Born Primitive: X-Factor Sports Bra

Born Primitive is an athlete favorite brand for most gym workouts. They typically make gear for CrossFit gyms, but, their clothes are generally sturdy enough for tough OCR-based workouts. I’ve noticed that their clothes don’t stretch, and colors stay nice and vibrant, even through most washes. Not only that, but BP fans can get a kick out of a multitude of variety in their selection, which is arguably some of the sexiest apparel that is also completely functional.

One thing that I appreciate about the brand is that they keep us pretty in-the-know when it comes to releasing new products. One of their more recent products is listed in the title: the x-factor sports bra.

As soon as I saw it, I thought that it looked perfect for what I needed. It almost has a similar build to the new Human Octane “superhero” series bra. The Born Primitive sports bra itself focuses on a more supportive build, with a longer band and thicker straps. The backing also has many straps so you can ensure that everything is going to stay in place. When I noticed that the website advertised it as something that also can be doubled as swimwear, I thought it would be fantastic for staying in place in the dunk wall.

Product Features

 

The X-Factor sports bra is 87% nylon and 13% lycra for a lightweight and comfortable feel. The edges of the back (not where the “x” is formed) is made out of a mesh material; between that and the open back look, the sports bra is really breathable, even given it’s thicker material. The length is longer and the straps are thicker to provide more coverage.

This Sportsbra also features a slight v-neck, and there are removable pads for those who prefer to have even more support in the sports bra. Because this sports bra provides an emphasis on support, if you are not expecting it, it may feel a little tight around the waistband. I like to save this sports bra for wearing to a race or during intense workouts, but maybe less for lazing around in big t-shirts.

I was a little concerned with my original thought of it being doubled as a swimsuit, I was thinking it was going to be more of a dry-fit material (never-mind that the website clearly has the other material listed, I just wasn’t paying attention!). This sports bra held up very well in the dunk wall, mud, and whatever else I threw at it in the Spartan Race.

Product Usage

I first wore this sports bra to a few workouts. I like to use Yancy Camp to train, which can combine many vigorous exercises into one beautiful, terrible, monstrosity. A lot of times with cheaper, or less specialized sports bras, when you hit a certain level of sweatiness, you feel like your sweat is bleeding through. I did not feel this way about the Born Primitive X-Factor; I felt dry and supported throughout the entire workout.

This was purchased the for race day specifically. I don’t know about you, but once I establish some kind of “race day” outfit, it gets me in the zone. The black X-factor sports bra looks pretty intense, so I got my hands on that one. I put it on and instantly felt ready to take on the day. The first race to which I wore this was the Spartan race in Virginia. First of all, the way it makes me feel is awesome. It looks really cool being paired with even more black.. but that’s just me.

One of the first obstacles that we encountered was the dunk wall. This was the one that I was the most nervous about. I jumped in and, other than the fact that the water was seriously cold, I felt great. Actually, the thicker band made me feel a little bit warmer than I could have otherwise.

Another obstacle that I noticed a difference on throughout this obstacle was surprisingly the bucket brigade. I’m one of those women who usually wear sports bras as my top if the weather allows. On the bucket brigade, I like to hold the bucket close to my torso. This is usually helpful for my grip, but it pulls at my sports bra. Maybe that’s just me. Because the X-Factor has a slight v-neck to it, the bucket did not pull on it at all! I thought that was really awesome.

Lastly, the X-Factor just looks cool. I got several compliments on it, especially for the way that the back of the sports bra looks. If Born Primitive knows how to do anything, it’s making cool-looking sports bras.

Pros

  • Cool looking back design that features a big cross and meshing
  • Longer band for more coverage
  • Small v-cut in the front that prevents slipping on that dang bucket carry
  • Very supportive design
  • Durable; can maintain shape and structure throughout long races and difficult workouts
  • Comes in multiple colors.

Cons

  • Not necessarily dry-fit material
  • Thicker; although great for colder races, may not be the best if you are looking for something lightweight
  • Can’t buy in stores; if you’re interested, you have to buy online. So, you would not be able to try it on before you buy it.

