Tung Yin and I each received a line-up of gear to test from Columbia Montrail that included the Titan Ultra Half-Zip shirt and an Omni-Freeze Zero shirt, plus I got a pair of shorts. We both also received running jackets (read that review here) and trail running shoes (which also got their own review).
Both of us hold Columbia gear in high regard, so when they announced the new blended line of head to toe running gear, we were both really eager to test out the gear. It makes perfect sense – Montrail was all about trail running and Columbia is all about anything outdoors – so it’s no surprise that bringing them together would create amazing running clothes and shoes.
Columbia Montrail Titan Ultra Half Zip ($70)
My thoughts: This is a lightweight longsleeve pullover with a zipper from the neck to about midway down the chest. The inside has the Omni-Freeze Zero technology, which means that as you sweat, it cools you down a little. It’s also moisture wicking and antimicrobial. It’s very lightweight and feels thin and soft, but I ran with it on a sunny but cold day (temps in the high 30s) and felt comfortable after I warmed up. The Omni-Freeze Zero did, of course, kick in because it was an easy run on a cold day.
As with the shell above, if you zip this Ultra Half Zip all the way to the top, the enclosure will cover much of the neck and brush against the bottom of the chin. I found that mildly distracting so I left it not fully zipped. Even not fully zipped, the sides can stick up enough that if it bothers you, you might need to leave it half unzipped.
Fit on this is pretty true. I received a medium (pictured to the right), and as you can see, it fits me about perfectly in the torso. For reference, I’m a size 29-30 waist.
Tung described the Ultra Half Zip really well – I’ll just add that it’s the perfect weight long-sleeve to wear under a jacket when the jacket is just to keep you from getting soaked; or when you’d rather wear a short sleeve shirt but you don’t like starting out too cold. With this long-sleeve shirt, you get super lightweight coverage that doesn’t turn into a furnace on the uphills.
My favorite feature was the contrasting fabric and color on the upper flank, underarms, and bottom of the upper arms. It’s a good place for some additional air flow. The women’s, at $70, comes in three colors: sea ice (a foam green with a teal contrast), cirrus (a smoky blue-grey with matching color contrast fabric), and lychee (a deep tangerine with a lemon-lime contrast). Check out the women’s Ultra Half Zip shirt here.
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My thoughts: This is a short sleeve tech shirt, also with the Omni-Freeze Zero technology, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial treatment that the Titan Ultra Half Zip has.
I’ve got a lot of Columbia Sportswear Omni-Freeze Zero shirts, which this basically is, but something about the weave is a little different with this one. The other Omni-Freeze Zero shirts I have are stretchy and feel a little thicker. This one feels a bit thinner. I’m looking forward to racing in the late spring and summer with this shirt.
As with the Titan Ultra Half Zip, the sizing is pretty true. When it comes to short sleeve tech shirts, I straddle the line between medium and large. I like the length of large but sometimes large is way too loose on me. The Montrail Titan Ultra Short Sleeve is pretty long even with the medium size, so it’s a perfect fit for me.
This shirt has a nice drape; because it’s so lightweight it hangs without hugging too tightly in the areas where I don’t need anything to be tight. This shirt works well as an under-layer to keep cool close to your skin; I wore it under dressier work tops a number of times when I was planning to run after work.
My favorite details was the sleeve length – when sleeves are too short, they can lead to inner upper-arm chafing. Women’s shirts with “cute” cap sleeves tend to have this unpleasant feature. The Columbia Montrail Titan Ultra Short Sleeve shirt sleeves are long enough to stay put. On trail, I tend to use my arms more to keep my balance, so the sleeve length is important. I also like what they call the “drop tail hem” – it’s a little longer in the back than the front, which is a very flattering cut. The women’s is available in three colors; the sea ice combination and the lychee color, but instead of cirrus, it’s also offered in white.
If you prefer your shorts to stay put rather than ride up by your inner thighs, you should try these out. My biggest issue with running shorts is that inner-thigh chafing problem – I typically go for capri tights or knee-length compression shorts with skirts – but these shorts make the cut, thanks to the soft material that doesn’t bunch up.
The wide waistband is extremely comfortable, and rides comfortably without creating any pressure points.
My favorite feature of the shorts is the pockets. You’ve got pockets for your hands – that are deep enough to hold gels on a run. My strategy is to put the full gel in one pocket and the empty wrapper (the empty sticky wrapper) in the other pocket. And then you’ve got a zippered pocket for your car key, Runner ID, and credit card – a pocket you can put valuables in to stay safe as you bound over hill and dale.
These shorts come in “zing” – a bright sunset orange/pink color – with lemon/lime detail. I’m just a little bummed that Tung didn’t get a pair of the men’s Titan shorts to try out; they come in both black and a deep navy blue. I have a feeling he’s already picked a pair up by now though!