Disclosure: Ultiworld was compensated for writing this product review. All opinions are the reviewer’s own and are not subject to approval from the AthletesCollective.
A decade into my ultimate career, I’ve bought, worn to shreds, and lost interest in multiple dresser drawers-worth of athletic clothing. ((There’s one thing I haven’t done with any of my gear: participated in a jersey trade. If you’re trying to get my #14 Baltimore Summer League jersey from two years ago – team Bento Boxers, vomit green – get @ me.)) My sense of ultimate fashion has gone from uninformed (who knew Patagonia jerseys run small on beer-gutted college kids with broad shoulders?), to obsessed with crazy colors and full subs, all the way to demanding efficient, well-fitting club kits with all that ridiculous compression we wear.
What I’m trying to say is, most of what’s written below about activewear clothing has a good degree of experience behind it.
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The good people at AthletesCollective, a Toronto-based men’s clothing company that’s marketing to players of and participants in pretty much any sport, sent over a base set of their gear to Ultiworld and this lucky staffer got to take it all for a test-ride. Company president Adam Mintz even sent a postcard! AC is an alternative option to the Fives, Spins, Boons, and Gaias of the world – a multi-sport company that might have just the thing for your track workout, pickup game, or practice.
Full disclosure: nothing about the current website suggests that AC is about to roll out a line of cat shorts, customized reversibles, or joke jerseys with a dumb pun on them. But if you’re in the market for non-team gear, it’s the sort of place you’d find functional athletic clothing without a swoosh or other branding crowding the chest or leg. Plus, they’re excited to tell you about the exchange rate if you’re purchasing from the US. ((If you’re into currency trading, this is the kind of discount that should have you excited.))
Let’s take a spin through what was in the box from AthletesCollective. To keep things simple, I’ll be using a wholly subjective five-point scale, which has worked just fine in the past, thank you very much. A score of 0.0 is the lowest, meaning an awful, barely-fits, and looks-awful shirt you had to buy because the clerk at the 7-11 wouldn’t sell you booze otherwise and 5.0 is the perfect pair of shorts you wore for years and only retired because you’ve bid in them so many times they’re unrecognizable.
Oh, and for reference, I’m 5’7”, with very broad shoulders, a shorter torso, and still carrying some of the extra weight from all that Natty Boh I drank in college – but seriously, I’m normally right around 200 lbs.
On to the gear!
The Folkerson Tee: 2.5
The first shirt out of the slick white shipping box was AC’s short sleeve jersey-esque offering, The Folkerson. ((An honest aside: I still haven’t figured out if there’s a product naming convention at AC. At least it’s all original?)) I tried on the heather grey in a medium, and the midnight blue in large.
What jumps out immediately about The Folkerson (and the other clothing I tried out) is that it’s logo free, and the company is proud of that. There is a small label inside the shirt collar, but it’s just pure color visible to anybody else unless you wear the shirt inside out. There’s nothing on the shoulders, nothing stitched into the bottom hem, and no brand name hanging around the neckline. Not that other ultimate companies slam their logo on every free space, but this is one thing AC noted up front as a point of pride or interest.
The shirt itself is an 88% polyester, 12% spandex blend, which in the hand and on the body felt sturdy and a bit thicker than some other ultimate apparel companies. All of the stitching was finished with no hanging threads (a nice change of pace from the occasional frayed ends on tourney and team gear that I’ve started to anticipate).
The medium had a solid form fit without leaving me feeling entirely self conscious about my belly. If you’re the kind of sweaty person that likes a tighter layer underneath your reversible at practice so you can easily switch between dark and white, the Folkerson in a tighter fit could provide a nice option.
In a large, the Folkerson felt pretty much like any other activewear jersey or shirt, although it looked and felt more carefully-made and reminded me of other well-known sports brands that sell this type of clothing for all activities. I’ll say that at my height, the large hung a bit low, but the shoulder fit was excellent and it hung comfortably and loosely on me. Nothing hyper-flattering, but this isn’t Bro Science either.
It retails for $19 US, comes in nine different colors, and would be completely serviceable for most of your on-field or training needs. That’s a bit steep for a blank workout shirt in my book, but you know your spending threshold better than I do.
The Lyon Longsleeve: 3.5
I’ve spent my career playing in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Seattle. All of those places have their own version of nasty cold weather, and the Lyon medium I tried on in black immediately reminded me of some of the better baselayers I’ve put on while trying to stay warm at mid-March pickup in Baltimore. The large felt a little too roomy, but still like a baselayer in comparison. I like my longsleeves loose-fitting and a bit thinner in material, mostly because I do a lot of playing in them with something else on underneath.
