Published on March 11, 2016
Falke Apparel Spring / Summer 2016
Winter is officially over so time to look at the new Falke apparel from their spring-summer range. Plenty of new spec and tech on show here and certainly the build quality RunningMonkey has come to expect from Falke is still very much in evidence. Where we have noted apparel colours these relate to new options for the season. Enjoy…
RunningMonkey covered this Falke Performance Zip Shirt as part of our Winter Running Tops feature in 2015, but here it is again (and well worth revisiting) for spring/summer. Why? Because, for starters, it’s a good all-year-rounder. Although arguably too substantial for running in properly hot weather, it’s an excellent option for layering up when things are cooler or for pre/post-race protection.
The material – 89% Nylon, 6% Elastane, 5% Polypropylene – is highly elastic and initially feels a little odd to the touch, but once on you’ll appreciate the gentle hug it gives you. It lacks thumb-loops and pockets but does include plenty of reflectives. Our one criticism would be the rather bulky (and oddly ‘fluffy’) seams down the arms. However this is still a comfortable and versatile option, which comes in a dark blue and black combo for 2016.
Similar in many respects to the Men’s Performance Zip Shirt – including an identical Nylon / Elastane / Polypropylene mix – but with a full zip which adds greater versatility.
An exceptionally confortable top with raglan cut sleeves, the high degree of stretch and flex makes for a really hug-like run, whilst the zoned ventilation panels stop things from over-heating. Note that even the small option has relatively long arms and body so it’s definitely a case of try-before-you-buy for the more diminutive runner. Again our one real niggle is the rather unusual choice of thick seam through the arms where the material panels meet. The spring /summer colour option is light blue.
Underwear or ‘overwear’ depending, perhaps, on your level of confidence. The Falke Shape Bra Top offers medium support with a double layer and ‘shaping cups’ (so something of a padded bra vibe.) The 85% polyamide / 15% elastane material mix moves nicely and the hem is wide, effectively seamless, and exceptionally comfortable.
The shoulder seams, despite being flat, did make themselves known and if you’re considering doing a full Lara Croft with backpack they certainly have a bit of bite to them. The same really goes for the adjustable back strap, although this is otherwise both perfectly functional and comfortable. There’s a reflective logo on the back, just in case you ever go running in a bra top at night…
The Falke Shape Bra Top comes in the same light blue as the Women’s Full Zip Shirt.
Already shaping up to be one of our favourite tops of the year the Falke Men’s Performance Zip Shirt ticks plenty of boxes. Being woven as a tubular knit there are no side seams to worry about and the raglan cut sleeves (with flat seams) make this a comfortable option for hydration or adventure pack running. It is cut relatively long in the body but again if you are looking to pack-run this keeps everything in place beneath hip straps. The longish zip, which locks and features a ‘chin garage’ at the neck, helps ventilate, as do the various zoned panels.
Negatives? RunningMonkey isn’t personally much enamoured with the colour – touted as ‘red’ it’s actually, unmistakable, fuchsia pink.
At £90 theses definitely sit at the top end of what you might pay for compression wear; but there are a few things that set them apart. For starters the Falke Men’s Compression Tights have a much less ‘rubberised’ feel to them than something like SKINS, so if it’s a tactile issue that’s previously put you off exploring the benefits of compression these are a good place to start. They are also extremely comfortable – even on extended runs – and, despite offering spot-on graduated compression, don’t feel overly restrictive.
They include a small internal key pocket but, sitting as it does over the left hipbone, we found that anything kept in it dug in. On a much more positive note there is ample reflectivity, including (and this always makes us smile with Falke) the frequently used ‘L’ and ‘R’ on the legs. You’ll never know the humiliation of going out in your tights back-to-front again.
Finally, these wick well and dry quickly but are thick enough to see you through the winter months, making them a good year-round investment.
Virtually compression-wear in all but name with 4% elastane, these 3/4 tights are eminently figure hugging and, despite making their appearance for spring / summer, wouldn’t feel out of place during the shoulder months.
As with the Men’s Compression Tights there’s an internal key pocket (our tester found the same ‘digging in’ problem) but there’s also the addition of an external, larger, zipped pocket to the rear that is properly functional. Plenty of reflective detailing yet again – including the left/right ‘clue’ – but if you opt for the bright red option you should be clearly visible at quite some distance anyway.
Arguably slightly too thick for the really hot summer months (in the UK?) but if you’re looking for a solid alternative to shapeless trail shorts these Falke 3/4 Tights cut an attractive dash.
Are they shorts? Are they a hybrid ‘skort’? A muffin-top warmer? These £55 shorts really proved to be the only Falke spring /summer offer that didn’t really light our fire. The fabric is a spot-on mix (52% polyester / 45% polyamide / 3% elastane) for super-fast drying, impressive wicking and comfort, but the shape, cut and overall aesthetic left our RunningMonkey tester rather flummoxed.
Above what might realistically be considered the waistband sits at least 5inches more of material – unless you intend to turn this down to create a massively thick roll or tuck it up under your chin it all seemed a bit superfluous. Particularly for spring / summer when less is often more.
Really the antithesis of last year’s micro Active Hot Pants from Falke. At least they remain determined to do things differently…
Much more successful, in our opinion, are the Falke Men’s Short Tights. Despite the oxymoronic name these are actually quite close to being compression shorts – although containing only 4% elastane and without zoned panels.
Like much of the range these may ultimately prove too warm for the full-on summer months, but for now we are loving the hug, movement and extra trail protection that these knee-lengthers offer. There’s an internal key pocket (yes, same problem) plus an external one as with the Women’s 3/4 Tights, and lots of reflective detail for low-light safety.
At £55 these are good value for money too and knowing how robust previous Falke apparel has proven to be they’ll see you good for a number of years.
Further details and online purchase of the full Falke range at falke.com