Sunday, April 24, 2022

SATISFY Running Apparel Reviews and Interview: Truly Eliminating Distractions -Peace and Silence Technology

Article by Jeremy Marie and Sam Winebaum 

Satisfy Running

Satisfy Running is a French brand based in Paris. It is safe to say they are truly unique in the running apparel space. Sourcing entirely in Europe and Japan from fabrics mostly made to their specs,  the brand blends impeccable artisanal fabrication, super comfortable high performance fabrics and a unique sober serious style bridging high fashion, popular culture, and run culture. Satisfy makes no excuses for its very high pricing and our testing confirmed the quality and performance of every piece. Jeremy and I set out to test several of their products and also share the brand's story interviewing its founder, Brice Partouche.

Satisfy was founded by Brice Partouche, a runner of course, who in earlier days was a skateboarder/snowboarder and who has long been involved in the fashion industry, most specifically high end jeans.  The brand reflects all of his varied experiences as he is the chief designer and tester working with a small team of pattern makers, sewers, and others at their headquarters in Paris to prototype and test each piece. 

RTR was fortunate to recently speak with Brice on a Zoom call where he shared his personal personal run journey and where he shared Satisfy’s philosophy. 

Brice is a “no scores” kind of athlete, and was never a team sport kind of guy.  He grew up skateboarding and snowboarding with the social aspect of hanging out with friends and the culture and its art vital to him.

He started running about 10 years ago to have more free time by himself and found the meditative nature of running, the flow and that famous runner’s high. As an experienced apparel person he wanted to take the run experience further by removing the distractions of apparel from the mix and set out to do just that. 

His sincerity, quiet passion, total command of product, marketing, and company mission was striking and quite frankly unexpected in a time when few if any run brands are so defined and linked in all aspects to one individual and with such a sharp focus.

We had to ask why the Western US motif in almost all their visual materials, marketing, etc.. and this from a brand which clearly states “Designed in Paris”. Deliberate of course, as while we would say a more urban styled brand, and he lives in Paris, everyone he said should “leave the city” even if just in spirit and mind for their run and “run outside”. 

Why the US West? First,every runner no matter where they live would like to be a trail runner in nature. Then think Italian Westerns, America through European culture and their romantic stylized view of the great open spaces and also not coincidentally 50% of their customers are from the US.

The styling is not flashy, somewhat retro, understated, and quite dark. No loud branding here, the focus is purely functional and minimizing any friction or aspects that might get you “down from your runner's high”. 

We asked Brice about his inspirations and the branding.

How  would you describe the overall visual design aesthetic inspiration and why the callouts of “Possessed” and “Running Cult Member”?

“I wanted to create a skateboard brand for runners that spoke to my upbringing and cultural references. But, ultimately Satisfy is all about helping runners attain that elusive Runner’s High. That’s why our gear has been designed to eliminate all distraction, something we like to call Peace and Silence Technology. The callouts of “Possessed” and “Running Cult Member” are there to remind runners about that continuous chase to reach that feeling of a High and their devotion to recreating that feeling.”

We asked why no women’s line and Brice told us  that many pieces are intended to be gender fluid with women’s specific pieces focused on shorts and tights coming and that 30% of their site visitors are women. 

Satisfy also publishes a beautiful magazine @Posssessed online featuring those possessed  a slogan part of their branding and printed on apparel along with that equally different “Running Cult Member” slogan. In this article they interview Anton Krupika who is for sure and feature here “Anton Krupicka is Possessed” 

Satisfy was kind enough to us  a full assortment of their apparel for our review below.

Jeremy (France)

CloudMerino  T-Shirt

Link to Cloud Merino at Satisfy 

Price: 200€

Features and Tech

100% made from Japanese Merino wool, the CloudMerino T-Shirt is made and hand tie-dyed in Japan.

Sporting the thinnest Merino wool available at 80g meter squared, the T-Shirt weighs a mere 110g in my M size.

Like all Merino-based garments, it promises good temperature regulation and should be quick-drying. Odor retention is also one of the aces upon Merino wool’s sleeve, and this could be interesting for a multi-day hike or for travel. 

