I was lucky enough to speak to Kate Giles recently as her company Crewroom are pleased to launch not one, but two new ranges of running (and sport) gear. They are covering all bases, with ranges aimed at urban landscapes and also more natural settings; featuring bold colours and more subtle tones; suitable for city running, night running, trail running, paddle boarding, yoga, and even for a pint at the pub. This is what Crewroom say about the ranges, but I wanted to test this out for myself.
The new ranges are called Elements and Laser. Elements has a breezy natural feel. The fabrics are soft and supple, feel like cotton but are actually fully technical so they are easy to wear and move in. Laser has a more urban look to it, apparently targetting ‘city runners’. It has bold colours with hi-viz reflective panels.
VX Sprint Vest
Part of the Laser range, this vest says ‘racer’, and Sprint is a very appropriate name for it.
They Say “Made with our flagship fabric, Vapour-X, this vest is a true performance garment with some flattering design features and discreet reflective branding to keep you safe and seen. Super light and amazingly comfortable, you’ll hardly notice your wearing it on those long runs through the city.”
Black and Tabby Says this felt very lightweight when I first picked it up, and if I didn’t know better I might have thought it was a cheap garment. However as soon as I started running on a hot and humid evening I was very appreciative of the lightness to this vest. It made my sports bra feel too heavy! It is cut fairly high at the front which means I wasn’t worried about getting the front of my chest sunburnt, and the armholes were cut to reveal quite a lot of shoulder. On the plus side this made for a cooler run, on the negative side I did feel like I ought to start doing some shoulder exercises if I was going to show them off in this vest. The Vapour-X logo on the front hem feels large, plasticky and clunky and I wonder why they put it here?”.
“I’m not used to wearing a vest when running, which probably explains why I felt a little exposed wearing it. However it was light, cool and comfortable to wear and it will definitely be worn again”.
Update – I wore the vest again on another hot and humid run, and loved it. Light, comfortable, airy- what more can you ask for! The only thing I don’t like is that logo on the front hem.
Laser Trail Shorts
The shorts are proper short runing shorts, with a split side seam (just for the bottom few centimetres) and a brilliant flash of colour down the side seam. They have a good sized zipped pocket on the back, and a smaller ‘key’ pocket inside.
They Say “Like it’s Refresher predecessor we’ve kept this product light with a focus on comfort. We’ve used a lightweight stretch microfibre shell and our signature Vapour-X lining which reduces chafing and helps keep the garment fresh and dry. Other nifty features include a rear media pocket and an internal key pocket with a key-tie to stop annoying jangling!”
Black and Tabby Says “I liked how these shorts felt when I picked them up (light and not rustly) and loved that they had a liner (aka “integral knickers”) which I have always found to be more comfortable than running ‘commando’ or with my own underwear. Pulling them on and looking down they looked quite baggy around my tummy which I felt self concious about. When I looked at myself in a mirror though they looked fine. (Mental note – don’t look down!)
These shorts are short, there’s no getting away from it. The split sides put me in mind of a proper speedy racer and I had this image (on the left) in my mind as I ran. This was actually no bad thing, as it meant I felt I had to push hard all through my run, even when (especially when) overtaking a dog walker up a hill.
I think I’ll need to wear these shorts a few more times to feel really comfortable in them. At the moment if I was doing a 5K race I’d grab these like a shot as only then would I manage the speed these shorts deserve”
Update I wore these shorts again today on another hot and humid run, and I didn’t even notice the bagginess I did on first wearing. I also didn’t notice the split sides. However, like the Sprint Vest, I did notice how light, cool and comfortable they were to run in. I also forgot to mention the splash of colour down the sides which I really like – not too in-yer-face but just enough to brighten what could be prettty plain shorts.
My son took this photo of me running in them, and it has been universally agreed they make me look very sporty and smart. Miracle shorts then!
Elemental Fjord Short
These shorts were recommened by Jordanna, Crewroom’s lead designer, who said “they are amazingly comfortable and flattering with an extra wide waistband which feels really supportive when running.”
She kindly took note of my “I don’t like pink!” request, and sent me a pair in a lovely “Blueberry/Lime” colourway which turned out to be a bluey-gray with a pale lime highlights (not as bright and hi-viz as I’d have thought).
They say “Lightweight shorts made from fabric with four-way stretch for extra comfort and manoeuvrability. Nice little features include the rear zip pocket to secure your phone, card or keys and two side pockets. The wide elasticated waistband is a beautiful feature and gives a very flattering finish. Along with the breathable and wicking fabric, these really are a fully functional pair of performance running shorts.”
Kate Giles, founder and CEO of Crewroom said “when you handle the Elements fabric, it feels like cotton, it has that softness. You know you’ll be able to train in it for a long time.” Kate prefers to wear this is this very hot weather, but knows that some people do prefer the more technical feel of the Laser range. She believes Elements is fine to wear to train in, and then wear down to the pub.
Black and Tabby says “When I unpacked these shorts I wasn’t sure that they were a technical fabric because they felt so soft and stretchy. I also wasn’t sure about the wide waistband – was it going to dig into me as I ran? As I have no waist (I sadly go straight up and down) I do have problems with belts and waistbands riding up as I run.
Despite these misgivings I put these shorts on and shot out for a short run before I went away on holiday. After initially fidgetting with the waistband I was impressed to find it was comfortable. If you’ve ever run in any shorts or trousers where the waistband has slipped below a vaguely wobbly tummy you’ll know how unsettling this feeling is. These shorts don’t do that. Even with my phone in the back pocket they felt secure without being constricting, and despite my lack of waist they didn’t ride up and give me a ‘wedgie’, so they scored highly for that. As I ran they simply felt cool and comfortable.
Like the Laser trail shorts, these are short. I could see the line where my usual shorts finish (not a tan line – more like a windburn line I think), but they were so comfortable to run in I didn’t care. They are a more casual styling than the Laser Trail shorts, and combined with the fabric I could see myself wearing these on hot days to do things other than running in. In fact I took them on my recent holiday hoping it would be hot enough to wear them on days out as well as having some running kit with me ‘just in case’, but it wasn’t to be.”
It’s obvious I love these shorts. I’ve worn them for another two short runs and they’ve performed brilliantly both times. The only negative I can find for them is that, unlike the Laser Trail shorts, they don’t have an integral lining so you either need to be brave enough to run ‘commando’ or you need to find the perfect running knickers to go underneath (something I’ve yet to do). I guess this is so that you can wear them for activities other than sport but that would have made them my 100% perfect pair of shorts. As it is they’ll have to have a score of 99% I look pretty happy with them though!
Please Note – I received no payment for writing this review, but I did receive the shorts and vest for testing purposes. All views and comments are my own.