Gear Friday: The Good, The Great, and Not My Style

We’ve chatted before and y’all know I have my toe pretty deep in the proverbial pond of the gear testing world. And while it clearly has its perks, the negatives do exist. Gear is expensive, regardless of the sport, so why waste money on something that isn’t going to make you happy?

Quite a few of you expressed interest in a “gear I’m not loving” post, and I am happy to oblige! However, here is the thing: there truly aren’t too many products that I abhor. Sometimes I will dislike the fit; other times, I am simply indifferent. In the end, I’m willing to share the good, the bad and the unnecessary in the hopes that you guys will trust my opinions the next time you fork over the cash for a pair of sneakers.

How often will I post these Gear Friday posts? Not sure. As of now, I am so backlogged with unwritten reviews that I could easily do them once per week until the snow falls. But will I do that? Highly unlikely! First of all, I can’t always promise I’ll write on Fridays with weekend adventuring to be had! Secondly…I just don’t know. Can’t be more honest than that!

What I’m Loving: PULSE Activewear

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Photos by Will Rochfort

I’m willing to bet the majority of you haven’t heard of PULSE Activewear? Truthfully, I had never even heard the name until last winter!

Since my family owns a small business, I am all about staying local and small when possible. PULSE fits the bill! They are a local Denver company that sources Merino wool from animal and environmentally-friendly farms in New Zealand. They then turn this wool into outdoor and fitness apparel, and while they don’t have a massive inventory, they do have plenty of products to choose from.

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I was doing pull-ups on a ledge in an old barn, but that big ol’ nail was cramping my style!

For those that are unfamiliar, Merino wool is the bomb! It is incredibly soft but breathes and wicks moisture better than synthetic material. Plus, it doesn’t hold odor like synthetics can which means you don’t stink in the backcountry. True story!

I tested out PULSE’s Ultra sports bra, the PULSE Naked Sport Camisole, and the Fitness underwear {sorry, but I refuse to use the word panty by choice. It’s just awkward!} Of the group, I fell in love with the Sport Camisole and the underwear!

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The camisole works fantastic for backpacking or day hiking, and I even wore it to CrossFit a few times to see how it fared under supremely sweaty conditions. It was disgusting, but it really didn’t stink that much. Same goes for the underwear; I’ve worn them on multiple backpacking trips since December, and I continue to be astounded by how comfortable they are. I was never someone that truly subscribed to expensive underwear for backpacking, but I’m starting to see the light

On the down side, I was not a fan of the Ultra bra. The velcro that cinched the straps on my shoulders was slightly itchy and I never figured out how to get beyond that. Was it tolerable? Sure, but it definitely did not become a go-to favorite.

What I’m Liking: currexSole

I was hesitant to agree to testing the currexSole insoles because I don’t typically wear them. Would I be able to offer a solid opinion when I didn’t have much experience in that genre?

In the end, I decided to go with their ActivePro insole. It is meant to go inside all-around shoes that are worn for sports or general fitness activities. For me, that meant that I wore them to CrossFit!

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I have worn the same shoes to CrossFit for at least six months now, so it was easy to determine the difference upon using the ActivePro inserts. They are offered in three profiles – low, medium and high – depending on how high your arches are and where your feet naturally rest. Since I have flat feet, I went with the low profile insoles, and they fit great.

I favored the insoles the most while doing sprints at CrossFit: the medium rebound PORON cushion gave me a little extra pep in my step when I pounded on the pavement behind the building. While it wasn’t a huge, eye-opening difference, I did feel that the extra padding allowed my body to absorb and manage the impact better than it usually does.

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However, I didn’t put these insoles in the “love” category because I noticed a few issues with them. First of all, the heel of the insole was a bit wide for all of my shoes. Upon inserting it into my Nanos, I noticed that it creased just a bit in order to fit. I tried them in two other pairs of shoes and experienced the same thing. Additionally, the surface of the ActivePros was slippery, and I noticed my socks sliding against the surface while running and doing lunges. 

 

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12 Comments

  • Reply Alyssa at

    Ha, Merino wool and currex were like the new big things at the running store I worked at but I never actually got to try them before I quit. So I was just recommending them blindly. Good to hear they are actually decent, or at least the merino wool!

    • Reply heather at

      Oh, Merino wool is great! I use it all the time but it’s far more “known” with brands like SmartWool or Icebreaker. I love seeing a new {and local} company in the game!

  • Reply Somer Nelson at

    Love your pics. Looking forward to seeing more of you gear reviews:)

    • Reply heather at

      Thanks! And I got your email– I’m in and out this weekend but will respond as soon as I can!

  • Reply Amy Hatch/ Garage Grown Gear at

    Pulse is new to me – can’t wait to check em’ out.

    • Reply heather at

      I didn’t even think of that– they’re right up your alley!

  • Reply Christy @My Dirt Road Anthem at

    That nail does look lik eit was cramping your style! but the cami is cute! I went to college with some guys who raise merino sheep. They turned it into expensive sweaters though and their mom wouldn’t even let them have a sweater, HA!

    • Reply heather at

      Yeah, that nail was in the absolute WORST spot! I kept stopping my pull-ups just below it and Will was like, “Go all the way up!” and I was thinking, no way! I’ll shred my face!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    Look at your back at arms. So buff 😉 In all seriousness, the tank is super cute and looks comfy. As for the insoles, they are pretty tough. Just now adjusting to my custom orthotics and having the same problem with the heel. Yargh!

    • Reply heather at

      Ha, thanks friend 🙂 I crack up when I see the first photo because I was actually stretching my shoulders while watching a massive bug on the floor. No idea Will was snapping photos; just watching the insect world!

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