Style and Fit

The Tie-Dyed style is clearly “love it or hate”, there cannot be a half-hearted reaction with such visuals. I, for one, really like it. I love how it does not look like any other running apparel. Nor like running apparel at all!

Attention to details is remarkable, with subtle reflective branding, exterior detachable label, raw hems to minimize friction…Let’s be honest, the shirt looks way more like a fashion piece than a running one.

The fit is relaxed, perfect for spring weather when some winter "overweight" would not look good in a tight fitting shirt. I’ve chosen the size 2 on the Satisfy size guide, my usual which I consider as medium, and it fits quite large.

Performance and Conclusions

Oh so soft. This is not my first apparel with Merino wool, but the Satisfy CloudMerino is by far the softest I’ve ever had. The barely there feel is so nice and liberating coming in at an incredible 80g per square meter of fabric, other merino tees being over 100g. You just get the benefits from the fabric, with light insulation, efficient moisture management and fast-wicking, which results in an incredibly efficient temperature management. 

You can hammer during the run, sweating bullets, without getting chilled thanks to the natural properties of the wool. While brands get more and more ingenuous with sophisticated synthetic fabric, experimenting with the natural awesomeness of Merino wool is quite something. Simply put, the tee-shirt really disappears on the run, nothing bothers you, like a stitch rubbing in the wrong place or instance, or the cut being too tight in some places…

I’ve put the shirt on three consecutive runs without it getting stinky, and the temperature was around 20°C (70°F).

Save from the dividing style, the elephant in the room - and that’ll be a constant during the reviews - is the price. 200€ for a T-Shirt. Let me write this again. Two hundred Euros for a short-sleeved shirt.

As always with prices, it’s a combination of the thoughts put into the fabric choice, its sourcing, the pattern, the conception, how it is made (industrially in low manufacturing cost countries, or more locally with skilled workers paid a fair price here), and what a potential buyer wants to buy, be it about quality, style, and ethics behind. To each his own! For sure it’s a high price to pay…Just don’t try it out or you might need some mental gymnastics to finally justify paying for it!

TechSilk 8” Shorts

Tech Silk Shorts at Satisfy

Price: 210€

Features and Tech

2-way stretch external lightweight fabric and a Justice stretch non compressive liner

The Justice fabric is produced at a very old French company that originally was a silk weaver but has morphed into high performance fabrics including those used in high end competition swimwear. 

One sweatproof back zippered pocket with two internal pouches to prevent keys jingling, an internal phone pocket and a key clip hidden in the waistband.

The drawstring hides in the waistband to remain isolated from belly contact.

Hand tie-dyed, produced in Portugal, reflective prints on the front thighs.

Style and Fit

Just like the Merino Short, the Techsilk shorts are an acquired taste that gradually grew on me.

The liner is non-compressive, but has a second-skin fit and is oh-so-soft to the skin. It has, for me at least, the perfect length as it goes to mid-thigh. The external fabric is airy, light, soft, stretchable, fast-wicking and the whole makes for a relaxed look that perfectly pairs with the shirt.

The size 2 is perfect for me, and I usually get an M size for my shorts no matter the brand. So I advise sticking to your usual size.

LIke the Merino tee-shirt, attention to details is top notch. External detachable label, flat seams…it oozes quality.

Performance and Conclusions

Soft, light, airy, comfy, barely there feel thanks to the next-to-skin but non compressive liner, these shorts are marvelous. No chaffing to report, despite some very moist tempo runs under the sun, these are a real joy to wear.

The inner phone pocket holds an iPhone 12 without any ejection risk, as it sits under the waistband, perfectly confining the phone. The phone is pushed to the body so that it doesn’t move at all in a simple and perfectly executed design.

The back pocket could be a bit larger, and the internal pouches are not easy to get “by feel”, but they do work well for they’re designed for: minimizing the keys/change jingling while running.

Just like the tee-shirt, I really have nothing negative to report on the Techsilk shorts, save from the price. At 210€, they’re quite of a stretch versus other very good offerings from big brands. 

