When the rubber of my running shoes met the road on each of the last two Saturdays, I was wearing the technical shirt that was part of the box of products sent to me by Scott of Outside PR.
The very first thing I noticed was that it was a Pearl Izumi top. I have never owned anything made by Pearl Izumi and in fact have sort of avoided buying their products because of their advertising campaign. Have you seen the ads?
In the end, though I started out feeling conflicted about Pearl Izumi, I decided that I would not treat them the way they treated so many runners - that I would not pass judgement without actually trying their product. I would get to know them before I passed judgement on them.
I tend to buy a lot of my running clothes from places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. I do this for a couple of reasons - because the prices are a lot better than at any sporting goods store and also because I like to have options. I want to have lots of options so I'm always looking for a bargain. Running as a sport can get quite expensive when you start buying lots of technical clothing and good shoes.
When I was getting ready for my run that first Saturday, I picked up this shirt and immediately saw the retail tag: $45.00. Whoo! That's about 4 times what I would normally pay for a running shirt. But even before I put the shirt on, I noticed how soft and fluffy it felt, sort of the softness of a chamois. Just the feel of this shirt told me that it was a different class than the shirts I normally wear. I also noticed on the other attached tags that PI has 3 levels of clothing - which I'm certain means 3 levels of pricing. This shirt was part of the Elite series so mid-range price wise.
"The W's Infinity In-R-Cool® Short Sleeve features our innovative In-R-Cool® fabric technology to cool the body while you exercise. This is the ultimate lightweight warm weather running top."
I went out again this past Saturday for that 7 miler I'd been itching to get and the shirt performed just as well the second time around. Also, can I just admit, I think the design on the back is great and I love how it gives me a waist?! (Sorry for the cut off design - Mr. Helen strikes again!)
Bottom line is this: I love this shirt. I love this shirt so much, when I went to look up the information on it, I noticed there is a matching compression short and I've already put those on my Christmas wish list. While I can't afford to have every single one of the many running shirts I have cost this much, this shirt is one I would definitely buy as a treat for myself if I was running a half for full marathon - where an average runner would have to be in those clothes for a couple hours or more. (Fran, I'm looking at you and your dislike of running in heat.)
My one and only criticism is of Pearl Izumi's marketing campaign. Don't they realize that there is a whole big world of runners (and weight loss bloggers who have taken up running) that they could be marketing their great product to? How about it Pearl Izumi?