Last updated: 17-Aug-18
By Dan Stinton
Life is all about spreading the love, right? Ripl have certainly embraced the idea with their Inspire Range intended to encourage others to either start, or keep, running by putting in place “The Ripl Effect”.
The concept is, with every purchase you make, you nominate someone who will then be able to choose an item free from the Ripl Effect range (consisting of headbands, buffs and phone cases) to encourage them to get out there running.
Should that person then make a purchase themselves, they’ll be able to nominate someone else for a free bit of kit and so it goes on. You can view just how far your Ripl effect has travelled on “Ripl Effect Live” which presumably will grow and grow as customers purchase more products and the company expands. Get it?
It’s all very well coming up with unique concepts, but for any Ripl to develop into a wave the gear needs to be good enough to maintain that momentum. This review is of three items from the range; Inspire Running Shirt (blue), Inspire Running Vest (red) and Inspire Shorts (all men’s).
- Soft and stretchy materials (90% polyester, 10% elastane)
- Vented back panel
- Reflective logos
- High quality presentation
- Inspire Running Shirt £25
- Inspire Running Vest £23
- Inspire Running Shorts £25
- See Ripl
Pros: What’s good about Ripl?
Each Ripl item arrived in its own soft plastic presentation bag which immediately gives the impression of a quality product. In today’s sustainability-conscious world, this may be considered a potential waste of material, but I looked at it another way: the sleeves actually double up as great dry-bags for holding essential kit on long ultra runs, so I’ll certainly be making use of them!
Colour-wise the front panels of the shirt and vest are both on the softer side of the colour range, with the red being a relatively light shade and the blue leaning towards a pale cyan. The rear, vented, panels are a stronger, darker shade and provide a good visual contrast on both tops.
The size guide on the website worked for me and resulted in me choosing a large in the shirt/vest and medium in the shorts, which all fit nicely but not in a “figure-hugging” way (this definitely wouldn’t be my look!).
The shirt/vest are immediately comfortable on, generally feeling light and airy. In use, they give good freedom of movement, I liked the stretch of the material, and the vented panels covering the entire back area (and underarms on the shirt) seem to work well.
The shorts come in a single colour (black) with a vented mesh inner and, as per the shirt/vest, are a polyester/elastane mix. The outer short doesn’t feel as stretchy as the shirt/vest but aren’t a tight fit so don’t really need as much “stretch”.
There’s a handy zipped pocket directly on the back of the shorts which could hold a couple of gels or a small mobile phone. There’s also a slither of vented panel at the side of each legs next to a thin reflective band.
Cons: What’s not so good about Ripl?
After a few uses, I’m struggling to pull together some “cons” for the Ripl shirt/vest. They’re really comfortable to run in and perform well. They look good although the “softer” front panel colours aren’t to my particular taste, but that’s just being picky.
The shorts are a generally unfussy in design and colour and whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, they don’t particularly stand out from the crowd which may be important for a new/smaller brand.
The vented mesh inner “briefs” aren’t particularly something I’m used to and, for running long distances, I generally wear some kind of compression layer. The inner layer on these shorts didn’t feel as comfortable. That said, I don’t think these shorts were designed for ultra running, and I think would be more suited to short racing, or relaxed training runs in good weather.
The “Ripl effect” is an interesting concept and time will tell to see how far the effect spreads. I was impressed with the shirt/vest which performed well and will certainly be regularly used.
The shorts were good too but they won’t convert me from a compression short arrangement. They certainly have their place in a runner’s arsenal of gear, though.
It’s great to see a newcomer in a market already filled with some big names, and clearly Ripl have spent significant time developing a good product range and tied it in with a new concept to build up the brand and obtain some loyal customers.
About the writer: Dan is a Peak District-based runner who once ran a 50km race in the wrong direction, he likes nothing more than escaping into the Dark Peak and then writing about how difficult it was at www.allhailthetrail.co.uk
All images Dan Stinton.
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