Sunday, September 15, 2019

Janji Fall 2019 Apparel Review: Run Autumn in Style

By Michael Ellenberger and Kathleen Valadez

Introduction to Janji
We’ve written about Janji before here at RoadTrailRun - including the Compass Singlet and Bolivia Short, featuring funky patterns and well-constructed designs. Of course, Janji doesn’t just make cool running gear - they donate 5% of profits to clean water initiatives worldwide, with some pieces of apparel targeting specific countries or specific missions. Recently, Janji started the Janji Collective, which, for a fee of $50, includes an AFO Orbital Singlet (limited Collective Edition), a 15% lifetime discount on gear and apparel, priority access to all releases, discounts on Janji Travel trips, and more. We may harbor some bias - both Kathleen and I were college teammates with the founders of the company, Dave and Mike - but Janji has undeniably struck a balance here between doing good, and looking good.

Women’s Runpaca LS (Miel)
The Runpaca long sleeve was perfect for a chilly early autumn run in Minnesota. I’m actually already a huge fan of the Runpaca long sleeve tee. I have an earlier version in a different color that I’ve worn for everything from frigid winter runs in Chicago to a hot, sunny hike in Mexico. The cotton blend is super comfy and surprisingly lightweight. As someone living and running in the midwest, I can say it’s truly as versatile as advertised and keeps me comfortable during all four seasons. 

The fit of the shirt is perfect, as well. It’s fitted enough to be flattering, but isn’t constricting at all. I like my workout gear with a relaxed fit, especially when it’s a piece like the Runpaca long sleeve, which looks great on those days where you go straight from your workout to running some errands or grabbing a coffee. If I’m being honest, I can also see myself just wearing the Runpaca long sleeve out and about with jeans, because it’s that versatile. The only feature that was missing from this long sleeve was thumb holes, which my earlier version of shirt did have. Still, Janji’s Runpaca long sleeve tee remains one of those “what did I ever do without this?” pieces that I know I’ll keep coming back to for running, traveling, and general hanging around.

Women’s Deviation Tight (Midnight)
The women’s Deviation Tight was my first pair of Janji tights and I’m definitely impressed. The colorful diagonal stitching is super fun without being over the top. I’m a big fan of black, but I enjoy the little details that set the design of the Janji tight apart. These tights were comfortable on a run and remained cute and comfy while I was putting off showering for hours afterwards. The waistband of the tights is snug so you don’t get any annoying slippage or gapping while you’re moving. The ReFlex stretch knit felt light and smooth but still substantial enough that there’s no worry of it being sheer or not holding up.

I was pleased to see that the tights weren’t overly long - I’m 5’3” and they still hit me around the ankle, which I definitely prefer to some brands that I have to roll. Another huge plus - these tights have roomy back waistband pocket with a zipper. I love a tight, or a short, with a pocket for keys or whatever else I might need to take with me and this pocket doesn’t add any bulk while still being bigger and more practical than what I’ve seen in other women’s tights. 

Men’s 3” AFO Split Short (Floral Lace)
I’ve used several pairs of Janji’s shorts before - one of my favorites was the Bolivia Short, which I wore in setting my marathon PR at the Austin Marathon in February. As a 3” length short, the AFO - like the Bolivia short - makes for a perfect racing or long run short without being too short. Unlike the Bolivia short, which had a tight-checkered fabric pattern (beneath the colorful print), the AFO uses Janji’s new, hyperlight and fast drying AFO fabric - a really impressive material that doesn’t feel sheer, but is still lighter than almost any other running short I have.

The biggest improvement on the AFO short is the waistband; Janji has integrated a perforated knit waistband here that is snug without being overly restrictive, and is exceedingly comfortable. The downside? While the pocket in the back is useable to carry a key ring, it’s odd shape (some “up” and some “down,” oriented relative to the zipper) that doesn’t readily handle gel-packet shapes (though you can squeeze them in, with some effort).

Men’s Swift Merino Mock-Neck LS (Azure)
September in Chicago is still quite warm (as all Chicago Marathon trainees know too well), but Kathleen and I took a hike north to Minnesota for a weekend, where we were greeted with lows in the 40s and a nice windy mist. Ideal weather? Maybe not for being out on the lake, but certainly for testing out the Merino Mock-Neck. I am adamant that shorts-and-a-long-sleeve weather is the absolute best running weather, and will hear no opposing arguments.
In practice, I was pleasantly surprised with the cut of the Swift long sleeve; while it’s certainly form-fitting, and doesn’t flap around while running (even on the aforementioned windy mornings), it’s not so tight as to reach compression levels, and can certainly serve as a post-running top for those who just want something comfortable to wear to the coffee shop. Moreover, the merino blend is dynamic in the temperature ranges it can handle - while I had no issues wearing it in some upper-40 to low-50s weather, it’ll undoubtedly serve as a go-to baselayer come winter running. And, with thumbholes in tow, it’s a terrific middle layer to wear over a merino t-shirt or singlet on a warm-up jog. 

Unisex [Re]Run Cap (Nightmarket Neon Floral)
Summer is hat season, when it comes to running, and I rarely set off without one. Not only are they useful for keeping the sun out of your eyes (a necessary now that my morning runs tend to lead me straight east), but they also do the glorious task of absorbing sweat and keeping your eyes clear. In those simple regards, the [Re]Run Cap is, of course, more than adequate.

But rarely do I come across a cap as unique as the [Re]Run cap from Janji - as the name suggests, it is made of recycled, unsold shorts from the previous year’s collection. Equally important for me (as someone who is always throwing things in drawers, closets, and more) is the packability of the hat - the brim is designed to regain its shape, even after it’s been battered around. Paired with another unique feature - a zippered pocket on the dome of the cap - the [Re]Run is terrific in how many features are packed in. 
Apparel Reviewed:
Men’s Swift Merino Mock-Neck LS (Azure)
Unisex [Re]Run Cap (Nightmarket Neon Floral

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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