By Staff Contributor, Nick Cunkelman
Craft base layers? Yup, it’s that time of year already
This time of year I like to be in the habit of getting up early—i.e. at sunrise—to maximize my time spent outside before the New England winter hits full-on, and this past Tuesday (September 22), the good ol’ car thermometer notched 42 degrees at 6:30 a.m. Now, as a year-round runner, these days on the calendar are tricky. The cold in the morning often toasts up by mid-day and, sure enough, by 2:00 p.m. it was 64 degrees and sunny in Concord, making for a variable approach to choosing the proper running apparel for that day’s session.
Thankfully, however, the brand we are reviewing here—Craft—designs its clothing in Sweden, a country whose people are highly familiar with wide-ranging temperature swings. Indeed, as a nation with roughly a quarter of its landmass above the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s runners, cross-country skiers, and cyclists—all of whom Craft tests on—experience the Scandinavian “Polar Nights” as well as the “Midnight Sun”; entire days of perpetual darkness and light, respectively.
Perhaps this variable “macroclimate” is why Craft developed what they call “The Craft Principle”: apparel designed to maintain the best body microclimate (temperature and moisture conditions closest to the body) for optimal performance. In its base layers, which we’ll cover here, this means clothing that efficiently transports moisture away from the skin and distributes it on the outside of the garment, where it either evaporates or is passed on to the next layer. What follows is a write-up on three of Craft’s base layers from its BE ACTIVE collection.
Let's begin with the Active Crewneck LS, which is designed for endurance in fair to cold conditions (and, to be honest, was a tad warm on that 42-degree morning.) Made of air-channeled polyester to expel excess heat away from the body while filament yarns transport moisture, it is built to keep you cool and dry, which is good considering that Craft's ergonomic fit is far from loose anywhere on the body. What I liked most is that it fit long enough to be able to easily tuck into bottoms if it were a very cold day , and did I mention it feels like a baby blanket!
Meanwhile, Active Extreme LS, featuring the other material tested for this review
(the "Extreme"), has the same close fit as Active (formally "Active Classic") but is made ofthinner, lighter, and an elastic micro polyester that is channel-stitchedwith a combination of two fibers; six-channeled fibers against the skin accelerate the moisture transport - which cools the body down - while hollow fibers on the outside offer insulation as well as transport of moisture to the next layer. The Extreme is also odor resistant to keep the wearer fresh during intense workouts.
And finally, Craft also makes what it calls its Active Extreme Concept piece, featuring “Moving Wing” technology. Developed while engineering the Nordic Olympic race suit, the Extreme Concept includes a wing-shaped elastic construction (read: mesh) section in theupper back built to provide optimal freedom of movement for the arm swing common in Craft's target sports, such as cross-country skiing and running. From testing it out, this technology works to match one's arm motion. It provides a cooling/warming effect when worn alone, or liberty of movement if worn layered under a mid-layer, jacket or both.
As a final note, the Craft base layers feature an interlock knit, which is what gives the base layers their form-fitting mechanical stretch. Each also contains no Lycra and will maintain form and stretch after years of washing and drying. Overall, they would be great additions to your fall runningapparel arsenal.
If you are interested in learning more about Craft base layers and their other pieces we will be hosting a special Craft Trunk Show in our Wellesley location on October 24th from 6-8pm. This is an opportunity to ask Jordan Kinley and Meagan Nedlo of Craft questions and try on their latest gear. If you can’t make it out to Wellesley, don’t worry, Marathon Sports conveniently carries Craft base layers at all of our locations.
REGISTER TODAY: Click here --> Marathon Sports Craft Trunk Show