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Summer Running Gear Reviews: Part 1

Summer Running Gear Reviews: Part 1

I nearly gave up looking. But after years, I finally found what could be the greatest running shirt, ever crafted!

If it isn’t clear yet, I’m a sweater. As in, I sweat. I’m not knitted from wool by my grandmother at Christmas time.

I drip. So much so that the brim of my hat looks like an awning during a thunderstorm.

By the end of even a moderate run in the heat, my shoes squish-squash like my feet are attached to a wet sponge.

So, needless to say, the rest of my clothing is usually drenched.

For me, nothing kills the enjoyment of a good summer run like the feeling of a soaking wet shirt that clings to my torso like duct tape, chafing the dime pieces with nearly every foot strike.

As such, while I can’t say that I’ve become a clothing connoisseur… over the past few years, I’ve bought, tried, tested, and tossed dozens upon dozens of “techy” and “moisture-wicking” shirts, from cheapos to the big brands.

I’ll go through them faster than a sleeve of girl scout cookies when nobody’s watching.

And until now, I’ve been pretty unsatisfied. 

Some shirts seem to encourage body odor, almost before you step out the door. Others hold water better than a sponge mop. And some are so itchy and coarse that I can’t even get out the door without tearing it off like Hulk Hogan entering after the ring against the Rowdy Rowdy Piper.

So, until recently, I’ve been going old-school. Either wearing a cotton t-shirt, simply because I don’t expect anything from it, or none at all.

… until recently…

You see, not long ago, I found a shirt that I consider almost magical. A dream shirt. A product that, shockingly, actually performs as advertised.

It’s the Freedom Short Sleeve, by Saucony

And it does everything I want in a shirt, so well so that I bought several in every color and style, completely replacing my summer wardrobe, for when I run AND for casual wear!

Now, below, I will show you a little experiment I did to prove to myself that these shirts are truly superior. Though, if all you’re interested in are the highlights, here’s what I love:

  • Supremely soft - when dry AND soaking wet, it feels like brushed cotton
  • Insanely light - medium shirt weighs just a little over 4oz
  • ZERO signs of chaffing after even long runs
  • Almost as light soaking wet as they are bone dry
  • It dries almost as fast as you can sweat in it
  • Superior odor control - even after several washes and some time neglected and wet in the hamper!

Through-and-through, I’ve dripped buckets into this shirt and it has been nothing short of an absolute joy.

So if you find yourself out this summer looking to enhance your running wardrobe, and you’d like to find a shirt that won’t let you down, I highly encourage you to head on down to Fleet Feet Sports and try one on today!

And now, for a little experiment…

I knew this shirt was perfect. Light, soft, dry, moisture-wicking. But I’m a fan of testing everything out. So I wanted to sweat my best and put it through the ringer.

The competition? My favorite running cotton T. Nothing too fancy. But it’s the only shirt I’ve run in, until now, that never gave the dimes any irritation. So it’s stayed in my rotation as my reliable go-to top for years.

First, the weigh in…

Now, you can tell, right there, that the Saucony’s nearly 50% lighter. But as I have learned time and again, some synthetics can take on water like the Titanic.

The test? Back-to-back days of solid running. The first day, I took off in the Saucony shirt for a 12 miler. The weather was rainy (as it has been the past who knows how long) with 85% humidity.

Afterwards, before I had time to keep sweating, and skew the test, a second weighing…

I could have ended it right there. After all, soaking wet, this shirt was still lighter than my favorite other running shirt was dry!

But in the spirit of believing in fairness and miracles that a shirt could get lighter as it gets wetter, I decided to take my ol’ reliable for a spin.

This time, the plan called for a four mile tempo run. Temperatures were the same. Only, this time, there was hardly any humidity. And, almost unbelievably, it was sunny! I figured, I might as well give my cotton companion a little handicap.

The results are below, side-by-side…

There’s a pretty definitive winner here, if you ask me. Am I going to throw away my trusty cotton? Heck no. But it won’t be getting pulled for runs anymore.

Keep Chipping like Utz

- Jimmy Mac

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