Soar very kindly sent me four items to test which I picked to make a kit for the current not quite winter but yet cold and dark conditions.
Run Shorts 4.0 ($120)
Everyday runs, easy day runs, recovery runs – most of your mileage focused on comfort. Neither long nor short.
Features and Performance
I found the Run Shorts 4.0 to be one of the most comfortable running shorts I’ve ever tried. For me when it comes to running shorts two features are always key: a very comfortable liner and a paper thin outer fabric (outside of winter of course) that does not hold sweat and sticks to skin like a wet nappy (that’s UK for diaper).
With those two aspects in mind RS4.0 scores a 10/10 for me. With regards to fit I believe they should fit most runners true to size even those of us (like yours truly) who were blessed with bigger hips and thighs.
The shorts only have one reflective logo in the front which is too little for winter running in my opinion (albeit I am nit picking here as those are not winter specific shorts).I would also recommend another pocket, to go with the rear one, perhaps in the inside of the front waistband of the shorts. In the summer my shorts are typically the only item that I use for storage. If my house keys or another valuable go into the only pocket available I don’t want to be opening that pocket during the run so as not to lose any valuables (we’ve all been there). Therefore the front, waistband based pocket, non-secure even, could work ideally as gel storage. In terms of performance the shorts do disappear on you (not literally) on the run, they are so light and soft you could not ask for much more. I had no issues with chaffing or any other problems that some shorts can cause.
Winter Gilet ($280)
Winter training runs when it’s cold but not quire ‘jacket cold’
Great breathable fabric
Good size pockets (back pocket big enough to fit my Iphone Pro Max in a protective case which makes it an XXXL phone)
Reflective logos and seams back and front
Features and Performance
First things first. In terms of fit most of Soar’s tops and jackets will fit one size smaller than usual unless you prefer a very close fit. For this reason I have decided to size up in all the items Soar has sent me (apart from the shorts). Despite that the Gilet is still very fitted on me (unlike the Ultra Jacket and the Hot Weather top). Of course my fondness of crisps and wine plays a part here but that aside the Gilet is very fitted. This can be a con if you don’t like that kind of style but also can play to our advantage as heat retention is great.
Don’t get me wrong I was not overheating in it – it performed very well. There aren’t many running items which have the coolness factor of a running gilet. When you are putting a gilet on you know it is probably going to be a relaxing long run and we don’t tend to associate this type of item. In terms of running performance there aren’t very many items that fit my Iphone Pro Max. In fact there are 2 pockets here including one at the back. My phone fits no problem in the back pocket and the front one is big enough for a couple of gels. There are two reflective logos, one in the front and one in the back, paired with reflective coverage of the seams one can feel safe running at night.
I would describe the fabric as stretchy, soft and semi insulated. Depending on what other layers we pair it with this can be a three season item (Fall/Winter/Spring).
I’ve tested it in recent torrential rains we had in the North East of Scotland as well as during night time runs and there is very little to ask for in terms of additional protection. It is important to note that there is no membrane in the Gilet. Water resistance is provided by an unusual dual DWR treatment of the yarns and then also the finished fabric which allows for the water resistance plus the breathability. The seams are also fully taped.
The only wish I would have would be for a slightly looser fit – similar to the Ultra Jacket which I think would be more accessible for an average runner.
Long Sleeve Hot Weather T ($120)
Ultimate breathability and top of the line style.
Features and Performance
I will be honest this was the part of the kit I was most excited about. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, I mean how cool does this piece of kit look? I know I am sounding like I’ve gone completely aboard the hype train, like I’ve had a barrel of kool-aid but I just can’t help myself. It is a truly beautiful top. And as the saying goes: Look good, feel good, run good. The fabrics are top notch, as soft as they get.
The top of the torso, top of the back and sleeves are made from a different slightly heavier fabric than the lower sections.
The top is almost translucent. You might be wondering – why does a hot weather top have long sleeves? Well that’s because the above mentioned, translucent fabric provides SPF protection when running in full blasting, mid-day sun.
The rest of the top is made from a knit like SPACE3D mesh fabric which wicks sweat very well, is very breathable and feels soft to the touch.
In terms of sizing I would recommend TTS keeping in mind that like most SOAR items this one is on the tapered end. I would recommend this item as a standalone top for hot weather or base layer with the Ultra Jacket for colder weather.
Ultra Jacket ($265)
Those windy, cold days – for some that’s 6 months of the year, where I live in the NE of Scotland about 9.
Features and Performance
The Ultra Jacket fits true to size. I would describe the fabric it’s made of as a very thin soft shell. What makes the UJ truly unique is the proprietary fabric it is made of. The jacket does not use a membrane but rather a single material achieving greater levels of weather proofness and breathability. This is done via a double application of DWR and plasma treatment of the fabric. This all sounds very Star Trek however I must say it does work rather wonderfully.
The bottom of the jacket is adjustable via drawcord and the full zip is lined for additional wind protection. There are reflective items on front and back but they are on the moderate end in terms of sizing. The collar has an extra layer which those of us with stubble will appreciate a great deal. The sleeve cuffs are semi elastic which helps them stay put without compressing writsis.
The jacket has only one big backpocket which may seem as too little but the good news is that it is a very big pocket, it easily fits my Iphone Pro Max. I personally prefer multiple pockets as then I can use one pocket as a secure pocket (for keys and phone – stays shut through the run) and another pockets for gels. Another wish for me would be a button around the midriff area that would hold the jacket in place even when fully unzipped. But those are just minor, personal gripes.
In terms of performance I don’t really have anything negative to say. The jacket is very soft on the skin and provides ample warmth. I’ve tested it in temperatures ranging from 5-7 Celsuis combined with the Hot Weather Top (LS) . It was sufficient. If it got any colder I would have inserted the Winter Gilet between the two.
Soar Trail Run Collection review soon
Maciej ‘Matt’ Kolat– 37 years old, hailing from Poland but pounding Scottish pavements and trails since 2007. Mainly runs shorter distances on pavement 5-10 km and reserves longer runs for beautiful Scottish Glens. Matt’s opinion sometimes may differ from other RTR testers as he is the slowest of the bunch (5k at 25:38). Matt also uses running as a way to stay healthy having shedded 100 lbs so far (and counting).