Monday, February 6, 2012

Brooks Apparel Review-Part One!

So, time for some uncensored Brooks reviews! Considering I have a HUGE stack of Brooks products, it is quite obvious that I love the company and the quality of their gear. This is my third year as a member of the Brooks ID program and although I am SUPER grateful for this opportunity, I would be running in Brooks shoes and much of their apparel regardless!! As with ANY company, not every item is made for every person and I have "favorites" and some "less than favorites" but I've NEVER run into a quality issue with Brooks. A great QUALITY company! Serious gear for serious runners and tapping into the fashion market very well lately with some great new colors in both apparel and shoes. My reviews to follow are purely personal opinion based on my body type and my running use and they're honest. It will likely take me 3 posts to get through everything I want to review but I will stick to some in strictly apparel for today!

The Brooks Utopia Softshell

I ordered this as a little warmer alternative to wear in the winter. I am often running in temperatures below 20 degrees F and need something that is lightweight, allows me to move freely, but will keep me warm. This does the job WELL. In fact, it almost too warm some days and I would really not recommend it for running for anyone who consistently runs in temps over 35 degrees. The jacket itself is very lightweight, breathable, wind and water resistant-very functional. It has thumbholes with flip over cuffs and pockets with also an interior Ipod pocket. It's a really flattering jacket as well with the cut and I would love to order another one to wear for an every day jacket instead of just for running! I think it runs pretty true to size. I am 5'8.5 and I will generally order medium in a jacket because I don't want the arms to be too short and I want to be able to layer. I was very happy with this purchase and I get GREAT use out of this jacket! I'm giving this an A+ for Minnesota use.

The Brooks Infiniti tights

As can be imagined, I get good out of running tights up here! These are really a quality pair. Again, I am relatively tall, and I have a number of "knicker" tights as I call them. These are not too short even though the website states 27 inch inseam (rolled cuff) and 29 inch extended inseam which would be WAY too short for me in jeans. I have these in both a small and a medium and neither of them are too short. The cuff could be rolled up for shorter people-it's kind of loose. They do have a key/ID pocket and a zippered pocket in the back although I haven't used either. Functional and I wear them alone in temps 30-40 degrees. My only personal complaint is they seem to fit a little high in the waist and I'm finicky about waistbands.

Glycerin 2 in 1 Shorts

OK-I just mentioned waistbands which is exactly why I ordered these shorts. I am a LOVER of Lululemon shorts and their flat waistbands so when I saw these on the Brooks website, I thought perhaps they would be comparable. I thought they looked flattering in the picture (we're women, fashion over function sometimes-common knowledge) but I wasn't so sure about the boyshort lining. I SWEAT, I'm always overheated, I was concerned about the double layer for summer and I really questioned whether I would be constantly yanking the liner of these shorts down while running. First, the pros. I do like these shorts. I tried them on and I liked the way they looked for the most part. Not too bunchy, not too much material on the outer layer or too high waisted and the waistband was really comfortable. The boyshort liner has grips around the bottom to hold them in place. There is also a pocket on the liner and two pockets on the back for gels etc. I've not worn shorts yet that would allow me to carry 3 gels on me so A+ for function. I've only run in them on the treadmill but I was surprised with the fact that the liner does NOT ride up much. I am a little on the fence on how much use I will get out of these shorts and really feel I need to give them a good summer test before I will really know!

The Infiniti Bra

Taunted as Brooks most supportive bra. Now, considering my situation, support might not be of utmost concern. Lift on the other hand....perhaps. This bra comes in both an A/B and a C/D. It's priced on the higher end but you can instantly see it is of high quality. Adjustable straps, very reinforced, appears very durable. In reality, I don't need this much. It's a very nice bra and I like the way it looks. I will wear it a lot but not necessary for me. I would HIGHLY recommend this to someone who was actually looking for some support. I definitely think it would fit the bill.

Glycerin Bra

This is the first ever bra I purchased from Brooks and I have 3 of them. It has been coined as the "Perky 2" by a friend and I will testify to that. Flattering alone or under a tank, great lift, great support and just enough "umpf". This bra really fits me well. One thing I really notice about all Brooks bras is I almost never get my skin torn up or chafed when I wear them even if I don't use body glide. They sit firmly and don't move around. I am the ULTIMATE sweater and I have very sensitive skin and will often end up with "holes" in my skin from shorts tags or my ipod on my waist or especially at my bra line. Nice work Brooks!!

