Ciarán tests a high-quality and high-priced running kit to see if it’s worth it
We have been freed from our houses and apartments and are determined to enjoy the summer weather. Running and cycling are booming and so now was the time to upgrade my running kit. Over the next few weeks, I will be reporting on the best running tops, shorts, socks and shoes to make sure you have everything you need to enjoy your freedom.
I tested SOAR Runnings Tech-T 2.0 and their Dual Run Shorts. I usually wear Adidas running kit so I was looking forward to seeing how that compared to a more boutique running line.
+ High-quality materials and nice design
+ Lots of eye-catching colours and designs in their range
+ Unique pieces that others won’t have
– Their higher price means they are a bit of an investment in your kit
– Male-only brand but they have definite room to expand to a female line
SOAR is a male-only running brand set up by Tim Soar (cool name!). Based in London, they aim to combine fashion styling with technical running materials and functional design. They have a clear focus on fashion design and on close inspection of the garments, you can see the thought that goes into each piece. They focus on Italian and French materials which I really love to see in my running and cycling kit.
Shorts can make or break a run. You want to avoid rubbing and chaffing but also have some leg coverage (unless you are a club runner and don’t mind baring all). We tested their Dual Run Shorts in Navy Blue with Iris Blue inner costing €99/£86. My first thought when I saw them online was that they were a bit pricey, but I felt they were worth checking out from the reviews I’d seen.
I hadn’t used dual run shorts before. They have a tight fitting (but definitely not compression tight) inner liner. It’s like the bicycle shorts football players wear under their shorts, only more modern feeling and lighter. There is no hem to the inner short and it is laser cut which gives a great look. The addition of the inner tight does mean the outer short is light and loose like a proper running short.
Personally, I run maybe ¾ of the year in tights so felt the inner layer was a nice transition product that could get my pale white legs out a little earlier in spring and autumn. On hotter days you may want to use a regular short as the airflow will cool you a bit but for most normal days I think the dual short is a real winner. They are now my go-to short for any run in under 20 degrees.
They also have some lovely detailing with orange stitching and branding, giving a nice contrast to the navy blue short. Their air vents and use of bonding instead of stitching is another nice touch.
We also tested their Tech-T 2.0 in Washed Khaki (€76/£66) which is also a new release. On first impressions, you can feel how light it is. The softness of the Italian fabric makes you want to try it on and go for a run immediately. So I did! I did a double session with a couple of intervals and it was scorching out at over 20 degrees. I was really glad that the T-Shirt was made for this kind of weather and I felt I sweated far less than I usually would have. That’s a big win for recovery and enjoyment of the session. (although as you can see below I was oretty wrecked just afterwards)
I wanted to also test it in cooler temperatures (which has been difficult this past month as the weather is amazing). I managed to get out early in the morning, with the temperature around 13 degrees. The Tech-T didn’t have me feeling cold which was a surprise. I was at a comfortable temperature even when only doing a slow long run.
Little styled touches can often go unnoticed but upon closer inspection you see them. There is very little stitching of seams here. Instead, the fabrics are bonded together. It’s easy to miss but when you see it you can start to realise the care and attention that goes into the product. You start to value it more too. In reality it’s of course still just a running T-Shirt, but a better one. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into each piece.
Colours and sizing
SOAR actually does some really creative and colourful pieces. They range from orange tie-dye to argyle check patterns. The pieces we tested were very classic but I’ll be back to try some of their louder kit. They also make singlets, jackets and tights so something to try again when autumn starts to appear. The Tech-T comes in 4 colours including Fluro Coral.
I am pretty slim at 70kg, 30cm waist and 181cm/6ft tall. I went for the small short and they fit perfectly according to their size chart. I went for the medium in the running top so it would be a little loose fitting and I am very happy with the cut. I think the sizing charts are accurate. The company offers sizes from XS to XXL so everyone is catered for. Chest 84 up to 114cm and 66 to 99.5cm in the waist.
So their products aren’t cheap but I wanted to compare them to similar high end running kits from traditional brands. Adidas’ top of the range dual short is the Terrex Agravic at €90 and their Heat.RDY T-shirt is €70. So SOAR are very much in line with high-end offerings. You do get that niche branding and you also know that they solely make mens running kits, so won’t be pumping out anything that isn’t doing the job 100%.
Of course you can get far cheaper running kits but I did think it is worth keeping in mind that these are high-end pieces that should last a long time. I have bought cheap Puma and Under Armour stuff and it usually looks and feels bland yet does the job. It was nice to raise the bar significantly here and I do really feel the difference when I put the kit on.
I would give the SOAR items we tried FOUR out of Five stars. They are beautiful products to look at and feel really high quality. You can tell there is a fashion designer influencing this running kit as they have a style that I have rarely seen in running items (especially from most big brands). If you like to have a few signature pieces for running that will make you feel great and catch attention then they are definitely worth checking out.
You can see the products on their website at www.soarrunning.com
We also have reviewed a great pair of running shoes in the NewBalance Fresh Foam 1080 V10 which is worth checking out.
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