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December 19, 2012

GoLite Black Mountain Thermal Wind Pants Review; GoLite Cross Timbers Zonal Tights Review

It’s not exactly a coincidence that I’ve talked about GoLite a few times in the past month or so, and today’s review is a perfect example of why I’m such a big fan of the company.

I have to admit I wasn’t certain how the company’s “no marketing, no retail sales, just rock bottom web pricing across the board” strategy would play out when they announced the paradigm shift earlier this year.   Based on initial results from the first several months, I’d be terribly disappointed if it doesn’t succeed – and you should be too.  The reason why is simple: you simply cannot get better gear for lower prices anywhere.  Period. 

Two perfect examples are two pairs of cold-weather running apparel I’ve been using: the Black Mountain Thermal Wind Pant, and the Cross Timbers Zonal Tight.  You may recall that I mentioned receiving these earlier in the fall, but our temps weren’t yet cold enough for me to test them.  Well, the weather has finally cooperated here – I guess that’s how I’m referring to it - with overnight temperatures into the low 30s and upper 20s, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try them.

The ornament says "Winter is Coming", and belongs to my 14-year-old son.  Apparently it's a Game of Thrones thing.

However, one disclaimer on the product photos in this post: I don’t have action shots, because I’m much less inclined to arrange self-timer photo shoots on dark freezing mornings than I am when the sun is out.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’ve run in these things.
GoLite Black Mountain Thermal Wind Pant

First up is the Black Mountain Thermal Wind Pant, which I was somewhat anxious to try, primarily because I haven’t had a lot of luck with non-tight bottom garments in the past.  The fit always seems too baggy here, too tight there, and I eventually end up going back to wearing tights again.  But with the Black Mountain pants, the fit is pretty well dialed in from waist to ankle.  There’s just a bit of roominess through the thighs and calves, but not so much that the pants feel baggy or bulky.

The Black Mountain pant is also super-duper warm, thanks to material construction that’s hard to assemble with traditional tights.  The exterior front panels are made of windproof polyester that’s been treated with DWR for water resistance, but the interior front surface has a soft fleece material for comfort and additional insulation. 

Fleece interior lining, drawstring in front, rear zipper pocket

Brushed microfleece lines the entire interior surface on the front and back side, and it stretches very nicely to provide full range of motion.  Another cool construction element for comfort and range of motion are fully articulated clamshell knee joints, which prevent the stretching of material on the front of the knee and bunching on the back side.

Articulated clamshell knees; 

Because they provide outstanding protection from the elements along with comfort and freedom of movement, the Black Mountain pants would probably be good for a variety of winter aerobic sports such as cross country skiing or snowshoeing in addition to cold-weather running.  And here’s where GoLite’s new business strategy is a wonderful thing, because pants like this would normally retail for close to 200 bucks, and at this time last year, GoLite would have sold them for $160.  Today, the Black Mountain Thermal Wind Pants retail for $64 from the GoLite website – trust me, you won’t get a better running pant for less money.

If you’re looking for traditional tights, the Cross Timbers Zonal Tight is a lightly compressive legging that provides a good combination of warmth and breathability.  It has brushed stretch fleece throughout the front of the legs (but not the back), and soft flatlock seams that minimize chafing.  Overall comfort is pretty nice; these are the kind of tights you can wear to start a multi-hour run in the dark, but still be comfortable when the sun comes up later in the morning.

GoLite Cross Timbers Zonal Tight

All the other basics of traditional running tights are included as well: ankle zippers, a drawstring waist, a zippered rear pocket, and reflective accents and logo.  Basically, it’s a solid high-performance piece for a bargain price; instead of a pre-business model change price of $120, GoLite now sells it for $48 from the company website.

*Products provided by GoLite

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Ed 12/20/12, 8:22 AM  

I am really liking the looks of these pants. i currently run in tights but some nights they are not really required and are an overkill..this may be a great solution!

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