Review: Ashmei Race vest

The review

As an Ashmei ambassador I'm asked to review some of the products I get to wear and this is my review of the Ashmei Merino+Carbon race vest.

I live in Scotland, I train and race in Scotland. It's May and we are still getting warnings of frost during the night.
I was asked to review the vest and I was a bit concerned about getting hypothermia! Luckily I had a week's holiday planned for Lanzarote which was the perfect testing ground for the vest.

First impressions:

The parcel arrived and I quickly unpacked the vest. The attention to detail in the packing is second to none. It's a really nice touch and I really like the custom wrapping paper but this is a review about the vest, not the wrapping paper.

Ashmei packaging

I took the vest and my first thoughts were, is that it? I don't know what I was expecting but it just seemed a bit plain. From the front, it's black with grey piping, down the back is the Ashmei contrast "stripe" and a small Ashmei logo.

Vest unpackedVest unpacked

Since it's a racing vest, I would have imagined maybe a small logo or stripe on the front as free advertising if photos were taken of the runner.

The colour did concern me, black in the sunshine. Roasted Owain by the end of the run?

Features:

  • Merino wool and carbon blend
  • Slightly scooped hem
  • Rear earphone cable router
  • Flatlock seams
"Running race vests should be lightweight, comfortable and high performance so that you don’t really notice it when you are trying for your PB on race day." - Ashmei.

Testing the vest in Lanzarote:

With our bags packed, Mandy and I flew over to Lanzarote and the first morning we were there we headed out for a run. A nice easy 6 mile run, getting to know our surroundings to test the vest and it felt really comfortable. I got the medium fit and the length was good.

An easy run in the warmth was enough to get me sweating. I got back to the apartment, took off my vest and was really surprised how damp the back was. I hadn't felt the damp during my run which was a nice change. Usually with a normal technical vest or tshirt I would be aware of the dampness. The black colour also hid a lot if the sweat, glad I got the black after all!

 

warm weather trainingsweaty

I was also keen to test out the anti-smelling properties of Merino wool. I've seen or should I say, not smelt my merino socks and I wore my vest for 3 days in a row without feeling I needed to wash it, this was 6 runs worth and one of them was a really tough, hilly 7.5 miler in 22C heat.

With the wind on my back I could feel the heat but I wasn't overheating, I felt really comfortable and felt great, when I turned back in to the wind, I expected to at least feel a slight chill from the sweat on my skin but nothing, no overheating, no chill, just perfect running.

Testing the vest back in Scotland.

So it performed really well in the heat but could it become a favourite back home? I headed out at 6:30am for my morning run, the sun was out so it was a good excuse to put on the vest. My phone indicated it was only 5C with a light breeze though!
Initially my arms felt the cold but I quickly noticed that this was the only cold part of my body. 
As the run progressed I had warmed up nicely and was nipping around my 4 mile loop at 6:50min/mi pace quite the thing.

Scotland running


Turning in to the breeze the vest felt like a wind stopper, keeping me warm but not over heating. 
I've also ran a half marathon training session on the track in my vest, 6:00min/mi pace for 10 miles felt really good. The vest has a great fit and you don't notice it while putting in the hard effort. 
It passed the Scotland test!

Does this all sound a bit too perfect?

Well, it does come at a price. An Ashmei vest is £50.00. This might be £30.00 more than you would usually spend on a running vest but I'd say it's worth it. You might buy 2 or 3 vests but because merino wool doesn't like bacteria, the vest doesn't smell after hard runs so doesn't need washed as often. It's an investment.

 

What would make this vest even better?

I contacted Ashmei to ask about a small pocket on the rear of the vest for my iPod. I thought it would have been great to just wear my shorts, vest and headphones, without a bag. The reason there isn't a pocket is simple though, it's very difficult to add a pocket which doesn't effect how the vest sits. 
If you have ever tried to run with your phone in your jacket pocket, you will notice the whole jacket starts to jump around and causes additional movement.

I think the only other thing I would like to see is more 'Ashmei' on the front but other than that, this is a great vest.

Pros

  • It's lightweight and very comfortable.
  • The headphone hook keeps your headphone cable out your way.
  • Doesn't smell after multiple runs
  • It really does keep you cool on warm runs and warm on cooler runs

 

Cons

  • I'd personally like a bit more Ashmei style on the front


Conclusion

If I could run in an Edinburgh AC style vest made by Ashmei it would be a winner and I'd wear it to every race. 
The fabric feels great against your skin. The wicking properties that the carbon gives are impressive and you can't help but have a good run when you pull this vest on.
I'll be wearing this vest during training runs as often as I can.

Owain Williams

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