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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Inov-8 is a trail running company out of the UK that I discovered several years ago as I got back into running. I loved the fit and grip of their trail shoes and found them to perform exceptionally well on the technical terrain here in Connecticut. They also make performance clothing, and my experience with their shoes made me excited to try their clothing. I would expect a UK trail running company to be particularly good at making technical clothing for poor weather conditions, and I was not disappointed with what I found. 

inov-8 Apparel Review
By Andrea Myers

Items Reviewed

Stormshell Waterproof Jacket Women's
Race Elite Running Tight Women's

Stormshell Waterproof Women's Jacket

Material: Shell - 100% Polyamide with PU membrane
Price: $230, available to buy at inov-8 [here] and selected US retail running stores.

Andrea: I had been on the lookout for a good waterproof running jacket when the Stormshell Waterproof Jacket arrived. As a cyclist, I have tried many jackets that claim to be waterproof, only to end up cold and wet within an hour of being out in the rain. A good waterproof jacket needs to have actual waterproof material, not "water-resistant," fit close enough to the body that it does not become a parachute in windy conditions, but still allow for freedom of arm and trunk movement while running. The Stormshell jacket is made of Pertex Shield material, which is 100% polyamide with a polyurethane membrane. According to inov-8, the jacket has a waterproof rating of 20,000 HH, which means it is built to withstand over 20,000 mm of rain in a 24-hour period. In my experience, the polyurethane membrane is what is key to makes a jacket actually waterproof. I tested the jacket in 50F and pouring rain, which is temperature that is borderline for getting hot in a full length jacket. I was happy to find that the jacket kept me completely dry without turning the inside of the jacket into a sauna, even during harder efforts.

The elastic at the bottom of the jacket and at the cuffs helps it stay comfortably in place. There are also thumb holes on the cuffs to help keep the jacket in place and to keep your hands warm. The jacket is longer in back than in front, providing sufficient rear end coverage to protect from road spray. The jacket closes with a zipper that has an "aquaguard," which is extra PU material behind it to help keep water out. There is also a snap closure near the collarbones which helps keep water from getting into the jacket from above, particularly if you are not using the hood. The snap closure could also be used to keep the top of the jacket closed and partially unzip for venting. I received a UK size 10, which is the equivalent of a US size 6. Based on their size chart, I am between a UK size 8 and 10, and I am glad I received the larger size because I think I would have experienced some restriction around my ribcage in the smaller size.

The hood has a little piece of flexible wire at the top (near the forehead) to give it structure and keep it from getting glued to the forehead. A feature of the jacket that I really appreciate is the roll-away hood. If you do not want to use the hood, you can roll the hood down and attach it to a loop at the base of the neck. Without this feature, the hood turns into a parachute and can be very annoying, particularly when doing a workout or race. There is one pocket at the waist, which is big enough to hold an iPhone, several gels, or keys. There are reflective elements on the front chest, lower front waist near the pocket, front sleeve, and lower back of the jacket. It is important to be prepared for any weather conditions, especially in a longer race, and a waterproof jacket is an essential item to own. Overall, I am very pleased with fit, performance, and convenient features of the jacket, and would not hesitate to use it in a race if the conditions required it (like the 2018 Boston Marathon).

Lightweight, excellent fit, roll-away hood is a great feature if you don't want the hood, convenient pocket, actually waterproof
visibility would be better with a large reflective element on the back of the jacket

Race Elite Women's Running Tights
Material: Main body: 62% Polyamide / 38% Elastane; Calf panel: 89% Polyamide / 11% Spandex
Price: $95, available to buy at inov-8 and selected US retail running stores.

Good running tights have three main features: fit that allows full hip and knee range of motion without the waist sliding down, pockets to carry keys and gels, and warm enough for sub-freezing temps. When I received the inov-8 Race Elite Running Tights, I could tell from the polyamide material that they would be warm. I was pleased with the step in fit of the tight - close to skin fitting without being overly tight anywhere. The waistband sits a little below my belly button, but I have a particularly long torso for my height. I did notice that the waistband slid down a little once I was running, but after the initial slide, it stayed in place for the rest of the run. I received a UK size 10, which they say is the equivalent of a women's size 6. If I had gone by the size chart, I would have requested a UK size 8/US size 4, which may have helped keep the waistband from sliding down. There is also an internal drawstring that can be used to further secure the fit of the waistband. The material stretches enough to allow full range of motion when running and I was able to use these during strides and intervals without feeling restricted by the fabric. I tested the tights in temps from 15F-30F and found them to provide sufficient warmth without causing me to feel overheated. 

One of the nicest feature of these tights is the dual rear waistband pocket. There is a zippered pocket that is large enough for an iPhone, and a large mesh pouch that run almost the entire length of the rear waistband that can hold 6 Maurten gels. It is also big enough to hold gloves and a hat. This would be ideal for long runs or races in temps cold enough for tights. Another innovative feature is the material on the posterior calf is firmer than the rest of the tight, which could protect your legs from trail debris, mud, or water. There are reflective elements on the ankle zippers and the inov-8 logo on the front thigh, which I appreciated in low light conditions. These tights definitely found a place in my winter clothing lineup and I would expect them to last for many years based on the quality of the material and construction.

Excellent storage capabilities in rear waistband, warm enough for sub-freezing temps, ankle zippers make it easy to get on and off, allows for full hip and knee range of motion at faster paces
waistband slid a little when running (although could have been a sizing issue)


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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 provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank inov-8 for sending us the apparel to test.  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.

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