Back in my days as a road cyclist, I would invariably pack a lightweight gilet in my jersey pocket, just in case. I wanted the Ultra Gilet to work in a similar way, for it to be genuinely light enough to tuck into the waistband of your shorts or tights when not needed, but be ready if the weather changed. The Size M Ultra Gilet weighs only 100g and folds down to a very small size.
The Ultra Gilet is weather proof but super-breathable - it works in the widest range of temperatures and weather conditions. The front, side and shoulder panels use the same fabric as the Ultra Rain Jacket. This is the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market. Then the seams are taped on this inside, just like the Ultra Rain Jacket. So the gilet will keep out the wind and keep you dry both inside or out.
I design all SOAR garments from the ground up - I try not to have pre-conceived ideas about how a particular garment should ‘be’. Rather, to think what is required for the specific function, and then how to make it look good. Almost all gilets are cut with the armhole off the shoulder. Whereas the Ultra Gilet's upper body and armhole is cut to wrap around the shoulder, giving additional protection if the weather changes. It's a small thing, but it will keep you a bit drier and warmer if the weather turns. The point of good design is to endeavour to improve on what has gone before.
Finally, I wanted the Ultra Gilet to have high visibility for runs on dark evenings or mornings. So, there are bright colours and large reflective trims.
I got up this morning at 6am for a 12k tempo run. It was dark and chilly with light rain. I wore the gilet for the early part of the run to beat the wind chill and to stay dry. Also for extra visibility on the dark cycle paths and tracks around Hackney Marshes. As the pace increased, I stuffed it into the back waistband of my Speed Shorts, finally putting it back on again for the jog home at the end of the session. I didn’t notice it when it was on and I didn't notice it when it was tucked in the waistband. It just did exactly what it was designed to do with the minimum of fuss.
Oh, and it says RUN on the back because that is what you should be doing. And to make sure cyclists keep their hands off our kit.
Tim Soar. London, 2019