Admit it, your compression tights are disgusting.
You’re a man, and men are supposed to smell. Right? Well aside from natural bacteria that breaks down on the surface of your skin, lending to your unique body odor, everyday clothes don’t hold the same sweat-equity as our activewear.
Your activewear is most likely worn and in need of revamping. And sure, most evolved workout and outdoor apparel companies have come to develop sweet fabric technologies that keep the post-flex aromas to a minimum, but it’s still high time you replaced the essentials. Odds are, that wool baselayer you poured pounds of sweat into during the winter won’t service you the same this spring, and the running t-shirt you’ve been wearing since college is super crusty.
We compiled a shopping list of the best men’s activewear this spring that will carry their weight through the next three seasons. The pieces are also stylish enough to double as weekendwear, and made from the most cutting-edge materials the fitness industry has seen the past couple years.
Brooks Running Company is one of (if not THE) biggest name in specialty running footwear. That means all the real runners aren’t wearing Skechers… they’re wearing Brooks. They’ve always had a sprinkling of apparel, but now Brooks is ramping up R&D to bring a stellar range of men’s running apparel that is both high performance and lifestyle cool. The Fremont Running Shorts, new this season, are made from a Brooks DriLayer fabric that is lightweight, perforated, and stretch-woven; combining for extreme ventilation and excellent fit. They also wick moisture and keep key sweat zones (like the lower back) cool with mapped perforations. It’s a simple detail, but the all-new flat waistband is the single element that makes these running shorts NOT look like workout wear. Add to that a front zip pocket and hand pockets. Not to mention the colors are a godsend from the neon fitness garb we’re used to.
T-SHIRT: Tracksmith Grayboy, $55
Amid the overload of synthetic “hyper-moisture-wicking” plastic many companies like to call workout shirts, we find ourselves missing plain, heritage cotton. Tracksmith, an underground running apparel brand that develops and manufactures its clothes in Massachusetts, is staying true to the varsity bloodline of “vintage” track clothes. Their Grayboy t-shirt is a blend of 88 percent cotton and 12 percent Rayon. In Tracksmith words, it’s “built to be soaked with sweat, worn, and washed for a lifetime.” Plus everything down to the graphics of this seven-shirt range are made in the USA (right in New England). The silhouette is a play on the original, standard-issue Graboys, only with a tweak to the fit that dumps its old boxy cut with a more fitted, flattering shape. Don’t worry, it’s still the furthest thing from compression wear.
COMPRESSION: Opedix Men’s Dual-Tec 2.0 ¾ Length Tights, $225
Not to bash compression apparel (it’s now an essential piece to your activewear wardrobe). This category is making leaps and bounds, as designs are being infused with the cold, hard science of the support our muscles need. Make a major upgrade to your compression repertoire by adding Opedix to the mix. These Dual-Tech tights put traditional compression to shame, having a unique fabric mapping that actually improves your kinetic chain, giving you better form where you need it and joint function for the long haul. These tights can be used both as compression and rehab pants since they promote alignment-improved mobility and stability. The price tag is daunting, but just do it.
TNF’s lightest running jacket feels more like a second skin than an awkward windbreaker. With body-mapped FlashDry knit panels at the cuffs, down the forearms, and in the center back the piece is amazing at regulating body temperature via superior moisture management. In other words, it’s not like wearing a plastic trash bag. And say adios to chafing while wearing a hydration pack, because this jacket has stitch-free seams down the center back and on the side panels.
… Speaking of hydration packs, invest in an Ultimate Direction pack (doesn’t matter which one because they all rock).
The pinnacle of crossover hats, Under Armour designed this piece with low crown construction and a lower silhouette for a closer fit. The bow in the cap is perfect (not flat-top and not too peripherally constricting). Its stretch construction means a comfortable, almost-tailored, fit without the use of snaps, and the built-in HeatGear sweatband wicks sweat. It’s a really simple, yet perfectly designed piece that looks great on. And that, my friends, is exactly what you need from the perfect workout hat.
ETC: UV Buff, $18
You know a piece of apparel works when two of the biggest badasses of untrarunning (Anton Krupicka and Joe Grant) endorse it. And a UV Buff works for them at mile 85 the same way it’ll work for you at mile five. The UV Buff is also a great piece to add to your Spring wardrobe because of the unpredictability of the season’s weather; rain, shine, snow, and wind can show up in the same afternoon here in Denver. The UV Buff is similar to Buff’s traditional version but also blocks 95 percent of harmful UV rays, and can be worn more than a dozen different ways (think headband, cap, balaclava, and everything in between).
Now let’s get sweaty…
Lead image courtesy Tracksmith