Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Run Commute Apparel Review:
Rabbit and Arc'Teryx Formal Performance Clothing
By Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein

As a busy healthcare professional who works in clinical and academic settings and runs a great deal, I end up doing a ton of laundry. I have never had tons of clothes, instead using specifically picked performance running clothes or specific formal attire. With the number of miles I run and the amount I work, my washer and dryer get used extensively. The additional time it takes to change from work clothes to running clothes made me wonder if any company had a combination dress and running performance shirt. My initial search left me with nothing until I came upon Arc'Teryx, a high-quality outdoor performance company. A few apparel items there, particularly the Skyline series became a staple in my work/run apparel that I continue to use to this day. This area of running clothing has been fairly empty until Run Rabbit, a great local running apparel company, quietly released two solid plaid shirts that also became favorites. This has made transitioning into a post-work running incredibly easy and has made my physical job as a Doctor of Physical Therapy more comfortable. Additionally, my wife is happy because I look so much more stylish on runs. I am not sure that runners are aware that these apparel pieces even exist, so I thought I would do a review to get the word out. Formal running shirts do in fact exist and they are awesome.

Note: The following purchase links for the run commute apparel are non-affiliate links.


Run Rabbit High Country Long Sleeve
Price: $85 | Rabbit



I am from the Northwest, so having plaid apparel is important. Make a performance plaid long sleeve that can handle long runs and long workdays... I'm sold. The Run Rabbit High Country LS, with a classic plaid look, was one that I had to have. This is the most comfortable of all the apparel pieces in this review. The polyester mesh is soft, comfortable and warm. The material is thicker and works best during colder weather in the office or on the trails. While there are ventilation panels in the back and the button-up in front provides some airflow, this shirt does run on the warm side. The material almost feels like a nice wool material, yet it does not retain moisture and dries quickly. Even during sweaty runs it kept me warm. Given the warmer and thicker nature, this shirt works better for easy and longer efforts. The fit is slightly large, with a little extra room for movement. The thicker material makes this shirt work best as a stand-alone piece. It is a little less formal than some of the others in this review, but still goes well with a pair of slacks or dress pants in clinic.

Run Rabbit High Country Long Sleeve
Fit: B (Fits slightly big and long. Plenty of motion in arms)
Performance: B+ (Best for cold-weather runs/offices. Thicker shirt material, but two solid pockets up front)
Personal: B+ (Extremely comfortable but runs warm. Material does make my skin itchy after 7-8 hours of use)
Overall: B+ (Cold weather long sleeve shirt for those looking to rock some plaid on the roads, trails or in the office)


Run Rabbit High Country Short Sleeve
Price: $68 | Rabbit



I tested the High Country SS long before the LS as it was the first non-Arc'Teryx formal running shirt I saw. The material is tough with mild stretch and small perforations for breathability on the back. The fit is true to size that is slightly on the performance size. I went with a small and would encourage people to go with their normal size. I have used this short sleeve for warmer weather trail runs and workouts on roads. It handles trails well and the tough material brushes off branches with ease. For this reason, it is also a goto shirt when I know I am going to have a physical day in clinic. This was my primary shirt when I was working in Cal State LA's athletic training room as I knew no matter what came my way I would be ready. Moving between training rooms and field situations carrying tons of equipment and moving into a huge variety of conditions to help athletes meant I needed a tough shirt. It did brilliantly and despite the intensity of that job, not a single seam came loose.

I stayed cool during normal pace runs, but found that hard workouts seem to exceed the breathability of the High Country SS. While comfortable, if you do sweat profusely, this shirt tends to hang onto it as it only allows so much moisture to escape into the air at one time. Once it begins to get wet, it tends to stick to your skin and takes some time to dry. So for hard interval efforts I generally sweat too much to use this shirt. However, for uptempo runs and long runs this shirt is great. If you are not a heavy sweater, then this shirt does absolutely fine. Best as a tough moderate to warm weather shirt, the Run Rabbit High Country SS will work as a slightly more formal running shirt that can handle aggressive work on the job as well as the trails.

Run Rabbit High Country Short Sleeve

Fit: A-/B+
(True to size on the performance end. Secure and comfortable)
Performance: A-/B+
(Slightly heavier, but moderately breathable and extremely durable. Tends to retain moisture when you exceed its breathability on harder runs )
Personal: A-/B+
(A tougher short sleeve that I use for long trail runs or long clinical days, wish the material breathed a bit more)
Overall: A-/B+
(A tough short sleeve for long grueling efforts on tough trails or tough workdays)


Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve
Price: $100 | ArcTeryx



The Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve was the first dress/performance shirt that I found. While on the expensive side, this has continued to be a go-to run/work shirt for me. The fit is more on the athletic size, with a slightly slim fit throughout. I went with my normal size small and it fits well without being baggy or too tight (Note: The older versions fit big. The current Skyline Long Sleeve fits as described). The material is light and breathable, making it an excellent choice for performance during work or during runs. I have used this shirt for harder workouts during mid-range temperatures and found it excels in those situations. It is not warm enough for cold weather as I have found myself freezing when the air conditioning comes on or the temperature drops. However, the breathability is excellent for moderate weather or harder efforts when the temperature starts to rise.

