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Road Testing the REFLECT360 Women's Running Leggings

In Tech / Gear, Running
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Road Tester Profile 

Name: Hannah

Location: Warwickshire (quite a hilly part!)

Favourite Run Distance: Half marathon

Favourite Race (to date): Venice Marathon 2016

Active Role Models: I am in awe of everything Jo Pavey has achieved in her career, but I am also inspired by the dedication and tenacity of the friends I have made through running. I don’t follow many social media influencers, but I do like to see what @ruth_runs is up to on Instagram, as she is funny, relatable and facing similar challenges to so many other women who run.  It is a privilege to be able to run, parent and work, but balancing all three (and trying to do them all well) can be quite challenging.

Finding the Perfect Leggings 

I am not just a runner. On any given week I am also likely to be going to yoga and circuits, walking my dogs and occasionally braving our mutual lack of co-ordination and taking my dogs out for a spot of canicross on our local trails. I do also like to lounge about when I’ve finished leaping about for health and fitness reasons and running around after my family.

For this reason, I like leggings that can multi-task. I don’t have time to change several times a day, so I need leggings that are up to the task of keeping me blush-free when I do squats at my circuits class, are comfortable to sit and work in and then up to the job of keeping me warm and visible to traffic when I go for an evening run. On top of this, I want them to look great and pull me in in all the right places. 

It is very hard to find a pair of leggings that does everything I need. I’m a big fan of Fabletics leggings for the flattering fit and how comfy they are to lounge in when the hard work is done, but the majority of styles they offer do not do much to help you stay safe out and about (my favourite pair would not look out of place on a ninja, so they aren’t really “safety first” leggings and I would think twice about wearing them to run at night).

Whilst it may be hard to find the perfect pair of multi-tasking leggings for all the activities I want to do, in all the varying conditions I may want to do them, I am never going to tire of the quest to find them! I was therefore delighted to be able to put the REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings through their paces and see how they performed against my extensive checklist.

Hannah road testing the REFLECT360 Running Leggings

My Leggings Checklist (and how the REFLECT360 Women’s Running Legging measure up).

Are They Reflective and/or Hi-Viz?

When I look for running tops and jackets, I really want them to be hi-viz or reflective, but I am less concerned about this when it comes to leggings. A bit of bold, brightly coloured patterning on the lower leg or a bit of reflective detailing can compliment the hard work that I want my top half to be doing to keep me safe when I am exercising at night or in weather conditions that may impair a driver’s ability to see me.

REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings for Night-time Visibility

For my personal taste and requirements, these leggings score top marks in this category. They have a decent amount of reflective detailing on the lower leg, which really catches in a car’s headlights and helps to alert drivers to my presence in the road. I like that the detailing stops below the knee, as I think that the plain black top half is more flattering.

I would still want to wear a hi-viz and reflective top and jacket with these leggings (as they do not boost your daytime visibility at all), but they certainly work harder than the majority of styles from other brands that I have come across when it comes to keeping you visible when out and about at night.

Score - 10/10

How do they fit and do they feel good?

If you are 17 with a washboard stomach, buns of steel and a propensity to pose at the gym rather than work up a sweat, you can probably rock a pair of low-rise leggings. However, for most women a mid or high rise pair is probably more flattering and will allow you to downward dog or do star jumps without flashing at unsuspecting bystanders.

It’s also really important that your leggings don’t fall down. The wrong size or a failure to hit the sweet spot with the elastane content of the material and you will spend all day pulling them up, which is both annoying and embarrassing.

On the flip side of this, you also do not want them to be too tight or dig in. There is nothing worse than leaving the house for the day in clothing that is too tight and I would argue that tight trousers are the very worst of all (well, there are worse things in life, granted, but on a day-to-day list of minor irritations that you should try to avoid, I think this is a big one). Never buy any trousers that you hope one day to be thin enough to fit into. Life is too short for aspirational trousers and they will only sit in the wardrobe making you feel inadequate every time you happen to glance at them.  

Inside Leg Length – I love leggings that reach right down to my anklebone, so that I don’t get chilly ankles when I’m running in the cold and so that I can disguise times when my legs are decidedly between waxes!  I know a lot of women who swear by 7/8 length leggings because they really hate bunched material at their ankles, so it is really a matter of working out which brands and styles work best for you.

Look, Fit and Feel of REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings 

These leggings are made from a polyester/elastane blend fabric with quite a shiny finish. I really like the slick silhouette of these leggings, however, the shiny fabric may not be to everyone’s taste (as it is not as forgiving as a matte finish), especially if you are not a regular runner and will not really benefit from the reduction in friction that shiny fabric affords.

