I’m just going to say it – Brooks makes some dang good running gear. We have been reviewing their line for years and often find it difficult to say a bad word about them. Their new Carbonite Run Visible Collection is no exception – a great combination of functionality and safety as the days are growing increasingly shorter. A few Run Oregon bloggers checked a few items out and had this to say:
One thing that I re-fell in love with this quarantine year was my treadmill. It had sat idly in my garage for the past few years basically serving as a storage space. However, social distancing combined with digital Peloton treadmill workouts made me really appreciate having an indoor option. I had anticipated this continuing into the fall and winter, BUT my 6 year old treadmill has been a little on the fritz lately and has me heading outdoors once again. Honestly, I’m not broken up about it, but it did offer a great opportunity to sample some items from Brooks’ Carbonite Run Visible Collection.
I haven’t used a running jacket in quite some time. Honestly, this wasn’t a result of not wanting to – I just usually gain too much weight during the winter months (hibernation…?) that my jackets don’t really…er…fit when I really need them to. Against all odds, 2020 has me actually being at a normal weight for me this late in the year. Therefore, this jacket has been put to use the past few weeks. The fit is definitely a little tighter (they call it semi-fitted), but seems to be pretty true to size.
First and foremost, the main feature of this jacket is its reflective qualities – and it does an amazing job with this. There are a variety of spots on the jacket that utilize the “3M Scotchlite Carbon Black Stretch reflectivity” – specifically the arms and chest. This is beneficial as drivers should have no excuse for not realizing you are actually moving as opposed to a stagnant reflection in a less motion-filled location.
It’s definitely a light jacket, but still has held up pretty well to the wet winter weather here in Oregon due to the DriLayer Seal fabric. I found that, despite its light construction, I stayed surprisingly warm in it. It’s not the most breathable running jacket I have ever worn, but I don’t generally mind running on the warmer side as opposed to the cooler side. I don’t expect this being much of an issue for most PNW runners, though if you tend to run extremely warm when running, just be aware going in. It felt like a perfect option for those days hovering in the high 40’s or lower.
It also has zippered pockets (something that Bobi Jo, below, laments about her hoodie). I personally don’t ever carry much (if anything) in my jacket pockets, so this isn’t a huge deal for me either way. It also has thumbholes, which some people love and some are indifferent towards. Considering I use a fitness watch, I found myself not using them a ton, but there were a few really cold days where I forewent watch checking for some longer coverage.
Much like the jacket, these shorts are very solid for its reflective capabilities. The same 3M Scotchlite reflectivity is laid upon the bottom of the shorts, on both the front and back, keeping you visible both ways.
Thee shorts are also pretty comfortable. The 7″ sizing is the sweet size for me (though not for everyone) and the boxer brief liner is my favorite styling. It comes with a zipped pocket in the rear center, which held my phone decently well. It wasn’t the tightest pocket in the world and I found myself utilizing it for energy gel and my drivers license moreso than my phone. It gets the job done, but would probably recommend only having your phone in there for your shorter (less than 5 miles) than for a long one. There is also a pocket on the thigh portion of the inner lining that is on the smaller side and does well for ID/credit cards.
I may recommend sizing down a little bit. I am a large in most of my shorts (6’2 190 pounds) and felt that I would have fit a little better in a medium in these. It wasn’t overly loose, and the tie did a fantastic job, but if you are in-between sizes and/or want a snugger fit, sizing down is the way to go.
Socks are always a challenge to review. I have mentioned constantly that running socks are one of the more underrated parts of a running ensemble (happy feet, happy life…that’s the saying right?). Brooks created a DriLayer 96% nylon/4% spandex combination that is comfortable and has held up to weather quite well. The main addition is an almost 360 degree reflection on the tops of the socks, offering yet another reflective porting of your gear. They come in both black and white options.
Combine all these items and there is NO WAY drivers should miss seeing you in the dark!
With all of my favorite, go-to, inaugural, and group races and runs being canceled this year, it’s been pretty much solo running for me. I try my hardest to get out to the trails where being seen isn’t part of my wardrobe selection, but when I can’t make that happen, I typically run just from my house in the neighborhood down to a cycling path. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the dark hours of fall and winter feel particularly dark this year and I am super pleased to have a new favorite “dark running” outfit.
I didn’t mean to fall in love with the Carbonite Hoodie but this thing is beyond comfy. Think “working from home” comfortable, yet conducive to running.
I threw it on and knew right away it wasn’t like any of my other running tops. It has an interesting shape: a wide and tightly fitting “waistband” with a flowy midsection. I love this style! It prevents any sort of riding up (truly, it does!) without creating a formed fit. It’s not baggy (you certainly won’t get the “circus tent” feel), but allows for a base layer if you need.
The fabric is called DriLayer® HorsePower, which brings warmth but not bulk. My first run in the hoodie was typical Portland fall running weather: a downpour. I was soaked, there’s no getting around that, but was plenty warm despite the rain, which is something I usually only feel with a merino top. Because the hoodie is a stark white, I did have a little bit of a wet t-shirt contest look going on by the time I got home, though and was surely embracing the #SportsBraSquad!
The front has a large pocket, like any hoodie. I am always griping about the lack of zippered pockets in women’s running apparel and while sadly this hoodie does not have any, it does have a small stash pocket on the wrist and on the upper arm for a bit more secured storage.
The arms are a great length and have a great not-too-tight wrist opening and thumbholes, which I tend to love. And, as the name gives away up front, it has a hood! It lies nice and flat when not in use to prevent bounce and is semi-fitted and decent-sized for when you need it.
In summary, super soft, fun cut, practical hoodie for running ticks nearly every box. The cherry on top is the 3M™ Scotchlite™ Carbon Black Stretch reflectivity the Carbonite line has embraced. There’s no more need for a reflective vest; this thing lights up in the front and back along the shoulders and the hips, across the arms from any direction, and again on the wrists and hands.
Did I say this already? It’s my new favorite cold weather / dark running top.
Carbonite 7/8 Tights
The Carbonite collection is well-rounded for warmer and colder weather. To go with my hoodie, I have been pairing it with the 7/8 running tights. They fit like tights do – snug but stretchy for flexibility without riding up. They have a flattering fit with a wider, higher-rise waistband and the fabric of the entire piece is incredibly lightweight, soft, and breathable.
Once again featuring the reflective detail, this time right below the knee and right above the ankle so it can be seen from any direction.
Once again I am left wishing for a zippered pocket, but it does have a rear stash pocket that will fit a phone!
- Carbonite Jacket ($180)
- Carbonite 2-in-1 Short ($75)
- Carbonite Sock ($18)
- Carbonite Hoodie ($120)
- Carbonite 7/8 Running Tight ($130)
Thank you to Brooks for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.