Friday, September 9, 2016

Salomon: S-Lab EXO TW Shorts and Trail Runner Short Sleeve Tee Review

If you’ve been doing a lot of trail runs or any activities in the high mountains like skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering or any high altitude sports then you’ve probably heard about Salomon. They are no stranger to the world of endurance sports and they have proven that they have the highest quality of gears, apparels and equipment that you can depend on.

Salomon was born in the French Alps in 1947, in Annecy France to be exact. It was started by Francois Salomon, his wife and his son George. Their passion for mountain sport, product development, quality and craftsmanship drove them to create progressive gears that we are enjoying today. Salomon also expanded their products to running and I heard a lot of great things about it. It seems very fitting to test them out since I’ve been doing a lot of trainings and preparations to get myself ready for marathon this December. I received few items from them and I’m happy to put them to the grind. 

·      EXO Sensifit Stability: helps you move easier, perform longer and recover faster.
·      5 waist pockets (1 front, 2 rear, 2 side): for easy access to your essentials without slowing you down.
·      Inner tights: honeycomb pattern for muscle support.
·      Lightweight waist construction.
·      Reflective branding front and back: for increased visibility in low light conditions.
·      4 way stretch plain weave: a material that moves with your body.
·      Advance Skin / Active Dry technology.
·      UPF 50 sun protection.

·      Muscle Support: Patented Salomon EXO print delivers maximum support for muscles to improve endurance.
·      Mobility: patterned to enable complete freedom of movement, with stretch comfort in the fabric.
·      Lightweight: superlight fabric on the outer short.

Fit and Functionality
I ordered a medium size based on their chart and it is spot on. My waist is about 32 inches and they feel good and comfortable. It’s a little bit long compared to my other running shorts and it just sits above my knee.

First thing that I noticed was that it doesn’t have a draw string like other shorts. The waistband is made of pure elastic (compressive) material that is almost 3 inches thick. I put it on and felt that it doesn’t quite sit on my waist but more on the hip area. The short is more of a “low waist” type short and it gave me a strange feeling but I got used to it after putting it in a mill. Second, the waistband that I mentioned above have numerous mesh pockets around it, it has a total of 5 pockets (1 front, 2 rear and 2 sides) that are totally stretchable and elastic enough to secure my running fuels and essentials in place. Traditionally, you’ll find the pockets of some shorts located along its side. I don’t know about you but I am not a big fan of such design. Not to offend anybody, but I think this is totally useless since we all know that any items we put in that pocket will just continuously bounce and hit our legs as we run. Salomon put a lot of considerations by having the pockets close to the body, not only it is secure but it also eliminates the bounce. Never did it sag when I loaded it up with my nutrition on the 15 mi run I did. Third, the “honeycomb pattern” compression tights are sewn with the outer shorts (along the inner thigh). The primary reason for this is to eliminate the shorts from riding up that could potentially create the unwanted chafing on that delicate area (no pun intended). The honeycomb pattern EXO Technology compression tights deliver the right amount of compression and support. It stabilizes and control my leg muscles from the jarring motion and it helps eliminate early fatigue by increasing the blood flow. It felt that my legs were still energize after the run. 
Fourth, they also added a very silky soft liner brief for added comfort and support, where the front is sewn to the short while the back portion is sewn to the compression tights. I’m not a big fan of liner briefs and I initially thought that this will cause some discomfort but I was totally surprised that it didn’t even bother me during the run and hardly noticed that it was there. Lastly, the outer layer of the short is equipped with the finest material that you could find in the market today, it has a 4 way stretch plain weave material that moves with my body and the Advance Skin/ Active Dry technology dissipates the sweat faster  and creates a cooling effect. I put this to the mill one more time during my 17 mi run, the shorts were moist but not soaking wet compared to some other shorts I tested and I’m really impressed with how it supported my legs and really felt comfortable throughout the entire run.

Trail Runner Short Sleeve Tee
     100% Polyester

    Active-Form Fit.
    Salomon warp knit
    AdvanceSkin / ActiveDry technology
    Flatlock seams (to prevent chafing)
    Reflective branding

Fit and Functionality
The fit of the shirt is true to size and perfect according to their size chart. It falls under the “Active Fit” category. If you’re not familiar with how Salomon categorized their sizing, the Active Fit it is pretty much equivalent to a “semi fit”. The Active fit gives you the feeling that the material is close enough to the body but it doesn’t hug your skin like a compression shirt. However, it still follows the contour and curves of your body, so just be mindful that if you have some moobies (man boobs) and a bit of a muffin top that it will be hard to hide them when wearing this shirt.

I’m not a big fan of loose and relaxed shirts when running especially when I start to sweat, it makes the material even heavier and uncomfortable in a long run. I tested this on my 17 mile run and the temperature got high half way thru my run but the shirt held up pretty good. Thanks to the shirt’s ability to dissipate the sweat and moisture away from my skin I was able to maintain a good core temperature.

Let’s talk some sensitive issue, the dreaded chafing on the nip area! For the record, I don’t have problem on this area but I think it’s worth mentioning for the sake of this review. One of the major causes of that issue is the type of fabric used by manufacturers on their shirts. That chafing happens when the material starts to absorb sweat and begin rubbing on our skin. Remember that episode from the Office when Andy had some issue on that area? (click here for the video)…ouch! Some male runners tend to have sensitive nipples and they have to put band aids or nip guards to protect them from chafing. Well, this might be your saving glory, the material used in this shirt is as light as a feather and very comfortable, and you could probably ditch those band aids and use it somewhere else.

My Verdict
S-Lab EXO TW Shorts
The S-Lab is Salomon’s name for pure performance and designed at the highest level. The design of the S-Lab is quite unique, Salomon put together a lot of great features that you wouldn’t normally find in some other shorts. Frankly speaking, you could probably call this short the “mother of all shorts”. To summarize, here are the good things I like about the shorts:
·   it has numerous mesh pockets around the waist
·   compression tights that is sewn with the shorts
·   a very comfortable liner brief for extra support  
·   a 4-way weave material that moves along with our body
·   AdvanceSkin / ActiveDry technology that helps dissipates sweats and moisture faster

However, there are also few things that somehow lacking on this short:
·   Large phones will not be able to fit in.
·   The elasticity of the band is still unknown for how long will it last.
·   The shorts come with a sky rocketing price of $200.

Yup that will surely put a ding in your wallet. I never realized that running could be this expensive. Back in yesteryears, running is just getting your shoes, shirt and T’s and off you go. However, our technology has evolved and we have done so much improvements on our gears and apparels to make this sport appealing to everybody. It’s very common now a day that anything that comes with a technology has a good price tag on it. Running is a very hard sport, it demands a lot from our body but we can lighten that load by supplementing ourselves with the right gears and apparels. You can never go wrong with the S-Lab EXO TW shorts. It’s worth the try in my opinion.

Trail Runner Short Sleeve Tee
I was really impressed with how the shirt handled the two long distances I did during the test phase. The shirt is incredibly light, comfortable, wicks moisture fast and helps me control my core temperature despite the hot temperature. Consumers should never be a surprise from a brand like Salomon, they are known for their high quality and standards.

Overall, I highly suggest that you give these two products a try and see for yourself the difference it could make on your running. You can purchase the S-Lab EXO TW Shorts for $200 on their website or at retail stores near you. The Trail Runner Short Sleeve Tee sells for $45 but you can get it on Amazon on a much cheaper price and save you some buck.

Salomon stands behind their products and rest assured that they are built with high quality materials and craftsmanship. They have extensive warranty period and they will replace any faulty garments with a new one as quickly as possible.

Thanks for reading and hope you find this review helpful.

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