If you are looking for high quality, well build, super comfortable running gear for the warm or cold weather then check out Lululemon Athletica. Yes, I said running gear, not yoga!
Granted Lululemon Athletica is known for it's outstanding yoga line, equally as good, but not as well known (yet) is their running gear, which I have been testing for a few months.
First the Response running shorts.
$64- $68 dollars for a pair of running shorts may seem pricey, but once you take them for a spin around the neighborhood, treadmill or marathon course you'll realize that the investment was worth it.
The Response shorts are a longer short, to cover up the "man thighs" but they don't feel like, or respond like you are wearing a pair of your "big brothers" basketball shorts. As a matter of fact they don't feel like much at all!
They are light, wickable and responsive to your body in motion as you run. A lot times longer shorts can either become too baggy and they don't move with you at all, or the manufacturer over compensates and makes the short super form fitting. When you run and sweat other brands will cling and crawl up your privates, chafing and revealing the infamous male "elephant trunk," (counter to the female camel toe).
The Response shorts are well though out, feel great and made to last. More on that later.
The Cypress Run Pullover was designed as a mid-layer to keep you insulated as the temperature drops. It is great for layering with a wickable shirt and heading outside in mild and temperate weather.
I have a closet full of mid-layer type tops, but I find myself wearing the Cypress Run Pullover again and again. First and foremost, fit. They are all about "man fit," at Lululemon, making sure guy sizes aren't just BIG, they understand that good technical wear has several spots on the body that fit is important and they design with that in mind. Traditional running gear in this category are either built like a "tent," where it fits on the shoulders and then falls straight down off of there.
The other fit is the "Batman fit," where they make the fit so tight in the shoulders, chest, arms, stomach and back, that the only person alive who could wear the top is Christain Bale, and forget about getting another shirt under those.
The Cypress Run Pullover uses "luon technology"to insure a good fit and good looks. Luon is wicking, offers 4-way stretch and is preshrunk. The high percentage of LYCRA® in the fabric means it will not stretch or bag out. The nylon used in luon® is made to feel cottony soft at the yarn stage which is why it offers such great coverage, and they have a little more room in the back to layer over your crackage and prevent the plumber from making an appearance.
The thought and detail that goes into everything Lululemon is for a much longer review, let's just leave it at they are the uber paranoid designers you want making your stuff, they don't leave much out.
That being said, I wanted to make sure that the proof was in the pudding with my Response shorts and equally as comfortable Cypress Run Pullover. Yes, I ran in them, a lot, on a treadmill through the woods and even after my kids, each time the result was dry, comfortable, good looking performance wear.
But that's an easy mark to hit. We here at Pace of Chicago labs like to take a "non-traditional" testing approach when we are reviewing products, so that's exactly what we did with the shorts and pullover and I took them to our Fox Lake testing facility to see how well made they actually were.
The water ski test. Talk to a Lululemon salesperson and once you can focus on their face (SINGLE GUYS YOU NEED TO GO TO LULULEMON!) you will hear they talking about "how well made their gear is and how it can take a beating and retain it's form and good looks." To test that out, I stripped down to my nada, wrapped a towel around myself, tied my shorts and pullover to a rope and threw them overboard my boat for a little water skiing lesson! Yep, for a half an hour, I avoided in-descent exposure tickets while my clothes got the crap kicked out of them. When my man parts had seen enough sun, I pulled them back into the boat, slipped them on and jumped back into the water for a swim, just to make sure they were "really" wet.
Why the over kill? I'm a little bit of a nudist, but more to the point, runners sweat, we pour water over our heads and down our backs, we get wet, I wanted to see how the gear would retain it's shape, take to dry and what it would do to my body as it dried off, what better way to test them?
The end result, after an hour and some change of wearing my sopping wet stuff, they were bone dry, in all honesty, I didn't expect it to take less than that to dry after being soaked. More importantly, they retained their shape, they weren't torn or damaged and my "man parts" were not chaffed, cut or otherwise discolored!
As you begin to plan and train for next season, the Lululemon running line is an investment in comfort, quality and good looks. If you are shopping for yourself or the runner in your family, make sure to add this gear to your list.
Final thought- It has been pointed out to me that this is a little guy centric of a review. We are in the process of testing out gear for women, by a woman and will have more soon.