Shortly after launch this spring, I was lucky enough to be selected to try Human Octane’s newest line of compression gear built specifically for obstacle course racing. Here’s my take on the newest line of gear built for badasses, the Women’s Elite Sports Bra and Compression Shorts in gray/black/yellow.
With weeks until my first race, I was dying to try my new gear out as soon as I eagerly ripped open the package in late March. My first trial consisted of a dry, indoor treadmill training run to serve as a benchmark for field testing. Weeks later I ran in just the two piece gear in an open heat muddy adventure at the Warrior Dash in Tennessee (Full disclosure—I am generally not a fan of running sans-shirt, but I did it for the sake of this review). A relatively clean multiple-lap urban course followed a few weeks later where I wore a shirt over the bra mimicking my normal race attire. This review considers all three trials.
It’s obvious that serious thought went into the design of Human Octane’s newest set of threads. The compression is no joke, as the fit never let up throughout the multiple hours of wet and/or muddy wear.
Bra: Ladies, here’s a significant note on the bra—it’s cupless. For any of you who have ever battled the dreaded cup fold-over in a padded sports bra following a wash, you know that this particular omission deserves a great big thank you! The opposite side of that is without the padding I worried when encountering cold water for fear of the attire showing exactly how cold I thought the water to be. The site elaborates that the bra is of medium impact support, though in my small-chested frame that can be tough to properly determine. I can say that I felt adequately supported throughout all trials.
Shorts: These are high-waisted 4” inseam shorts, so not too short, but not very long either. The greatest achievement of the gear lies in the gripper in the legs of the shorts. For anyone who has ever struggled with runner’s ride up and the associated constant tug down, these are bar-none the only shorts I’ve ever worn that stay put while running. Sure, I had to reposition a little after sliding down the bone-dry Fifth Element at Warrior Dash in the late afternoon sun, but in all tests, very little adjustment was needed to keep the legs from riding up. That is solid design in my opinion. Also, in a close second, I LOVE the power mesh rear storage pocket. It was perfect to store a couple EliteOps Energy Strips for both races and could easily hold your pocket-sized choice intra-race nutrition or emergency mustard pack.
This is where I’m split. On one hand, the color scheme is right up my alley with the gray/black/yellow. Designs are subtle but present enough to make the gear look unique on course. On the rack, the gear looks sharp. On the other hand, I was not in love with how the gear looked as worn. Now, please allow me to offer some detail on my body type. I stand at 5 foot ZERO on a good day with shoes on. My build is more CrossFit/brick s#*t house than elite endurance runner. Then there’s some injury/winter insulation that continues to cling to my quads and core with steadfast resilience. In short (see what I did there), I’m not the lean, mean fighting machine this two-piece compression gear set is designed for.
Bra: While the circumference and straps fit appropriately, I feel that the fabric actually covers too much for a person my size. The compression ensures that nothing looks baggy, but with so much surface area, I think it looks odd when paired with the high waisted-shorts. The back straps are cute and unique (read: yield odd tan lines) but can be cumbersome to navigate when first trying on.
Shorts: Honestly, I haven’t jumped on the high-waisted bandwagon that many of my fellow females have embraced. There’s something unfortunately eye-catching where the color switches in from the gray to the yellow that accentuates common trouble areas. Further, the dark stitched middle seam in the crotch of the shorts contrasts with the gray in an awkward distracting way.
The gear washes easily, even when I neglected a good rinse directly following my mud trial. I have some staining on the yellow trim– something to keep in mind with your color selection—but it’s minor. After a couple washes it is still tight, yet flexible while retaining the original color.
I love the quality and the badass attitude Human Octane brings to the market. Ultimately, I think the gear is worth a shot if you are of the average-to-tall height and are more of an ectomorph body type. After all, Human Octane offers a 60-day trial period to try and return the gear if you are not satisfied. So even though I wasn’t in love with the aesthetics as fit on my short and stout frame, I’ll continue to wear the individual pieces because the performance and features of the shorts are tough to beat.
Disclaimer: I was identified by a fellow MRG Crew member and approved by the Humane Octane CEO to receive this product for the purpose of this review. Please note that the opinions expressed herein have not been influenced by this incentive.