Gear Review: Northface “Better Than Naked”
I just recently added a few new pieces of running apparel to my already sizable collection, and I wanted to briefly share my excitement! I’ve collected quite a few tech shirts over the years, courtesy of races and other sales. As a result, I’ve always been hesitant to splurge on new apparel, especially when it’s at the higher end of the price spectrum. However, I’ve been curious about the Northface “Better Than Naked” line of running apparel for quite some time. All of the reviews I’ve read have been rather spectacular, and I’ve been itching to slip into the shirt and shorts and give them a spin myself. I finally received that opportunity, and I couldn’t be more happy with the decision!
Everyone sweats when they run, and plenty of people talk about being heavy sweaters when they run. I’m not simply being dramatic when I say that I sweat profusely simply thinking about running, so adequate wicking properties have always been a challenge. The incredible heat and humidity of my first Delaware summer has put that fact to the test even more, and I’ve come back from just about every run this summer soaked and ready to ring myself out. The Northface Better Than Naked line of apparel claims to excel and wicking and drying where other companies have come up short. Thanks to its Polartec PowerDry fabric, wicking is supposed to happen instantly, leaving you consistently dry and comfortable with minimal lag time. In practice, I’m overjoyed to report that their claims are quite accurate!
I purchased the Short Sleeve and the Split Short 3.5 and put them through the paces this past weekend, and they passed with flying colors. Ventilation was outstanding, wicking excelled to the point of me staying almost entirely dry, even after 3 hours of running, and the fit and comfort of both pieces meant I hardly realized I was wearing them. The biggest complement you can give a piece of running apparel is the assertion that you don’t even notice it, and in that sense, both pieces truly were “Better Than Naked”.
The shorts have two elastic mesh pockets on either side in the back, and a center zippered pocket as well, meaning you can carry quite a few items without needing to worry about a belt of some sort. This is a fantastic feature, and one missing from many of the shorts I currently own. I also purchased the Long Haul shorts, which are designed for trail and ultra-running. They have even more pockets in the back and sides, and even include pockets on the included compression boxer brief liners, which is an added bonus. There’s a great review of both pairs of shorts over at ultrarunnerpodcast as well, so you can definitely check that out for more details.
Sizing was fairly accurate for all three pieces, and I had no complaints in that area. I tend to like my running shirts a bit more form-fitting (why give the sweat more opportunity to run down my body, right?), and the small fit my 5″11″ 165 frame quite well. The medium shorts were a perfect fit for my 32″ waist as well, providing a loose fit without being too baggy. If you are someone who likes your shirts a bit bigger, you might want to bump up a size just to be on the safe side. I had wanted to try the singlet as well, but it was sold out when I went to order it, so I’ll have to give that a whirl in the future. If you are in the market for a few go-to pieces, I highly suggest checking out the Northface Better Than Naked line!