Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Lululemon running short and singlet review

There aren't too many perks in marathon running unless you count blisters, chaffing and expensive physio bills. However, I was very happy when Lululemon asked me to review some new running gear.

If you are a member of a gym you've probably seen people wearing Lulu clothing. However, a quick poll in the office discovered that most people hadn't heard of them. A Canadian brand they make stylish technical clothing. Their target markets seems to be exercise and fashion conscious women.

I've worn both items for just over a week each. Not sure why, but I didn't wear them as a combo, pairing each item with some of my other running gear instead.

Men's running shorts
I usually wear the classic running shorts, so it was a bit different to be trying knee length 'tights'.

How did I use them? I wore the shorts after the Great Ocean Road marathon to aid recovery. I also tried them out on five runs, ranging from four to sixteen kilometres. Covering just over forty kilometres in total. All of the runs were in the dry and first thing in the morning so the temperatures were quite cool.

The good: During my runs I didn't really notice the shorts, which is the best praise I can give them. The fit was good, they are lightweight and the shorts weren't moving around. They felt supportive without being overly tight.

The bad: The horizontal seam on the front across the groin gave me some mild discomfort. I didn't chaffe but I'd worry there could be some issues on longer runs or in hotter conditions. A couple of threads came loose on one of the front seams.

Compression: Compression clothing is a big topic for runners. It seems people either love it or feel it doesn't make any difference at all. I don't usually wear compression shorts so don't have anything to compare them against in terms of recovery or running support. I have a pair of 2XU triathlon shorts and I'd say the compression level is about the same. If you are looking for out and out support you might be best trying another brand.

Running singlet
You hardly see people wearing singlets in the UK, but as part of my ongoing embrace of all things Australian I got my shoulders out. The singlet is very lightweight. Brands like Nike sell 'training' and 'race' singlets. The Lululemon top is definitely closer to the 'race' end of the spectrum.

How did I use it? I wore the singlet on four runs ranging from 7.5km to 30km and covering 57km in total. I've been running in the morning so the temperatures have all been quite cool. I had some light rain this morning, but the rest of the runs have been in the dry. I also wore the top to a spin class.

The good: I really like that the top is so light and you don't really notice that you are wearing it. The 30km run was a pretty serious workout and the top was great. I wasn't wearing any ant-chaffing creams and I didn't have any problems. This gives me the confidence that I won't ever have problems with this top.

The bad: The cut is a little long in the body for me, but I'm not the tallest guy (170cm) so I get that quite regularly with clothes.  My only negative feedback on the Lulu singlet, is that when you are doing a serious workout (or running in the rain) it feels a bit weighed down around the waist and like it is stretching. This could be a negative side effect of the light weight material not having as strong a structure? However, it does still function pretty well. The top sticks to you a bit when wet, but it isn't annoying.

If you are looking for some running gear you could do a lot worse than the Lululemon singlet. Make sure you don't buy a model with two-tone fabric on the front panel that involves a seam across the nipples. Ouch is all I can say. It is a matter of preference as to whether or not you prefer 'compression' style shorts. If you like support I found these pretty good, just look out for that front seam on longer runs.

Disclaimer: The running clothes were provided to me free of charge to review and I have since kept them. Lululemon have no idea I'm a blogger or that I was planning to write this post. They just asked for my feedback on their products as they know I'm a 'serious' runner.


  1. I have discovered compression shorts. I was always dubious but now having taken the plunge I am in the market for another couple of pairs.

  2. Another couple of pairs. How many shorts do you need? I have to admit I'm a bit of a smelly runner and wear the same gear a lot.

    What brand did you buy? And are thinking of getting?

  3. I couldn't think of anything worse than putting previously-run-in clothes on! Ugh.

    I bought my first compressions in Niketown and will probably go back for at least one more...

  4. I am a bit disgusting, but I run every day and can't be bothered to put the washing machine on every day.

    I really like Nike gear. I think it is just as good as any other brand, but at better prices.

    From all the reviews I've read about compression shorts Nike's is one of the least firm. If you want max compression you need to go for BSC, 2XU or Skins apparently.

    Looking forward to seeing your running reviews up soon!