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I’m a normal employee. I started to run when I found it difficult to look for someone to play basketball together; meanwhile, my growing belly had broken several pants. I knew for sure that: I HAVE TO EXERCISE. An exercise that I can do it alone and it’d better not costed a lot... as cheap as possible. Of course, running is my first choice. As long as I have my legs, I have a pair of shoes… great! I’m good to go!

Gradually I advanced from half-marathon, full-marathon to trail running. Than I’ve attended several ultramarathon stage races. The result? Not necessary good ranking, but piles of gears. Obviously I’ve away from my principle at the very beginning, but, whatever, it has satisfied the shopaholic mind of me, a mid-age man. I’ve wore trail run tops of different brands. Here I’m comparing them for beginners who’re trying to pick a suitable tee, after the invitation of the SUPERACE editor.

Well I think, the most important thing of all is, you have to know clearly about the term, the geography and the weather in the race, than pick your running tee or jersey accordingly. For instance, in which season does the race take place? What the range of the altitude the race course will pass through? How’s the situation of the course? Is it gonna rain? No matter what, the basic layer is a must.

Here are some of the running tops I wear the most often:

(Left to right)

  1. COMPRESSPORT Trail Running Shirt
  2. COMPRESSPORT Ultra-Trail Shirt - UTMB 2017
  3. SUPERACE Trail Running Jersey (“SA” in short)
  4. RAIDLIGHT Trail Marathon Tank Top

 

The first two are both from Compressport. Except for the extra pockets for supplies and trekking poles at the back of the UTMB memorial top, the two compression tops have no big differences in wearing. (But the UTMB one is so super duper cool in its appearance!!) I put them together here to make the comparison.

 

While trails occupy most of the trail run courses, I wear fitting clothing in case it got tore by plants along the course side. There’re always grass or tree higher than your height that stick into your way of running. If you simply slow down or break you clothes because those surprising plants hook onto the extra fabric of your cloth, that’s totally fine. The worst situation can be, you miss your balance and fall down the cliff.

On the other hand, comfort and heat radiation are my premium concerns while sweat-wicking is already a basic feature.

You wouldn’t wish to suffer from any discomfort along the way of tens for even hundreds of kilometers long, since the single top will follow you for the whole race. [note.1]

Heat radiation is another key during your run. Your temperature rises when you exercise. The blood would flow to the surface of the skin; on the other side, blood staying in the muscles decreases and leads to decline of your performance. (That’s why people say, 5 mph in winter and 6 mph in summer.) Under the condition of sweating a lot, electrolyte imbalance might happen afterward, followed by the high possibility of daze and cramp.

Here are several things I would think about when choosing running tops.

 

1. Touch

This is about the material and the sewing of the cloth.

About the material, three of them all apply polyester as the main fabric, which provide fine sweat-wicking feature. Something special about SA , the top applies ICE.Café ®  fabric [note.2] which provide cooling feeling especially in summer time.

However, in order to increase the heat-radiation performance, the SA top combines two different fabrics, using some kind of solid sewing technique, instead of flat one like the Raidlight top. So at the first time wearing this, I felt a bit strange. But there’s no big influence during activities. I’ve never felt rubbing because of it.) Compressport uses single piece of fabric, so there’s no such a problem.

SUPERACE Trail Running Jersey stitches                                              RAIDLIGHT Trail Marathon Tank Top stitches

2. Heat-Radiation

I always pick running tops with open in the front. Though the zipper weight a bit, however, zipping it off for wind while you’re almost die during a run gives you a feeling of revival that could support you to the end.

Another issue then is raised when you zip off the front. The two fabric would sway and rub your jaw in activities. This is especially obvious with the Raidlight one for it has high collar; The SA top is acceptable since it has round collar; Compressport fabric would squeeze to both sides for its super elasticity, so the rubbing would not be an issue.

On the heat radiation aspect, Raidlight trail running top is the lightest. Than is the SA jersey. The cooling fabric is surely a plus. The Compressport shirt is thicker and more suitable in cooler weather.

 

3. Compression

Compression has been the core technique of Compresssport. The function lowers the extent of muscle shaking, and offers support for body. Comparing these tops, the Compressport one is the tightest; the SA top is close-fitting(but no compression); Raidlight running is simply fit.

For me, compression is not really necessary for running actually. The reason why runners use compression calf and legging is because those parts are far from hearts. Graduated compression function can speed up the blood circulation. The body top is near to the heart so the compression is not needed; besides, the kind of compression tops are hard to put on and take off, which can be another problem for runners. (Frankly speaking, I think that’s a vital drawback, which I will mention later.)

 

4. Others

a. Pockets:

There’re pockets on both the SA and Raidlight running tops for supplies; no pockets on the Compressort one. I personally almost don’t use the pockets at all, because the having things in the pockets can cause rubbing. Besides, there’re enough space on the hydration pack already.

b. Skidproof

Only the Raidlight running top has this function. The spots on the shoulder parts of the cloth keep you pack from sliding down. In long-distance races, any kind of design that can help save energy is helpful.

 

Conclusion

The amount of races I’ve wore the tops to:

Compressport: 2 races

SUPERACE: more than 6 races

Raidlight: none

 

The Compressport black trail running shirt had accompanied me in the 2016 SUPERACE ultra stage race, Taiwan station (134km) and another Taiwan Beast Runners event. Then I’ve never wore it afterward. Though it looks the best among all, and has no rubbing problem, but the high extend of compression really troubles me. Every I have to deal with it after tens of kilometers of running and getting exhausted truly got me crazy. Now I only wear it in short-distance trail running. (Mama says I should not waste. [note.3] )

Raidlight trail running top is light and has slidproof design. However, the high-collar with the zipper all way to your neck, is quite hot under the heating weather in Taiwan. If you zip it off completely would cause the rubbing on your jaw. I’ve wore it for several times. I’m now still looking for another show for it. (Mama says, have no waste. )

Although there’re some tiny drawbacks about the stitch and the swaying collar, luckily they don’t affect too much on during me run. I’ve wore it to every race I attend since last year. Actually I bought two SUPERACE running tops at once. (Proof? See the pictures below!) If the tiny flaws can be revised, it would be the best trail running top so far in my mind.

 

These are some of my comments about trail running tops. Some other people might have different opinions (I’ve seen a runner wearing only a pair of shorts and no top then got the first place. He must consider very differently about heat radiation.), but I wish simply to give some advises to those who just started trail running and have no idea about how to pick a suitable running top. If my words do help, even a little bit, that’s enough for me.

 

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[Note1] There was once I wore a brand new shorts in a half-marathon race, then my inner thigh was chafed. I walked with my legs open in the whole following week and had to explain to many people that I wasn’t affected by syphilis or any other virus.

[Note2] More introductions of ICE.Café ®  fabric: https://www.facebook.com/scafefabrics/

[Note3] Then why did I buy the 2017 UTMB top? ‘Cuz it looks soooooo coooool and get you happy just looking at it.

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Anyway, have a look at the SUPERACE TRAIL RUNNING JERSEY!

 

 

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