Conclusion

Born Primitive’s X-Factor Sportsbra is fantastic for high-intensity workouts. It has really high support with a longer band for durability, and an open back that includes a mesh detail for breathability. I would not wear this if you were doing something more relaxed, or just around the house. I wouldn’t want to wear this with a lot of layers, because the long line would be uncomfortable. But, for wearing this as a top for an OCR, the X-Factor has shown what it takes to compete in an Obstacle Course Race.

Buy one here

 

Pissy Mother Runner: The Running Mother’s Solution to Leaking During Exercise

The Issue

Peeing while you jump, run, sneeze, or laugh is not the sexiest of topics but statistics from the National Association for Continence show that more than 25 million people in the U.S. experience some form of incontinence, 80% of which are women. Many women who are pregnant or have had children have leaking pelvic floor muscles until they are re-trained. The problem is that most women don’t have the knowledge or resources to help improve pelvic floor function after childbirth. In fact, the majority of new moms are cleared for exercise at 6 weeks post-partum, after 40 or more weeks of pelvic pressure and stress to their Transverse Abdominus muscle. To add to that, since it is a common occurrence, most women think that incontinence is a normal symptom that they will have to deal with for the rest of their life after having babies. This is simply not the case. General pelvic floor weakness and diastasis recti without extenuating circumstances such as prolapse, etc. can generally be healed if it is addressed with pelvic floor strengthening exercises. The most common practice known to women are kegels, however doing kegels alone may not be enough to strength the pelvic floor and it is not uncommon for women to perform kegels entirely wrong. So, what’s a mom to do?

First and foremost, you shouldn’t try to return to your pre-pregnancy routine even once you are cleared from your physician. I remember trying to get back into running postpartum and just crying every run because I couldn’t run 200m without major leakage. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I wish I knew then what I know now. One of those things is that there are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation and I highly recommend starting there. For most intermediate to advance runners or fitness enthusiasts, the problem is that pelvic rehab seems “too easy” in the sense that it isn’t training, and it won’t make you work up a sweat or lose the postpartum baby weight, however it is THE foundation to allowing you to walk, sneeze, run, and lift weights without incontinence. If you don’t have access to a physical therapist there are tons of free videos online that you can take advantage of. The only problem is the fact that most women don’t activate their pelvic floor the correct way especially when trying to initiate a kegel. To add to that, some women don’t suffer from a weak pelvic floor, but rather a tight pelvic floor and need to focus on the relaxing aspect. As someone who has taken advantage of all of these resources, I was happy to stumble across a new way to train your pelvic floor. After going through pelvic floor dysfunction myself, despite loads of pelvic floor work and rehab with a PT postpartum, I was terrified of what my second pregnancy would do to my pelvic floor and my ability to run while pregnant. It took me over a year and a half to make any significant progress with my incontinence after having my first child and my physician suggested a bladder tact to fix the problem. Fortunately, I was able to find an in network physical therapist that I worked with, but they had no experience working with runners, so I was told to stop running. It can be extremely frustrating to hear that as a runner and racer for that matter. I was fortunate that I was still able to benefit from physical therapy and the free resources I used.

A Solution

Fast forward to 3 and a half years later, I am currently pregnant with my second. When I found the Elvie trainer I was a little skeptical. For starters, how can one device help me train my pelvic floor, but ultimately I thought it would be so easy since I am certified in pre and post-natal corrective exercise and pride myself on my pelvic floor work. The problem was, I was starting to see some incontinence during my runs while training for a 10k this summer. Finally, I reached out to Elvie, coincidentally the same company I purchased my wireless pump from for when the baby arrives, and asked them if I could test their pelvic floor trainer. I began in May, two months prior to the 10k I would run at 8 months pregnant (Note: Elvie’s site states that while the Elvie can be used during pregnancy, it should only be done if you are not suffering from any complications and recommends consulting your qualified medical professional before use). To tell you how skeptical I was, I purchased a pair of fanny pants as a backup for my incontinence during the race. Being 8 months pregnant, I wasn’t trying to set any PRs during the race. I simply wanted to run the race pain free, without leaking or peeing myself.