Women's Equilibrium LS

I ordered this primarily as a layering shirt and it works well. Great base layer. Lightweight and great moisture wicking material. I have a very difficult time with many tops including Brooks and the length. I hate "too short" and it seems as though the world is made up of 5'5 runners leaving me generally out of luck. This is a little longer than some of the tops but I still wish they made it longer. Also, I'm not a fan of the neckline. This is functional and comfortable and I will get good use out of it but I won't likely make it a staple in my closet. I can see many people loving this shirt.

Nightlife Hat

This may be the best Brooks purchase I've ever made in terms of apparel or accessories. I LOVE this hat. I love the way it fits and I LOVE it for outdoor running in the dark which is about 75% of the time for me! There are no running paths here. I run at dark after work along the side of the road. I wear reflective clothing of course, but this hat is just one added safety comfort item for me! It is equipped with an LED light that is removable for washing and has either a flat or flashing setting. While you're running, the hat shows flat red or flashing red in the back at the touch of a button. This little LED light also doubles as a pen light when removed from the hat. With or without the light I would buy this hat just due to the comfort and fit but Brooks really made a great product here. I've had MANY people tell me they loved it!

So, this concludes review post #1. Lots more especially with shoes. Happy Monday All!


Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Great review Jenn! You and I seem to agree on everything, from shorts to shoes. This is right on with my to come reviews. Honest and well written!
Nice job!

Raina said...

Yes! I totally agree with the glycerine bra. Definitely the PERKY2! Great for small-busted ladies, or ladies who breastfed 3 kids...

I agree with you on the hat- and my son was wearing mine at dusk recently and I was surprised at how visible it made him. Glad I have one- though it's the mens! :)

Loved reading your thoughts on these items!

Raina said...

Oh- I will say, I like how you state that these are how they fit your body. I really like the infiniti tights. They hit just above my hips, so maybe I have a long torso. They are my favorites! Glad I could review here on your review...ack. :)

Amanda@runninghood said...

This is getting me excited to order today!! Woot! I'm narrowing down my first purchase. :)

mfranks said...

I think I have all of these things...with the exception of the shorts with the liner. I agree with you on everything. Have you tried the boy shorts yet? Are you a fan of short tights?

Christie said...

I absolutely love when people do reviews... especially of brands I LOVE!:) I have the jacket and I really like it when it is below 20 degrees. Thanks again, I think I might need to purchase that hat!

ajh said...

I love Brooks. I should try the bras esp. if they don't chafe.

Jenn said...

@Raina-exactly! Everything fits everyone different from shoes on up! Glad you love the tights-mine get great use too!

@Megg-I haven't tried the boy shorts OR the short tights from Brooks. Do you like them? I have had the short tights in my shopping cart a few times but haven't bought them yet!

@Christie-Yes-the hat is awesome! Get it!! Glad you like the jacket! I bought my daughter a small one too(a little big for her at 75 pounds but she loves it) I'm going to order another one for every day use that I won't stink up-ha!

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

I need to try some of those out, especially the bras. I don't mind paying a little extra because I had an incident with a cheap bra. And this is a true story. I ran like 6 miles in it, then went to starbucks and stood in line for awhile because it was crowded, and the barista was actually a women I knew and I talked with her. I went home and looked in the mirror. To my horror my boobs had completely fallen out of the bottom of the bra and were very visible under my white, sweaty shirt. When did this happened? I don't know. I hope it was in the car on the way home, but I don't think it was. So yeah, I spend a little more on my bras now! And I will check out the brooks one!

Thanks for the recommendations!

Tricia said...

I have the softshell utopia and LOVE it. well, I love wearing it in ice baths :) Living in Texas I never actually get to wear it outside...

XLMIC said...

Totally laughing at Tricia in the ice bath with her Utopia jacket on!

Irene said...

I'm glad I caught this post because it's hard to find a good running short that has a built-in boy short. Hmmmmm... I have a credit at RRS and I just might have to use it. *wink* That jacket looks pretty nice, too.

GoBigGreen said...

I'd love to know more about the brooks footwear you like and why? From someone who struggles with minimalist shoes I m curious!