I knew lululemon made gear for men, but I wasn’t interested in wearing it. I figured it’s yoga stuff, and it is also called lululemon. The Baltimore City Assistant Manager and “Director of Fun” Joe C. invited Meaghan and me to the store to check out the gear. The store is cool, however, it can be intimidating for a guy on his first visit. I found myself thinking “ok, so where does the guy’s section start and end?” across the street, Under Armour draws a line down the middle of the store, men stay to the left ladies to the right. The ambiguity of lulu has its pluses and minuses. The sophistication of the lulu workout clothes provides the wearer with some next level grown-up looks. This isn’t “Bro” gear.
So here is what we thought of the lululemon gear we tried out.
Lock’Em Down Trunk (boxers)
The undergarment works as advertised. It locks’em down. The pouch for your “jewels” was snug yet roomy enough to prevent circulation issues. This is a tailored boxer brief that is sturdy enough to wear under shorts on a long run to prevent chaffing, but comfortable and breathable enough to wear as regular underwear. There is no fly on these shorts so if you gotta go on the run, you are either pulling your hose out a leg from the bottom or going over the top. With 3.5″ inseam, the shorts stay hidden under your running shorts.
Metal Vent Tech SS (short sleeve)
I ain’t gonna lie, this shirt won me over. The cut is flattering, and the material is soft. There are hidden details like motivational quotes stitched where no one but you will see them. Varying density to the weave of the material adds visual appeal and vents the heat. The shirt moves well with you during the run, no irritation. The sleeve and shirt length was perfect. I would love a drawer full of these shirts.
I put the shirt and the shorts through a cruel test. Every brand claims they have odor mitigating properties in their technical workout apparel. lulu calls theirs “Silverscent.” This is a $64 tech tee, it better stay fresh. I decided to give the shirt and shorts a nasty three day no wash wear test and see how funky they would get. I ran in the shirt and shorts 8 miles the first day, 8 miles the second day, and 14 miles the third day. I would place the garments on the drying rack between sweaty sessions. Read my conclusions on the gear to find out how they fared.
Surge Shorts 7″
It is hard to believe, even for me, but I went with a small in these shorts. The shorts are packed with features:
- Reflective elements
- Like a bagillion pockets (more like three, one zippered)
- This really cool double loop thing on the waistband that will hold your shirt if you want to take it off
I am glad I tried on the smalls mostly because they fit. Usually, I would go with a 5″ inseam which they now offer in this short. Those really let the quads breath, ladies you know what I am talking about. However, this time the 7″ inseam suits me just fine. Are these my new favorite shorts? I can’t deny that statement.
Somewhere between a Members Only jacket and a jacket from the Matrix, lies the Brut. The jacket is post workout gear and came at the perfect time of the year. When we first got the gear the temps were too warm for a full on jacket and too cold for no jacket. I’d call it zip hoody season. I used the Brut interchangeably with hoodies. It has a waxy feel on the outside and is softer on the inside. The waxy texture made me think it would not breath well, I was wrong. it breathes just fine. I would put the Brut into the “weekender” category.
Somehow I’ve managed to go through life without ever owning a piece of lululemon apparel. My perception of the brand has always been “expensive, yoga wear.” I never thought of their clothing when shopping for running/performance gear. That judgment has since changed. They’ve got a pretty sick lineup and I was lucky enough to test out some of my favorite pieces. Here’s the run down:
The Best Vest Jacket
So… this is one of the coolest jacket’s I’ve ever owned. If you’ve run in Baltimore, you know the weather can change at any minute. The Best Vest jacket is adaptable and can easily be converted from a full rain jacket to a light vest, mid-run. The removable jacket/sleeves fit in the back pocket of the vest. Ah-mazing. The jacket fits really well (I went with a size 4; I’m usually a S/XS in all things running); it’s snug around the shoulders and broadens out at the hips. It’s flattering. The pockets are lined with reflective strips and all the zippers come with bright, neon accents that provide some visibility during the darker hours. Not only is it great out on the run, it doubles as a pretty fashionable rain jacket. I’m not a huge fan of the elastic bands around the sleeve openings (I would have preferred a thumb hole), but other than that there is nothing negative to say about this jacket. It’s frickin’ sweet.
Mesh with Me Short Sleeve
I would literally never pick this shirt out off the rack. Not ever. However, the nice team at lululemon picked it out for me so I gave it try. I’ve learned that lululemon has this amazing ability to combine sass and function. I don’t know about anyone else, but a long run straight to the bar seems like an ideal Saturday. And this is the shirt for it. A see-through mesh panel runs along the back and sides of the shirt making it extremely breathable exactly where you need it. The material itself (Luon®) is crazy light and the odor-blocking coating they’ve added is ON POINT. Seriously. Long run straight to the bar. This shirt.
Inspire Tights II
So these tights are considered 7/8 length, but they’re full-length pants on me. I’ve accepted it. The best part of these tights are the material. They’re made with a light, thinner material (called Luxtreme® fabric) but still have a secure, compression feel to them. I wore them for runs ranging from 45 – 55 degrees and was comfortable. Usually any temps over 40, I’m in shorts; but these breath well. Much like the Mesh with Me tee; the Inspire tights come with mesh panels for ventilation. And the pockets! So many pockets: three waistband pouches and two secure zippered pockets on the thighs. I didn’t make good use of the zippered pockets, but it’s nice to know they’re there if needed.
All Sport Bra
You won’t find me running sans shirt, so I’m not too concerned with the look of my sports bra. That being said, comfort and support are huge factors. And chaffing. But I’ve deemed that inevitable. The All Sports Bra is great. It’s soft, comfortable and supportive. I was worried the straps might cause some irritation, but so far I haven’t had any issues. The only real downside is the price tag, at $52. Although I could argue it’s worth it; that’s a hefty price point for an undergarment.
Thomas: Joe’s trick worked. I tried the lululemon gear and really like it. The fit, feel, and quality are undeniable. So how did the shorts and shirt do with 3 days in a row of wear without washing? I was surprised how well it did. I would feel comfortable running with a new friend and not wondering if I stank to high heaven. I am not saying the stuff smelled fresh on day three, but when I put it on Meaghan was surprised that it didn’t smell “that bad.” After the 14 mile run I washed them and everything smelled odorless and clean. Silverscent is the best working odor preventing ingredient I have experienced. The gear is pricey, but their philosophy is that a well-made garment should last 5 years. I will be wearing more lululemon in the future.
Meaghan: Well, lululemon has officially won me over. The combination of lightweight material and Silverescent® odor-blocking technology surpassed all my expectations. I haven’t found a running shirt that can wick away sweat and stay as fresh as the Mesh with Me tee I tested. While some of the apparel comes with a hefty price tag, some of the garments fall right in line with the industry. Regardless, the precision and technology that goes into each piece is impressive and certainly worth the extra dough.