(The Gear Loop) - Under Armour might be better known for its performance running gear, gym wear and compression garments that are universally loved by amateurs and professionals alike, but it is now straying into trail running territory with the release of its latest Trail wear range.
This small collection currently comprises a pair of shirts - one vest and one technical, fast-drying T-shirt - a pair of off-road biased shorts and as clever water-resistant jacket for the cooler mornings.
In the coming months, Under Armour will also add new colours and a slight re-design to its Hovr Ridge shoe, which boasts unique Traction Lugs and a Vibram sole, but we will be dedicate a full review on those bad boys as soon as we can.
For now, we donned the entire UA Trail set-up for a series of runs, testing the technical elements of each garment in a number of scenarios, from baking hot forest sprints, to longer slogs in the cool (and sometimes drizzle) of an early morning jog.
UA SpeedPocket Trail Shorts
Arguably the shortest shorts you can run in without breaking public decency laws, the UA SpeedPocket bottoms feature a unique front pocket (hence the name) that’s perfect for stashing a phone.
It’s expandable and grippy, so can even house larger smartphones, yet somehow it manages to keep everything securely in place without bouncing around when hitting the trails. That said, we did find it could rub the stomach a little bit on longer runs. We'd prefer to hide a phone in the rear pocket, or better still, an elasticated thigh pocket.
There is a zipped pocket at the back, but it is only large enough for bank cards and smaller keys.
Fashioned from 73 per cent nylon and 27 per cent elastane, the shorts are extremely flexible around the legs and upper thighs. Under Armour claims it’s a special four-way stretch fabric, but we can confirm they move great on faster, more dynamic runs.
That said, they leave a lot of upper thigh exposed, so it’s a good job there’s an inner mesh lining to keep everything in place. It’s also said to help moisture escape and improve general breathability, but that's more likely down to the fact most of your leg is on show.
UA Breeze 2.0 Trail T-Shirt
Made from Under Armour’s "lightest, most airy fabric yet", this trail-specific running shirt was actually one of our favourite pieces from the collection. It is beyond light and fits great in all the right places, moving with the body as you run.
What’s more, it dries exceptionally fast and promotes great heat management on those baking hot sprints.
UA has tweaked its design slightly since we tested the kit, adding in a new block print that some might find a little garish. But ignore that, as this is a high performance shirt that works well on a variety runs.
UA Storm Impasse Trail Jacket
Arguably one of the most technical garments on this list, the Impasse Trail Jacket is specifically designed to repel water and fend off the breeze, without sacrificing breathability.
It’s a neat combination and incredibly light, able to be packed down impossibly small and shoved into a pocket if needs be. We found the breathability claims to be almost true, as it’s impossible not to start sweating in jacket like this when the temperature rises.
However, there are large front and back vents for added airflow and a clever centre front hook that keeps the jacket closed even when it’s unzipped. This feature is often found on waterproof cycling jackets, but it’s a nice touch and works well when you want to dump heat rapidly but stay dry.
In terms of water-resistance, it’s not quite waterproof but kept us perfectly dry when out on several drizzly morning runs.
But arguably our favourite features can be found in the cuffs, where there is not only an overlapping sleeve for easier looks at a running watch, but a pair of packable mittens to fend off the cold.
Yes, they look utterly ridiculous, but these little fabric extensions neatly stow away up a sleeve when not needed, or can be placed over the hands to fend off the worst of the chill.
We didn’t really get a chance to test their performance in sub-zero conditions, but the fact they are made from the same wind and water resistant ultralight fabric as the jacket means they should take the edge off the morning chill, especially on those days where you don’t really want to wear gloves.