I started the Elvie in the evening during my first session. The guide gives you the option to stand or to be in a lying position. The egg-shaped trainer comes in a little case with a charger that attaches to the outside of the case. It has a medical grade silicone cover that makes it super easy to clean after each use. And yes, you guessed it, you insert it just like a tampon, although it’s much easier.

You download the Elvie Trainer app to connect to your trainer via Bluetooth. The app itself it very simple, too simple for me as a data nerd but I can see where they would need to avoid it being overly complicated. Once the trainer is in place, simply start the workout on the app. There is a gem shape on the screen that guides you through movement as you contract and relax.

Each ‘workout’ is more like a game that grades you as you pulse, contact, relax, or work on speed and the best part is the chart that shows your progress and achievements. Despite how much I work on my pelvic floor, the first week that I used the Elvie, I received super low scores and it was obvious my pelvic floor was not as strong as I had thought, and I may not have been performing a kegel the correct way this whole time. Talk about a blow to my trainer ego! However, over the course of the next few weeks, I got stronger and stronger at each workout and my scores kept going up. The best part about this trainer is that it doesn’t take up much time, just 5 minutes a day and you can set reminders via the app to remind you to train each day. You start on Training and work up to different levels to learn new skills. On the goals screen, you can choose between three different challenges, from once a week to five. I used the device four times a week for safe measure and sure enough, within approximately 3-4 weeks, I noticed that I could complete my preggo short runs without having any incontinence or having to stop to pee. The biggest test would be my 10k. I knew I would have to stop and pee during this race simply because it was in the middle of July in Georgia, so I would have to drink even more water than usual to avoid any pregnancy complications from dehydration.

I ran the first three and a half miles without having to stop and pee and had ZERO leaking! Once I stopped off at the port-a-potty, I continued downing water and still was able to finish the race without leaking. For 8 months pregnant, I’ll take it!  Now that I am a few weeks further into my pregnancy, I would likely leak simply due to the fact that the baby is head down and much lower than he was just weeks ago during the race. While some incontinence is to be expected during pregnancy simply due to the increased pressure on the bladder from the baby as well as hormones, I was so surprised that I was able to see this kind of results during pregnancy which makes me even more excited to use this to re-train my pelvic floor postpartum and get real-time feedback so that I know that I am engaging the muscles the correct way.

I cannot rave about this device enough. It is a great way for women who are unsure if they are activating the pelvic floor correctly to visualize their strength and progress. Simply put, it takes the guesswork out of pelvic floor exercises. If you have the ability to work with a PT that specifically works with runners, I highly recommend working with one as well but having the Elvie in the comfort of my own homemade me really do the homework that PTs will give you anyway.  At $199 for the trainer, it is definitely the most affordable way to get actual feedback on your “form” during the pelvic floor workouts without pelvic floor therapy. Elvie has incredible customer service as well with knowledgeable staff so if you have questions at any time you can contact them and get fast and reliable answers. For all of you mother runners out there that have to wear all black, leak devices such as pessaries, special undergarments, or other contraptions to protect you from embarrassing leakage, you don’t have to suffer. There are ways to improve or eliminate stress incontinence by retraining your pelvic floor.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest
4 / 5 Overall
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The Ultimate Direction OCR Vest is as minimal as they come but stacks up against its competition, proving to be more durable and useful for race situations. This vest has nylon rip-stop fabric that stands up to wall climbing, mud, water, and any other surfaces you may get snagged on. You have the option of wearing a 2L bladder or placing a 600 ml water bottle in the front pocket or utilizing both water compartments with enough room in the zipper compartment to store gels or keys.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest Features

Design: The design of this vest is super minimal, yet I was able to take along everything I needed even on my longer runs. I loved that even though I was able to pack this full, it never felt bulky like my other packs. It also has reflective strips in case you are running at night or darker areas.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

 

Durability: The nylon rip-stop is phenomenal. I have use this primarily on muddy trails where I have had to do some climbing and my vest still looks brand new. This is definitely the only vest I would trust to withstand a race environment.