Of all the apparel items reviewed, the Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve takes the win as the most formal looking. This piece has worked well during work and as an undershirt with a suit. The quality, breathability, and performance make it the best for intense days in the office, the road or on the trails.

Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve
Fit: A- (Good performance fit. Minimal with solid button-up)
Performance: A- (Excellent as a dress shirt or moderate weather shirt. Can handle workouts with good range of motion)
Personal: A- (My go-to long sleeve work shirt.)
Overall: A- (Excellent breathable, high performance, formal shirt that goes well as a stand-alone or with a jacket)

Arc'Teryx Skyline Short Sleeve
Price: $64.78 | REI



Living in Southern California means dealing with heat during the summer. After trying the Arc'Teryx Skyline long sleeve, the short sleeve version was a must. The Skyline Short Sleeve has also been a go-to clinic and teaching shirt for me. It tends to excel more in moderately to mildly formal settings like athletic training rooms and classrooms. With better breathability and range of motion compared to the long sleeve, this shirt takes performance to another level. I have done several long runs, easy runs and workouts in this shirt both on work and non-work days. The short-sleeve works better for warmer weather and performance efforts. Even during tempo runs and intervals, this shirt does well. The button-up and material allows for fantastic breathability that work well especially during hot trail and track runs. The zipper pocket in the front seems to be a bit more stable in the short sleeve and can handle a few small items at a time. The material used is on par with other high-level running fabrics and I have not had a single episode of chaffing during +16 mile long runs or 12-hour workdays. A more breathable and performance-oriented shirt compared to its longer sleeve cousin, the Arc'Tyerx Skyline Short Sleeve is another go-to for the office, trail or road.

Arc'Teryx Skyline Short Sleeve
Fit: A-/B+ (Fits true to size if a hair big. Still go true to size)
Performance: A (High-performance material for serious workdays or workout days)
Personal: A-/B+ (A go-to shirt for more intense days with athletes or when I am working out. Wish it was a tiny bit more snug)
Overall: A- (Light, high-performance shirt that breathes well for workouts, warm weather and long efforts in clinic on less formal days)

SUMMARY

I have worn these shirts every day for the last 5-6 months and have enjoyed them tremendously. They have ruined traditional dress shirts for me and even when wearing a suit I have gotten questions and compliments, particularly about the Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve. The Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve is the most formal of the group, making it my top choice for use in clinical or office settings. The Skyline Short Sleeve is a close second, although slightly less formal due to the short sleeves. However, it makes up for it with the breathability and versatility for harder efforts, making it the most race-ready of the group. The Run Rabbit High Country Long Sleeve gets the warmest and most comfortable award. It has kept me warm both in the freezing clinic at Kaiser this winter as well as during late-night chilly runs after work. Those in colder temperatures and who love flannel should definitely look at that one. The Run Rabbit High Country Short Sleeve is the toughest of the group. A short sleeve that can handle long or rough days in the clinic or on the trail, it is best for those that need durability but not the most durability.

One challenge I found of all of these is that while most of them were secure enough at least for easy runs, none of them did well with significantly sized items in the front pockets. All four of these shirts have front pockets, but none are secure enough to have large items in there. I tried this repeatedly and found that even larger gels bounced around to an annoying degree. The Arc'Teryx Skyline Long Sleeve was able to hold smaller gels and keys likely due to the more performance fit, but the slightly looser Skyline Short Sleeve could not. The Run Rabbit High Country Short Sleeve had a great deal of bounce with pocketed items, while the High Country Long Sleeve did slightly better. Keys, Salt tablets and other small items did well, but all of these shirts need to improve in this area.

Formal performance apparel is an extremely small niche. However, I think there is potential for those of us who want to look good while running and while working. The most important place for this type of apparel is decreasing the number of steps it takes to go for a run after work. The fewer steps, the fewer excuses and the more likely you are to succeed in getting those miles in even after a long day.

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TESTER PROFILES:

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These apparel pieces were purchased for their full US retail price from Arc'Teryx or with a discount (Rabbit) in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Running Warehouse for continuing to work with us on this.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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