Sunday, May 13, 2018

ON Running Women Apparel Review: A Cut Above!

Article by Dominique Winebaum and Sally Reiley

Editor's Note: Dominique and Sally run year round outdoors in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Colorado and Utah and are never found on treadmills, no matter the weather. Sally is a 5 time Boston finisher (3:29 PR 2017) re qualifying in each race, all in the last 6 years. Dominique is a lifelong runner with a 3:16 PR who runs 4 days a week.

Introduction:  
Dominique: Shorts season is upon us here in New England so we were particularly excited to test the ON Running Shorts, Performance-T, and Weather Jacket part of ON's Essentials collection. This is the perfect running outfit for beach weather – it gets hot and humid in the summer in New England! Before the heat hits we also got a chance to also test the Shorts and T in Canyonlands National Park and the jacket on cooler misty days on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  I was born in Switzerland and started my running career there so ON as a Swiss based company sure brings back memories. I know Swiss quality design when I see and wear it!
ON Running Shorts ($80)

Sally: As ON states, these running shorts are reduced to the max. They are incredibly light and feel like you are wearing nothing (didn’t North Face have a line of performance clothing entitled “Better Than Naked?” - well, ON achieves that in these pieces!). There is total freedom of movement, and a wide comfortable waist band complete with drawstring for custom fit and a moisture-sealed zip pocket at the back.
Dominique: Engineered to maximize comfort and performance, the shorts are made of highly technical four-way stretch polyamide/elastane fabric that is ultra-light and fast drying.
Turning the shorts inside out, the brief does not look like your grandmother’s underwear: it is seamless and high cut to prevent any kind of chafing, enhancing breathability and providing overall comfort.
A waistband made of Italian fabrics with an added tie, holds the shorts comfortably and securely in place. The contour of the waistband widens in the back to incorporate a rear zip pocket made of moisture proof fabric that can hold a gel or keys/cards, but not an iPhone.

In addition, the widened waistband in the rear reduces the size of the brief resulting in less fabric.  The shorts are sleek inside and out.
Essentially seamless, and ultra-light, the shorts feel extremely comfortable and look amazingly stylish.  I measured a four-inch inseam providing just the right amount of coverage for my taste. The ON running shorts – and ON apparel - are definitely a cut above my other running gear.
The shorts come in two different colors: navy & black and all black.
Cons: 
Dominique: Trail running in Moab in March, I noticed that the fabric would wrinkle when I had to layer up. 
Sally: I too also found the fabric to look rumpled very easily (especially the T). I found the leg opening to be slightly larger than comparable sized shorts of other brands (I wear a size XS, or 2) and perhaps not as flattering on petite legged runners (please don’t call them bird legs).

Conclusions
Dominique: This is a high-end pair of shorts that deliver performance, comfort, and style; in short, the price is well matched to the product.
Sally: These will be my go to running shorts in hot weather as they are extremely comfortable and breathable and feel like nothing at all. They will join my other favorites: the Lululemon Run Times Short, the Nike Rival, and the Oiselle Roga.

ON Running Performance-T ($80)
Dominique: The Performance -T is extremely breathable, lightweight, fast drying, and stylish.  
The fabric on the front and the back shoulders is made from a fast drying, high tech fabric with the back consisting of a very, very fine mesh fabric that is highly breathable.  The different colors front and back also call out the difference in texture and performance focus of the fabrics. The Performance-T comes in two-tone colors. Coral & Navy; Malibu & Navy; and Denim & Navy.
Fit is both flattering and functional.  All taped and seamless, the construction of the Performance-T provides optimum freedom of movements and comfort.  

The top is snug but there is plenty of stretch in the fabric along with 4 inch split sides.  
Taking  a close look at the short sleeves, the fabric of the shoulders extend partway into the top of the sleeves creating both a  flattering and functional design. In short, the Performance-T is engineered like no other T-shirt in my closet.