Innovation: Instead of the possibility of losing a go pro or breaking a phone, the best has a roll-top, water-resistant pouch on the front to hold your smartphone. This allows you to take photos or video without destroying your phone. Unfortunately, neither my iPhone 8 or iPhone X would fit in the pouch, which was very disappointing considering it was one of the features I was most excited about.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Fit: I really love the fit of this vest. Even with my 2L bladder, extra clothing and gel packs loading it down, it was super light and never made me feel like I was lugging gear around. There was no sloshing or weird chaffing around the arms despite the vest being fitted to my body.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest Usage

I took this vest out in on trails in the rain and mud, climbed while wearing it to test its durability and it held up way better than my other vests. I had been using the Adventure Vesta, another Ultimate Direction vest, for the wet and muddy trail runs and the OCR vest even keeps things dry better than other UD vests.

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Light Weight
  • Minimal yet holds a lot of gear
  • The most durable pack I have used

Cons

  • Water-resistant smartphone pouch is not suitable for more current, larger iPhones
  • No color options

Similar Products

Dolfinpack Hydration Pack

Orange Mud Gear Vest

Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra

Ultimate Direction OCR Vest Conclusion

This is an amazing vest if wearing a pack that can withstand the OCR elements. If you are like me, you may be disappointed that the smartphone holder didn’t come with a little more wiggle room for newer, bigger phones. However, don’t let that stop you from purchasing this vest as I am willing to bet that you’d be hard pressed to find another vest that will carry as much gear and come out looking like new, once you wash the mud off that is.



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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VJ Sport XTRM Shoe Review

VJ Xtrm
4.1 / 5 Overall
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The VJsport “Xtrm” is the second model from the Finland based shoe company to find its way into the USA landing on many OCR courses in the coming months. After many saw OCR World Champion, Jon Albon, climbing wall, ropes, mountains and podiums in the VJsport Irock2’s, Jon and VJsport went back to the drawing board together in an attempt to create the perfect OCR shoe covering all necessary aspects including speed, grip and comfort. Did they accomplish this with the XTRM or fall short in designing the best shoe in the sport? I couldn’t wait to lace up this pair of XTRM’s, compliments of the Official USA VJsport distributors and see if I felt as good about them as they do.

VJ XTRM Features

Fitlock – I touched base on this feature in my Irock2 review and my stance hasn’t changed from then to now. This feature should be on all shoes, OCR and all other uses. The design of this lacing system allows the shoe to provide a secure midfoot feel without being too snug or loose. Very glad to see they carried this over to the XTRM.

Full Length Rockplate in Midsole – This feature wasn’t utilized in the Irock2 limiting the distance you could comfortably wear them for. Utilizing this in the XTRM allows minimal discomfort on varying terrains regardless of underfoot debris and surfaces.

Strengthened Rubber Toe-Cap – This may not be the first feature you look for in an OCR shoe but often overlooked. We’ve seen in models known for breaking down too quickly (All-Terrains) that durability in this area can be cause for concern in the sport with the excess pressure put on the toe-cap during downhill sprints, and quick stop movements. The look and feel of this feature instills confidence of durability over time.


Cushioning Units In Front and Heel – This feature is another upgrade on the Irock2 model that provides added comfort over longer periods of time which is practically a necessity no shame with more multi-lap and endurance options available in the sport than ever before.

VJ XTRM Usage

After a few short runs I could’ve easily concluded my review and provided all the necessary info you’d be looking for. But I wanted to be 100% sure I did everything possible to make sure this shoe was gonna live up the hype it would certainly get with the Albon name recognition. I’m sure Matthew Bardolph Davis would’ve liked to have this completed review weeks ago but I couldn’t resist testing them in the crazy Pennsylvania weather that was forecasted.


I was able to put in roughly 50 accumulated miles during rain storms, snow storms, ice storms, the aftermath of all listed conditions and then 60 degree perfection.


Uphill, downhill, mud, ice, streams, rocks and even wooden bridges were utilized to beat these shoes down and see where they stood after.

