I recently got the chance to try some running clothes from Built on Athletics (B.O.A.), a specialist running clothing company out of California. They have fantastic quality clothing, and recently decided to use their small size and focus on the running space to do regular series of special patterned gear. The first in this new line of special designs and colorways is the Gratefully Undead collection. It’s a really loud, fun, colorful set of designs (there are four different ones in the collection) applied to various garments from the B.O.A. line. For men, this basically boils down to a 1” split-sided short, plus B.O.A. running singlets come in solid colors that are also in the Gratefully Undead patterns, so you can get a full outfit. The options for women are far broader, with sports bras, a printed singlet, shorts, short tights, capri tights and full-length tights. All of these pieces across the men’s and women’s line employ the same four design options within this special line.
Since I didn’t have a lot of different things to try out, my review will be short and to the point. The material and build quality of this stuff is fantastic. The singlet is literally the silkiest, smoothest, lightest running tank I’ve ever tried. It’s so comfortable and cool. The back panel cuts in, so there’s a lot of freedom of articulation for your arms. Something some singlets do on me is feel off center or shifting as I run, and I didn’t notice that in the B.O.A. singlet at all. So a win on this piece.
Moving down to the real item I was supposed to try, the shorts, they also are really nicely made of good-feeling, wicking material. They cost $36, which is actually a fantastic price for running shorts, which always feel overpriced for what you get. Adding to this the quality of the material and build, and the price is really solid, so big thumbs up there (FYI – read on for a 20% off offer for my readers from B.O.A.!). There’s an inner-lining that held up well and provided a good balance of support without being constrictive or tight. The weight of the shorts is great. My only real issue is how small they are. If I was more toothpick-ish, I probably wouldn’t care, but being a larger runner, at least in the leg department, and someone who spent half his life overweight, I tend to be very self-conscious in shorts that are too short. At 1.5”, these qualify as too short for me. And the slit on the outside of the legs, while great for freedom of movement, means that 1.5” quickly becomes more like .5” when the flaps are wide open mid-stride. Add in what is possibly the most attention-grabbing design on the market with the bold, loud colors of the Gratefully Undead collection, and you can’t help but have your legs looked at. That’s not something I’m terribly comfortable with personally. I ran in them on my treadmill while my family was asleep, so there was really no risk of being seen in them, so I was actually not emotionally damaged by the experience, and plan to use them for this exact purpose (or to make my wife laugh every now and then). In fact, I made a video of when I did this so you can see the stuff in action.
Putting aside how I felt about myself in them, they felt great on me. Such freedom of movement, perfect weighting, not getting drenched as I started to sweat, and just generally comfortable throughout my run. So, for their purpose, they are spot on.
So my take on them is that B.O.A. makes a great line of running clothes that are clearly made by real runners for real runners. They know what matters, and made sure they represented all of that faithfully in their product. They then added a ton of fun and pizzaz into the line with this injection of fun, bold colors, and I love that they will be introducing new collections every few months that will only last a few months. If you are a woman who wants some fun in your clothes, these are great. If you’re a dude who has no issue with showing some thigh, then go for them! If you’re of the bigger-thigh-variety like me, you would be well-served by a B.O.A. singlet, but might not want to get these shorts unless you are looking for something to use in the privacy of your home on your treadmill.
That said, Ryan at B.O.A. sent me this very good piece of news that suggests that I can look insanely bold and fun without looking like my shorts are a few inches too short for me:
we’re actually adding more styles for men (and women) every time we roll out a new collection. So, for our next collection in November — It’s Natural — we’ll planning to have longer shorts and pants for men.
If you’re interested in the line, I’ve got great news for you. B.O.A. didn’t just give me the shorts and shirt to review, but gave me a discount code to share with all of you if you place an order containing at least one piece from the Gratefully Undead collection between now and October 9th, 2015. Just enter “newbodies20” at checkout when you order from http://www.boausa.com.
So I say go for it. Add a splash of color into your workouts. It will make you smile. Smiling is a great way to enlighten.your.body.