I don't think I've ever spoken of this on DenimHunt before, but I'm an avid runner. I've been running regularly for over 10 years (and have finally come to like it this year). I may not be heading to the Olympics, but as a card carrying member of New York Road Runners I think I have the creds to give an expert opinion on sportswear and am often looked to for fitness tips by my friends. Basically, If I'm not in jeans, I'm in running shorts.
When Ryka sent me an invitation to preview their Spring 2014 collection I was kind of stoked. I haven't visited a sportswear company since my days giving sportwear presentations as a fashion trend forecaster at Cotton Incorporated*. I was looking forward to seeing what new technology was being pushed in the industry as sportswear companies are always innovative.
The women only company creates products designed by women for women with all of the product geared toward activities that women are interested in. As expected there was a solid collection of running and walking sneakers, but there were also sneakers designed for those women who prefer dance and zumba. This isn't to say that women don't participate in more meatier activities. Ryka also makes sneakers designed like cross-trainers for women into strength training and other gym-related activities. As far as my sportswear technology fix, that was satisfied with the introduction of their 'Re-Zorb Comfort Cushioning' sole that is designed like memory foam to absorb the stress of impact. Each activity also has a corresponding apparel line that will look great in or out of the gym. Not only that it feels great! I couldn't stop squeezing the pillowsoft pullover with the assymetrical buttons (see below).
Ryka gave me a pair of running sneakers and sport top to test out (above) and of course I ran in them the next day. The shirt was awesome! I love a good running shirt and it was the perfect combination of lightweight, moisture wicking and temperature regulating. Attributes that are sooo important in sports apparel. I'm sold. The sneaker, however, after initially going gaga over the color, made me skeptical when I put them on. I thought the upper was a little too stiff and the tongue wasn't padded enough for my liking. I'm very particular about running sneakers because the wrong pair can cause all kinds of problems like shin splints and knee pain. By the time I left my apartment and walked the block to Central Park, I had already convinced myself that I wouldn't finish my 4 mile short run. Boy was I wrong!
The sneakers were great! The upper was so lightweight, I barely felt them on and the sole felt as if it was made just for my feet. I didn't even experience the breaking in discomfort I sometimes get when I try out a new pair. Not only that, every time I looked down at that bright purple color on my feet, I actually felt a psychological boost. If you are a runner than you know that running is 50% physical and 50% mental. There was one issue, however. I should have went up half a size. But I should have known better. You should always try on running sneakers before you purchase them.
The verdict: Great for the casual runner who wants a sturdy, lightweight or for those transitioning from beginner to advanced beginner.