Intrigued by the title yet? Well, it didn’t start out as a marathon mission, I just decided to add that part in.
But let’s start at the beginning – I’ve long said that I love FunkiFabrics’ lycra (the standard “Flexcite” stuff), but that I personally wouldn’t wear it to run anything longer than a half marathon, and only then in cool conditions, as it isn’t wicking. I’ve made loads of leggings and shorts out of their digitally printed lycra over the years, and it really is fantastic quality – never fading, or pilling, or bagging out. But I still wouldn’t wear it to run a marathon.
I finally just up and asked Funki if they had any plans to ever print onto a wicking lycra base, since they sell supplex and now compression fabrics, but only in plain black or white. Cue a bit of technical discussion on their end, and then about a month ago they asked if I wouldn’t mind testing out two different new base fabrics and giving them my opinion as both a sewist and a runner. Umm, would I???
So just before we left for NYC, my two experimental Funki flavours arrived, one with the Beam Two Bright print and the other with Checker Magic Multi, plus some really geeky technical specs of each base fabric, plus their regular Flexcite data sheet for comparison.
I read the data sheets, picked the one I thought would probably be best, the went away to NYC and promptly forgot which was printed on which base. Which was good, as it’s better for testing purposes if you’ve not already formed an opinion! After a quick prewash, I sewed the Beam Two into a pair of Duathlon Shorts and the Checker Magic into my Steeplechase Leggings, both biker short length, and with scraps of wicking lycra for the sides and yoke.
I ended up testing both by running (I had planned to cycle in one, but plans fell through), and in warm weather, too – so the tests were under as similar conditions as I was able to get!
I wore the “Checker Magic” / Steeplechase pair to run the second half of the London marathon route with friends (about 14mi at steady pace, for 2hrs) a few Sundays ago. It was a sunny day, and feeling pretty warm in general – my Garmin data says it was 10C and sunny, but I’d estimate that by the end it was certainly closer to 15-17C. In any case, this pair felt great, no issues at all in terms of feeling cloying or rubbing, or anything. Pretty boring, with nothing to report.
I wore the “Beam Bright Two” / Duathlon pair on a Tuesday night group tempo session – first 3km easy up to the group, and then another 6km fast around central London. Even though the main session was after dark, it was still a really warm night (my Garmin says it was 17C & clear). By the end of the session, the shorts felt a bit, well, claustrophobic – it’s hard to describe, other than that your legs can’t breathe, like they’re in sausage casings. It wasn’t a terrible thing, and it wouldn’t keep me from wearing these in short or cool sessions, but I wouldn’t want to wear them in the heat, or for anything longer than an hour or two – the same as I’d feel for the regular Flexcite base.
Both fabrics felt great to the hand as a sewist – plenty of stretch in both directions, great recovery, nice hand, and equally vivid printing, so the way they felt while exercising is about the only thing I could see which differentiated them in my eyes.
Now here’s the funny bit – when I read the tech specs earlier, I thought that the PF1004 base sounded like it’d probably be the better one (even though neither tech spec specifically said they were wicking?), but when I checked which print was which afterwards, it turns out the “Beam Bright Two” was on that base and was the one I’d not enjoyed running in quite so much.
So to summarise, if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the PF1003 base that “Checker Magic” was printed onto. And since I am choosing between the two, I’ll be wearing that Steeplechase pair to run London marathon in tomorrow, along with my Run dem Crew vest!
This might possibly be the first Funkifabrics to run a marathon, too? I feel like I’m the first man on the moon, breaking new barriers! Though in reality, it’s nothing new for me – I’ve run all four of my previous marathons wearing me-made leggings or shorts!
I’ve posted up all my pre-marathon thoughts as well as how you can follow me and send me messages to be spoken into my ear while I race over on my running site, RiverRunner.
Wish me luck, and I hope to see (or hear from) some of you tomorrow! And fingers crossed that Funki take my feedback on board and start selling some digitally printed wicking bases soon!
Funkifabrics sent me these experimental fabrics to test, but I was under no obligation to write about them in any way, nor race London marathon in them! All opinions above are genuine. And these are actually the first freebies I’ve ever had from them, believe it or not!