It’s the same polyester and spandex blend as the Folkerson, but the form-fitting nature of the medium on me, with good sleeve length and still enough stretch to feel a bit relaxed, felt just right for cool weather. I could also imagine the Lyon functioning well for fall and spring hikes as a wicking layer. It’d also be a solid option if you’re the sensitive skin type who wants all limbs covered while running around in the daylight, although the material felt a tad heavy because of the spandex. Think of like a much thinner version of bike shorts.
At $23 US, the Lyon’s value as a solid baselayer seems competitive with major brands that price their good quality cold-weather gear in the same range and upwards. It comes in four colors currently, which is significantly fewer than the short sleeve, but then again, it’s not what I’d be wearing on top. I just plain liked the thing, and I’d recommend that most ultimate players dealing with cool weather have something like this to stay warm during inclement weather. If it came down to buying a Lyon or another longsleeve as a top layer for playing, I’d probably go elsewhere.
Ah, shorts. The ultimate community has strong allegiances when it comes to what we put on our legs. There are those that refuse to play in anything that won’t stretch over their heads in a pinch, others that swear by the swish-swish of their quick-dry favorites, and people who still get upset that many ultimate apparel companies don’t make shorts with real pockets. ((For what it’s worth, athletic shorts with pockets were, for the longest time, labeled “basketball shorts”. Does anyone know why this is? I never carry anything on my person on the hardcourt. Are there people out there that need to keep their wallet, chapstick, and a beeper on them while playing still?.))
The Every Moment shorts ((Remember what I said about not understanding a naming convention, if there is one?)) strike a nice balance in between stretchy and baggy, and short and swishy. There’s a pretty solid give to the material (a “polyester twill” according to the website), but nothing close to your favorite pair of hydros. I’m currently wearing a medium pair in True North Red, which hang just about at mid-kneecap when I stand up.
A major concern for me in shorts is how they fit my thighs. Given my stocky body type, I prefer shorts that don’t hug my thighs and butt. ((Besides, if I’m showing myself off, I have the form-fitting jeggings Ghost Train players wear for all Sunday play.)) The medium size comes in just a bit too slim for my taste, which I noticed immediately when the pockets showed lines through the main fabric while I was sitting and standing. I’m not sure I’d enjoy stepping out for a low flick in them.
I do, however, appreciate the inclusion of real pockets in the Every Moments. I’ve come to favor a couple of pairs of shorts I have that also have pockets while lifting (it’s a place to keep whatever I’m using to listen to music), and these provide a nice alternative to the mesh basketball shorts I grew up wearing.
The good build-quality stood out again in the shorts as well. I’d feel pretty confident about the pockets not wearing through, or the waistband sagging too quickly.
I didn’t receive a large option for the shorts, but I’d be interested to see if that changed my opinion. On the whole, they felt a little more like a bathing suit or board shorts than other athletic shorts I’ve worn.
The Every Moment shorts retail for $22 US, which seems like a normal price for well-built shorts. Take your pick between Blue, Black, and True North Red.
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My care package came with a few fun extras, along with the handwritten post card. The AC sends out a large squeeze-style water bottle and nylon drawstring bag (great for storing cleats and a disc!) standard with every order, which I thought was a nice touch. I’ve got an array of other durable hiking-style water bottles that I like to clip and carry with me for practice tournaments, but the AC option was a good gym accessory – although it’d be a tough fit in the water bottle holder of my bike.
Shout out to whoever thought up shipping out some retro-looking baseball cards. I can’t say I’m an aficionado, but someone out there is going to get a real kick out of them. They are a huge upgrade from the nominal sticker in my book.
On the whole, there’s a lot more thought and utility in these little add-ons than I’ve come to expect from athletic apparel orders.
If you’re interested, the AC also sells wristbands at $4 US per pair in six different colors.
One Note On The Website
The sizing convention AC uses to show who fits into what size was a fantastic idea. ((Though, again, it is worth noting that there are no female-specific sizing options as it’s a men’s apparel company.)) The site offers a variety of different athlete profiles that the user can click on, and it’ll depict the stats of the model you’ve clicked on, including the sports they play – like Scott, the ultimate player.
Originally published at: http://ultiworld.com/2016/07/15/product-review-athletescollective-mens-sportswear/