Feel – These leggings are super soft and very comfy. I tried them out on a variety of activities, including running, yoga and circuits and I spent the day sitting at my desk working in them too. They were completely ignorable in all instances, which is exactly what you want your clothes to be – just doing their job and not drawing attention to themselves by digging in or falling down.

Sizing - The REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings are available in UK sizes 6-18. I am a fairly standard UK size 10 and I think these leggings are true to size. They are longer than a lot of other leggings brands out there (the pair I tried had a 32 inch inside leg, which was okay for me, but may not be for others) and it’s important that they fit well in this respect, as even if you don’t mind a bit of bunching at the lower leg, too much bunching of the reflective detailing will impair how well they keep you visible to oncoming traffic at night. If you are shorter than 5”10, I think it may be worth opting for the REFLECT360 Women's Running / Yoga Leggings - 7/8 instead.

They are very high-waisted and, as I have a fairly short body in comparison to my leg length, I felt they were fractionally too high-waisted to be my ideal fit. I like a waistband that comes up roughly to my belly button and these leggings come to a good inch above it.

The waistband is a wide band of elastic, stitched into the fabric. For personal preference I prefer an integrated waistband created from layers of the fabric itself (if that makes sense) so they lost a point for this, even though it isn’t detrimental to how comfortable they are – I’m mean like that!

Score - 7/10

Are they breathable but also squatproof?

The best leggings allow you to work up a sweat but do not trap or absorb perspiration. This is most easily achieved with thinner fabrics, but no one wants to pay good money for a pair of leggings that leave nothing to the imagination of anyone who happens to glance at your bottom while you’re working out! You need a decent technical fabric than can wick away moisture but that is thick enough to cover imperfections and allow you to squat without going see-through in the process. 

Are the REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings Squatproof and Breathable?

Yes! I did squats, donkey kicks, twisty yoga poses and crouched down to talk to my collies without these beauts compromising my modesty. Due to the shiny nature of the fabric, it is possible to make out the outline of a particularly robust pair of pants underneath them, but you certainly can’t see through them.  

I wore these leggings for both indoor treadmill work and outdoor road running and found them to effectively wick away perspiration in each scenario.

Score - 9/10

How do they stand up to repeated washing?

Although I have tested these leggings in a variety of situations and washed them at the end of each day, I do not think I have had them long enough to make any sound judgements on how long the reflective detailing lasts or how the material fares after multiple washes. 

What I can say is that the reflective paint used hasn’t started peeling or degrading at all in the time I have had them (I’ve even forgotten to follow the correcting washing and drying instructions a couple of times, without any obvious detriment to my leggings). The material is also looking good as new at the moment, with no sign of pulled threads, bagginess or degradation anywhere. 

Recommended Care Instructions from Proviz: Increase the longevity of the reflective detailing by placing the REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings in a pillowcase or laundry bag before you put them in the machine and then washing them on a cool cycle. If you then hang them up to dry naturally, rather than tumble drying them, the reflective detailing should last the lifetime of the garment.

Score – a tentative and provisional 9/10 (pending further washing!)

How do they fare in wintery weather conditions?

These are not the warmest leggings out there, but I wore them for a run when the car thermometer said 4 °C, but with wind chill the real feel was -1°C and my legs were not uncomfortably cold. However, for freezing temperatures I would definitely opt for a thicker pair. I have had a pair of Proviz Pixelite Women’s Running Leggings for over 4 years now and they are my go-to pair for exercising outdoors when the mercury dips below zero.

The REFLECT360 Women’s Running Leggings are great for evening runs in the rain too, as the fabric is breathable enough to dry really quickly between showers, which prevents you from getting really cold in clothing that is persistently damp. 

Score – 9/10

Conclusion

Pros

  • The super-bright reflective detailing – you simply cannot appreciate how good this is whilst you are out and about in these leggings! Get someone to take a picture of you after dark, with the flash turned on to see just what drivers see as they approach you. It’s incredible.
  • The style – The plain black upper and reflective lower leg is the perfect combo of flattering and functional.
  • The versatility – From running to yoga to circuits to sitting in front of the telly, these leggings are suitable for all my regular exercise and leisure activities.
  • The pockets – Having a thigh pocket for a phone and a rear waist pocket for a car key and emergency cash was such a treat. You normally get one or the other (or no pockets at all, in many cases), so both felt like a lottery win! 

Cons

  • It is purely a personal preference, but for my body shape the waist band is too high and I would prefer it to be integrated rather than a discreet, sewn-in band.
  • The inside leg measurement runs on the long side and could easily be shortened, even for tall women.
  • No daytime visibility enhancing features. I would love to see this style in some brighter colours. A hi-viz pink pair, with the same reflective detailing would tick all the boxes for road safety, both day and night.

Over all score – 9/10

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