Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guest Review: The New Pace Breaker - A Mold Breaker

Faded Zap Pace Breaker Shorts

My husband seemed to so pleased with his Frond Pace Breaker shorts that I asked him to write a review on them:

After receiving a pair of Frond Pace Breaker Shorts for Valentine’s Day, I was invited to write a commentary on them – took a while to get to it, but here are my thoughts - 

It was many years ago that I got my first pair of Run:Response Shorts – a size XL that I absolutely loved – with the exception of the price. There really wasn’t a thing I thought was bad about them – the outer material was lightweight, it had pockets (two side plus a zippered pocket along the lower thigh) and inner liner, wasn’t 15” long like basketball shorts – I loved them. At $30, I would have bought dozens of pairs. Of course, they only really came in black. 

Soon after I got that pair, I got diagnosed with diabetes, decided (and succeeded) in losing a bunch of weight, and moved down the Lululemon size chart a few sizes – I went from an XL to a true S – roughly a 30” waist. 

No problem – I collected a bunch of size S Run:Responses (or later Response) shorts similar to the XL version that I had – with one exception (other than color) they were basically all the same – some had a drawstring that tied and had two ends available, others had a single loop that was a little more difficult to tie securely. Though I liked the discrete ends better, neither was a dealbreaker. I think I got up to seven pairs – a few blues, many blacks, pink [senorita], white, and even a few pairs that someone had decided to hem to a 7” inseam – A good collection which I figured would expand more over the years. 

Then, LLL decided to mess with the formula a little bit. The lower zippered pocket moved up to the hip (a positive move, I thought) but more importantly – they decided to mess with the sizing. For whatever reason, the size chart changed from small being a 30” waist to small being a 32” waist. And when you read the online reviews, that was not only a real change, there were complaints of quality issues as well, especially as related to the inner liner. 

The inner liner problems I find to be quite shocking. In 2012 through January of 2013, I ran four half marathons and two full marathons, and nearly every one of those miles, including all the training for those events (nearly 1,000 miles) was done in Run:Responses. In fact, nearly all the Sunday long runs were done in the SAME PAIR of Run:Responses. Ironically, a pair with a pattern down the side that I didn’t like but got a clearance deal on, and I figured I’d ruin by using them a lot – but they have proven to be bulletproof. Both the liner and the shorts themselves are basically in perfect condition. Hydration belts have ruined the shirts I’ve run in, but these shorts have been indestructible.

One further caveat on the inner liner – in the interest of full disclosure, I will have to say that, with the exception of a couple of gym bag mispackings where I forgot to bring compression shorts – I ALWAYS wear another pair of compression shorts underneath these. The inner liner is great, but it isn’t a true compression fit, so I prefer something a little tighter. That may explain why my inner liners have held up well, it may have nothing to do with it. Your mileage may vary.

Half believing the reviews once the pocket was moved and the sizes were allegedly changed, I visited a store one day to try on the later version in the middle of 2012, and sure enough, it was impossible for me to tie the waist tight enough to wear. A shocking had happened – I had grown too small for my favorite shorts!
Fast forward to early 2013, and the announcement that LLL had tweaked the sizing of their S clothing – and the 30” waist was apparently back in play. At the same time, the name of the shorts had changed – and was now the Pace Breaker. Apparently the Response term was owned/trademarked by someone else (a quick Google Search seems to turn up a German Sporting Goods company with a 3 stripe logo starting with Adidas) so the name was changed. 

Having worn the new pair of Pace Breakers, I have to say I think these could be perfect shorts – they have the two-ended waist tie, appear to have the same sizing as the Response shorts of old, and the hip zippered pocket as opposed to the thigh one – a change that does help a little bit when I put keys in there – they didn’t bounce around all that much even on the thigh, but they bounce even less on the hip – so a positive change.

Could they be improved? Perhaps a 7” inseam might be better than a 9”, but that’s a minor complaint – and they can be hemmed if so desired – and the Light as Air offers another option (down to 4” even) if that is the direction you are looking to go – those are almost as high on my favorites list, but these Pace Breakers win out by a nose!

Next – how about some red ones? Red versions (I believe)  have popped up a couple of times over the years but then seemed to sell out instantly, and then disappear – what gives? It’s hard for me to justify buying more black pairs (and nice try with the polka dots, I’ll pass on that one – I don’t want people thinking I’m running in pajamas!), so expanding the color pallete in that direction would be nice. In the meantime, I’ll probably order a pair of the Kayak Blue ones. [He just bought them tonight, making them his 11th pair of Run Responses/Pace Breakers.]