What Run Oregon is Wearing: Roka

ROKA was formed in a garage with humble beginnings and a laser-beam focus. Our mission is to unlock human potential. To equip. Empower. Inspire. Ignite. We serve those who seek to redefine the standard, to push themselves to the limit – whatever and wherever that may be. Since launching in 2013, our patented and award-winning products have been worn on the backs of multiple world champions, and thousands of athletes who have redefined what is possible in their own lives. Titles have been won, records broken. This year, we are proud to be sending 18 athletes to the Rio Olympics. We make the finest technical apparel and equipment on the planet. And when we see an opportunity to innovate, to challenge the status quo, to disrupt a complacent or monopolistic market, we go all in.

Company: ROKA

 

Product: Elite Race Singlet ($55)

Elite Race Run Singlet photo from roka.co

Annette’s Impression: The race singlet is my favorite piece of clothing from ROKA. It is light, comfortable, fits well, and is basically the perfect running tank. There are no itchy seams to distract you from your run. The mesh back allows the tank to breathe and overall, the fabric is amazing. I love the comfort of it. Basically, it’s a singlet I can run in without noticing it, which makes it perfect for me.

Mary’s Impression: I’ll echo my thoughts on the fabric and seaming from the shorts here – it’s obvious that this tank is thoughtfully made with runners in mind.  The seams all feel pretty much invisible and the breathable back construction will make it a summer running staple. Plus with the tank, the seam rolling isn’t an issue!


Product: Elite All-Season Run LS Shirt ($85)

Mary’s Impression: This is hands down my favorite Roka product.  Its sleeves are actually long enough for my arms, which is an anomaly, making the thumbholes actually tolerable to wear which is something I can rarely say.  And while that alone would probably be enough to sell me on this shirt, it has some other pretty snazzy features that jump out: ultra breathable back panel, boat neck line that reduces friction points from other layers, and again, that awesome fabric that feels a lot less like a performance fabric and a whole lot more like an organic fabric which makes it pretty comfortable for the long haul.

Kelly’s Impression: I agree with nearly everything Mary said, but when I wore this for my long run I developed some chafing on my collarbones. This might have been a “me” problem and could easily be solved with some lube; and it has happened to me with other shirts. I didn’t have a problem on shorter runs. So keep that in mind if you haven’t ever trained in a boat neck top.

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Product: Elite All-Season Run Cap Sleeve Shirt ($75)

Kelly’s Impressions: After the shorts, the cap sleeve shirt was my favorite. It’s seamless, and the cap sleeves aren’t so short I got chafing near the armpit. I like the nice wide scoop neck, which I think is flattering especially for women that have a bigger chest and don’t like such high necklines. I got a size L and while I probably would also be fine in an XL, the size L fit just a little snug around my post-baby pooch which seems determined to stick around for a while. Paired with the Roka shorts and their nice, wide waistband, though, I was not self-conscious.

Annette’s Impressions: I tried the short sleeve shirt, not the cap sleeve, and liked everything about it except that the bottom of the sleeves were a bit too tight around the arm for me to run in comfortably. I would recommend going up a size on the short sleeve shirt to add a little more length to the body and a little breathing room in the sleeves.


Product: Elite Run Shorts ($70)

Elite 4″ Low Rise Short Photo from roka.co

Annette’s Impression: As soon as I tried the ROKA shorts on, I was sure I was going to love them. The first thing I noticed was the snug fit of the mesh liner. It is unlike any other short and I could tell it would stay put. I was impressed with the back zipper pocket that appears to be water resistant and the small key pocket inside the waistband. The shorts were light and comfortable, but they do run small. I usually wear a medium, and was surprised the the large were pretty fitted. My enthusiasm for these shorts was diminished a bit when I ran in them. Since the fabric is so light, it began rolling up on my thighs as I ran. I could not keep them from rolling up, so I spent my entire run yanking at my shorts in discomfort. It was a bit disappointing to me personally, but only because of all the many positive qualities these shorts exhibit. As you can see below, not everyone had the same experience as I did, so perhaps I am an outlier.

Mary’s Impression: Right off the bat, I’m impressed. It’s clear these guys appreciate the art of presentation, and it is not lost on me. My box arrives and it’s wrapped carefully, the gear folded precisely in its tissue wrapping and accompanied by a handwritten note. It’s a nice touch, and even though my experience might be an outlier, I have to assume that the delivery is at least somewhat similar for anyone ordering off their site, etc.

As soon as I pulled these shorts out of the box, I was excited to test drive them. The fabric is pretty unlike anything I’ve come across in a running short before, and the stretch plus seaming had all at the presentation of a performance short that would be functional and comfortable. While my experience with the sizing was pretty consistent with Annette’s, I was able to run in them without too much issue, though I did fight some occasional rolling from the bottom. Knowing what I know now, I’d order a size up to really enjoy them to the maximum level. Maybe consider doing the same if you are torn between two sizes.

Kelly’s Impression: Unlike Annette and Mary, I wasn’t bothered by the fabric rolling and I thought the sizing was right on. I usually wear a size 8-10 pants and the size L was perfect for me. I loved these shorts for four reasons. First, the wide waist elastic. Ever since having an emergency C-section with kiddo #2 this is a “must” for any new shorts or tights. Second, the pockets. I was lucky enough to have a work trip to Phoenix where I wore these a few times and the pocket was perfect for the little route card from the concierge desk or to put a spent Gu package. Third, the zipped back pockets – for my hotel room key, ID, and money; basically anything you can’t afford to lose. Four, the liner of these shorts is BLACK. I have always wondered why so many running shorts have white liners. Many people wear them sans-undies, right? And also women have something called a period, so, black liners are cool.


Product: Elite Run All-Seasons Sports Bra  ($55)

Annette’s Impressions: Like all of Roka’s clothing, the fabric on this sports bra is amazingly soft. It is also super cute with its strappy back and great color contrast. That had me concerned about its functionality as often you get either fashion or function. Roka did a great job of combining both in the compression-like fashionable sports bra. I had to do a little adjusting to get the back straps straight when I put this on, but once I had them set they stayed put. And so did everything else. No bouncing with this sports bra. It had the right amount of compression so that I could still breathe while it held the girls firmly in place. One of our testers with a larger bra size found the sports bra to be too small. Being smaller chested, I found this product to be true to size.  This sports bra is not padded, but it is made with cup pockets if you wish to add your own insert.

Mary’s Impression: Along with Annette, I was really encouraged by the both the look and the feel of the bra. I did have to struggle to get it on since the sizing for me was probably more snug than I’d ordinarily pick, so if you’re a more curvy/busty type I’d highly recommend going a size up.  That said, it runs like a dream because absolutely NOTHING is bouncing or bobbing or swaying while this bra is on the job which makes it an ideal piece of gear.

 

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About Annette Vaughan (491 Articles)
Annette Vaughan is a runner and personal trainer in Canby, Oregon. She began running at the age of 30 and became hooked after her first race (even though she is a self-proclaimed slow runner.) She enjoys small local races from 5Ks to half-marathons, with a 30K on the books as her longest run ever. She has also become a huge fan of obstacle course races and just can't get enough of them. Annette is a certified personal trainer, who believes in promoting movement since our bodies were designed to move. The more we move, the better we move and function in everyday life.
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