Posted by Chief run commuter on June 2, 2012 in Equipment, Product Reviews |

The good people at Under Armour got in touch recently through Fitness Blogger looking for feedback on a new technical t-shirt and needed blogger ‘guinea pigs’ for test runs.  Well, who was I to refuse?  Read the headlines:  there’s a recession on, right!  So off I went with my test run.   And a good excuse it was for a sound thrashing, too!  So to speak.

To the facts we go:-

Product info:

Under Armour has a new innovative ColdBlack product that launched this month in the UK.

Click: ColdBlack to see the product in question.

Here are a few key features of the ColdBlack product.  In their words:-

  •        Revolutionary technology that actually reflects the suns heat
  •        Reflects IR and heat rays
  •        Minimum UPF 30+ to block UV-A and UV-B rays
  •        Dark colors act like light colors and don’t get hotter

Now, I like to think I’ve got a pretty good grip on sports wear having a solid interest in it, but I was wrong about Under Armour.    I’ve only ever seen Under Armour kit as the uber skin tight compression t-shirts seen under normal sports shirts.  And unless you’re built like an rugby centre then you’d be in danger of looking like a wobbly Staypuff Marshmallow man.  So I was interested to see how wrong I was and how their normal sports range got on.

ColdBlack T ShirtTheir ColdBlack product, as above, is designed to offer traditional wicking properties but combined with the latest in heat reflecting material.  So it was great news that us here in Blighty ‘suffered’ with our first heatwave of the year.   And rather than give it the one outing and form an opinion from there, I’ve put it through the mill somewhat!  So over the last week or so I took it on a tour of hard exercise to see how it would stand up.  It’s been through a London park British Military Fitness session, a Surrey British Military session followed by a 10km run, a 16km orienteering trail run (to be blogged about!) on the hottest day of the year, a solid workout in my Soho gym, and of course I had to run to work in it!

The ColdBlack t-shirt is immediately noticeable as being thicker (and stretchier) than the average technical t-shirt.  This should make it hotter which goes against its claim to keep you cooler, right?  Well, the answer is no.   Not once in all the miles put in did I feel like I was really over-heating, even on the 16km trail run on the hottest day. The t-shirt does all the usual wicking tasks, but sweat wasn’t a major issue on the runs and the ‘cooling’ properties of the t-shirt must have worked.

I generally flit between a medium and large size, but prefer being ‘over’ rather than ‘under’ sized.  So I picked the large and in my opinion the sizing is true to its word. It is a genuine large and, being over 6ft, I also appreciated the generous length the t-shirt offers.

Running to work with a backpack on means that short t-shirts can ‘ride up’ and leave the backpack rubbing the back.   So the length of this t-shirt combined with its slight extra weight meant this didn’t happen.  And it’s robustly built as well, double stitched seams, so I get the impression that it won’t fray or deteriorate as quick as some others through friction with the backpack straps.

The t-shirt is also nicely emblazoned with the silver Under Armour logo, although this looks almost like a stick-on and I expected it to suffer in the wash and through the various crawling exercises from British Military Fitness.   The first wash was done at 50c and the logo did suffer a fraction.   However, cooler subsequent washes were fine and the logo remains shiny, bright and intact!

The label inside suggests that the t-shirt has to be washed on a cool setting, which I can’t quite understand as heavy sports wear requires something more to rid the grime and sweat.  But at 40c the t-shirt comes out clean and unharmed.   Perhaps due to it’s relative heavy weight, unless hung up it does crease a bit and it comes only in 4 colours.  The only really inspiring one I thought is the orange version which I have.  The others being: Black, Navy and also White.  Hopefully they’ll expand this as they go on.   However, these are minor gripes and overall I’d put the t-shirt up there as one of the best in my closet.

I liked the robust nature, the feeling of durability, the generous length, and the stretchy material which let me move comfortably and freely through various daft BMF exercises.  I didn’t once feel as if I was over-heating from the sun during the hot spell, although to be fair I’m not sure if a t-shirt can ever be a complete ‘cure’ against that.  At some stage I’m sure I’ll overheat whilst wearing it, due to exertion rather than the weather!   The cost: at a smidgen over £20, I reckon it offers great value for money and I’d be pretty sure I’ll get some lengthy service from it, too.

So, well done guys.  A few more colours to improve upon the rather predictable ones on offer and I reckon you’re onto a really good thing!  Now, writing this on a rather wet and cold Queen’s Jubilee weekend, I might need to go check out your thermal range! ;-)

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