What You Need To Know
- London-based running apparel
- Features French and Italian fabrics that are incredibly comfortable
- It ain’t cheap, but the Elite Race Vest 3.0 is totally worth it
- Americans are way too f***ing big
SOAR is a relatively new running performance brand based out of London. Founder Tim Soar created the company out of a desire to bring the best fabrics to runners, without sacrificing fashion. I personally hadn’t heard of them until a few months ago, but when we checked out their gear, we were stoked to try it out.
Overall, it is some excellent running gear. We ran into some issues with sizing (and even one quality control), but some of the pieces hit some really high points for us.
SOAR really shines with the quality of their materials. The women’s short sleeve merino & silk t-shirt was a hit for our office-mate Rachael (I unfortunately found mine to be way too tight, more on that below).
The highlight for me was the Elite Race Vest 3.0. To be honest, this is my favorite singlet/vest/whatever at the moment, and maybe ever. It’s unbelievably light at only 47g for a men’s size medium (really a small in the U.S.). It’s made of an open-weave Italian mesh that is really unlike any other singlet I’ve worn. Even when it’s saturated with sweat, it’s somehow still comfortable. It’s kind of hard to describe until you actually experience it.
I wasn’t sold on the argyle design until I wore it; it’s since grown on me. I also love the thin elastic band inside the bottom hem. Overall, it clearly takes some design points of cycling and puts them into a racing garment. Case in point— bonded seams that keep down aerodynamic drag for when I’m really ripping those 9 minutes miles in my neighborhood.
SOAR’s running hat was slim and light, but there are other options out there that I’d prefer for the same price point, at least in the U.S. (i.e. Boco, Territory Run Co., or Patagonia duckbill).
Thomas really enjoyed the fit of his Elite Race shorts, which feature a 4-way stretch French fabric (ooh la la) in addition to a single zip pocket and minimal elastic mesh waistband. Likewise, the Elite Speed Shorts are half-tights that— unlike most compression fabrics— are woven instead of knitted. Also comprised of French-made fabric, they are light and supportive, while the laser-cut hems keep them snug on the quads.
If you intend to buy garments from SOAR, note that it is European sizing— that is, it’s quite snug for us Popeye’s chicken-sandwich-indulging Americans. I even discussed their sizing with a Believe in the Run follower from England who found that their products are snug even by European standards. Because of this, a couple of the garments we received just didn’t fit us, mostly the tops.
However, Thomas found the shorts sizing to be spot on.
Aside from the un-American fit, the only other issue we had was with a degraded label on the Elite Speed Shorts 3.0 that began peeling after only a couple washes. Definitely not good, but SOAR was quick to offer a replacement, and said that they had never run into that issue before and promised to look into it immediately.Shop SOAR
SOAR Running Conclusion
This is definitely a company to keep an eye on. Where companies like Tracksmith or Satisfy may lean a little too liberal in their niche designs, I think SOAR does a good job of making high-quality gear with just a touch of interesting styling. It’s enough to stand out without being too out there.
If you are an American, you need to order up a size unless you’re really into Under Armour compression wear sizing.
If you take anything away from this review, I’d say the running vest is the one item you need to have, and will probably make our “Best of 2019” year-end list if I have a say in it. You can purchase using the shop link below.Shop SOAR
Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.