Sally: The performance T, like the shorts, feels like nothing at all! This is an awesome warm weather top. It is amazingly comfortable and light, with no seams to chafe.  The only drawback I noted was that the fabric wrinkles easily and looks rumpled, but that is purely vanity…

ON Running Weather-Jacket ($240)
Sally: Thanks to the lightweight Japanese fabrics used to create it, Swiss company ON has succeeded in creating a phenomenal ultralight running jacket that every runner will want. It offers protection and stretch in all the right places. ON calls the jacket Weatherproof and I found it ideally suited to wind, cool weather, and moderately wet conditions. This is the perfect companion for a wild run in the wind and the rain (though I opted not to wear it in the Boston Marathon/Monsoonathon 2018, more on that later).
It has a brilliantly engineered hood with a molded bill that can be neatly adjusted for perfect fit and field of vision. 
The highly water resistant upper cape is ventilated front and back.
The upper body of the jacket is crafted of a 100% polyamide, a protective and tear-proof fabric coated with advanced DWR (durable water repellent), which reaches across the chest and shoulders. The upper "cape" has an inner micro-ventilation very fine mesh layer to increase breathability. This mesh layer is attached lower down, at the level of the front and back venting flaps to a highly breathable, lower weight-saving ripstop material that has just the right amount of four-way stretch.
There are ventilation flaps on the front and the rear, a cinch cord at the front bottom hem, and a dropped rear hem.
A chest pocket offers water-resistant protection for whatever you might want with you on your run, sized large enough to accomodate my iphone 6s (though I have not tried to run with it in there). 
Dominique: the pocket is plenty large enough for my iPhone 7 and the larger iPhone X fits as well.
There is even a taped seam port for your headphone wires. The entire jacket can conveniently be folded into this pack-me pocket, allowing for ultra-small storage and portability.
The ON Weather jacket is available in an attractive grey/white.
Sally: I live along the coast north of Boston where we have experienced a colder than usual spring. When I received this jacket, I was so excited to try it out right away, but had to wait for the winter temps to moderate. My patience paid off: this running jacket is amazing. So lightweight and breathable, it feels as if you are not wearing anything at all (again, “better than naked?”). It fit me perfectly, so true to size (I wear size XS). It feels more like a wind shirt than a jacket when you are wearing it. I tested it in a chilly drizzle, and I was warm and dry at the end of my run. And I LOVE the hood - it cinches down to fit securely around your face with a separate layer of fabric, and has a visor above that that keeps the rain out and yet allows an amazingly wide field of vision. The fabric is soft and quiet.

I also tested the jacket on a day that was really too warm for a jacket, just to see how this running jacket performed, and I was pleasantly surprised that I did not overheat. The jacket is extremely breathable, leaving no clammy sweaty sensation whatsoever.
The sleeves, waterproof fabric on top and breathable ripstop underneath, have a nice snug tapered wrist featuring elastic at the cuff. My only criticism at all of the jacket is that it was difficult to pull the sleeve up to see my Garmin that I wear on my wrist.


Back to the Boston Marathon/Monsoonathon 2018: Those conditions were brutal. Temps in the 30s, torrential rains, and constant headwinds gusting to … nvm, let’s just say that all 30,000+ runners were challenged. Figuring out your running kit in the days leading up to the race was mentally exhausting (and became a team sport with numerous friends).  I wanted to wear this ON jacket, but in the end wore my Nike Hypershield rain jacket ($300) over a thermal layer, as I thought the Nike given its 100% waterproof breathable membrane construction was more waterproof vs. water resistant. Friends said I could not run a marathon in so much jacket, but I think I made the right choice: I stayed dry. And I finished, only 15 minutes off my time last year. It was just raining too hard and too cold for the ultralight ON jacket.
Conclusion:

Sally: This ON weather jacket is a homerun! This will be a staple in my wardrobe for running in many conditions. I can’t wait to take it out to Colorado this June for early morning runs in the mountains. It might make me weirdly hope for damp weather, just so that I can wear my ON jacket. At the higher end of the price range, but the workmanship and fabrics are impeccable and worth it! I am so impressed, I want to get the other ON apparel products, especially the running pants. 

The ON T is also available in a Tank-T style.

See RoadTrailRun's 2018 review of the men's ON apparel line, equally fantastic here
See RoadTrailRun's 2016 mini reviews of the ON Running Pants and Dominque's mini review of the ON Weather Jacket here. She still runs in hers daily and wears it around town too.
Comments & Questions Welcome Below!
The ON Running apparel was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews. 
YouTube Channel  here for 2018 Run Shoe Previews and Wearable Tech Reviews 
 Index Page here for over 120 in depth 2017 & 2018 shoe and gear reviews

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2 comments:

Natasha Vasiljevic said...

Is the sweat showing on the On shorts? I find it that I cannot use any shorts other the black-coloured ones during the summer, as the sweat shows in the middle. Does it show on this dark-blue shorts?

Steve Starr said...

$80 for running shorts? One definite sign someone has too much money.