Wednesday, September 06, 2017

La Sportiva/Polygiene Odor Free Clothing Review

by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

La Sportiva Motion T-Shirt - $39.00
La Sportiva Rapid Short - $129.00

Polygiene Odor Control is a silver salt which naturally occurs in water and soil. It is co-applied in the finishing stages of garment manufacturing so no extra water is used.  Long used in health care, silver salt has been extensively tested for skin sensitivity. Polygiene only inhibits growth of bacteria on the fabric to reduce odors and not with naturally occurring skin bacteria. Polygiene's motto is " Wear More, Wash Less" as the energy and water savings over the lifetime of such treated garments can add up.

Jeff: The La Sportiva Motion T, made from Polygiene Odor Control treated fabric has quickly become one of my favorite running shirts. The shirt is light, very breathable and has a great cut that is comfortable, lays well, drapes just below the hemline of my shorts at just the right level, without feeling like a dress or an 80's crop top.
Sam: I agree with Jeff this is one comfortable, light T. Stretchy and a bit slick and sticky when wet. I wish the fabric was more mesh like and had more texture.

The La Sportiva Rapid Short has a 6" inseam and a body mapped seamless inner brief, is also made of Polygiene Odor Control material with anti-bacterial treatment, integrated draw cord, UPF 50 rating and 1 zippered rear pocket.
The Rapid short is billed as an ultra distance short and it certainly has the comfort to go the distance, but I was immediately surprised by the lack of pockets, with just one rear zippered pocket.  The pocket is roomy enough for a few gels and can easily store an iPhone 5/SE, or the larger iPhone 6/6S/7 with protective case if you really work it in, though not easy enough for quick/easy access.  The pocket is also not sewn into the hem, so is loose and flops around some when filled and running fast.  The Rapid Short has amazing fit and comfort, but could be greatly improved with a few additional pockets integrated with a more substantial waistband, as is increasingly becoming the norm for shorts marketed to the trail/ultra crowd.  A few choices in color would be a nice touch too.
Breathability is good, but I find these shorts (mostly because of the inherent nature of the long inner liner), to be a bit warm on days that exceed 80 degrees.  I typically reach for these on cooler mornings, or when heading to the mountains for runs where I know it will be cooler and the more substantial inner liner will be welcome to protect from chilly updrafts.  The liner is supportive enough to prevent bouncing, without feeling too tight or confining.

Sam: The shorts are very comfortable and as shorts go super light. The price of $129 is up there. I do miss a real waist band as the cord lock approach while secure seemed to have the body of the shorts sag a bit when wet and my iPhone 7 in case placed with some difficulty  in the single back pocket bouncing a bit more than I would like. I also look for more than a single pocket in all my shorts.   I agree with Jeff that the inner brief while comfortable is quite warm and for my tastes a bit to long.

Polygiene Evaluation
Jeff: As to the Polygiene material of both garments, at the start of my test, I decided to continually run in both the shirt and shorts to test the odor free claims.

Of note, I generally run cool, with a average body temperature of 97.3 and produce about an average amount of sweat relative to most.  I also am probably average or better than average when it comes to stink, where if not running, I can easily go several days without a shower before I am offending myself or others.
I generally only get one use out of my run clothing before washing, somewhat because they have a bit of an odor afterwards, but also because my clothing gets dirty on the trails and in the woods, have been soaked with sweat and my hygiene habits on the trails are not at all up to civilized standards (which I why I'll fist bump my friends when meeting for a run vs. the generally preferred handshake).

My review period has been this summer, running on days in the low 90's, I was able to achieve 4 runs with a total of 5.5 hours before I decided to wash.  The smell increased a little bit each day, but for sure at a slower rate than the majority of my other tech tees and run shorts.  Once I established a baseline, I quickly went back to my normal routine of washing after each run.

There is no doubt that the Polygiene works, as it is an improvement over more usual running garment materials.  It is breathable, light and dries fast.  I don't really think I'll stretch the limits of smell when using day to day from home, but the Polygiene material is an excellent choice for travel, when you might not have access to laundry and you want to travel light.

I would certainly recommend both of these garments to anyone looking for top notch quality and usability.  My only reservation here though is the price of the Rapid Short.  At $129.00, it would give me pause to spend that much money on a pair of running shorts.  If that is within your budget though, then certainly worth it (but would still really like to see the pocket situation improved).

Sam: The Polygiene treatment easily got me through five one hour runs before I decided it was "time" to wash, more so the shorts, than shirt. I did dry the shirt and shorts outside in the sun after each run, key also to reducing growth of bacteria and then odors. The treatment is effective.

Many other popular running and outdoor brands are using Polygiene in some of their products including Patagonia, adidas, Athleta, LL Bean, Arc' Teryx and many other. List here

Another Option for Odor Control- WIN Detergent
Other funk reducing and mitigating options exist. In recent weeks I have been washing all my run gear in WIN Detergent. Synthetics repel moisture but tend to weakly bond oils and associated bacteria to the fabric. WIN breaks those oil bonds and gets rid of the bacteria along for the ride. After 3 rounds of washing odors of older clothing odors have become noticeably slower to emerge on all my synthetic technical apparel allowing fairly close to the multi day wear of the Polygiene. WIN is available from Amazon here.

For Jeff and Sam's bios see our Reviewers Bio Page: here

The La Sportiva Poygiene was provided at no cost.The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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