Since this is more of an overview rather than a review, per se, I'm going to spare you from my usual loquaciousness. It would be silly for me to paste the specs and marketing verbiage from the Merrell site here. You'd probably prefer to just follow the relevant links yourself to see that sort of data.
So, I enlisted the assistance of an actively-inclined female tester to try the women's apparel while I tested out the men's clothes. And, you'll find our impressions beneath each picture for some real-life perspective. If something looks good to you, click over to the Merrell site for fancy material terms and ordering.
First, some basic observations about most or all of these items:
- This collection has a generous fit. That means a size medium is definitely on the roomy side of medium. I wouldn't want to trade a medium for a small, though. The length of the sleeves and such is good. The clothes are not tight-fitting in the usual way that activewear might hug your body.
- These shirts, shorts, and jackets are all made of technical fabrics. They wick away moisture and feel smooth against your skin as successfully as any well-made activewear should.
- Each item here is available in at least one other color. So, don't let these colors dissuade you if you do not care for them. Of course, they all complement the M-Connect product line.
And, now, the specifics:
Merrell Women's Running Clothes for Spring
One of the most practically appealing features of this tech tee is the length. We suppose it's what you might call a hip-length shirt. And, that's nice for unwanted flare ups during yoga in the wind, etc. The length in conjunction with the figure-complementing profile(?) make this an attractive option for outside activity.
The Orenco Jacket feels as light as it looks. It's ventilated to keep you cool while working up a sweat in less-than-perfect springtime conditions. And, the hood is nice when you just don't feel like wearing a hat when the wind would just blow it off your head anyway.
As you would expect, the Merrell Aeroblock fabric resists attacks from wind and light rain. And, a handy zippered pocket in the back provides a more central location to store whatever you need to carry while out and about; thereby avoiding that unbalanced weight you might endure when keeping your phone in a side pocket. So, yeah, this lightweight running jacket is worth a look, especially if you want one with a hood.
This stylish tank top impressed our tester with its fitted waist, supportive core, and freedom-affording outer blouse. In fact, out of the four women's items in this overview, this Thelon Tank is our tester's favorite. She said it was like wearing a sports bra with the coverage of a regular tank but without the added weight. The waistband is an excellent feature, because it prevents the shirt from falling up the torso when stretching or bending forward.
These tester-approved running shorts have a 4" inseam and soft waistband. The fabric is incredibly light and does not seem conducive to chafing. And, hey, there's a zippered-pocket!
Merrell Men's Running Clothes for Spring
"Windshirt" strikes me as an odd appellation for something that's heavier than my other wind-/water-resistant running jacket. But, regardless of what Merrell calls this durable top, I've found it to be quite useful on windy days during the past couple of chilly months. The unique knit of the fabric seems to breath very well while deterring wind and light rain.
I've found the Mix Master "shirt" to be more than sufficient over just a tech tee while running in moderate wind with temps in the upper thirties (fahrenheit). The high contrast red-orange ventilation is comforting, visibilitywise, during early morning runs, too.
If you need a super-duper, lightweight shell jacket, the Torrent Shell is it. I was immediately impressed by that vibrant blue and the featherweight material. It's as if you're wearing the lining of your running shorts as a wind-/water-resistant top layer. This shell even folds into the zippered chest pocket for easy packing.
This shell is a bit chilly if wear it over a tech tee with wind and temps in the low 40's. If the sun were shining in those conditions, it might be alright. But, if you had a long-sleeve shirt under the shell in those conditions, you'd be good. I imagine the Torrent Shell would be awesome if you were starting at a low altitude and going into some much higher elevation where the temps would drop considerably. You could carry it with you and put it on when necessary.
These running shorts are my first pair with actual pockets. So, I expected them to be heavy. But, no, they were not heavy at all.
The lightweight comfyness is even more remarkable, because the inseam length is eight inches. My wife says this length makes me look much less dorky than I do in my shorter running shorts. I say this just means I'll be wearing these shorts for everything in the summertime, because I'll have pockets and a socially acceptable inseam on shorts that will allow me to run at a moment's notice!