My mum says I was born with a precocious sense of style. By the time I reached 7, she had to take me along when she shopped because I disliked everything she chose. As a result, she spent a good amount of time, receipts in hand, returning things. Typically, I wanted pink instead of blue. Preferred lace-ups athletic shoes to Velcro tabs. Or a style wasn’t cool enough.
Eventually, she gave up, and today, she’s thrilled that I shop alone. I can’t help myself. I’m a stickler for style, fit and wear. Running gear? Call me obsessive.
Am I always a successful shopper? Not 100-percent. But if I buy a trusted brand like Under Armour, I’m probably not going to return it, which is how four new spring goodies landed in my closet, ready for my review. My mum? She likes everything I pick these days!
What’s on top?
A sky blue UA HeatGear CoolSwitch Tank with such unique styling, I want one in every colour of the rainbow because from the moment I put it on, I started getting compliments from runners — male and female. In addition to the cleverly designed back cross, the S$65 priced UA HeatGear CoolSwitch Tank fits like a dream, hugging my body, yet I don’t feel like I’m encased in a sardine tin.
The interior lining pulls heat from my body, so even when I’m sweating up a storm, the Moisture Transport System kicks in to help me stay dry. Looks good. Feels good. I gave myself an A for shopping acumen.
Runner’s Boon: Extra ventilation makes this literally and figuratively the coolest shirt on the planet; I love the large sleeve opening and despite the fabric’s multi-layer construction, it’s surprisingly light.
Runner’s Bane: Not everyone wants this much of their body revealed in this skin-tight top. More colors, please!
What’s on the bottom?
Black tights with grey color blocking for an extra fashion punch. Formal name? The ShapeShifter Colorblock Crop and these pants lives up to UA’s promise of “relentless support with an amazing feel.”
I didn’t complain about the S$89 price tag because, after washing these several times, the elasticity remained solid. These wicking tights feature a no-roll waistband and UA’s promise that these bottoms won’t get baggy. I’m eternally grateful for the pocket hidden in these body-revealing tights.
Runner’s Boon: My silhouette looks trim, yet these pants aren’t so tight that they feels like a Boa Constrictor has wrapped itself around my lower torso and legs. The power mesh leg panels help extremities breathe and seam placement is so stealthy, I had to look hard to find them!
Runner’s Bane: For those who are tall and have a very short waist, you will wish these leggings came in “tall”! Color limitations (black and grey) could scare off women who fancy themselves peacocks.
I can’t tell you how sexy I feel wearing what’s supposed to be a utilitarian sports bra! The S$89 UA Alpha Plunge Bra fits in all the right places, fights muffin top for those of us who aren’t model skinny and the HeatGear weave of the fabric is thick, yet I don’t feel like I’m in a straightjacket.
Since this bra is in direct contact with my skin, I was eager to see how UA’s Moisture Transport System worked on a long run and I was impressed. Gel-lined straps, mesh back panel and superior compression features are surprisingly comfy, even after a few strenuous workouts.
Runner’s Boon: If you’ve never called a bra comfortable and attractive, you will after wearing the Armour High sports bra. The molded cups give me a sexy decollate, yet the support is awesome. Thanks, UA, for the adjustable hook and eye back closure. I really hate putting on sports bras over my head!
Runner’s Bane: I’ve heard some women complain about this bra being cut too small; one had to return two before getting one that fit. Order two sizes larger than you normally wear to avoid this problem if you’re hard to fit.
And on my feet?
Cool UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 running shoes. The second generation of the Gemini won’t hear me complaining as the color selection is terrific and there are no bulky seams holding shoe sections together, so I can focus on my technique rather than worrying about chafing.
Priced at S$219, the shoe’s sock liner wicks perspiration while cushioning my feet nicely, and subtle engineering features are much appreciated: the blown rubber outsole with carbon rubber heel, supportive ArchFoam and molded toe cap. Flex grooves promote heel-to-toe transitions that must be experienced to be believed.
Runner’s Boon: They’re like walking in Heaven, after searching for a shoe that would minimize my arthritis pain and bunions.
Runner’s Bane: Like the aforementioned sports bra, sizing may be an issue. I lucked out; my normal size fit.
Besides wishing that those tights were longer to suit my long legs, I was delighted after wearing all of these UA products, and since pedal pushers and alternate lengths are trendy, this wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
In general, UA goes all-out to support women on multiple levels: fit, style and practicality. The icing on the cake is the corporation’s ongoing “Rule Yourself” women’s empowerment campaign. It received so much attention in the business world, even a male marketer writing for “Forbes” profiled UA’s clever branding strategy.
How important is brand to you? Are you so enamoured with one manufacturer that buying another brand feels disloyal, or are you all about what feels right, no matter what logo appears on the product?