But do any of these offer both the performance, comfort, and style? Nope…

CoffeeThermal Base Layer

Coffee Thermal Base Layer at Satisfy

Price: 130€

Features and Tech

Slim-fitting base-layer, using coffee charcoal for color and thermal performance.

Flat seams to avoid chafing, external detachable label. Big reflective print on the left arm.

Style and Fit

I stuck to Satisfy size 2 for this base layer and the fit is much more close-fitting than the CloudMerino Tee-shirt. As a base layer, it’s understandable but larger people must be aware of this difference. For reference, I’m ~102-103 cm chest circumference, and it ends up as a tight fit, but nowhere uncomfortable as the fabric has a bit of stretch to it.

After the very particular color scheme of the shorts and the tee-shirt, this one’s much flatter-looking.

Performance and Conclusions

I wore this base layer in temperatures as low as 4°C (~39F) and it was perfect.

Paired with the CloudMerino tee-shirt, it makes for an effective, versatile duo and a great looking one by the way!

Odor prevention is quite effective, but I find that the fabric to be a bit rough to the skin.

The styling with the big “Possessed” reflective print on the arm won’t please everyone, but at least it gives this layer heaps of visibility at night.

Its price is way more reasonable and it can be an original choice for those looking for an effective, cool looking base layer that goes off the beaten path.

Sam (Utah and New Hampshire)

I tested the Justice Merino 7” Shorts ($271) , Auralite Long Sleeve ($152), and   PeaceShell Running Cap ($76). I have worn all the pieces together on runs at high altitude in Utah as well as in New Hampshire along the coast in temperatures from well below freezing (20F (-6 C) to 65 F (18 C) including in wind, sun, and damp.

Justice Merino 7” Shorts

Features and Tech

The Justice Merino are a 7” unlined short. A very thin layer of Merino is bonded to a slightly stretchy (4 way) outer Justice fabric shell. The combination provides light insulation, water repellency, moisture control, fast drying, odor control, 4-way stretch and UV protection. This French made fabric did exactly what is claimed in the specs and in all conditions.

Pockets…the shorts have 2 giant vertical zip front of thigh pockets and a single central center smaller rear one which is lined against the body with a water resistant fabric. The 2 front pockets are effectively 9” /23 cm deep and that is before getting into their moderate stretch. More on usable capacity below but immense. The dual waist band is a moderately stretchy mesh with holes against the skin and an outer waistband which holds a very effective draw cord with reflective highlights. A small carabiner and a cord loops allows clipping of keys, etc..which you then can tuck into the waistand

The white label is the only branding and when new has the “standard” product info and is detachable. No labels here to distract next to the skin

Fit and Style

I am usually not a fan of 7” shorts preferring 5” as I find them either over baggy or too tight on the thighs. Not so here as we have a moderate leg opening with the easy stretch on the move providing just the right give.

All black and with their functional pockets I have no hesitation wearing them for activities other than running such as hiking or casually. 

Satisfy suggests wearing them over tights in cold weather but I never wear shorts that way.

I got a 2/Medium and the fit is perfect with the reflective drawstring keeping things secure even with pockets fully loaded.

Performance and Conclusions

The shorts perform exactly as advertised and based on the features and will add one…Very wind resistant too.

I wore them at over 9000 feet on a breezy sunny day with temperatures in the lower 20’s when brand new. I did not really realize they were unlined…so went “as is”. Just fine! No "issues'!

The 4 way stretch keeps them flowing easy and without binding and unlike snugger such long shorts without that annoying sticking to the legs. The waistband is never in the way and they have never sagged even when all the pockets are loaded.

They have been comfortable and breathable in all conditions from well below freezing to the mid 60’s F and that is so far as no day above that so far. They wick extremely well and dry very quickly. Odor control is also excellent.

The key feature after the fabric itself are the 2 front thigh pockets. I always need pockets for my phone, tripod, etc… 

All easily fit and bounce free in the front pockets and one day I even took off a merino jacket and stuffed it in there too using the stretch of the fabric for the extra room when I over heated on a run.