VJ XTRM Durability

Being a targeted area when creating this shoe, VJsport implemented varying failsafes to ensure durability and longevity. Between the added toe box space, strengthened toe-cap, Kevlar and polyester blend and added cushioning, they effectively made a shoe that won’t breakdown over time in typical harsh OCR conditions (Trust me, I tried).
VJSport-Xtrm-1
The medium last provides more room than the IROCK2 and combination of Kevlar and Polyester ensures increased durability im usual ocr shoe trouble spots.

Update: We now have a video comparing the 3 latest VJ models.

 

VJ XTRM Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fitlock lacing provides confident feel/fit
  • At 250g(8.8oz to Irock 8.4oz) light yet cushioned.
  • Aggressive 6mm lugs
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • lacking drainage qualities
  • Slick on varying wet wooden surfaces
  • Can’t find a third

VJ Xtrm Conclusion

They totally freakin nailed it with this shoe. The never-ending shoe debate has a new heavy hitter to be listed with Salomon, Merrell, Inov8, Altra, Reebok, Icebug, and Salming. The VJ XTRM may make that convo civil as more people get their feet in these shoes and come to the conclusion I have. They’re durable, grip well, comfortable, wick mud easily and if you can live with a slight drainage deficiency you’ll have your shoe for long or short races that will easily last a full race season and beyond.

If you want to take a peek at the new New Spartan Shoes, click here.

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Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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Headsweats 5-Panel Performance Trucker Review

Headsweats 5-Panel Performance Trucker Hat
3.6 / 5 Overall
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I am a sucker for a hat. In fact, if I am running, hiking, grocery shopping, you name it, I probably have a hat on, so when I received the Headsweats Performance Trucker I was more than happy to put it to the test. I love the breathability of this hat and it’s not bad on the eyes either! They have really unique styles, which set them apart from other brands. I do, however prefer a lighter hat for runs but loved the features and breathability of this hat. .

Headsweats 5-Panel Performance Trucker Features

Style: With so many unique styles to choose from, this line of hats is a breath of fresh air compared to other brands. They don’t just change the color; each Performance Trucker has a unique design with men’s and women’s styles available, as well as a custom option.

Breathability: The terry sweatband wrapped in Eventure knit provides an unexpected breathability. The Trucker hat is very sturdy so I expected it to be hot and uncomfortable, but it was quite the opposite. Even in 91-degree weather my head never felt hot and I didn’t feel sweat pooling on my forehead.

Dry Wicking: The terry sweatband really keeps the sweat out of your eyes and is the best dry wicking I’ve seen. It doesn’t just absorb the sweat and dries completely without any odors at all. I threw my hair in a pony ail under the Performance Trucker and my hair wasn’t a moppy, sweaty mess afterwards.

Fit: The Performance Trucker line fits like a glove. It doesn’t sit super high on your head like a traditional trucker does. No one wants to look like a complete goober with your hat sitting a foot off your head (me in my Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat). I really liked the compromise between the trucker look and fit that Headsweats provides, especially as a female where trucker hats can look downright silly. I love the way this hat looks. The feel of the hat isn’t as light as the Ciele brand I am use to so I definitely had to get use to running with it, but since the breathability and dry wicking are so great, I soon began reaching for it on all of my runs.

Headsweats 5-Panel Performance Trucker Usage

The style of the hat I was given is called, “Misty Morning.” I have taken this hat on every outdoor run with me for the past month and a half. If you live in the south, you know that the months of August, September, and even the beginning of October are still hanging on to temperatures well into the 90’s. Headsweats’ terry sweatband in the hat is very unique. The Heatsweats Performance Trucker keeps the sweat out of your eyes not by gathering the sweat only to create a disgusting mess post run but the terry band is super dry wicking so you don’t have to deal with a messy clean up.

Headsweats 5-Panel Performance Trucker Durability

Unlike other lighter trucker running hats, Headsweats Performance Truckers are extremely sturdy. I have worn mine for 30+ runs now and it still looks and feels brand new. I have no doubt this hat will last!

