Thursday, January 15, 2015

Super cold? Get Super pants! Sporthill Super XC Pants Review

http://www.sporthill.com/


Brr!  I don't know about where you are, but we have some pretty darn cold days up here in the mountains of Colorado.  And, no.. it's not a big surprise, and after a lot of cold running last winter, I've been working towards finding ways to be better prepared to run in the cold, especially since I'm trying to work in longer runs!

To that end, I've been working up reviews on a lot of winter running gear... enough to fill up a weeks worth of "Winter Warrior" reviews... so stay tuned for that!


But before I put that together, I wanted to put up a quick review on some amazing running pants (or slogging, walking etc) from Sporthill!  And uh.. no, that's not me in the pic ;-)

I had not heard of the Sporthill brand, but I was happy to have a chance to give these a go.  Last winter when it got cold, I primarily wore running tights of various thicknesses and some worked good.. some not so much.  So, I was interested to see what made the Sporthill Super XC pant any different than other stuff I had run in.

It's probably easiest for me to share the specs directly from the Sporthill website and then do my best to explain some of it!

  • Windshield™ (100%Polyester back with 100% polyester knit)
  • SwiftDry™SwiftPro™(92%Polyester/8%Spandex)
  • Flat front contoured elastic waistband with drawstring
  • Back zippered pocket below waistband
  • 9-inch zippers at ankles with hem gusset
  • Double articulated knee overlap with stretch panel overlay
  • Embroidered SportHill logo and other accents

Ok... So what's kind of cool (or warm I guess), is the usage of different fabric blends and design in different parts of the pants. 



Forgive me for the weird colored photo, but what I am showing is the pant turned inside out, and along the inseam.  The right hand side is the front panel of the pants, and is the water-repellent "Windshield" fabric that blocks out up to 40mph wind!  The fuzzier back panel is the SwiftDry Swift Pro fabric that allows moisture to wick away, while still providing 25mph wind protection. 


Also, the pants sport an articulated design over the knee, with an upper and lower panel that allow for some nice mobility, and less of that pinching feel over your knee. 


The bottoms have a zipper that is gusseted, so that you can unzip if you needed to pull on over boots etc, without leaving an opening...  great feature. 



Finally, the pants have one pocket, on the right rear hip.  While it is a decent sized pocket (phone or wallet would fit), especially compared to those "key" pockets,  I sure wish these pants had front pockets!  Ok, I realize as a plodding ultra trail runner, pockets are probably more important to me. I love to have a place for trash, extra gels, signal flares, tent/stove etc etc..  but I'm probably in the minority.   Anyway....


The net of all these great features is...   these pants just plain work!  I've run a few times in the low-teens, with a decent wind, and the Super XC's are by far the warmest pants I've run in.  I really noticed the wind blocking effect because I could certainly feel the difference in impact on my upper body, versus my legs.  Now of course, if you find something of outstanding quality and performance, they don't come cheap.    The Super XC's retail for $129.95 on the Sporthill site, but I've also found a few deals online ranging from $90-$100.    While still a bit high, I look at it as one of those investments, like in a good ski jacket etc.  These seem to be built for long term use, and they perform very well.  I think money well spent...    

Ok.. thanks for tuning in, and stay tuned for a big week of winter gear reviews once I log more snowy icy miles!

As always, feel free to leave comments/questions/snarks below, or on the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page.. thanks!

Happy trails!

Jeff
barefootinclined@gmail.com
http://barefootinclined





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Sporthill XC Pants for free from Sporthill as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Retailer Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication.