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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On Running Apparel Review: Crafted to Swiss Standards
A Doctors of Running Team Editorial

On Running apparel has garnered a bit of a reputation over the years as being one of the best in the business. Like their shoes, they come with Swiss design in mind, engineered with a clean, tight aesthetic. In this review, our team covers both warm and cool weather items in the On Running line to see if it lives up to the hype.

On Running Summer Apparel Reviewed
Essential Shorts
Ultra Tee (New)
Ultra Shorts (New)
Track Pants
Performance Bra

On Running Winter Apparel Reviewed
Performance Tights
Climate Shirt
Zipped Hoodie

See Page 2 for On Running Winter Apparel

Price: $79 at Running Warehouse
Material: 100% Polyester

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor
: I have a love-hate relationship with really nice running t-shirts. And this is a REALLY nice running tee. Here's what I love. The On Performance-T is remarkably light (90g) and fits fantastic. There is minimal stitching on the collar or between connections of the sleeves. Therefore I have has no issues with rubbing or hot spots. I also love how light it is, as it feels weightless on the run with such a thin material that still has been durable thus far. The fit is great -- slightly tailored but still a bit relaxed. This allows it to perform well during workouts or easy runs without feeling restrictive or too baggy. What I hate about running t-shirts is the price. $80 for a t-shirt is outside of what I'm willing to dish out for a shirt, but the value ultimately lands in the hands of the person purchasing the item. That said, for those who invest in their running apparel would be getting a really well-performing shirt with this option. It isn't expensive just to be expensive -- it feels and performs like it.

Positives: Fit, weight, seamless, no chaffing
Negatives: Price

David Salas, Senior Contributor:
On really brought it with this one. The Performance-T has been my go to on nearly all of my track or road workouts where I know I am about to be getting sweaty. I am more on the semi-tall lanky build and the shirt fits me well. I wear medium, though we joke I am a shmedium normally. The long torso and arms make for a medium, though the width can be wide sometimes. The Performance-T fit me very well throughout and I did not feel the material limit me in any way when driving my arms or moving them overhead. The material is incredibly lightweight and almost non-existent. It's a shirt I know I can sweat into and trust it won't get heavy or damp. I am a relatively frugal person and really struggle to spend this much on a shirt... but it genuinely is one of the nicest shirts I've ever worn for this purpose. 

Positives: Streamline fit for the shmediums [short-mediums] of the world, incredibly lightweight and moisture wicking
Cons: Expensive... but if you can swing it might be worth having 1 or 2.

Find it at Running Warehouse
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Essential Shorts
Price: $69.99 at Running Warehouse
Material: 100% Polyester (main fabric)

Matt Klein, Founder and Chief Editor:
I am extremely picky when it comes to running shorts. I have gotten to the point that I will cut shorts up to create my own splits as I prefer unrestricted hip range of motion no matter what pace I am going. The On Essential Short is the first pair of shorts that has been an exception to this. It may be the massive price tag, the really nice material or my acceptance of this short's purpose. The On Essential short is a casual short for easy/shorter runs and all-day wear. The inner liner is quite comfortable and stays secure against the hips. The sizing is slightly large for my normal men's medium, but I would stay true to size. This provides a little extra range of motion and adds to the casual fit. The length is just above mid-thigh, so neither a racing short nor a long short.

There are no internal key pockets, but the Essential Short features two large pockets on both sides. These were nice for casual wear but were too large and bulky for the majority of my runs. I was too nervous to put my small key in there for fear of it falling out, but gels stayed decently secure. These shorts were not secure enough to handle large items, but gels and moderate size keys should be fine. There is only a small split that still was a little restricting for my normal picky needs, but the stretchiness of the mesh made up for this slightly. I still prefer the On Race Shorts for most runs, but if I need a comfortable pair of shorts for strength training, casual wear and shorter runs, I will grab these. 

Positives: Comfortable liner, nice for casual wear, storage for larger items
Negatives: Slightly large fit, large pockets that are not the most secure.

David Salas, Senior Contributor:
The On Running Essential shorts have a lot of positive, though some things I think can be worked on. The material is dialed in pretty well and certainly brings a lightweight and breathable package. The shorts fit true to size on the waist and the length feels good for daily running. These also have some potential for workout or speed shorts. The big thing for me is the liner. The liner feels like it sits higher up in the shorts and runs on the thinner end from a width perspective throughout. These were shorts that I would not wear if I know I was changing shoes because of modesty type reasoning. The material has a way of falling flat and not holding much. The contrast is that it still bunches up on the back and can give a wedgie on occasion. The pockets are pretty decent size for being on a pair of running shorts. I wouldn't necessarily use them for storing things while running, but they work perfectly for having post run goodies. 

Positives: Material throughout is nice (including the liner despite fit), pockets have pretty good storage
Cons: Liner fits loose and does not do a great job of holding. The material falls downwards but still rides up on the back side.

