11:51 Friday 21 February 2014

REVIEW: Karrimor keeps you running all year round

Written byGEOFF MERRYWEATHER

SINCE Karrimor has been under the control of leisure wear chain Sports Direct, they consistently managed to produce quality items for cost conscious runners throughout the UK with their online presence and large town centre stores.

As their range of clothing continues to grow, Karrimor kindly sent me a selection of running gear to test, and prove they have everything a runner needs to keep training in all weathers with their Xlite range.

Starting with the Xlite men’s running top, available in blue and orange, it benefits from lightweight construction, long sleeves and a quarter length zip, as well as a small arm pocket for a phone or MP3 player.

The long-sleeve top also features excellent mesh panelling which helps you keep cool and wick away sweat, as well as elasticated wrists with thumb holes to help a comfortable fit.

Finally, the Xlite long-sleeve top benefits from elastine construction to help manouverability whist wearing this top, which is slim fitting in its design.

Next up are the Xlite Reflective Tights, designed as a lightweight running tight, they feature a zipped back pocket, mesh side panels and crotch, reflective detailing and zipped hems.

As far as running tights go, these are a great looking pair, with the reflective details and Karrimor logo, and the mesh panelling really helps with movement during a run.

The reflective details also make these tights a good choice for night time running, as it is so important to be seen during the longer nights.

Moving on to the Black Xlite Running Jacket, featuring lightweight construction, full zip front, underarm vents and waist toggles, this is a superb jacket for the money, with a few tricks up its sleeves.

This lightweight jacket features padded wrist cuffs for comfort, reflective detail for better visiblity, and benefits from four zipped pockets, three to the front, and one at the rear for extra storage, something I often find missing from running clothes.

But my favorite feature by far is the addition of detachable sleeves, enabling the jacket to be quickly converted into a gilet for warmer runs - it is also lighweight enough to allow the sleeves to be stowed away in the rear pocket with ease, making this jacket great value for money.

Lastly on test is the Xlite Mens reflective Jacket, which is another very clever item in Karrimor’s range.

If you currently wear a hi-viz vest for your night-time runs, this is the jacket for you, rather than simply adding a few lines of scotchlight reflective material, karrimor have in essence, made a full jacket out of the stuff.

Perfect for heading out after dark, this jacket features reflective panels all round, as well as an elasticated hood, which is also reflective, to try and keep you dry if rain sets in.

Other features of the Xlite Reflective Jacket include a full zip front for excellent breathability, waist toggles and padded cuffs for improved comfort.

Like the previously mentioned lightweight jacket, the Xlite Reflective Jacket also features four pockets in total - two on the outside and two mesh inner pockets.

To make sure you don’t get too hot on your run, the jacket features back vents, and a mesh back layer on the upper part of the back.

Out on test, I had few complaints about any of the Karrimor gear, the fit and finish of each item was very surprising given some of the modest prices, and permanent discounts offered by sports direct.

All the sizings were also spot on, everything I tested was large in size and more than suitable for my bigger frame - I’m not as slinky as many hard core runners are.

The reflective jacket also proved useful on my night-time cycle rides, lighting me up to road users.

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