Patagonia is a well-known brand in the industry, and for good reason. They care about the environment and providing a durable product that will last longer than one season. There are a lot of brands out there for runners to choose from, and the list is growing every day. Through it all, Patagonia has remained a classic “go-to” for trail runners, hikers, and most of the people who have to live in the wind and rain of the Pacific Northwest. That’s because it’s a brand that won’t let you down when you need it most. We had the good fortune to test a few products for Patagonia recently.
Nikki: The first thing I noticed about the Airchaser Shirt is that it is super light. It’s actually Patagonia’s lightest weight trail running shirt, and it’s very evident from the moment you touch it. The fabric is soft and of good quality. There are mesh shoulder and back panels to help it breathe well and the underarm gussets and seams are conveniently and purposefully placed to aid in the comfort of the shirt, especially if you plan to wear a pack or hydration vest. It’s tagless, which means no itchy back of the neck surprises when you go out for a long sweaty run.
The shirt featurers miDori™ bioSoft (a plant seed-based multi-purpose fabric softener) to help the wick control and Polygiene® permanent odor control that will save your clothes from stinking up the place. This means if you don’t wash it right away, you shouldn’t feel too guilty about it. In fact, wear it a few times between washes and no one will notice and you’ll save on your water bill.
The Airchaser shirt fits like a glove and it feels great. It was made with recycled polyester in an effort to reduce waste. As the weather gets warmer and I start wearing more short sleeved shirts again, I’m pretty sure this will be added to the rotation for long run days. I typically find myself wearing sleeveless shirts in the summer, but this one is barely noticeable on my upper arms and shoulders, so it will be an exception to the rule.
With Spring upon us, the Houdini Air Jacket is perfect for those chilly and perhaps wet runs before the weather starts warming up. I took the jacket out for the first time following a “snow day” in Portland which had melted overnight. There was still a bit of slush on the ground, but the sun was out. I thought this was a great time to test the jacket over a long-sleeved tech shirt, as I knew I’d get warm under the sun but cold in the wind, which was still pretty chilly. Even after running in Portland for over a decade, I still am not always sure how to dress for the ever-changing weather. It turns out that the Houdini Air Jacket was the perfect choice. I wore it again for my next two runs, one of which was a race.
As far as the look of the jacket, it’s pretty sharp. It comes in a couple of colors and it has a zip pocket on the chest that can be used to cinch the whole jacket up for an easy carry-all stuffsack. I could see this being very beneficial for travel or a relay race. The cut of the jacket is great for a woman. It’s slightly longer in the back and has a nice tapered fit. The thing I love most about the jacket is that it’s feather-light. Some jackets made for the weather elements have a bit of a noisy “swish-swish” to them, but this one is both quiet and comfortable. The material is very soft and you don’t even notice you have a jacket on.
The jacket looks great, but how does it perform? As it turns out, very well. I ran directly into the icy wind and the jacket kept me warm. None of the wind cut through at all, which is kind of amazing for a jacket that’s so thin. It was also extremely breathable, and despite the fact that I accumulated sweat on my shirt underneath the jacket, I never overheated.
51% of the jacket is recycled nylon (derived from post-industrial waste fiber, yarn from spinning factories, and/or waste from weaving mills.) and it’s got a DWP (durable water repellent finish) which protects you from the wind and rain. This jacket will be the one I reach for throughout Spring and Fall.
Matt: I received a handful of items from Patagonia – one for running (Strider Pro Running Shorts) and a couple more as functional outdoor wear (the Capilene Cool Trail Shirt and Capilene Air Crew). Like Nikki, I have always been impressed with Patagonia’s commitment to the environment, as well as the consistent quality of their items.
