Running apparel review: Pearl iZumi Flash short-sleeved shirt and shorts

Front view of the Pearl iZumi Flash SS shirt.

When you think of the word "flash", do you think of former Portland Mayor Bud Clark exposing himself to art? Or does a second tier movie song by Queen come to mind? Well, Pearl iZumi would like to introduce a new connotation to the word with their Flash line of running apparel. Recently, I was able to try out a Flash short-sleeved running shirt and a pair of Flash running shorts, both featuring Pearl iZumi's Transfer Dry stretchable tech fabric. The shirt is comfortable and well-tailored, with strategically placed mesh panels for breathability. As I've emphasized in previous apparel and shoe reviews, the best sign of a good product is that you don't really notice it on a run, and the Flash shirt did its job without making its presence felt or feeling at all intrusive or distracting.

Rear view of the Flash shirt, with “Flash”y orange stripes!

I’ve worn it on training runs and during a race, in both rainy and dry conditions, and it has kept me warm and transferred moisture efficiently, while providing good breathability. The fit is very good, with no loose flapping or restrictive areas.

The shirt also boasts UPF 50+ to protect you from the sun. My shirt was eye-catching shades of dark and light blue (I mean “Limoges / Brilliant Blue”!), with an asymmetrical pattern of orange stripes on one rear shoulder for a little added “Flash”. This shirt is a nice addition to my training and racing wardrobe. The Pearl iZumi Flash SS shirt retails for $42.00.

Front view of the Pearl iZumi Flash shorts.

The Flash shorts are unlike any other running shorts in my collection, mostly because of their size. Although they are size medium, at first glance they appeared to be much too big for me, almost like basketball shorts. But when I tried them on, they actually fit very well. They were still much longer than I’m used to, but the Transfer Dry fabric feels comfortable and they hang naturally and loosely, without any noticeable weight on my legs.

In fact, on a couple chilly morning training runs, I appreciated the extra length and soft, breathable material on my cold thighs. The shorts kept me warm without any rubbing or chafing, and the fabric transferred sweat and drizzle away from my skin effectively.

There’s a lot more to these shorts than typical running shorts: A substantial waist band, serious liner, and a large zippered back pocket. Yet they still feel light, soft, and unrestrictive.

Rear view of the Flash shorts, with zippered pocket.

I rarely carry more than my house- or car-key on a run, and I’m used to keeping it in the traditional front key pocket found in most running shorts. The Flash shorts lack a front key pocket, and reaching back to unzip the rear pocket was a little awkward at first. But the rear pocket held my key securely without any jostling, and it negates the need for a running belt to hold gels, an iPod, or a phone on long runs or races.

As with the Flash shirt, the shorts feature an asymmetrical pattern of stripes (this time on one thigh), but with my gray and yellow (er, “Shadow Grey / Sulphur Springs”, to be precise) shorts, the yellow stripes blend in, and the overall effect is less “Flash”y than the shirt. The Flash shorts are a great choice for training or long races, and a nice complement to the shirt. The list price for the shorts is $50.00.

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