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Archive for October, 2011

Icebreaker New Zealand Merino

October 24th, 2011

Wow. What’s with the lady and the sheep?

This is Icebreaker, a pioneer of sustainable technical apparel and a novice New Zealand Merino Wool company with a unique and radical take on things. The products are top quality, athlete-focused and 100% natural. Icebreaker is a stand-alone company with a great story to tell.

How It All Began

In 1994, during a time when synthetics dominated the apparel industry, Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon took on the mighty task of proving to the world that wool is not dead. Nearly 10 years later, as many companies take small strides to show their social and environmental sustainability, Icebreaker’s New Zealand Merino wool business is far ahead of the pack. Quirky, provocative and fearless, Icebreaker’s business model revolves entirely around what it calls “our relationship with nature and to each other.” (Venture around the Icebreaker site a bit and you’ll see all angles of this relationship).

Why Merino Wool?

Borne from nature, inspired by nature and engineered for people, Icebreaker’s merino performance apparel is radical and unique. Beyond its inherent sustainability, New Zealand merino wool actually performs better than synthetics in regulating body temperature and resisting bacteria. This all comes down to the resilience of the merino in the harsh extremes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps where an efficient coat means the difference between life and death. The merino’s natural fleece is breathable in the summer and insulating in the winter, making it a great layering option for athletes.

But wait, isn’t wool itchy? We asked the same question and Icebreaker broke it down for us.

Traditional wool is from the “lazy” sheep of the lowlands whose fibers are indeed warm, but also course and heavy. By the very nature of the environment, New Zealand merino wool has thin, breathable fibers that are inherently anti-odor, renewable and biodegradable. Not to mention that they are really soft. Wow, right? We had the same reaction.

Icebreaker Baacode: Trace Me

One-of-a-kind

The cherry on top of the Icebreaker story is something called the Baacode. Recognizing that consumers are increasingly concerned about where their products are made and what they are made of, Icebreaker really honed in on transparency. Each garment has a unique Baacode that can be copied onto the “Trace Me” page of the website, which then indicates exactly – yes, exactly – which New Zealand merino farm your item is from.

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Pearl Izumi Fly Collection

October 18th, 2011

Men's Pearl Izumi Fly Jacket and Fly Split Short

Pearl Izumi’s Fly Collection is elite in every aspect. It has impressive designs and cool, racy aesthetics. Year after year, season after season, the line continues to develop and improve. This winter’s cold-weather selection goes above and beyond those before it. Pearl Izumi takes the high-quality, high-performance standards of its P.R.O. racing outfit – the Fly Singlet and Split Short – and translates it into an incredibly light, yet protective line of winter performance apparel. This means that you can adapt to the challenges of your racing and training environment without giving in to bulky and uncomfortable cold-weather clothing. Few other brands can actually achieve this; most top running brands have a signature singlet and split but nothing with comparable performance in their winter collection, or at least not the large spectrum of options that PI presents. Winter elites can satisfy the rigorous demands of their cold-weather training through the striking Pearl Izumi Fall/Winter Fly Collection.

Stand out pieces in the Fall/Winter 2011 Fly line:

  • Women's Evo Fly Pullover

    For runners who need a shield from the elements, but desire minimal bulk, the Fly Evo Pullover is a stellar choice. The design is innovative in that it has a powerful weather-resistant front panel and an aerodynamic, close-to-body fit. Ultimately, it provides core protection without hindering mobility or agility.

  • The Fly Softshell is a true winter jacket. It gives you substantial thermal benefits and weather protection in a technical, run-specific fit. This is for the winter elites who head out to run when everyone else is heading back in.
  • Leg protection is equally key. Runners taking on heavy-duty cold weather will appreciate the Fly Evo Tight. It has strategic wind-resistant and water-resistant panels to block

    Men's Fly Barrier WxB Jacket

    out the elements, and soft stretch panels to wick away moisture and provide breathability. This tight gives you protection for the extremes … without the weight.

  • A highlight of the 2011 line is the well-designed and brilliantly executed Fly WxB Barrier Jacket. Consistent with the entire theme of the Fly winter line, this jacket is incredibly light yet also very protective; it is fully waterproof, totally technical, thermal, and sleek-looking. A key feature of the Barrier Jacket is the unique, titanium thermodynamic interior that provides exceptional warmth when running in frigid conditions.

Additional information about the Pearl Izumi Fly Collection (men’s and women’s) and a greater selection can be found on the Running Warehouse Pearl Izumi brand pages.

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Salomon EXO Sensifit Line

October 10th, 2011

Spidey suit? Not quite. This is Salomon at its best.

Salomon Running has always sought to serve the needs of runners who traverse mountains, push limits and charge harsh terrain. Identified primarily with trail running, Salomon is recognized in the wider running industry for challenging norms both in aesthetics and technical features. True to this nature, Salomon launched EXO Sensifit in 2010, a totally innovative apparel line with performance benefits unique to runners.

EXO Agility: Salomon Men's EXO IV 3/4 Tight

The EXO Sensifit Collection is easily identified by a grid-like pattern, which is both cutting edge and daring. It is this honeycomb overlay (shown left) that provides everything from postural control to compression benefits to heightened mobility. The line includes a variety of shorts, tights, tops and calf sleeves.

Like all of Salomon’s products, EXO has been athlete-designed and tested. The designs are often flashy and intense, and have been championed around the world by elite runner and Salomon-sponsored athlete Killian Jornet.

This fall’s collection is highlighted by the Salomon EXO Motion XR Tight (men’s and women’s) and EXO XR ½ Zip Long Sleeve Tech Tee (men’s and women’s) pictured above.  Skin-fitted and offered in bold colors, this EXO Motion outfit is the premium choice for runners seeking warmth, light compression and total range of motion. (Click on images for larger view)

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