The Capilene Cool Trail Shirt, at first glance, is a simple and straight-forward top. It comes in 5 different colors and are perfectly suited as a casual tee or, more appropriately, as a shirt to head out onto the trails in. The secret, however, is in the details of the construction. It is made from 4-oz 100% polyester spun jersey with Polygiene – a bluesign approved material. It is super soft and feels like cotton, but is breathable, moisture-wicking, and anti-microbial. Doesn’t that just scream hiking? It also isn’t restrictive and gives a nice little stretch along the way. There are no tags and there is also a little loop on the back where it can be used for hang drying. I’m already loving that this will cut weight on my next hiking trip and will seemingly hold up to the elements and not having my hiking buddies hate me for smelling too disgusting in the process.
Also within the new Capilene family is the Capilene Air Crew – a multi-functional top. While I think this is designed to be a baselayer (it provides really solid warmth and insulation, as well as being odor-resistant), I have started to transition this into a standalone cool weather sweater. It just looks really solid, and while it’s on the more slim-fit side of things, it has stretch to it and skews long in the hem – which is perfect for taller guys like me. The arms are also long enough, so it’s no wonder that I have sort of fallen in love with this as a more frequent staple in my spring wardrobe.
Lastly, the Strider Pro Running Shorts were the only true running wear I received – and they are really quite nice. They seem perfect for any runner, but especially for the trail runner who is looking to stay comfortable and have some nice amenities as well. These are made from a fast drying polyester fabric and completed with a DWR for its water repellent qualities. The liner itself is moisture-wicking and has odor control – a much appreciated feature. There are also mesh panels on the leg, and some 2 inch slide splits to allow for some freedom of movement as well as air flow. The liner is a brief style, so if you are looking for longer leg-coverage you won’t find it here. I haven’t seen any chafing with these, but I also haven’t run super long distances in them (max 8 miles) so I can only account for that.
There are actually five pockets for storage, but you wouldn’t even realize it if you weren’t aware. Heck, I wore these a couple times before I even noticed them all! The four overlapping mesh pockets won’t get in the way if you aren’t using them as they are lay-flat when not in use, and are still capable of expanding and holding energy gels or whatever else you may need out on the trails. There is also a small pocket on the middle back to be used as needed – probably for a credit card or other card-sized item. I (as well as many other reviewers on their page) noted that the pull cord on the back pocket fell off during washing – a minor inconvenience, but still one to take note of.
Overall, these are a really nice pair of shorts, and their Strider series in general is known for being one of the most revered out there.
Products & Price:
- Women’s Airchaser Shirt ($49)
- Women’s Houdini Air Jacket ($169)
- Capilene Cool Trail Shirt ($39)
- Capilene Air Crew ($129)
- Strider Pro Running Shorts ($39)
More about Patagonia:
We’re in business to save our home planet.
Our Reason for Being
At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it.
Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing—as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, mountain biking and trail running. These are silent sports. None require an engine; rarely do they deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection with nature.
As the climate crisis deepens, we see a potential, even probable end to such moments, and so we’re fighting to save them. We donate our time, services and at least 1 percent of our sales to help hundreds of grassroots organizations all over the world so that they can remain vigilant, and protect what’s irreplaceable. At the same time, we know that we risk saving a tree only to lose the forest—a livable planet. As the loss of biodiversity, arable soils, coral reefs and fresh water all accelerate, we are doing our best to address the causes, and not just symptoms, of global warming.
Staying true to our core values during forty-plus years in business has helped us create a company we’re proud to run and work for. To stay in business for at least forty more, we must defend the place we all call home.
Our values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach we take toward product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility.
Build the best product
Our criteria for the best product rests on function, repairability, and, foremost, durability. Among the most direct ways we can limit ecological impacts is with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them remain in use. Making the best product matters for saving the planet.
Cause no unnecessary harm
We know that our business activity—from lighting stores to dyeing shirts—is part of the problem. We work steadily to change our business practices and share what we’ve learned. But we recognize that this is not enough. We seek not only to do less harm, but more good.
Use business to protect nature
The challenges we face as a society require leadership. Once we identify a problem, we act. We embrace risk and act to protect and restore the stability, integrity and beauty of the web of life.
Not bound by convention
Our success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.
Thank you to Patagonia for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.