Posts tagged the north face
This is The North Face’s Women’s GTD Long Sleeved Shirt. It is a lightweight running top designed for comfort and protection. Mad from synthetic microfibre fabric it offers UV protection and promotes wicking to keep you cool and dry.
I have been using mine for a spot of jogging over the last couple of weeks and also some walking, and I have to say it is indeed very comfortable. Long sleeves are a necessity at the moment and this top can be layered up on very cold days or worn on its own to keep you at just the right running temperature. I’ve already used it a lot – it also makes an ideal layer under my motorcycle gear.
I wanted to show you a picture of me wearing the top – it really does fit well and looks great (I think so anyway!) – but I look particularly awful in all of the shots and the top is in the wash (again) now so I’m not posting them here. Sorry.
The lady who sent me this top to review said it’s her favourite top at the moment, and I can see why. The shape is flattering, it is a lovely colour – much more interesting than boring black, it has reflective bits and bobs which helps keep you visible, and is made from a comfortable fabric that has good technical specification.
The only problem I have is that it keeps catching when I wash it. It has loads of little pulls and nicks in it now, which is quite disappointing. I suspect this is totally down to my washing machine rather than the top as everything made from this kind of material (including all my thermals) seems to come out with a catch or two. Such a shame as it now looks far less than perfect; I should learn my lesson and hand wash this kind of thing. Ho hum.
Anyway, that aside, I really love the Women’s GTD Long Sleeved Shirt. I’m no long distance running but it matches the claims The North Face make on the website as far as I can tell, and does its job very well. I evem enjoy putting it on and getting out for a little jog! It comes with a big recommendation from me. I shall have to treat myself to another one.
LincsGeek and I are fairly new to the skiing game. We went on our first ski holiday just three years ago after some ski lessons at snozone. Before that first holiday we kitted ourselves up as cheaply as we could – we wanted good quality at low cost, and so bought coat, pants, gloves, socks and thermals in the sales and at discount stores. Skiing is expensive, and you can spend a fortune on kit if you wanted to. I want to, there is so much fabulous kit about, but can’t warrant it.
So when The North Face offered me one this season’s jackets for our trip to Finland I was delighted. You already know I like The North Face as a brand, I find their clothing fits me nicely and their shoes are comfortable. And I love my down slippers! But they are a technical brand with very high price points.
This is the Honee Snugs Delux Parka, and as soon as I saw it I knew that this was exactly my kind of coat. Just look at the colour for a start, the muted green (Boyce Green) is just lovely, so much better than the (boring) black of my existing ski coat. And it just looks comfortable and warm. I couldn’t wait to try it out.
A military-style parka offering skiers and boarders serious protection from the elements. This longer-length jacket is built with Heatseeker™ synthetic insulation, ensuring a warm ride whatever the weather. An adjustable hem system, adjustable cuffs and powder skirt provide a secure and comfortable fit. When the holiday is over, convert the parka into street wear by removing the powder skirt and unzipping the hood down the centre to reveal long-pile fleece lining. Core zip-vents help to prevent overheating when pounding the hill or park. Chest, hand, wrist and media pockets provide ample storage for all necessities. Created to look effortlessly stylish, The North Face Women’s Honee Snugs Delux Parka is street cool for the mountain and beyond.
I was a little worried about the length – this is a long line ski coat – and as I am short it could have looked silly and restricted my movement. I think you’ll agree though that it looks great on (I hope you agree!) and thanks to the shorter front and longer back I can move my legs about with no trouble at all. Actually that lower bit at the back is genius – it was just right to sit on when I was on chair lifts, which made a big difference to keeping me warm on the way up to the top of the slopes. There was plenty of room under the coat for me to layer up (I had the medium); while this coat has a feminine cut it isn’t tight.
I could tell this coat had been designed for winter sports. The large goggle pocket, the internal phone/mp3 player pocket with hole for the headphone wires, the powder skirt, the sleeve pocket in exactly the right place for your lift pass – all make this coat very useful on the slopes. That sleeve pocket even has a glasses cloth attached, which was a very useful feature, and the long toggles on the zips mean you can use them with gloves on. The two pockets at the front are massive – I could easily fit my wallet and some chocolate in one and my camera in its case in the other – and those little hand warmer pockets half way up were also useful for my poor cold fingers.
