BRANDON: Ok, everyone, I have quite a bit to run through, but I promise it’ll be worth your time if you’re into Euro-luxe run brands.
For the record, this is my first time testing out SOAR winter apparel, so I had little to no expectations going into it, but from what I could gather, the gear looked pretty high-tech. I had the opportunity to try out both the small and medium sizes of the products below. I am traditionally a size small in all of my clothing. This is European sizing through and through, so note that in your typical American size, these items will feel super snug (like, more snug than you actually think), so you should definitely size up. I suggest going a size up for anything you buy. I’d put SOAR winter apparel in the same luxury running category as Tracksmith, Iffley Road, Satisfy, Miler Running, etc. You get the point.
The boutique running brand is based out of London with one goal in mind: to curate, craft, and design the most advanced fabrics and running gear on the market. Honestly, that’s a ton of expectation for a growing brand. So, the question is, does the clothing live up to the hype? Short answer, maybe not. Longer answer, well, some items hit that mark pretty damn well, but you’re going to have to hang out with me a little bit longer to find out.
BRANDON: Who doesn’t love a running vest, right? I don’t always see the use, but an extra layer or zip pocket is excellent when it’s cold out. What’s great about the Gilet Vest is how dependable it can be. The vest is light, windproof, and water-resistant, thanks to its “Italian-milled fabric,” which just sounds classy. It does have two zip pockets, one on the chest and one on the back to store gels in.
The Winter Gilet Vest provides ample low-light protection with its snazzy reflective elements. My only complaint is the fit. The binding around the waist and arm left the vest somewhat uncomfortable and too tight, making it undesirable at times. For $240, this vest is going to set you back quite a bit. For me, I think a running vest is a cool idea, but only if done well.
PRICE: $240Shop Winter Gilet
BRANDON: You know what they say, best for…second? Ah yes, finally, a half zip worth talking about. The Wooltech Half-Zip Top might be the best item I received from this collection. This slim-fit garment is anti-bacterial and possesses merino properties that allow for a versatile ride. Whether it’s 30 degrees or 65 degrees, this half-zip top can do it all. Of coure, that’s partly due to its use of merino, which may be our favorite material here at Believe in the Run. Moisture-wicking and odor-resistant, if you give us merino, we’re probably going to like it.
The seams on this are laser-cut and fully bonded, allowing for better heat retention and moisture-prevention than you’d get from a stitched seam. Additional subtle touches include reflective elements, back zipper, and thumbholes, which round out the piece nicely.
SOAR’s winter apparel clearly doesn’t shy away from the details. This top will work for any run, whether speed days or long run days. If this is a product you’re considering, I would once again go a size up. At $193, it may hit that chest pocket a little hard, but if you can spring it you won’t be disappointed.
PRICE: $193Shop WoolTech Half-Zip Top
BRANDON: Functionally, these tights hit the mark. Fashion-wise, these are just not in my wheelhouse. And looking good is half of why we run, right? It’s something about the woven compression fabric on the lower part of the tights that look so silly when I put them on. Anyway, if you can get past that or, hey– maybe you like the look– these tights are pretty decent. I was able to run in a small size without any issue. I found the tights run just a smidge too long for my liking, but I didn’t seem to notice it at all on the run.
The tights aren’t super warm, so any temps under 20F degrees I do not recommend. A sweet spot for these tights is around the 35F-degree mark. The tights offer a zip pocket in the back and a zip system around the lower part of the leg for easy on-off access. The tights provide all-around reflective elements to keep you visible at night. For $140, these aren’t just one of the cheaper winter apparel items SOAR has to offer, but probably one of the better pieces. Ya know, as long as you don’t get the dorky colorway that I did.
PRICE: $140Shop Dual Fabric Tights 3.0
BRANDON: Running experts say merino is the best in the game, and they might be onto something. The Jacquard Pattern Merino Beanie is functionally pretty great, but design-wise, eh, let’s just say you won’t exactly be the coolest kid on the block wearing it. As far as beanies go, this one is pretty darn warm and suitable for any condition. If you’re into bowl hats, then go for it. For $44, I would splash the cash elsewhere, but hey, if you love SOAR running gear and want something unique and different, then this hat fits the bill. It definitely gets the job done on the run during cold temps, providing great heat retention and temperature regulation.
PRICE: $44Shop Patterned Merino Beanie
BRANDON: Nothing makes or breaks a run more than a decent pair of winter running gloves. In fact, cold hands probably ruin just as many winter runs as bad running shoes do. Good thing for the SOAR winter apparel, these gloves live up to its expectations. As far as running gloves go, these are super warm, comfortable, and fit well. The fleece lining is absurdly comfortable and the extended fleece cuff is a nice touch for some extra coverage in the cold. Some other neat features include silicon on the palm for expert grip, touchscreen compatible fingertips, and an extended cuff buckle for keeping both gloves together off the run. Again, for $45, they ain’t cheap, but it falls in line with other premium apparel brands out there. You won’t be disappointed.
PRICE: $45Shop Winter Gloves