One of the reasons I first thought about starting a blog was to post reviews for different running products. Before I buy any new piece of running gear, I compulsively Google all of the reviews I can find and then spend excessive amounts of time considering the pros and cons of the item in question vs. similar items. The pricier the item, the more I read before I decide.
I feel that I have a lot of blog review karma to repay, because without the blog reviews of others, I would no doubt be running unclothed, unshod, and without water or fuel. And that would not be pretty or safe. Today I’d like to start by reviewing my favorite Oiselle apparel. For those unfamiliar with Oiselle, it’s an amazing Seattle-based women’s running apparel company that is owned and operated by fierce and fabulous women runners.
I first fell in love with Oiselle when I bought one of their simple 50/50 running tees after my first half marathon a few years ago. I don’t even remember where I bought it- probably at an expo- but I remember putting it on and thinking it was exactly the fit I had been looking for in a run tee: body skimming, flattering, but far from tight. When I ran in it, I didn’t even notice I had it on- it didn’t creep up or chafe, and I felt pretty sassy when I wore it.
I didn’t think much about Oiselle again until my beloved tee started to show signs of wear because I ran in it at least once a week. I decided I needed a replacement, and in the process decided to give Oiselle a chance to change my mind about my longstanding hatred of women’s running shorts. I got another 50/50 running tee, which I already knew was amazing, and a pair of Roga shorts. The Roga short convinced me it was finally safe to wear running shorts in public. Why did I hate women’s running shorts? The typical women’s running short sports a gathered elastic waistband that creates muffin-top due to an unfortunate rise (too high? too low? you choose), an inseam designed to create the illusion that your legs are tree trunks, a completely useless vestigial pocket (big enough to fit…nothing), and a lovely bunched front that would be incredibly useful if you ran in diapers, but is otherwise not functional. In addition, many of them rode up while running, adding to their allure.
The Roga shorts, in contrast, had a lovely flat waistband that was flattering and incredibly comfortable, a rise that fit my body perfectly- no yanking up or down to make them feel right, an inseam that showed off my legs and didn’t make me feel like a nun or someone who had accidentally forgotten to put on pants that morning, and a zip pocket that actually fit the types of things I took on my runs. After buying these and loving them, I looked up Oiselle and started following their blog and social media more closely. The more I read about the company, the more I loved them. When I read that they were accepting applications for women to represent them in races, I jumped on the opportunity. In April 2012, I got an email welcoming me to the team. Since then, I’ve put much more of their clothing to through extensive run testing and can confidently recommend some more of my favorites. Roga Short: I’ve already described my love for these above. There’s a reason they joke about a Roga Revolution. Toss those Nike Tempos and give the Roga a chance to change your world!
50/50 tee: If you like your tops body-skimming, not fitted, you will love these supersoft tees. They are multitasking shirts- they look awesome worn casually, but they wick well and I have worn them worry free for 13+ miles of summer running. I now own an embarrassing amount of these due to Oiselle’s talent for finding the perfectly pithy saying to put on a tee.
Long Roga Short: You know that awkward time in between when you are wearing your winter hibernation fluff suit and when it suddenly gets so warm that you can’t hide your legs in tights anymore? Wait, is that just me? Anyways, these shorts rock because they are long enough to make you feel…covered…but short enough that the leg you do show looks pretty cute. A winning extra feature is the extra side pocket that is big enough to comfortably fit an iPhone 5. These shorts are great for running and hiking and a good choice for those of you who like your thighs 100% covered when you run.
Stripey Scoop Neck: This is another versatile run shirt that wears like your favorite lounging around tee (it is supersoft) but it also wicks well and is perfect for cool morning runs. Thumbholes and the gorgeous bird detailing at the shoulder make it uniquely Oiselle. I loved this shirt so much after my first run that I ended up getting it in 3 colors. Oops.
Lux Layer: I was not prepared for how much I would love this shirt. It is impossibly soft, impressively warm, and it has noteworthy wicking abilities. This is great as a layer for winter runs or on its own on slightly warmer days. You might balk at the price tag, but I promise that this shirt is worth every penny. The only potential drawback: you might mistake it for a pajama shirt due to the snuggly softness and go back to bed instead of heading out for your long run.
Run Pant: These are magic pant. No, I’m serious. I have never felt 100% comfortable wearing running tights, but have never found a running pant that fit me well and also looked good. I ran 8 miles in 25 degree windy weather the first time I wore these pants, and they were perfect. The straight leg cut is flattering, even if you are gifted with athletic thighs, and it also means that the cuffs never get in your way when you are running. They are the perfect length for me- which is hard to find, since I’m 5’3″-and the flat waistband and seaming are insanely flattering. They also have a zip pocket that is big enough to store essentials. They have the characteristic Oiselle versatility- yes, they rock for running, but they are comfy enough that you will want to wear them for everything else as well. Arm Warmers: Arm warmers are one of those things that seem like they should be easy to design, but are hard to execute well. Oiselle’s version come in a great variety of colors, they stay put on my arms (due to my massive biceps…kidding), have pretty reflective detailing, and thumbholes so your whole hand can stay warm. They are perfect for races that start out chilly and end up warm, and tuck away easily.
There you have it, my rundown of my Oiselle essentials. I’ll have to update once I try the new line of sports bras they just released- I’m curious if they’ll work for my non-elite-runner body type, but they sure are beautiful!