All the pockets aside, the whole point of a ski coat is for it to keep you warm and dry. And it did. Thankfully. The insulation did its job and I stayed totally dry for the whole holiday and in all the weather conditions Finland threw at us. The main zip has a flap over the top to stop wind and moisture getting through, and it does right up over your chin which helped keep my neck warm and dry. I think it goes without saying that I wore this coat over the required thermal layers, and needed a neck tube too, but it definitely went a long way to keeping my body warm and comfortable. I was very thankful for such a good quality coat when it was -22 and blowing a gale in the middle of the day. I wonder if the addition of comfort cuffs would have helped keep my hands any warmer – LincsGeek has them on his ski coat and I like the idea, they stop snow going up the sleeves and fit underneath his gloves adding a layer to his wrists.
[I will never make a model, but we had a great laugh taking these photos at the bottom of the Ski Jump in Ruka, Finland... below shows what happens when you run in the snow and it suddenly gets a lot deeper!]
This coat isn’t just for wearing on the slopes. The North Face has designed this for casual wear at home too, and you may have seen me sporting around and about quite a lot since we got home. The powder skirt comes out, the hood zips down the middle leaving it flat on your back, and you are left with a very nice parka style coat for everyday winter wear. The double zip is also very useful when wearing this coat casually – it means you can unzip it a little bit when you’re sat in the car driving.
I think you can tell that I really like this coat. I love the style, I really love the colour, and the fact that it’s great for the slopes and in town is perfect. It also fits well and is flattering – it’s not too bulky. This has become my “go everywhere” jacket, fit for all my winter activities. As for whether it’s worth the £260 price tag to be honest I really don’t know – I am not and probably will never be in the position to spend that much on any item of clothing, and so have nothing to compare it to. I know that with outdoors gear you get what you pay for and it is certainly superior to the ski coat I bought a few years ago, as well as my other winter coat. It has immediately become my coat of choice when heading out in the cold, wet and snow, and I think that is down to the design and quality.
The nights are dark. It’s cold and damp outside. You haven’t got to go anywhere. So on goes the lounge wear, and most importantly, the slippers.
Comfy, cosy house shoes are a wonderful luxury. Yes you can get cheep and cheerful ones from Primark or any other shop on the high street. But they never last very long and they just don’t work as well. Everyone should have a pair of proper warm slippers.
I have a pair of Tent Mule Down slippers by The North Face. I bought them on the recommendation of Ashleigh, an amazing surfer (and blogged about them here back in February). I like nothing more than getting home from work, kicking off my shoes and socks, and getting these on my feet. Since I got them at the beginning of the year they have been very well worn, and while they might look a little grubby, they are still as warm and as comfy, and haven’t worn out even a little bit. I like them so much I even pack them when I go away – something I’ve never done before (am I just getting old?!).
I recently considered buying a second pair of slippers, just for a bit of variety. These UGGs caught my eye. At £79.99 they are an investment piece (as are any UGGs!) but I really fancy the idea of slipping my feet into the lovely cosy lining. I didn’t get them, I decided I would stick with my Tent Mules for now, and when they are showing signs of wear simply buy another pair.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been able to test some fantastic kit from The North Face, Brasher, Merrell, Hi-Tec and other outdoor brands.
Apart from looking the part, The North Face have now discovered that wearing “proper” kit from premium brands actually gives you an advantage when it comes to performance.
I have no doubt that wearing the right kit (properly fitting decent footwear, good quality clothing etc) does make a difference to how far you can go – but does the label also matter? I personally love a premium brand, but does that in itself mean I can walk further or cycle faster?
Apparently it’s to do with your mental attitude – your self belief. Wearing the latest premium branded clothing makes you feel better, makes you believe you are more able, and we all now how positive mental attitude makes your chances of success much greater. Your mental state is key to the level of your achievement.
So – wearing the right kit for your sport (eg decent boots for hiking, properly fitting well-made trainers for running) helps with your performance, and wearing a premium brand gives your mental state a boost, also affecting your performance.
If this is true then it means my love of premium brands is a good thing – and not just expensive.
What do you think? I’ve reproduced the press release below so you can decide for yourself.
Branded Kit Gives Sportsmen a Huge Advantage
Sports enthusiasts wearing the latest premium branded kit have a distinct mental advantage over their rivals, new research has revealed.
Not only does wearing branded gear, made out of advanced, technical materials, give competitors the physical edge, it also enhances their ‘self belief’, which could be enough to give them that vital boost to propel them across the finish line first.
Kylie Roberts, sports performance coach to The North Face sponsored ultra runner, Jez Bragg, carried out research into the phenomenon, which has revealed sportsmen wearing the best and latest branded sports kit have a considerable mental advantage over their rivals in the field.
Kylie said: “A significant portion of a successful performance can be attributed to mental toughness. Therefore an athlete’s mental state before and during a race is crucial.
“Preparation for the perfect race involves an absolute conviction that everything the athlete has done to get to the start line gives them the competitive edge.
