only thing I don’t love about this sports bra is that the darts in the front hit at a weird spot on my chest, and they’re visible if I wear a thin or fitted shirt. So, I opt for this sports bra on the hottest days, when I’m running in just a sports bra, or when I’m wearing more layers on top.

Shop the Ciele W QKCBra

Ciele Apparel Overall Impressions

This was my first foray into Ciele gear — I don’t even own one of their hats! — and overall, I’m impressed with the quality of the fabrics and the design of each of the apparel pieces.

While I was generally pleased with the performance of each of these apparel items, I was slightly disappointed with a few key misses — namely, the lack of drawstring in the tights and the split shorts liner that wouldn’t stay in place. Otherwise, each item fit very well and was true to size per Ciele’s size guide.

I tend to wear my gear hard until it becomes unusable, and for the number of miles I’ve put into this collection of running apparel, I’m impressed with how the fabric is holding up and how the pieces are all holding their shape. Some of the items — particularly the W DBSShort – Elite — are a spendy investment, but I can tell that the quality is top notch.

Call for Comments

  • Have you tried any Ciele gear, including their hats?
  • If so, what’s your favorite item from Ciele?
Alli Hartz

Alli Hartz is a member of the gear review team at iRunFar. She’s been writing about outdoor gear, outdoor adventure, and adventure travel for 10 years. Aside from iRunFar, Alli contributes gear reviews and adventure stories to Switchback Travel, Travel Oregon, and other outlets. She also works as a ski guide during the winter season and has dabbled in run-skiing on the Cascade volcanoes. Alli is based in Bend, Oregon, where she loves to run from her front door up into the Three Sisters Wilderness.