It’s February in North Dakota. Believe it or not, there aren’t a lot of races or triathlons going on right now. Even so, the guys at XRACEWEAR in Tucson were kind enough to send me a sample of their women’s racing tank to try out. I was so pumped when I received it, I couldn’t wait til spring race season – so I wore it to the gym to get a feel for it.

If you’re not familiar with XRACEWEAR, it’s the innovative company that makes race clothing with built-in bib holders – eliminating all the shenanigans that go along with pinned-on race bibs like poking holes in your clothes or your bib ripping off mid-race. Genius!

No safety pins required!

No safety pins required!

Upon arrival, I made my initial observations that would be the points of contention during the workout test.

1. The tank appeared to be very slim fitting
I’m not a skinny girl so slim-fit typically isn’t for me. However, when I put on the top, it fit perfectly, snug in the right spots, yet not so tight that I felt restricted in motion at all. Very well designed for a woman’s body. Verdict: Win #1

2. The tank lacked a built-in bra
Most athletic tank tops have built-in bras so I was a bit nervous that this one, designed for running, didn’t. But that’s also what made the top fit so nicely – most women can relate; built-ins, while a good idea in theory, don’t always make for a comfortable fit. Additionally, it eliminated uncomfortable seams in the armpit area and any chance of excessive rubbing – aka: chafing, the single biggest fear of every runner. Verdict: Win #2

3. The tank had a large mesh pocket on the belly
Thank you, Captain Obvious. Of course there’s a pocket, hence the entire point of the company’s clothing line. But it was surprisingly seamless with the rest of the top. The mesh was light, the zipper nicely hidden. Didn’t feel stiff or bulky. In fact, I didn’t even notice it was there during my workout. Verdict:Win #3

The biggest benefit I discovered was one I originally hadn’t thought of: How well this top would work for triathlons. Anyone who has ever done a tri (and doesn’t wear a special tri suit) knows the biggest challenge isn’t the open water swim or transition from bike to run – it’s trying to put on a race top right out of the water. It’s a pain in the ass to put on clothes when you’re wet (the aforementioned athletic tops with build-in bras aren’t even a possibility because of this) and you can’t have your bib pre-pinned on your top, as the pins will pop off as you struggle to put it on. The XRACEWEAR top would save a ton of precious seconds during the transition from swim to bike. Add another point in the Win column.

The only drawback I could see was the pocket accommodating larger bibs. I tested it out with an average-size old race bib and it was a bit large to fit smoothly in the pocket. Not a major issue though, as I could easily scrunch the top so the number still showed. Or, I could simply cut down the bib.

Bottom line: I’ll definitely be wearing it for races and can’t wait to give a full review after the first one. And I’m really excited to wear it for a triathlon this summer and see if it makes as big a difference as I believe it will.

Questions about this top, tweet me @runlikeagirl311.


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