“Trusting the science that goes into developing the performance kit, (and trusting the well respected brands) provides the athlete with a boost of confidence in their kit performing for them, and allows them to focus fully on the moment.”
The findings come as the nation gears up to welcome the world’s top athletes in their droves at the Olympics this summer.
The Olympians and other professional sportsmen are ‘tuned’ for success in every aspect of their approach to competition after years of preparation and research. But Kylie has discovered that the boost effect to morale is echoed exactly when amateurs invest in the latest pro gear for their sport of choice.
Kylie added: “Just as one dresses for success for their first date or an interview for their dream job, an athlete also dresses for success for their perfect race. In recent years technology has evolved to provide an athlete with lightweight, absorbent, breathable, performance-enhancing kit.
“Lining up on the start line, calm and focused are those that are mentally and physically dressed for success.”
The North Face brand communications manager EMEA, Wendy Woo, said: “We’ve known for a long time that having the best available kit for any sporting event is crucial in terms of performance – our athletes at The North Face rely heavily on having the right gear to perform to the best of their capabilities.
“What we have discovered though, is the effect on an athlete’s state of mind. Knowing that you have the best tools for the job can provide an extra mental toughness that can make the difference between winning and losing.”
I’ve never really had proper technical clothing until recently. I have my little adventures in whatever is sitting in my wardrobe. I shop to a budget and in sales and to be honest I’ve never really seen the point of spending loads of money on clothing when cheaper items “will do”.
But over the last year or two, with testing out a number of pairs of technical shoes, I have come to realise that the right kit does actually help. Certainly on your feet. Earlier this year I spent £15 on a microfleece and £50 on a new waterproof coat, both in the sale, but trying to get the best specification I could afford rather than just getting anything. I’m still not sure how much difference the technical kit makes, apart from looking the part. The North Face sent me one of their La Reina T-Shirts to wear when I did the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge recently, and so it was the perfect opportunity to find out.
This t-shirt is lightweight and made from polyester and their Polartec Power Dry technology to give it powerful wicking qualities to keep you cool and dry when you work up a sweat. It rolled up really tiny in my bag, and didn’t crease like a cotton t-shirt would have done.
I like it. The medium fitted ok (all this walking hasn’t helped my tummy area!). The neat round neck meant it sat under my microfleece comfortably – a collar would have been less useful for this occasion. And it did seem to do its job well – I worked hard that day, that climbing was tough and I definitely worked up a sweat. With just this t-shirt, a microfleece and a waterproof coat I was cool enough when walking quickly and just about warm enough at the top of the windy peaks. I say “just about” because it was incredibly windy and when you stop for any time up there you do get a bit chilly, but I didn’t shiver and wasn’t uncomfortable. Ok so when I took my fleece off for this (I look terrible) photo to be taken (that’s Whernside in the background, we’re about to tackle the climb of Ingleborough) I did get cold then!
I didn’t have a problem with sweat on my back where I was carrying my bag, and didn’t have to keep taking layers off and adding them on like I saw others do. I did look like a colour clash though… the muted shade of red kind of looked ridiculous with my purple microfleece and blue waterproof coat. Never mind!
When I got back I washed my t-shirt and noticed how quick it dried, which was excellent. However one thing that has disappointed me is that it now has lots of little catches in the material – little nicks and pulls where the weave has failed. I only washed it with other similar items, nothing that should have damaged the material. It is a real shame as my t-shirt no-longer looks as good as it did before – it looks old and worn even. I will obviously still wear it, I’m not worried about that really, just a bit disappointed because I would have expected it to look perfect for longer. I’m would hope that this issue is a one off and other The North Face kit won’t do that when washed.
The North Face La Reina T-Shirt comes in at £35 which I consider loads for a top, but having worn it I can see why I would choose a technical tee like this over a standard cotton t-shirt for adventures in the future. Technical clothing is a massive business – I don’t doubt that I could have completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks wearing a normal t-shirt under my fleece, but I can honestly say that with the La Reina I didn’t have any sweat issues, or chaffing where the seams would have been, and in fact didn’t even think about what I was wearing apart from that I felt fine. Technical kit like this seems to give you opportunity to concentrate on your task at hand. I’d better get saving for the rest of the kit!
The North Face are very well known for their technical outdoor clothing. I used my £2 coin savings to buy one of their Nuptse vests in January, which I totally love, and they are one of the “go to” brands for outdoor enthusiasts.
I was recently sent a pair of their Women’s Havoc GTX XCR Hiking Shoes to try out and review here on Splodz Blogz. These are a low-cut trail style shoe for walking and hiking.
