Ultimate Direction Spring 2023 Apparel Review: The Right Direction
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Ultimate Direction has new jackets, tights, and shorts
Whether you prefer half tights or traditional shorts, you’re covered
Don’t know about you, but UD’s pink and maroon colors are just right
ALEX: Ultimate Direction has stepped up its game when it comes to clothing. In the past, I’ve always felt like UD’s apparel was secondary to its packs and hydration gear, so I never really sought it out or thought much of it. These recent updates have me rethinking my stance, and Ultimate Direction gets bonus points for keeping it all affordable.
ALEX: The Velum Race short has quickly become one of my daily training staples. As temps rise, longer spandex shorts are my go-to for preventing chafing. The 6-inch length is perfect for long days out — not too short, not too long, and just the right amount of coverage and protection.
The material is stretchy, soft, comfortable, and get this, NOT SEE THROUGH. It would be nice if I could just assume opacity, but not all spandex shorts are created equally. Nonetheless, it’s appreciated and is indeed possible, so it would be great if more brands could figure this out.
Ultimate Direction’s shorts provide just the right amount of compression. Sometimes I put spandex shorts on, and the experience is what I imagine being stuffed into sausage casing would feel like. Not with these; there’s just the right amount of support in all of the right places.
I often run with a waist belt for my phone, etc., and love that I can skip it with these. The waistband is equipped with four pockets that basically serve the same purpose as the UD Utility Belt, without any fuss or movement of adding another thing to wear.
The one thing that I would modify on these is adding a small layer of rubber on the inside of the leg opening so that they stay in place a little better. Not a dealbreaker.
PRICE: $49Shop Ultimate Direction Velum Race Short - Women
ALEX: The Velum short is a lightweight, airy option that allows for complete freedom of movement. With a 2.5-inch inseam, there’s not a lot of coverage, but the updated split design makes movement easy.
The waistband has a built-in utility belt with a 360-degree pocketed waistband. At first, I didn’t love the idea of this but ended up really liking it; it was great not to have a belt sliding up or down or trying to adjust things midrun. The material is smooth and comfortable, and the secure fit prevents chafing and contributes to a secure fit.
PRICE: $59Shop Ultimate Direction Velum Short - Women
ALEX: The Velum Pocket Tight is super comfortable and versatile. It fits and feels like your favorite leggings yet simultaneously performs perfectly on the run.
The high-stretch material is soft and smooth and becomes a second skin on the run that you can put on and forget about. Two thigh pockets and 360-degree waistband pockets provide the perfect amount of storage for everything you need.
PRICE: $79Shop Ultimate Direction Velum Pocket Tight - Women
ALEX: Comin’ in hot with another subtly hot clay colorway! I see this color popping up across brands this spring, including Hoka, Tracksmith, Craft, and even more, and I’m into it.
This jacket is awesome. It is super lightweight, breathable, and packable. The entire thing packs into an interior chest pocket, and the material is soft and quiet. No feeling like you are wearing a ’90s windbreaker or compostable chip bag.
I rate this one above my Patagonia Houdini and Airshed, which have been my staples for years. It’s more breathable and comfortable than either of those options. It is also windproof and protective with a tearproof polyamide material treated with a CO DWR finish to shed moisture.
The elastic bindings at the hood, cuffs, and hem add to the jacket’s protective features.
PRICE: $169Shop Ultimate Direction Aerolight Jacket - Women
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Alex is a trail and ultra runner from the upper midwest who loves Minnesota’s long winters and logging miles on the rooty, rocky, steep trails of Lake Superior’s North Shore. She was the first female to set a supported FKT on the 310 mile Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and enjoys multi-day events and races, especially if they involve snow and -20 degree temps.
All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Speedgoat Evo, Hoka Tecton X, Altra Timp.More from Alex