Headsweats 5-Panel  Performance Trucker Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Highly breathable
  • Great dry wicking, did not absorb the sweat
  • Style allows crossover from runs to travel to trips to the grocery store
  • Keeps the sun out of your face
  • Super flattering on women

Cons

  • Though breathable, still not as light as other running hats

Similar Products

Patagonia Women’s Fitz Roy Bear Trucker Hat

Buff Trucker Tech Cap

 

Conclusion

I really like this style of the Headsweats trucker hat if not just for the breathability, for the versatility as well. I am hoping they may come out with more of a summer line that would be a tad bit lighter/thinner without compromising the dry wicking that the terry sweatband provides. I have actually purchased a second one of the Performance Trucker Hats already if that tells you how much I like the one I reviewed. I am looking forward to reviewing the Ultra Band they sent as well. I have a feeling it will come in handy this winter as a face mask because I HATE cold weather running. Check back in for that review!



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Sarah Hetzel

Sarah is a special education teacher from Greenville, South Carolina. She has experience in running from cross country and track in high school and two years in college. It wasn't until her friend Janet introduced her to obstacle racing that she fell in love with the fitness. Now she's trying to do as many different OCRs as she can, while encouraging others to do the same.
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Giant Gear Guide: OCR Clothing Tips for Tall Athletes

The Giant Abominable Snowman

Height seems to have a corner on most of the sporting world. From football to volleyball, track to….what’s that sport again….oh yea..basketball. Height seems to be a central topic in most of the sporting universe. There is one nook within the wide world of sports, however, that appears unconcerned with the topic altogether. Yes, our wonderful world of Obstacle Course Racing. It just makes sense; OCR athletes need to be nimble, agile and compact. Not necessarily the descriptions used to portray those of us that are a tad more “extended” than the rest. As a result, most of the best OCR competitors are not extremely tall.

So where does that leave those of us who are likely to drag our feet while hanging from the monkey bars? Perhaps, the reason that we haven’t seen more giants in the sport is even more simple than physiological parameters. Maybe it is because the Giant OCR athletes just aren’t able to find the right sized gear! We are going to change that. As probably one of the world’s tallest OCR athletes and as someone whose nickname around the office is “The Bumble,” I have spent 5 years curating and crafting the ultimate Giant Gear Guide.  Today, I’m going to share my top OCR Clothing Tips for Tall Athletes with you and the real Bumble alike! Let’s bounce right into it!

About The Giant Author

For reference and for the purposes of this guide, my vital measurements are as follows. I am 6’7” (2 meters), I wear a size 15 shoe (49 UK) with a 38-39 inch sleeve length and have a 36-inch inseam. I am a certifiable, if such things were possible, giant.

Giant OCR Shoes

Having an elongated frame tends to lead to feet in proportions that resemble those found on the cast of the iconic McDonaldland commercials.

Image result for McDonaldland cast, giant

Cast of McDonaldland 1986, smallest shoe size: 20.

 

To put it less eloquently, tall people tend to have large feet. At times they are called boats, sometimes shoe boxes, other times clown shoes…you get the drift. Size 14 and 15 large.  Coincidentally,  the single most important purchase Obstacle Course Racer’s of any variety can make is the combination of cloth and rubber that covers those lengthened hooves. So far, three brands stand above the crowd and provide amazing solutions to our unique requirements.

Altra Running

A staple in the Ultra Runner community and the recently announced shoe partner of Spartan Race, Altra shoes are a part of the “maximalist” movement that provides unbelievably cushioned shoes combined with a roomy footbed and ridiculous drainage capabilities. Fortunately for the giants, they are available in sizes 14, 15 and 16! (Pro tip: Altra’s Fit extremely true to size)

 

Photo of Altra Timp Trail Shoes

Altra Timp Trail Shoes-$129

Hoka One One

The founding architect of the hyper cushioned, maximalist genre, Hoka One One is a brand that offers shoes with top-notch cushion, super flashy colors and a more traditionally shaped toe box. The only reason they don’t receive top-billing is because when it came to hooking up the tall OCR athlete, they didn’t go the distance and go to a size 16. The good news is that their 14 and 15‘s are beyond amazing!

