Review

    Pearl Izumi Women’s Running Apparel Line

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    Pearl Izumi recently sent me three items from its new spring running line to review for ActionHub, and it took me approximately one minute to tear open the package and try everything on. I’m always looking for new workout gear, especially since I’m picky about everything fitting very well. There are few things more frustrating during a workout than ill-fitting clothing that you’re constantly having to adjust.

    I received the items about a month ago and have been testing them several times a week since. I reviewed the Flash Sport Tank, the Flash LS, and the Flash 3/4 Tight. My initial reaction was that all the items were extremely stylish. It was clear a lot of attention was placed on design, as the black and gray pattern of the Flash LS shirt was appealing, as was the inclusion of the light blue fabric on the tights.

    First, I’ll admit that I’m not a runner. At least, I haven’t gotten to the point in my life where running is enjoyable. My exercise of choice is hot yoga at a nearby studio, but I do make it to the gym one day a week as well. That’s where I first began to test the apparel line, specifically on a treadmill, but I soon discovered that some of the items worked well in my yoga classes too. Before we move on, I should note that the line runs a little small. I normally wear a medium in workout clothing but was advised to move up to a large for the Pearl Izumi line. This advice was spot on, as everything fit well.

    Pearl Izumi Women's Flash Sport Tank in Blackberry.

    Pearl Izumi Women’s Flash Sport Tank in Blackberry.

    Flash Sport Tank

    I reviewed the Flash Sport Tank in Blackberry, although it’s also available in Black and Aruba Blue. Advertised as an all-purpose athletic tank, the Transfer Dry fabric works to pull sweat away from the skin. It includes a built-in shelf bra, and it definitely provided more support than other tanks I’ve worn with this feature. I felt secure, as the shirt is fairly structured in that area. With many of my other tanks, I still felt the need to wear a separate sports bra underneath. In this regard, Pearl Izumi delivered.

    The tank features contrasting semi-sheer textured lace-like mesh panels to help keep you cool, which was by far my favorite part of the entire Pearl Izumi line. Although additional fabric is used to make features like the built-in bra more comfortable, it didn’t mean you were going to overheat. I found all of the clothing to be extremely breathable.

    My biggest issue with the Flash Sport Tank was how it fit around my collarbone, shoulder, and neck area. I found the straps to be too close together, and they were hugging my neck tightly. I often had to adjust that part of the shirt in order to be more comfortable. I would have preferred the tank to give me a little more room to breathe, as the top of the shirt (near the logo) kept riding up my neck and bunching the fabric in the middle.

    For women who have a larger bust, this may be the ideal shirt. With more fabric higher up the neck, it would most likely provide greater coverage, allowing women to be more comfortable as they exercise. I have a medium-sized chest, so this feature was more of a hindrance to my workout.

    Because the line is specifically made for running, I was sure to note that this bunching issue occurred while running too, and not just at yoga. Other than this problem, the fabric around my stomach and back always stayed in place and was comfortable, especially during inversions. If it wasn’t for this slight issue, which could be based on my body type and may not affect everyone, this shirt would definitely be one of my favorites. I loved the style, color, twisted strap design in the back, breathability, and how flattering the bottom portion of it was, while also staying snug during workouts.

    The main body of the shirt is made of 88 percent polyester and 12 percent elastane/UPF 50. The support liner is made of 93 percent nylon and 7 percent elastane. The mesh inserts are made of 96 percent polyester and 4 percent elastane. The shirt retails for $50, which is definitely on the high end when it comes to running tanks. The only thing I would consider before purchasing is making sure the shirt will work with your body type. For me, I think the Fly Sport Tank may be a better option, as it seems less constricting around the neck area because of its lower cut. The Fly Sport Tank also retails for $50.

    Pearl Izumi Women's Flash 3/4 Tight in Black/Aruba Blue.

    Pearl Izumi Women’s Flash 3/4 Tight in Black/Aruba Blue.

    Flash 3/4 Tight

    While the other two items were easy to use during a number of different exercises, the Flash 3/4 Tight is definitely made for running. I say this mainly because of the zippered back pocket—built into the waist band—is perfect for storing a house key or small music player while out on a run.

