To wrap up our series on the best products of the 2010 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, we’ll take a look at apparel. (We’ve already looked at true gear and shoes.) Our look at the best and brightest upcoming trail running clothes features jackets, technical baselayers, socks, compression garments, running gloves, and components/features.
Technical jackets have been around for awhile, so it’s hard for a manufacturer to come up with something completely new. That said, we were really impressed at the small refinements companies are making to run-worthy jackets. Here are some of the highlights.
Salomon Shift Midlayer Hoody ($110)
If we were to have only looked at Salomon‘s Swift Midlayer Hoody in their catalog and read the description – “Warm, very soft but breathable mid layer for training in cold weather. Hood, chest pocket and 3/4 length zipper. Fitted.” – we would have skipped over it, but this jacket is chock full o’ features. Highlights include (1) vented pits, (2) fold out mittens that button into the cuffs, (3) a huge rear stash pocket, (4) a watch window in the sleeve, (5) a strap that buttons across the open half-zip to give the jacket structure when it’s vented, (6) a close-fitting, wind-tight hood and (7) for the ladies (or long haired men), a ponytail hole in the hood. Trail runners, if you’ve not checked out Salomon’s trail running clothes, it’s about time.
The North Face Stormy Trail + Momentum Ninja Full
The North Face‘s Stormy Trail is a hoodless waterproof jacket. The jacket’s waterproof membrane and taped seams keep you dry from the outside, while front and rear shoulder venting as well as membrane improvements keep you drier on the inside. The North Face claims that the fabric is 25% more breathable than its previous jackets.
Another cool jacket from The North Face is the Momentum Ninja Full. As the name would suggest, this jacket features a “ninja hood” that covers the neck, mouth, and most of the face. Yes, you can still wear this on the run as the jacket has a mouth vent.
GoLite Dakota Windshirt ($80)
GoLite has always made great ultralight windshirts and the new Dakota Windshirt is no exception. This 4 ounce (mens) windshirt is semi-fitted, meaning it’s a bit longer than a minimal wind jacket, but doesn’t require a pull cord at the bottom. With the sleeker fit, the inclusion of stretchy Minerale fabric in the Dakota Windshirt underarm and side panels insures you have a full range of motion. The strategic use of Cocona’s Minerale will also cut down on stink while simultaneously increasing the jacket’s breathability and moisture wicking. The jacket is made of 88% Tier 1 (that is, post-consumer waste) recycled polyester. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, you could go with the Dakota Windvest next fall.
New Balance NBx Wind Blocker Jacket ($130)
For fall 2010, New Balance is focusing on protectionism and intelligent design. No, NB isn’t retrofitting 1920’s thinking into its apparel, rather it has added some protective elements and become more detail oriented in its designs. What does that mean in the NBx Wind Blocker Jacket? On the Protectionism front, the jacket features front and back reflectivity (pops of reflective in the logo and reflective piping), “hi-viz” fold out arm gussets (think florescent cuffs), and an In Case of Emergency Tag. As for Intelligent Design, we would like to point out the music-friendly internal pocket with wire guide and exit valve and, more important, nose wipe patches on the sleeves! Going back to the basics, the jacket is made from Thermal Wind Block that blocks both wind and water to make your winter runs more comfortable.
Moeben Tech Wear
A few years ago Moeben catapulted arm sleeves into the consciousness of American trail runners. Now, Moeben is launching a full line of technical athletic clothing under the banner of Tech Wear. There will be both a line of UV 50 sun protection clothing and an eco-friendly line that uses recycled poly, organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo. When all is said and done, Moeben will be making running shorts and bike shorts, mini-dresses, shirts, tank tops, capris, full-length pants and leg sleeves in addition to its flagship arm sleeves. The line will be available from both Roadrunner Sports and ZombieRunner. We should also point out that Moeben will be donating a portion of its revenue on all sales from February 1 through April 30 to Doctors Without Borders’ relief effort in Haiti.