Product image for Black/True Red

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 -$160

Merrell

On the other side of the “stack-height” conversation is a brand made famous for creating minimalist, lightweight footwear. Merrell now offers a wide variety of options for those of us who prefer to roll, jump and sprint in the mud. As an Official Sponsor of Tough Mudder and a brand with a history of innovation, Merrell offers up a slew of options in the size categories that readers of this article would be interested in. Size 14 and Size 15, respectively.

Merrell Trail Running Shoes

Merrell All Out Crush 2- $99

Giant OCR Socks

A great pair of socks makes a world of difference in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing.

If they are too short, it can lead to dirt building up in the footbed.

When they are too thin, it can lead to discomfort, blisters and a painful week following a race.

Should they be too small, they are simply too small and we live in a world where we no longer have to wear things that are too small!

The following brands understand and create giant-sized solutions to erase the aforementioned issues from existence.

Stance

Enter Stance, they specialize in high-quality socks of all varieties and types. From licensed NFL, NBA and MLB teams, to specific Athletes such as James Harden and Klay Thompson and musician Rihanna. They even have Seinfeld and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air socks, if those properties are of any interest. Suffice it to say, when it comes to gear for your feet, Stance has you covered. For running they offer a ton, but the type that rises above the rest of the fray is their selection of XL-sized, perfectly cushioned and stylish stockings. Stance XL Socks

UNCOMMON SOLIDS WOOL CREW

Stance Uncommon Solids Wool Crew – $22

Injiji

This stalwart in the Triathlon, Ultra, Trail Runner world should also be a constant part of your pre-race gear checklist. Injiji socks are unique in their design due to fact that they have individual sleeves for each toe. The hypothesis for this concept is that the design reduces the potential for blisters and helps to increase the breathability between toes in order to ensure a dry, comfortable and cushioned experience through whatever activity you are into. Lucky for us, these things are as a good as advertised and better yet, are available in over 23 glorious XL versions.

Injiji XL Sock

Outdoor Original Weight Crew NuWool- $18

Giant OCR Compression Shorts

Underwear. Most everyone wears them, but only in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing is it completely socially acceptable to frolic through the woods in them alone! If we giants are going to go this route, we need to protect ourselves not only from chaffing, but also our fellow racers being traumatized due to the gangly appendages on display while wearing traditionally sized offerings. That’s where these compression shorts for giants come in!

Under Armour

A brand built on making better undershirts has also perfected underwear. Under Armour’s Boxerjock line includes a version with a 9-inch inseam that is vital to helping us accomplish the aforementioned concerns. Wear them under shorts or as shorts, either way, your comfort is literally guaranteed. My personal favorites can be found at UnderArmour.com

Under Armour Clothing

Under Armour 9-inch Compression Shorts- $30

 

MudGear

With a name like MudGear, it comes as no surprise that this brand is focused on all things muddy. No Gear Guide for Giants would be complete without mentioning their 9-inch inseamed compression shorts! Find them here!

MudGear Base Layer Boxer Brief

MudGear Compression Shorts- $33

Giant Bonus Tip:

Giant Problem Solver: Lock Laces

If you are over 6′ feet tall, you know how difficult it is to bend over and tie your shoes on a non-race or training day. Now imagine your shoe comes untied in the middle of a race. The mud, water, and fatigue combined with bending over is sure to make you completely light headed and add costly minutes to your results. Lock Laces has the perfect solution! Simply install them before your run, slide the lock into place and never worry about your shoelaces coming untied ever again! That is, of course, unless that pesky Jack comes around to say otherwise.

Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk

Thanks to this Guide, the giant is ready to chase down Jack!

 

The Giant Finish

I hope that you, my fellow giants found this guide to be of use. Go gear up for a race in the near future and begin the inevitable process of Giant domination in Obstacle Course Racing! And if that domination never materializes, that’s o.k. too. At least you will compete in more comfort, more stability, and more confidence as a result of having the right sized gear! And if you have found anything that I should add to this list, please shout it out in the comments!