Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The North Face: Better Than Naked Short Sleeve Shirt and Long Haul Shorts Review

I am big fan of The North Face and I've been using their apparels for such a long time now. Their products are truly remarkable and one of my favorites to use during my training runs and races. I have reviewed couple of their items a month ago and you can read my full review by clicking here.
·   Flight Series Short Sleeve Shirt
·   Better Than Naked 5" Shorts

The North Face was founded in 1966 by Douglas Tompkins. Named for the coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain. As the name of the company implies, you might think that it probably started somewhere in the high altitudes. Ironically, the company began on a beach. Yup, to be exact in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood with an altitude of 150 feet above sea level. The North Face started as a climbing equipment (mountaineering) retail store and later added outerwear to their product lines. It bears the quarter circle logo that evokes the Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

For almost 50 years, The North Face has grown popularity and recognition. The North Face is known for its high quality and undoubtedly superior reputation on their gears and apparels. Their products are capable to withstand the most extreme conditions as tested by world class climbers, explorers, extreme skiers, ultra marathoners and high altitude runners, whose lives depend on the performance of their apparel and equipment. They gave me another set of products to review and I’m thrilled to put them to the test.

·   Lightweight FlashDry shirt body-mapped ventilation
·   Stitch-free construction on critical seams
·   360-degree reflectivity for visibility in low light condition and reflective logos

Fit and Functionality
What I like most about the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt is the lightness and its ability to transfer the moisture fast away from my body. I was already impressed with the Flight Series Short Sleeve Shirt, but the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt is a notch better in my own honest opinion. It is quick drying, super ultralight material that is exceptionally soft, breathable and great in moisture and temperature regulation. The closest comparison that I can think off against this shirt is the 2XU GHST Shirt which is also extremely light and soft. Like the Flight Series, the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt utilizes the FlashDry technology fabrics that are engineered to accelerate the removal of moisture from the skin and speed up the evaporative process.  This enables you to stay drier, more comfortable and out performing longer in a wide range of weather conditions and environments. The FlashDry fabric doesn’t add weight or bulk and never washes or wears out. For safety standpoint, the shirt is equipped with 360 degree reflective materials for visibility in low light conditions.

I used the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt when I raced the Davis Moonlight ½ Marathon almost two weeks ago. For those who are not familiar with this race, it’s in Davis California and it starts at 7 pm. I’ve been doing this race for 3 consecutive years now and the common denominator on this race is the temperature, it is always hot! I put the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt to the test and it didn’t disappoint. The lightness of the shirt was absolutely amazing in controlling my core temperature. The material was so thin that it allowed more air to go thru my body and it dissipated the sweat as quickly as possible. This helped me accomplished in beating my previous time by more than 2 minutes and I’m extremely satisfied with the result. The fact that I didn’t put much effort leading to this race, it just shows that gears do make a big difference in performance.

·   7" inseam running shorts designed for maximum storage
·   360- degree reflectivity for visibility in low light condition
·   Supportive comfort-fit waistband with draw cord
·   Built-in compressive liner short with pockets

Fit and Functionality
I received the BTN Long Haul Shorts along with the BTN Short Sleeve Shirt and tested them both on the Davis Moonlight ½ Marathon. I was absolutely amazed with the ingenuity that they put into this shorts. It has multiple elastic pockets around the waist area (total of 6 pockets) plus a zippered pocket at the back that can fit some large phones today. Aside from the 6 pockets along the waist area, there are additional pockets located on the compression liner too. It has 3 small elastic pockets on the right leg and another 2 decent size pockets on the other. With the number of pockets built into this shorts, there are no more excuses of running low in fuel. This shorts is obviously built for long distances where storing fuels are essential. It’s amazingly comfortable that it didn’t bother me while I was running despite the gels, gummies and bars that I have with me on the runs. Like most of The North Face apparels the Long Haul Shorts’ compression liner has the FlashDry fabric technology that helps keep me dry and aids in evaporating process.

My Verdict
The BTN Short Sleeve Shirt is an absolute gear that you must have whether you’re a serious runner or just getting some work outs here and there. It is one of my favorite gears to wear on most training days where the temperature is above normal. The technical aspect of the materials (i.e. ultra-lightness and breathability) of this shirt is next to none. Honestly, I couldn’t find any fault on this shirt aside from the colors. They could have probably done better in selecting more lively and flashy colors to make the shirt stand out from the rest. But other than that, I'm so pleased with this shirt!

In my opinion, the BTN Long Haul Shorts was made based on one main concept…it's all about functionality. I’m not saying that it’s not fashionable (coz it is) but its main feature is to carry fuels, which is an absolute necessity when it comes to endurance sports. As the name suggest, it is geared for long haul/ distances. The storage pockets of this shorts offer more than enough to carry your fuels and supply you on the long runs. This shorts can be best utilize on trail runs and on race events where slowing / stopping for fuel is not an option. One thing that is obvious on this shorts is the weight, it’s a bit heavy in my opinion. The weight is mainly located on the waist area where all the pockets are built in. It didn’t bother me during the run but I think it’s noteworthy to mention since most shorts today are really light.

The BTN Short Sleeve Shirt and BTN Long Haul Shorts sell for $50 and $65, respectively. These are high quality gears and I highly recommend that you give it a try. It is tested and proven by athletes around the world, it is no surprise that their gears and apparels are unparalleled. The North Face stands behind their products and they offer a lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

They also have different varieties of gears and apparels based on the type of activities you are into, so check their website or retails stores near you and let me know what you think.

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