Monday 14 January 2013

Gear Review: Thoosa Swift Zip Tee & 3/4 Longs

A few months ago, we met Thoosa Running Wear’s founder, Caroline McNally, at our inaugural race, The Broadway Tower Marathon and Half Marathon.  She was enthusiastically cheering on Thoosa ambassador Charlotte Jeffries, who was running (very quickly!) the Half Marathon.  As a result of that serendipitous meeting, Thoosa are kindly providing prizes to our female race winners this year, and we are returning the favour by putting their gear to the test on the trails.  Cotswold Running ambassadors Nicola Dusterhoff and Christine Lloyd are planning various fell and trail races, the occasional ultra, triathlon, and possibly a mountain marathon or two.  Thoosa kit will be with them along the way, and we’ll periodically report on how they get on.
Let’s face it, most of a first-time purchase for a brand is heavily influenced by first impressions and recommendations from trusted sources.  First time use, though, is all about first impressions.  Once, in the dim and distant past, Nicola received a very good quality top for Christmas. It wasn’t in the most attractive colour of pale mustard (easy to see, but would you want to be seen in it?).  Two years later, it went missing, after one or two “you gave it to me, so I’ll wear it” outings.  When the ladies opened their Thoosa packages, the first impression was “fits well, looks great, feels well made” – no concern about the kit being hidden away!

Nicola on the trails in Thoosa Swift Zip Tee and Swift 3/4 Longs

So, what are Nic and Chris trialling this Winter, and what was behind that great first impression?  Given free rein over their selection, they both chose the Chill Half Zip and Swift Zip Tee on top.  On bottom, Nic will be wearing the City Skort or Swift ¾ tights, and Chris will be trying out the City Capri and the Chill Tights.  As with any new gear, the “out-of-the-box” inspection reveals a lot about what you can expect during use.  All of the fabric feels like it will last well and like it is soft enough not to be a chafing concern. 
The Chill tops have some great features, including 2 hip pockets that are roomy enough for most smartphones and snug enough not to bounce around on the run.  The colours are vibrant, with a fair amount of reflective detailing.  The Swift tee in “berry” was very easy to see from a distance on one of the typically grey, drizzly runs that seemed to dominate December.  One obvious difference in the tops compared to many other brands is a slightly longer body and slightly flared shaping that means they hang nicely over the bit of “tummy” that may just have sent one out for a run in the first place.  The hand-warming slots in the cuff are also great for those runs when it’s not really cold enough for gloves, but when you want something over your hands until you get fully warmed up.  As Nic went through a spate of losing one glove on those days, we might even call this a cost-saving feature!
The first thing we noticed about the bottoms is the wide, high waist.  This eliminates the need for a draw string – they stay up nicely without one.  As a bonus, the waistline seam is out of the way of a waist-pack, reducing the opportunity for chafing on a long run.  After a few runs of over 2 hours, even with the Swift tee untucked throughout, Nic hasn’t experienced any of the chaffing along the waist that regularly happened with lower-waisted longs and shorts.   The addition of a nice big, zipped pocket along the lower back is especially welcome in combination with the Swift tee, which doesn’t have any pockets.

Mud (and the rest) up to the knee and a fall helped testing.  All looks & smells fine after a good wash.

Result so far – our ambassadors are happy with the Thoosa Running Wear, and have yet to find anything to complain about.  The clothes wash up fine, retain their shape, and are ready to go again.  This weekend, Chris took her kit for a race test at the Naunton 19 Trail Race.  We’ll let you know how she got on.

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