If you’re anything like me, you might have had no idea that Oakley makes running apparel. “Oakley makes clothes? Running clothes?” has been the most common response among friends.
The brand better known for sunglasses not only makes running clothes, but they make really stylish running clothes for women. How cute? Oakley sent me samples of their Nadi Shorts, Extrovert Tank, Breathe In Bra, and Burn Shorts to try for myself. I loved them so much that I marched straight to the Oakley store near me in New York City to pick up a second pair of Nadi Shorts in another color and the Race Day Tank to match.
The Breathe-In Bra has become my go-to running top. The evidence is in the above photo on Cuttyhunk Island in Massachusetts, where the bra top and Nadi Shorts were the perfect accompaniment to a hot, summer vacation run.
And I recently wore the Breath In Bra again with my other pair of Nadi Shorts at the Kauai Half Marathon on September 1.
It’s not just that their running clothes are fun. It’s that they’re crazy comfortable too. Here’s an item-by-item review of what I love and think could be improved about each piece.
Breathe In Printed Bra
Easily the most stylish sports bra on the market, Oakley’s Breathe In Printed Bra features wide crossed straps made from a breathable mesh in cool contrast colors that will make you want to run shirtless. I certainly did, as photographic evidence attests. I’ve gotten compliments every time I wear this beauty, even during the Kauai Half Marathon when more than one woman ran up to me to ask about the top.
But forget beauty. When it comes to sports bras, I need brawn and the Breathe In Printed Bra has plenty. This is the most comfortable sports bra I’ve ever worn. Ever. Something about the crisscross strap design makes the bra hug your body without digging into your shoulders as some bras do, and does away with the need for adjustable straps. The band size, not the straps, does most of the work as a good bra should, and molded cups provide extra support.
Oakley says this a medium-coverage fit made for moderate-impact sports like cycling and tennis. So it may not give enough support for bustier women on a run. But for someone like me, it’s all that I need and more.
I also like that Oakley’s four-way stretch fabric lets the bra move with you instead of simply constricting around your rib cage. I often end up with chafe marks around my ribs from more constricting bras after a long run. But not this one. The top wicks sweat and leaves me chafe free. The bra also scores bonus points for its UV+ 50 fabric to shield you from the sun—the little bit of you that’s covered, that is.
It also comes out of the wash looking as fresh as it went in. I’ve worn and washed this bra again and again and it keeps its shape, color, and fit. The Breathe In Printed Bra has a perfect blend of comfort and flash that has made it my favorite running bra. Drawbacks? I have yet to find one. $44 in three colors.
Nadi Printed Shorts
Let me start with this: I’ve never been a split-leg shorts kind of gal. Oakley’s Nadi Printed Shorts have changed that. Made for maximum movement with a stretch fabric and two-piece construction that opens at the side, these shorts have made me rethink my aversion to showing a little leg. The split is subtle, but gives me so much freedom to move.
And as a woman who likes my running clothes on the bright side, these shorts’ vibrant colors and patterns in bright purples, pinks, yellows and blues fit the bill. Tie-dye swirls? Yes, please! Geometric patterns? Yup, I’ll wear it. Who says we have to wear a parade of basic black shorts?
That’s not the only thing I love about these shorts. Unlike many shorts that come with a tiny pocket in the liner, these have a zip pocket in back that is large enough for a cell phone, a few gels, or whatever else you want with you for your run. And the built-in liner is so soft.
The only drawback in an otherwise flawless pair of shorts is the drawstring cord at the waist. It’s made from a scratchy material that has the potential to chafe. Thankfully, my anti-chafe stick is like my third hand so this has yet to be a problem. It certainly didn’t stop me from getting a second pair of the shorts in another pattern and wearing them at the Kauai Half Marathon. $48 in five colors. No longer available on Oakley.com, but Zappos.com, OkaleyVault.com and a few other sites still have them on sale.