Find it at Running Warehouse
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Price: $99 at On Running
Material: 85% recycled polyester, 15% elastane Secondary fabric: 82% recycled polyester, 18% elastane

David Salas, Senior Contributor
: The On Running Ultra-T is a lightweight and breathable running shirt that does a good job of managing moisture. I notice this a shirt I tend to gravitate towards if I know that I will be getting sweaty or running in humid conditions. The dimensions are designed well with a somewhat fitted design through the shoulders and forgiving length on the shirt and sleeves. For the taller but skinnier mediums of the world this fits me very nicely. There is a pocket for a gel or small item in the shirt on the left side that hugs near the ribs. Things fit in the pocket, though it can be a little difficult to access. The shirt also has 2 different materials. The front of the shirt is a very lightweight fabric similar to the performance T with the back being a breathable though a tad softer material. This makes the shirt very soft and cozy feeling resting on the shoulders thanks to the secondary material. As stated before the shirt does seem to do well with sweat and humidity and has quickly become one of my main options. 

Positives: Very breathable, comfortable, fitted dimensions without being restrictive
Negatives: The pocket was relatively difficult for me to access or use effectively. So the pocket wouldn't be the deciding factor in me ordering this shirt or not, though it is a unique feature.

Shop the Tee at On here.

Ultra Short
Price: $119 at On Running
Material: 86% recycled polyamide, 14% elastane Secondary fabric: 100% polyester

Matt Klein, Founder
: I love shorter shorts with multiple pockets. Finding enough storage in a short that can move at a variety paces has always been a challenge. That is fixed with the Ultra Short. Featuring 6 pockets including a back zipper and a solid right gel pocket, this short has you covered when it comes to carrying items. The length is slightly shorter while not being a split short. The fabric is plenty elastic, allowing the shorts to easily flow without restriction at both easy and fast paces. The inner liner is comfortable while the overall size is a tiny bit large/relaxed. I normally wear a size medium and found these to have a relaxed but secure fit. These have become a go-to short on the road and trail during longer efforts due to the ability to carry keys and nutrition without having to worry about security or holding things. While the price is pretty high, you are getting a good amount for what you pay for. 

Positives: Comfortable, plenty of secure storage, good hip range of motion, slightly relaxed fit
Negatives: Incredibly expensive, wish they were split shorts or came in a split short version

Shop the Shorts at On here.

On Track Pants
Price: $129.99 at Running Warehouse
Material: 87% Polyamide, 13% Elastane

Nathan Brown, Senior Contributor
: The On Track pants are extremely thin and lightweight pants that have zippers that go from the ankle to above the knee for easy on and off over shoes. There is quite a bit of volume in the pants, so I recommend going a size down if you are typically between sizes. The material feels like a slightly stretchy wind-breaker material, but it is very thin and doesn't provide much insulation. Therefore I found it to work really well as warm-up pants for my spring workouts and on race day, but not so useful for colder weather. The bottom of the pant does not taper and has a bulbous look and feel to it, with the option to cinch the outlet of the pant with an elastic drawstring. The types of pockets are good for small items like a key, but not suitable for carrying a phone (or even multiple fuel sources) while running as they move around quite a bit. This pant is best as warm-ups and not so much for long-distance running.

Positives: Comfort, lightweight, easy on and off
Negatives: A bit bulbous down by the ankle, fit large, not very versatile

Find it at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

Performance Bra
Price: $74.99 at Running Warehouse
Material: Main fabric: 65% recycled Polyamide, 35% Elastane

Andrea Myers, Senior Contributor
: I had been looking at the On Performance Bra a few months ago, so I was very happy when it arrived at my door for testing. For me, the most important feature of a running bra is that it does not restrict breathing, particularly the elastic band around the ribcage. The On Performance bra has a wider elastic band that has a large amount of stretch to it; I found it to be very comfortable for easy and hard efforts alike. I wear a chest heart rate monitor strap, and the wider band required me to wear the strap a little higher than I normally do, to avoid having the elastic band of the bra directly over the HR strap, causing uncomfortable compression. This was not a deal breaker for me, but just something to be aware of.

I really like the cutout design of the back of the bra. It allows the the placement of the elastic strap on the back to be adjusted based on your individual preference. The racer back design keeps the straps out of the way of my shoulder blades and I experienced no chafing in this bra. The bra is dual-layered in the front and wicks sweat away from the body extremely well. The racerback panel is a thinner dual layer mesh that I found breathable and comfortable. The higher neckline and light padding (which is not removable) provide plenty of coverage when wearing the bra on its own. Good running bras are hard to find, and I have definitely found a good one in the On Performance Bra.

Does not restrict breathing, excellent wicking and breathability, racerback design does not impede shoulder blade movement
Negatives: Expensive, would prefer padding to be removable

Find it at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

Next Page: On Running Winter Apparel

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