Gore jumps into ‘Compression’ game with Running Shirt

You know Gore from its waterproof-breathable shell jacket fabrics. But the materials behemoth also has its own house brands for running and biking, and this fall it’s jumping on the body-mapped apparel bandwagon as well with a line of compression running clothes for men.

This winter, I’ve done much of my cold-weather training in Gore Running Wear products, including the WINDSTOPPER Softshell Pants and a WINDSTOPPER Active Shell jacket on top. The pieces fit well, wick and protect from snow and wind. The Gore “suit” for me has essentially taken the guesswork out of dressing for running outside in a range of weather conditions.

The Magnitude Softshell Compression Shirt is a shirt/jacket crossover

Gore Running Wear’s compression line won’t debut ‘til fall ’13, but it’s worth a preview here because it’s such a departure from what most outdoorsy types (including us) likely think about Gore.

We saw the compression-wear at the Outdoor Retailer trade show last month but have not yet run in it. Like the current gear I am testing, it was well-made and solid upon inspection at a trade show suite.

A thin WINDSTOPPER softshell is the base fabric for one of the stand-out pieces, the brand’s Magnitude Softshell Compression Shirt. It’s called a shirt as it rides the jacket/apparel dividing line so close — it fits close and has compression attributes but also uses the aforementioned WINDSTOPPER fabric, which is commonly seen on outerwear. It will retail for $169.99.

The body-mapped construction has tight compression-like support to make you stand tall on a run. It can help with posture and more efficient breathing.

Gore Softshell Compression Tights

For the legs, the Magnitude Softshell Compression Tights are similar to the top above, including a WINDSTOPPER softshell fabric. They will cost $129.99.

But the compression attributes are perhaps more noteworthy for the legs — compression tights have won acceptance with many runners for their muscle-supporting features.

Gore is hardly the first one in the game. But it offers something different for runners looking for compression in any weather conditions.

The company cites “reduced muscle vibration” with the compression fit. This can be psychologically beneficial (if you feel faster, you will be faster), but it also plays on the physiological level with gains like increased blood flow to muscles as you run.

Add wind and water protection with the WINDSTOPPER fabric and the tights are a unique new offering. I’m looking forward to a test in a few months, no matter the weather outside.

—Patrick Murphy is an assistant editor.