SmartWool PhD Graduated Compression Socks ($38-40)
Sure, there are many compression socks and leg sleeves on the market today, but have you seen any other natural fiber compression socks? The two weights – Ultra Light and Light (right) – are both more than 60% wool and offer 20-30 mmHG graduated compression rating. Being SmartWool PhD socks, you’ll also get the moisture, temperature, and odor control you’ve come to love. These over-the-calf socks that feature high density cushioning zones in the heel and forefoot will reach the market in July.
Drymax Socks ($16 for the Hot Weather sock and ~$26 for the Maximum Protection Trail)
Over the past few years, the trail running community and the ultrarunning community, in particular, have gotten to know and love Drymax socks.
At OR, we learned that one of our favorite running socks was being updated. Version 4.2 of the Drymax Hot Weather Running sock (left) will be lighter and more breathable due to the addition of thin mesh stripes to the top of the foot.
Drymax will also be adding a Maximum Protection Trail Running sock (right) that combines the best attributes of its Trail Running and Maximum Protection models. This new sock will add the water repelling PTFE (think Teflon) repelling properties of the Maximum Protection sock to the protective aspects of the Trail Running sock.
Both the revised Hot Weather Running sock Maximum Protection Trail Running sock will be released in early spring 2010. However, Andy Jones-Wilkins and Jamie Donaldson were already ready sporting the Maximum Protection Trail Running socks at last weekend’s Ghost Town 38.5 mile trail race.
[Editor’s note: For some of our favorite running socks, check out our best running socks article.]
Salomon Exo Calf ($60)
Long available in Europe, we’ve been reassured that Salomon will finally be bringing the Exo Calf – the company’s compression leg sleeve – Stateside in February 2010. If you read Bryon’s recap of his run at the 2009 Leadville 100 or account of Kilian Jornet’s record-breaking run of the Tahoe Rim Trail, you’ve already seen Salomon’s Exo Calf on iRunFar.
Saucony Compression Suit ($200ish)
We ain’t got no details or images for Saucony‘s forthcoming full-body compression suit. This suit is meant for recovery and can be slept in. Sounds like something that will make the stage race circuit once released.
Mountain Hardwear Momentum Running Glove ($35)
Ok, so we’ve been wearing these sweet gloves for a couple months now. Mountain Hardwear‘s Momentum Running Gloves are the best mild weather running gloves we’ve ever worn. They fit well, provide a moderate amount of warmth, and incorporate an impossibly soft fabric on the thumb and forefinger for on-the-go nose wipes.
We weren’t going to include the following tidbits, but they represent ideas that could lead to some of the coolest stuff over the next few years. We won’t dwell on them, but wanted to put them on your radar screen.
Polartec Power Shield Pro
Power Shield Pro is the latest innovation from the purveyors of warmth over at Polartec. Power Shield Pro is a highly-water resistant, breathable fabric aimed at very active users, such as trail runners. The fabric will be featured in the sweet Kishtwar jacket The North Face introduced at OR and will undoubtedly be featured in many products in the near future. We look forward to putting Power Shield Pro products to the test. In the mean time, check out a short video and other reviews found on the Polartec blog, Just a Zipper.
GoLite Shoulder Reinforcement
We saw GoLite incorporate shoulder reinforcement in its forthcoming Wind River Softshell. We’d love for GoLite or another manufacture to introduce a hint of reinforcement in the shoulders of an ultralight shirt.
Kid’s Zipper from The North Face
The North Face is introducing an oddly noteworthy zipper in its new, ultra-cute (we swear, it was) kids wear. What’s neat about the zipper is that it can be started when the skinny part of the zipperhead is at a higher than usual angle to the zipperhead. We nod in agreement that this would be useful to parents trying to put a fleece jacket on a squirming 2 year old. We think it would be darn near as useful when a trail runner tries to zip his or her rainshell when a 40 degree downpour hits in the pitch dark at my 80 of a 100 miler.
So what do you think of some of these new products? Think you’ll try any when they are released? If you want to know more details about any of the products mentioned above, please ask. We’ll do our best to get you more information.