    When I first tried on the pants, I was a little worried about the fit. They seemed to hug my calves and thighs tightly, but could have been a bit tighter around my waist. However, I think if I went a size smaller, they would have been far too tight on my legs. They do include an adjustable waistband via a small strap on the inside of the front waistband, but if pulled too tight, the pants become less flattering.

    While exercising, I prefer a wide, snug waistband—I’m talking tights that come almost as high as my belly button. I know many others prefer low-rise, but that cut often doesn’t work for me, as I’m 5’11” and need everything longer. For petite runners, I think these pants would work extremely well. Although the description says the waistband is wide, I consider it medium sized. I found myself having to pull the waistband up quite often while running, but found they were perfect for the days when I was just lifting weights, as there was less movement. The other issue I had was the 3/4 length, because after running for a few minutes, the fabric would begin to bunch behind my knees. This directly relates to my height, so if you’re a taller woman, go with the full-length pants, as they’ll still hit mid- to low-calf on us.

    As with the Flash Sport Tank, the Flash 3/4 Tight includes Transfer Dry fabric that provides compression and superior moisture transfer. Although the pants are thin, they are not see-through, and the compression feature makes you feel comfortable while wearing them—they’re just more breathable. The blue fabric located on the bottom of the pants was a great feature, as that’s normally an area that traps sweat. In low-quality running pants that I’ve worn in the past, behind my knee can become itchy when a lot of moisture is captured there, but Pearl Izumi has alleviated that concern.

    The main body of the pants is made of 88 percent polyester and 12 percent elastane. The splice of the pants is made of 96 percent polyester and 4 percent elastane. The Flash 3/4 Tight retails for $60, which is pretty on point with similar products from competing brands. It isn’t uncommon to see running tights going for around $100 per pair, so I’d say this is a pretty good deal. They are lighter, so they’re ideal for use in warmer weather. However, Pearl Izumi offers plenty of thermal running tights for the colder months. In addition to Aruba Blue/Black, the tights are also available in Black and Blackberry.

    Pearl Izumi Women's Flash LS in Black.

    Pearl Izumi Women’s Flash LS in Black.

    Flash LS

    I loved it. This was by far my favorite item of the three I reviewed, and I don’t have one negative thing to say about it. The long-sleeved shirt is extremely stretchy and seems to fit and flatter most body types, as was evident when I had several friends try it out as well. Because I work out either in the yoga studio or at the gym, I didn’t find a huge need for the item, but loved it regardless. It has become my go-to shirt for to and from yoga, and I even wear it during the first 15 minutes or so of each class before it becomes too hot in the room. I also wear it around the gym, as the air conditioning always seems to be on full blast and it can get quite chilly. Mainly, I wear it around the house and while running errands.

    I ended up wearing it to a low-key family function, and my aunt showed up with the same one on, but in purple. To me, that definitely proved it’s an appealing product to a wide variety of people, and can be worn in a casual setting too. The shirt includes thumb holes and an internal fist mitt to help keep hands warm in colder temperatures.

    It’s semi-form fitting, but I ordered a large and there’s some extra room, so it’s comfortable to wear even when you’re not in the mood to wear tight clothing. The main body is made of 92 percent polyester and 8 percent elastane/UPF 50. The mesh is made of 93 percent nylon and 7 percent elastane. Like the other two items, it includes Transfer Dry fabric that pulls sweat away from the skin, which was definitely appreciated in the mesh back of the shirt. In addition to Black, the shirt is also available in Blackberry and Aruba Blue/Black. The Flash LS retails for $60, which I think is a bargain considering how often I wear it. I think of it more as a track jacket, so the price makes sense to me. I don’t wash it between every wear, and tend to pull it on over a workout tank. Multi-functional apparel is always the best.

    Conclusion

    Pearl Izumi did a great job with its spring collection, namely with the breathability featured in most of the apparel items. The tanks and pants can be a little hit or miss as far as body size, so I definitely recommend contacting the company and asking for assistance before making purchase that you’re worried may not fit well. Overall, the fabric is wonderful and never irritated my skin, and the pricing is pretty on point with other brands, although tanks can be a bit expensive. But for pants, long-sleeved shirts, and jackets, you’re definitely going to get a good deal.

    Check back with ActionHub in the next week or two for a review of the Pearl Izumi men’s running line, which my colleague is currently carrying out. Included in his review will be a shirt, shorts, and a pair of the brand’s running shoes. For more information, visit the Pearl Izumi website.

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