Thursday, August 30, 2018

Mack Weldon Stratus Active Short and AIRKNITx T Review: All Day, Any Activity, Stylish, Highly Functional Performance and Always Fresh (Smelling) !

Article by Sam Winebaum

Mack Weldon is a New York City brand on a mission to reinvent Men's Basics: underwear, socks, shirts, and now athletic shorts. They do this through  smart design, premium fabrics, and simple shopping. We had heard of the brand and seen their ads appear on our pages. We were curious when they reached out to RoadTrailRun to test their Stratus Short, their first athletic short ,and an AirKnitX T shirt. Of course we were a bit skeptical and are always picky when it comes to run shorts as what could essentially is an underwear company do to improve on this run essential? 

We knew Mack Weldon focuses heavily on the comfort of their fabrics, sourcing unique materials always of interest here at RoadTrailRun, so we said yes. Our interest really perked up when we learned the fabric of the Stratus short was treated with 37.5 Technology which we have also tested and appreciated for its comfortable temperature and humidity regulating properties in top of the line Salomon S/Lab apparel and race vests. 37.5 is described as follows:
     "37.5® Technology helps keep your body at the ideal core temperature of 37.5° Celsius and helps  keep the microclimate next to your skin at the ideal relative humidity of 37.5%. When you’re hot, patented active particles embedded in the material remove sweat in the vapor stage before liquid sweat forms, cooling you down. When you’re cold, those same active particles trap your energy to help warm you up."

Stratus Active Short ($88)
  • 37.5® technology regulates body temperature, eliminates sweat, and fights odor
  • Silver XT2® brief liner fights odor (and leaves room for optional underwear)   
  • 7” inseam
  • Zip side pockets and hidden back pocket securely hold phone, wallet, keys
  • Laser-cut side perforations for targeted breathability
  • Elastic waistband with drawcord for customizable fit
  • Reflective side detail for nighttime visibility
  • 43% Polyester, 43% 37.5® Polyester, 14% Spandex
The Stratus has a 7" inseam short. Generally, and especially in super humid run weather we steer clear of longer inseams as the legs tend to stick, they get heavy with moisture and in the way. Not so here as the leg openings are sufficiently wide and that 37.5 tech really works compared to any short we have tested. It seemed to draw the moisture and heat out with a distinct feeling of thermoregulation. The outer fabric is very lightly textured, somewhat stretchy but not plasticky feeling,  drapes well and never noticeably sticks anywhere. The inner brief is soft and stretchy.

Despite the heat and humidity during my test runs, I never completely felt I soaked through the shorts or more accurately they absorbed remarkably little moisture. The Silver XT2 liner is roomy enough for regular underwear, or for my uses I plan to pair for racing with compression shorts in cooler weather where the length will be welcome. I never got a clammy sticky feel and due to the heat dissipating properties of the silver component in the fine knit brief and actually, truly, felt a cooling sensation.  The shorts and in particular the outer shell dries remarkably quickly, a tribute to the non moisture absorbing characteristics of the fabrics. The odor resistance has been outstanding, the best of any short we have ever tested. 

The shorts have three pockets: two fairly deep front zip and a narrow width but fairly deep rear zip. We wished the rear pocket was wide enough to slip our iPhone X in case vertically in. Without a case it should fit.

The front pockets easily hold an iPhone X in case and on the run with some but not excessive bounce of the load, doable. 
The waistband is exceptional. It is very wide and soft and pleated by 4 lines of stitching. The cord runs tightly between the two center stitches and when tightened has some "stickum" friction, sort of like a good set of run shoe laces and holds the fairly relaxed fit otherwise nice and snug when needed.
There are a few reflective hits and  a minimum of loud branding. With the fake fly, subtle classy colors and length this short can be an all day wear, to the gym and back, on the weekend, for travel, etc...The Stratus is also for sure ready for runs of any length and caliber making it a versatile one short quiver! To make the run experience even better we'd love to see a 5" inseam version. 

AIRKNITx Crew Neck T-Shirt ($42)
  • Microfiber blend for a soft, lightweight, and airy feel
  • Four-way stretch fabric for high-impact performance and lightweight dry comfort
  • Wicking and anti-odor to stay dry and feel fresh
  • Dual texture for targeted breathability
  • 56% Polyamide / 29% Polyester / 15% Elastane
The AIRKNITx is made of a thin very stretchy knit with some texture. The fit is relatively relaxed for a stretch shirt, a good thing for me. The comfort is outstanding as is the breathability.  The shirt does easily show sweat and when fully soaked with sweat is quite heavy and dries relatively slowly. We noticed that when fully wet it was yet more comfortable in humid conditions. As with the Stratus shorts the odor control is outstanding. After a full day of wear in warm conditions plus three runs in very humid conditions of an hour each, no odor at all so far can be detected at all.  On the negative side the drying time is quite long given the knit.

Well, we knew Mack Weldon crafts exceptionally comfortable Men's Basics. What we discovered is that their attention to fabric performance, sense of classy style and fit has created an outstanding run, workout, travel, and all day any day short in the Stratus with noticeable thermoregulation, no stick and rapid drying. The AIRKNITx shirt is exceptionally comfortable in humid conditions and while a stretch knit doesn't overdo the stretch, so no muscle style shirt here. Both pieces feature incredibly effective odor resistance, among the best if not the best we have ever tested. 


Sam Winebaum is the Editor and Founder of RoadTrailRun. He has been running and shoe geeking for 45 years. As he turned 60 in 2017 he was thrilled to clock a 1:35.24 half and as he turned 61 a 3:40 marathon to qualify for Boston. Sam runs his roads and trails in coastal New Hampshire and Park City, Utah.

Shop for the Mack Weldon Stratus, AIRKNITx, and their other Men's Basics  here
The product reviewed in this article were provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

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