A number of years ago I took up running. I came to it late in life, and until then I’d quite frankly avoided it, so I was more surprised than anyone that I ended up rather enjoying it. Very much more so than most other forms of exercise that I’ve tried. If you’d like to know how I got started, I wrote about it ages ago in the post I gave the catch name “How I, against all odds, started running“.
Why do I bring this up now? Well, training gear is probably the one area of garmentry where I’ve not expended much effort in finding nice stuff. Mainly because most training gear is pretty nasty, right? You just grab some stuff, wear it and wash it, and try not to think to much about it. Frankly though, I’d love to have some training gear that was more in line with my taste, if such a thing existed.
Imagine my pleasure when I discovered the new offerings from Iffley Road, a new British company offering running gear with a sense of style. I just adore the non-glaring colours and retro detailing, and how it’s done without sacrificing the tech we’ve come to expect from modern running gear. It’s as if they saw me coming, in the best possible way.
In what ways are the Iffley Road tops like other makes then? Well, the fabric is a highly wicking dri-release fabric that is specially woven to provide the required performance, but also look entirely different to most performance fabric. Heck, it even looks and feels like soft cotton. And there is no chemical treatment either, which sounds quite marvellous to me.
And in what way are they different? Well, they look good. None of that skin-tight nonsense (which to be honest tends not to flatter those of us that have been around more than a score years (or even know how many years a score is)), or shininess, or massive logos or advertising that most others will try to sell you.
Really, the fact that there is no in-your-face branding is a major point for me. I find it immensely annoying to be promoting the maker of my sports gear, especially as I’ll have paid good money for the pleasure. Or maybe signalling to others that you also have the exact same gear is part of the deal? The guy that came up with the idea of putting a large X on the thigh of running tights is no doubt some evil marketing genius though.
If there was one small point I’d like to see changed, it is the shirt pocket. It’s nicely sized to hold a typical smartphone, with a zip good enough to hold it closed, but it lacks a hole to poke the cable for your earbuds. This would ideally be on the inside of the pocket so you could run the cable down the inside. I’m as yet undecided where the best place to have a phone-holding pocket is, if there indeed is one, so I’ll get back to you on how it works on the side. The shorts have a neat pocket just large enough for a car key.
In addition, this is training gear that is nice enough to be worn in none training situations. How many other brands can you say that about? Well done, Iffley Road, I wish there were more thinking along these lines!