Race Day Tank
Oakley’s Race Day Tank is the softest running top I’ve ever put on my body. Seriously. The tank’s seamless construction makes it feel—and look—like second skin. Plus, no seams mean a lower chance of chafing, which is a real concern for me. I’ve got hypersensitive skin and rarely escape a run longer than an hour without chafing at my bra line, under my arms, or where a shirt hits my waistline. This one passed the chafe test with flying colors. Speaking of which, this top comes in eight vibrant ones with three wide tonal stripes.
Unlike the Breathe In Bra, which has fixed length straps, these straps adjust. Plus, it’s got a built-in bra, which I love in a running tank. I only wish the top also had molded cups to provide just a bit more coverage. Don’t get me wrong; it’s completely wearable and gives me all the support I need. But with such a second-skin nylon-spandex fabric, it can be a bit, um, revealing when a cold breeze comes your way.
But that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it the minute it comes out of the wash. It’s my new go-to running tank. $44 in eight colors.
Oakley’s Burn Shorts are their answer to the basic pair of running shorts, placing a premium on lightness. But they’ve got a bit of cool factor too. Reflective seams line the shorts for pre-dawn and post-sunset runs. And the fit is flattering and feminine. No boring, boxy cut here. I love the way they sit on my hips.
The vented hem and built-in liner with a Coolmax gusset make the shorts breathable and 100 percent polyester fabric pulls moisture from your skin.
My only peccadillo is the seam construction on the inner thigh. I came home from a 6-mile run with a chafe burn there. That said, most running shorts chafe me at the inner thigh. I’ve found with the Burn Shorts that it’s nothing a little anti-chafe stick can’t solve. Ditto for that scratchy drawstring cord.
I wore the Burn Shorts to the 3-mile fun run at the Kauai Half Marathon. They perfectly matched my new running top I bought on Hawai’i Island.
The fit, fashion and lightness of these shorts have put them third-in-line in my running shorts rotation behind the Oakley Nadi Printed Shorts, which reign supreme, and my New Balance Momentum Shorts, which sit in second place. The Burn Shorts have blown past all my other running shorts from brands like Nike, Asics, and Reebok. $36 in five colors.
If the Race Day Tank is at the low-end of the coverage spectrum and the Breathe In Printed Bra is in the middle with molded cups, the Extrovert Tank kicks things up a notch with a built-in bra and removable pads lining the bust. Wear it with or without them—it’s your choice.
The Extrovert Tanks features a fitted cut quite different from the Race Day Tank that hugs the curves of your body. The straps run a bit long and aren’t adjustable, which could be an issue for smaller women. But at 5’8, they give me a more comfortable fit than most tanks I’ve worn. Like the Breathe In Bra, the straps don’t dig into your shoulders like some sports tank and bra straps do. Plus, the straps come in a bright pink and orange two-tone combo on the white top.
Bonus: the top is made from a UV+ 50 fabric. As a fair-skinned, blue-eyed runner with a family history of skin cancer, I’m in the highest risk group for sun damage. I don’t make a move without sunblock and I see my dermatologist at least twice a year, and sometimes more, for skin checks. Yes, I’m one of those people who often wears sun block under my clothes. So I love that this top is thinking about sun protection for me. Throw in sweat-wicking fabric, laser cutouts in back and mesh panels for breathability and you’ve got a solid running tank.
My only complaint about this top is that the pink dye from the straps bled onto the white fabric during one extremely sweaty summer run. I’ve heard of colors running in the wash, but on a run? That’s a new one. I guess I was really sweaty. It’s still perfectly wearable; the white is just streaked with pale pink in spots. But that might not jibe with fussier folks. $54 in two colors.
Oakley Running Clothes
Overall, I love all of these pieces from Oakley. I’ve worn and washed them multiple times. They’re the first things I reach for now when I head out for a run, despite any of the drawbacks I mentioned. I can tell that the designers really thought about how women wear their running clothes and I’m grateful that they branched out with unique strap designs that really do place a premium on comfort. The eye-popping colors are a big bonus too.
Oakley sent me one sample each of the Breathe In Printed Bra, Nadi Shorts, Extrovert Tank and Burn Shorts. The second pair of Nadi Shorts and Race Day Tank, I picked up on my own. As always, all opinions are purely my own. I really do believe in being honest about my experiences with every product I review. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.