Working in the summer heat means swelling, friction and lots of sweat. There’s nothing worse than trying to hit a MUAC or running that extra distance only to be sabotaged by ill-fitting gym clothes that don’t let your skin breathe and leave you feeling hot and bothered.
So when I signed up for a 10k run in London in July, I knew I would need gear that would keep me cool, calm and serene as I pounded the pavement in the summer sun. . I was drawn to Castore’s activewear, which uses unique technical fabrics and ergonomic designs to help athletes achieve their goals, even in the heat.
You might recognize Castore’s angel wing logo. Created in 2016 by the Beahon brothers, originally from Liverpool, the British brand has already produced equipment for English Premier League football, Formula 1 and the England cricket team in just six years, as well as sponsoring major sports personalities, including Andy Murray.
With such an impressive client list, I was curious if Castore, which promises to test all of its kit with elite athletes and be an “ambitious premium alternative” to other mass-produced sportswear brands , lived up to all the hype and whether a brand that was originally launched with men’s clothing in mind can properly cater to women’s needs. I put it to the test.
There’s nothing garish or flashy about Castore’s kit. Every piece, whether it’s the quarter-zip top, £105, the speed vest, £45, or the shorts, £60, is perfectly matched. It’s about stylish, practical and smart sportswear. I love the use of soft, muted colors, which avoid being boring by using interesting shades, like pearly blue gray, creamy russet, and chalky black.
I’m particularly impressed with the streamlined addition of the mesh panels that run down the calf of the active air leggings, £65, and the fact that all of Castore’s fabrics are responsibly sourced in Europe. It’s a piece of kit that wouldn’t look out of place in the gym or in a cafe.
The weather is hot and humid while I train for my 10K race, but Castore’s high stretch, moisture wicking fabric keeps me cool and prevents me from sweating too much. The material is buttery soft and cools instantly. This, along with features like laser-cut ventilation, angled waistbands and flat seams, meant that I didn’t experience any chafing or irritation while running.
On race day I opted to wear the Speed Leggings, £60, with laser cut ventilation points behind the knee and an adjustable waistband which kept me cool and comfortable in hot sunny weather .
The £40 Active Core sports bra is the only piece of equipment I didn’t enjoy wearing. It came with padded cups, which were way too big and bulky, but when I took them off, they didn’t feel as snug or smooth as the other pieces.
I’m confident the Castore kit helped keep me cool during my run and helped me increase my distances in training thanks to the breathable, feather-light fabric. Little touches like the thumbholes in the quarter-zip top sleeve and the expertly placed seams in the speed vest allowed me to move freely and easily.
Despite being so soft and silky, the kit was extremely durable. You can tell this sportswear was designed with its users in mind and the brand promise that all kits are tried and tested by elite athletes stands up.
Again, the only piece that let the kit down was the sports bra, which suffocated with the foam cups and didn’t support after removing them.
Value for money
Starting at £40 for the sports bra and up to £105 for the quarter-zip top, Castore’s kit is certainly top of the line. However, a quick feel of the plush fabric and the incredible cooling effect as soon as you put it on assures you that this is a quality product, and the price matches – if not is slightly lower – than many. other brands that also aim to create fashionable sportswear.
My only reservations are that there are better value sports bras out there and the sizing isn’t very inclusive; some pieces only fit up to a size 16. This makes me feel like Castore still has some work to do when it comes to catering for women.
Whether you are an elite athlete or an amateur like me, you will definitely be impressed with the quality of Castore’s kit. Care, thought, and a lot of cutting-edge science and technology has gone into these sportswear, and the look and feel goes beyond many other brands. It also manages to achieve that rare combination of being high performance and really elegant at the same time.
It’s a shame the sizing isn’t more inclusive and the sports bra doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the kit, but as this young brand grows we hope the same will be true for its women’s clothing offering.
Images: Castore; Lauren Geall