>12/31/13: Sugoi Performance Apparel Review

by staff contributor Nick Cunkelman


If there’s any place on Earth where you’d be hard-pressed to find better cold running conditions, it may be British Columbia. Just the name—B.C.—conjures up images of rocky trails surrounding icy fjords or snow-covered access roads traversing the 

wilderness. Add to this a couple thousand runners training for a marathon in the depths of winter, and you’ve got the perfect place to set up shop. And thankfully, since 1987, Sugoi Performance Apparel has been doing just that—out of Burnaby, B.C., just south of Vancouver. Indeed, what began as a sewing machine, a cyclist, and a fashion student building bike shorts has evolved into one of the premier outerwear brands for endurance athletes—with Marathon Sports here on the East Coast now carrying several items for us winter runners and Boston 2014 trainees. In the write-up that follows, we’ll cover two items specifically, the MidZero Tight and the Firewall 180 Zip.


However, before getting into the technical aspects, if you’ve never run in tights before, let’s make the general pitch. Considering that marathoners log 10+ miles consistently while training for a race—and considering that the bulk of those miles likely happen in January-March for us Boston-based runners—anything form-fitting and sleek (like tights) is less cumbersome, keeps you warmer, and reduces chafing. The MidZero Tight fulfills all of the above, with a brushed inner liner that expedites moisture-wicking and increases airflow, keeping body warmth next to the skin. The MidZero also features flat seams for increased comfort, an inside key/card pocket at the waist, a signature grip leg elastic, and a stretch drawstring with an elastic waist. That said, for runners who tend to heat up easily (like this writer), the MidZero is warm bordering on hot in anything above 30 degrees but is the perfect bottom layer for runs in the teens to 20s. Also, my pair has stretched out slightly (it folds over several times on the lower leg), so be sure to be gentle with them in the removal/application process. (We also carry Sugoi’s SubZero Tight, which is made of a higher-density fleece and features a DWR—durable water repellent—finish as well as the MidZero Zap Tight, where the “Zap” implies reflectivity.)


Moving to tops, the Firewall 180 features a similar brushed inner liner for moisture-wicking and airflow as seen in the MidZero Tight, as well as a DWR treatment on the outside, all placed on the front and shoulders. (The back features the same material as the MidZero Tight). Sugoi also notes that the Firewall fabric features “functional stretch,” which is a good thing, since the Firewall tends to fit snugly. Indeed, on most runs (even in the 20s, as it was this past December 19) this writer will run with the zipper open for breathability, with the half-zip offering this versatility in the other direction as well, i.e. leave it up for warmth.


As always, be sure to stop by our store if you have any more questions on Sugoi apparel or Boston 2014 training, and in the meantime Happy New Year and happy running!