Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Product Review 16: icebreaker GT Run Top

icebreaker apparel

icebreaker is a very unique company. They have taken a stance (a real stance – not a marketing ploy) on environmental conservation, from their materials, to their factories, every step of the way.

Now, this isn’t done by throwing a couple bucks at Al Gore to offset a carbon footprint, instead, icebreaker took a holistic approach: from the raw materials, the farmers, the supply chain and transportation, to the manufacturers and their employees, icebreaker is striving (and doing an amazingly good job) to be in control every step of the way.

Icebreaker is making a valiant effort to not only have a great slogan, “It’s about our relationship with nature and to each other”, but taking ground breaking steps in transparency all the way down to the end user on how they are living that slogan out (check out their ‘baacode’). 


IceBreaker GT Top

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I received icebreakers GT Run top in the mail. It’s a shirt, how excited can I be? Well…. Let’s just say I was wrong to have given it so little credit. A small bit of background information, I rarely run in shirts, at all. So the idea of testing out a running shirt didn’t immediately appeal to me. However, I was truly impressed with this icebreaker shirt in a lot of ways.

First off, the shirt looks good, and would be just as much at home sitting above a pair of designer blue jeans as it would sitting above a pair of sweaty running shorts. The cut is very detailed, the fit is just right, and it’s tapered to sit perfectly on your form while not being at all compressing (it’s still a loose fit T, but doesn’t fit like a baggy 1 size fits all Hanes).

The sides have micro mesh (holes cut for extra breathability which are almost indiscernible to the eye) which run all the way from the underside of the cap of the sleeve all the way down to the bottom of the shirt, providing added breathability where you need it most.
Also, the piping and logo are made with reflective material for additional visibility.
A nice extra touch on this shirt is that on the back there is a small slot-pocket where you can place an mp3 player (iPod nano sized) and there is a reinforced cutout on the inside of the shirt to run your headphone wires underneath the shirt up the back to your ears. I really like the up-the-back design and under the shirt – this keeps all the wires hidden and out of the way where you aren’t brushing them every stride or catching them with your hands.

Now that we have the details out of way, here’s the best thing about this shirt: It is honestly, with no exaggeration, the softest, lightest, most comfortable shirt I have every put on. No question. The shirt is made of 96% Merino wool (not synthetic, pure, natural New Zealand Merino wool) and, even though ‘wool’ has a bad connotation with a lot of athletes and is known for being hot and scratchy, this Merion wool was like nothing I had ever felt. It breathes like I’m not wearing anything (which is a huge plus to me – it’s already reaching 96-99 degrees here), is weightless (I swear it floats with your body instead of lying on it), and, again, is the softest material I’ve ever felt (forget ‘wool’ – think 10,000 thread count Egyptian cotton and you might get some idea of what I’m talking about).

Another huge + for this shirt: not only is it naturally anti-microbial, but when it does start to stink, you just throw it in the washer. No fancy washing bags and delicate cycles, no dry cleaning, 100% machine washable.

A+ product icebreaker, very well done.

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