The Technical Specs
These new shoes by The North Face feature “cutting-edge membranes” from Gore-Tex which are said to deliver dependable waterproof protection in the wet and crucial breathability. Both are obviously very important when hiking – you don’t want wet feet from the weather or your own sweat!
The spec online explains they also have leather toes and mudguards with sturdily protective rubber toecaps and Northotic Pro foot beds with cushioning and support in the heels and forefeet. Snake Plate technology adds stability across the forefoot without sacrificing the flexibility that fast-moving hikers need, and Vibram rubber outsoles contribute grip on slick ground.
The spec list is:
- UPPER: GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Range waterproof, breathable membrane.
- Full-grain leather toe and mudguard.
- Welded-synthetic, breathable midfoot.
- Protective rubber toecap.
- Northotic™ Pro+ premium EVA footbed with gel heel and Ortholite® forefoot cushioning pads and TPU Cradle™ support.
- BOTTOM: TPU and EVA Cradle™ heel cushioning and stability system.
- Combination compression-molded EVA and injected PU midsole.
- TPU Snake Plate™ forefoot protection.
- Exclusive Vibram® rubber outsole.
Splodz Blogz Review
I like the shape of these – trainer like – but when I look down at my feet I really don’t like the coating that has been used over the top of the front. I don’t know enough about shoes to use the proper name for it, but it’s the bit on the top of the shoe between the toe and the laces. It’s kind of a waxy or plastic looking coating, it’s grey and not very stylish. These have Gore-tex so I’m not sure it’s for waterproofing, but there must be a reason for it. The rest of the shoe looks great, the purple accents, the silver heel cradle, and the different shades of grey work well for a walking shoe.
When it comes to it, performance is more important in a walking shoe than looks isn’t it? And I must clarify that I don’t think these look terrible or anything, I just don’t like that particular bit of them, personally I’d prefer a continuation of the more mesh-like material on the side. But the proof is always in the wearing. And I’ve worn these a lot. I’ve walked at least 50 miles, probably more, using them both on the pavement and footpath. No extreme trails (I don’t think we have any of those in Lincolnshire!), but some muddy and steep hill walking (yes, we have plenty of hills in our ‘flat’ county), as well as low level everyday trail type stuff.
So far so good. The first thing I noticed after lacing these up is the very-slightly-bouncy air cushioning in the sole. I hadn’t realised that’s what was in them until I put them on and walked around the house and thought they felt very much like my old Air Max trainers, so I took them off and had a look and yes, air cushioning to give you a soft spring in your step and to be kind to your ankles. As a result I found these very comfortable when walking distances on pavement – tarmac and concrete is very hard on your feet when you’re talking 16+ miles at a time, and these did the job very well. When on grassy path the cushioning was less noticeable (because the ground was soft due to all the rain) but they were no less comfortable.
Talking of rain, I wore these on what was supposed to be a 12+ mile pavement walk (training for the Moonwalk). Three miles in the cloud you can see ahead in this photo emptied itself of the rain and hail it had been storing up right above my head. Nice. I had gone out kind of prepared – I had my old waterproof coat on (the one I recently replaced because it was no good in a heavy rain storm anymore…!), and some a-bit-shower-proof walking trousers. I got totally soaked. I was wet through to the skin. That is except my feet, which were dry. No word of a lie, my feet were fine, even in bounce-off-the-road hail. That Gore-Tex works! Needless to say I walked at a very decent pace straight back home, which due to the thankfully totally waterproof shoes I did blister-free.
Since that walk when they took a bit of a battering the shoes have looked a but rough around the edges. That material on the top has creased and collapsed a bit, making them look older than they actually are – a little bit worn. Not really a problem as they are still very comfortable and waterproof, but I thought I’d mention it as they don’t look new for long. But then these aren’t meant to be fashion shoes are they? They are work horses, and a bit of mud and a few creases don’t make them any less useful.
I haven’t talked about the fit. The lace loop at the back is a useful little feature to help you get these on, and the spongy material around the heel and tongue is soft on the ankle and foot. The arch support is great and my feet feel very stable inside the shoe even when tired. The toe area goes into a trainer-like point which might not be good if you’ve got wide feet, but I don’t find this a problem for me. The laces are easy to adjust all the way down but as I’ve found with other waking shoes, I could have done with a little longer on the lace to make double knotting easier.
So, function wins and is what keeps me wearing these shoes – they fit well, are comfortable and work for me on pavement and path. The damage is £120 for a pair, which makes me go “ouch”, but the thing I’m learning with all this reviewing of technical products, is more often than not you get what you pay for, and these are very good quality.
You can see and buy The North Face Women’s Havoc GTX XCR Hiking Shoes on The North Face website.