Straight out of the bag, I was a big fan of the Ashmei running jersey. It carries over the classic styling of my other key piece of kit, the race vest, with it’s simple lines and that uber-cool racing stripe down the back. Moreover, it is possibly an even more functional and responsive item of sportswear. It is perhaps telling that in a house with an entire room given over to running kit that I am subconsciously now only reaching for one of two items to wear on my top half on any given run; the Ashmei vest or the Ashmei jersey.
I’m actually in possession of two jerseys, both the male and the female version. The male fit is straight and a little looser. The female version, which I accidentally inherited from my wife has a closer and more tapered fit, and I absolutely love it. It is perfect for harder longer sessions, and I would even wear it for racing in the colder months.
Branding as ever is subtle, and I particularly like the embroidered arm logo. However as with the vest, I still feel a slightly more prominent level of branding would not be amiss on the front of the jersey.
In terms of fit, the collar is prominent enough to provide a real practical application and the zip at the front is just deep enough (around the top third of the shirt) to do the same. I can wear this in cool weather zipped up and feel warm and protected, or warm weather with the zip down and benefit from a good amount of venting. It is absolutely versatile enough for both extremes. Ashmei state on their website that it is a ‘four season’ jersey and I would wholeheartedly agree.
There is a discrete pocket at the side of the jersey that would easily fit in a gel or two if one were so inclined, although to date I’ve only stored a house key in there at most, and a cable clip at the base of the neck to keep any stray wires from swinging around. I don’t run with music so I haven’t made use of that, but I appreciate it’s functionality and discretion nonetheless.
So far I have had this top out on a wide variety of runs. I even took it to Vallorcine and spent a good few days skipping around the French Alps in it. There it was subjected to red hot valley trails, snow covered mountain tops, and a particularly cold forest run in the middle of a thunderstorm where it had to function as a wicking baselayer underneath a waterproof jacket. Needless to say it performed in all scenarios admirably, no surprise given the technology going in to the fabric that I have written about before. But it is as a solo piece that I really enjoy wearing it, a form fitting high performance outer layer. There are no superfluous sections of material, there is no merino wool hanging limply from my body. No element in it’s construction feels ‘for the sake of it’ or unnecessary. This is an intelligently thought out piece that works in unison with your body.
Furthermore, this is an item with many applications. It is equally at home in the pub beer garden (pint of lime and soda please) as it is the mountain trails. Running, cycling, pre-race, apres-sports, I’ve even been wearing it casually as more of an ‘every day’ item, particularly the men’s version. It works aesthetically in whatever environment I choose to use it in as much it does practically, and as such to my mind is the embodiment of the Ashmei ethos; Performance, Quality, Style.
Next up: Calderdale Way Ultra Race Report…