With such pockets including the small wallet sized rear one I question the utility of the carabiner and loop at the waist.

I have tested many many shorts and the Justice Merino 7” has the most effective pockets to date for me, a wonderful long short fit that is not billowy or over tight and looks good done the run. 

They are the most expensive shorts I have ever run in for sure but unlike dedicated “ultra” type shorts or casual hike shorts I will get far more different uses out of them, all with the “appropriate: look, whatever that means for the activities from of course running to hiking to casual wear and travel softening the $271 price bite quite a bit.

AuraLite Long Sleeve

Features and Tech

The Auralite is made of a very thin, extremely soft (almost silk-like in feel) technical fabric from a Japanese company dating back, as the Justice fabric maker does, to the late 1800’s. It is also assembled to cut down waste and shipping impacts in Japan. The fabric is super fast drying and anti odor (proved in test), UV resistant and anti wrinkle.

Fit and Style

The fit is reasonable. By that I mean the fabric is so light and silky it easily drapes my 164 lbs 5’9 body.  I was sent the 2/M size which fits just right. I also like that the sleeves can be rolled part way up.

My all black has a black out reflective “Running Cult Member” logo, not noticed and that is good for me as I am not much of a slogan kind of runner.

Performance and Conclusions

The Auralite performs exactly as advertised. Never noticed, never a distraction, rapidly drying as so thin it has a surprisingly wide range of comfort. I have worn it in well below freezing and wind and been just as comfortable as in the mid 60’s Farenheit. Tribute to the rapid dry and stick free fit in both those conditions. At $152 while superb it has a bit less value overall for me when compared to the PeaceShell and Justice Merino shorts as there are plenty of tech shirts that get close to its performance for far less.

PeaceShell Running Cap

Features and Tech

The PeaceShell is a “full” Schoeller 3XDry fabric run cap.  By that I mean it is not a vented material although in my testing it proved plenty breathable (there are 7 vent holes around the top of crown)  in moderate conditions and in cold actually kept me warm enough by cutting the wind. 

The 3XDry is a water and dirt repellent treatment that also controls odors. It repels from the outside while drawing moisture from the inside to evaporate thus drying according to Satisfy 3x faster. The 3XDry treatment for sure repels moisture and as I found out sweat stains as well.  

The blue underbrim has a silvery sheen as there is 1% aluminum in that fabric, decorative we were told by Brice but kind of cool. Easy to adjust, we have a velcro like Magic Tape rear adjustment. 

The white label is removable but I kept it on.  And as with all Satisfy products it comes in a reusable waterproof, anti static recyclable package I am sure to use hiking and traveling

Fit and Style

The style is what I would call a modified “baseball”. We have the top center button and 7 vent holes around the crown. The brim is shorter than a baseball cap and that is fine by me for run purposes. The fit is superb. Always secure and comfortable. I am glad I got the “unbrand” logo all black as I am not sure I would rock the “Running Cult Member” on the blue or the burgundy versions.

Performance and Conclusions

The PeaceShell is a great moderate temps cap or even winter cap if you run warm as I do. 

I am very fussy about caps and have tried innumerable ones over the years and for fit and performance it is top of the heap. I particularly appreciated its solid yet comfortable hold in even very windy conditions. 

The brim is just the right length to shield but not be in the way. Very interestingly and uniquely my black cap unlike any other did not accumulate any white salt stains except for a few at the seams. It also stayed dry,  evaporating sweat rapidly in so far moderate temperatures with heat tests to come. Both of these strengths I think are  a tribute to the “water repellant” Schoeller 3XDry fabric. As with all Satisfy the excellence comes at a price ($76) but as long as you don’t lose it it may be the last cap you buy.

In conclusion, Satisfy delivers on its promise of removing all apparel distractions so you can focus on your run. The fabrics are unique in their comfort and tech properties in my experience. The fabrication in factories in Europe and Japan paying livable wages is admirable and all the products have performed magnificently and are clearly a step above in performance and yes pricing. They can be very wise investments but I do wish they were more approachable so more runners could experience this special brand's products.

Satisfy Running Apparel is available worldwide from Satisfy HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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