Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Review: Brooks HVAC Synergy Short Sleeve Shirt


The Brooks HVAC Synergy Short Sleeve Shirt is primarily at home in hot Sunny conditions. As we're now approaching the middle of Autumn the opportunities to test it out under a sweltering sun are limited. But thats OK because this shirt isn't just a one-hit wonder.


The shirt is constructed of several different materials, on the shoulders and upper arms is a thicker material that provides the UV+ 40 protection. That panel extends down the chest to about sternum height on me and to the top of the shoulder blades in the back. The rest of the front and back is a much lighter material. The shirt comes with a reflective brooks logo on the left of the chest, and small tribal like reflective patches on each sleeve and between the shoulder blades. All seams are flat and well sewn.


In the first week I used the shirt a couple of times as a base layer under the Essential Run Jacket when it was too warm for both the jacket and a Long sleeve shirt. In this transitional time of the year it is more than adequate for the job. providing an environment under the jacket that was not too warm and not too cold.


On Saturday the skies cleared and we were treated to a stunning Autumn day, which gave me the opportunity to test the Shirt out during race conditions in the teutoberger waldlauf. The start was at 13:50 and it was 14°c, Remembering the old adage that its best to feel a little cool at the start than to be too hot during the race I chose to run in short tights and the HVAC SS Shirt. But there were runners all around in Long sleeves, long tights, and plenty of jackets or vests on display too.


10 minutes into the race I got the confirmation that my choice was good as I'd warmed up and was now feeling very comfortable. From there through the rest of the 29km race the shirt didn't really enter my thoughts at all as I concentrated on my race, clambering up the hills or running hard on the descents...and i guess that is the greatest praise you can give a piece of running attire. It should fade into the background when your actually running, It should let the run itself be the star (or perhaps villain) of the show.


The shirt was however immediately brought back to my attention when I was lining up for some post race re-hydration, as I looked around at the other finishers, many with big sweat patches on their backs or chests it dawned on me that my shirt was still bone dry. A good thing because the then 12°c is no temperature to be standing around in wet or damp clothes. I also saw the inevitable bloody nipples on 1 or 2 runners, and realized that i to had forgotten to 'protect myself'. The shirt was forgiving and the shower afterwards was without any painful reproach for my negligence.


I was very impressed with how well the shirt performed, I was able to run comfortably in it the whole race, the shirt did not rub, or irritate me in anyway. Now i am really looking forward to seeing what it can do under warmer conditions, but short of a miracle Autumn I will have to wait till next Summer for that.


Run Happy



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