Friday, May 17, 2019

Reebok "Bolton Track Club" Gear Review: The Success Continues

By Michael Ellenberger


Bolton Track Club Apparel is the official apparel of the Reebok Boston Track Club!
  • Bolton Track Club Singlet: $40.00
  • Bolton Track Club 3" Shorts: $35.00
  • Bolton Track Club Jacket: $70.00
Introduction

Reebok has recently made a strong resurgence in the running community; we're collectively huge fans of their recent shoe offerings, including the Run Fast Pro, Sweet Road, and Forever Floatride Energy, and their apparel is a natural extension of that line. Designed specifically for the elite athletes on the Reebok Boston Track Club (formerly the Bolton Track Club), Reebok has put forth high-end race-day gear to match their footwear offerings. 






Bolton Track Club Singlet

The singlet was the biggest surprise to me - it's narrowly tailored, it's extremely lightweight, and it's darn comfortable. I'll be the first to admit I don't love singlets - I almost exclusively wear them on race day - but the BTC singlet might just break that habit. It looks sharp, without standing out, and mixed form with function - the neon strips, intentional or not, provide a little "grip" on your skin, so the singlet is sliding around, which can lead to chafing. The accenting also provides some visual pop to the primarily grey color scheme. There are no significant seams that can cause problems over longer distances, nor odd fits to the fabric. 


The general construction of the singlet - what I've always called a "razorback" - exposes more of your shoulders than a traditional singlet might. This facilitates some breathability, but it is slightly different look than you get from most singlets (get ready for tan lines), so those seeking to cover up should take note. I appreciate the larger cutouts on the back, as they help keep things cool when running fast, and tend to stay still on my back better than other designs.

At $40, the Bolton TC singlet is right about where I'd expect. It completes nicely with offerings from Nike, Adidas, and Rabbit, really does feel race-day ready. I expect to be wearing it at my next road race.

Bolton Track Club 3" Shorts

The BTC shorts were the item I was most worried about, simply because really good running shorts are hard to find. Nike perennially makes a good pair, and they seem to last forever, but I've had hit-or-miss results with other brands. Fortunately, Reebok has done well here, as well. The elastic waistband is immediately noticeable - it's slightly thicker than that on competitors, and more rounded. I don't know the rationale, but I know the shorts fit extremely well and did not ride up, even at faster paces. The elastic waist is also slightly adjustable with an exposed piece of the band at the front, but (as with most running shorts), expect to have to them on to find the right fit. 

At a 3" length, the shorts are also a happy medium for racing - not too long, but not immodestly short (though us distance runners do love immodestly short). The shorts are graced with a split that helps the shorts stay out of your way when you're really turning over. As with the singlet, there isn't a whole lot going on here (even less than on the top), but the neon accents give the shorts some visual flavor. And again, so as with the singlet, the shorts are exceptionally light, which helps them stand out from the competition (and make them an obvious choice for race-day).

Bolton Track Club Jacket
We are (finally) fortunate enough to run mostly jacket-free in Chicago, but I took the BTC jacket out both for a run, and just to spend a day around the city. And (you might sense a pattern here), I'm unduly impressed with the materials and construction of the jacket. This is the item of the set I expected to like the most (I have an affinity for running jackets and have far too many, even considering that I live in a cold climate), and it certainly didn't disappoint. It's breathable without being too light (it certainly will serve you well on those colder spring mornings), with some generous ventilation across the back for when the pace gets hot.

Even so, and despite my anticipation, this was probably the item I liked the least of the 3 (even if it is a respectable jacket) - the fit for me wasn't terrific. It would functional well as a race warmup where it has to go over several layers, but the cut of the sleeves is just generally a little baggier than I prefer in running attire. Moreover - and this goes for most pieces of running gear - it could do with some more visible or reflective elements. It has the stripe across the back (pictured), and a reflective logo at front, but it is not overly visible for running in the dark, which was slightly disappointing.

Conclusion
In the past 12-18 months, Reebok has introduced several strong shoe offerings onto the market, from everyday trainers to (extremely) high-end racing flats. With the Bolton Track Club line, they have also injected a new contestant into the elite racing gear market, long dominated by Nike. And while the BTC pieces (at least in this iteration) may not have the flashy designs or colors of Nike's perennial offerings, they absolutely can hold their own in terms of fit, materials, and general composition. The shorts in particular stand out - if you are like me and consistently hesitant to try new running shorts, the BTC 3" shorts are absolutely worth a look. For those seeking to look (and feel) race ready the next time they line up, the entire Bolton Track Club line is well worthy of consideration!

Reviewer Bio
Michael is a third-year law student at Northwestern University in Chicago, with an interest in patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. Michael is a gadget and running nerd, and has pipe dreams of running the Olympics Trials marathon standard. His pre-race breakfast is, and will always be, Pop-Tarts.

The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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