Product Review: Naked Running Vest
We've had our hands on the Naked Running Vest for several months now, so it's long overdue to provide a comprehensive product review.
The Naked Running Vest was released in 2017 by Naked Sports Innovations, an up-and-comer running accessory company with products that include the running vest (in men's and women's styling), running spra (a women's sports bra / vest combo), running band, hydration flasks, and other accessories. The vest provides 3.5 liters of storage within five pockets, and includes two 350 ml hydration water flasks.
If you would like to read our other review on the Naked Running Band, you may do so here.
Let's get to the Naked Running Vest review.
Features and First Impressions
First of all, this product is very different than a traditional running vest. What you are used to from Nathan or Solomon is not what you can expect from the Naked Running Vest. The traditional vest has straps that ride over your shoulder and often a cinch to tighten everything at the chest, and then various pockets and zippers and other storage areas that vary from model to model. The Naked vest, on the other hand, is more like a piece of clothing with pockets.
When we first opened the box, the initial impression was wow this is light. The vest is constructed with two layers of extremely lightweight fabric. Each layer is individually see-through, but both layers together do screen the body for privacy (in case you want to go shirtless). Primary seams wrap around the neck, shoulders / under arms, and below the torso. Additional seams are triple stitched to create five pockets including two large pockets in front, two small pockets on the sides, and one large pocket in back.
The Naked Running Vest has a very tight fit. This is intended, and should not cause alarm. Unlike other vests which are one-size, Naked has twelve available sizes that require precise user measurement before ordering. The benefit is a custom fit without having to adjust straps (that always seem to fall out of adjustment). The drawback is that this can be prohibitive for wearing the vest on colder days that require additional outer layers, such as a jacket. The vest is made to be worn over a shirt or a bare torso. This is primarily why it took us so long to complete our review, as it was impractical to wear this during a very cold Minnesota winter.
To size yourself for the Naked Running Vest, simply measure to the widest part of your torso and select the correct fit.
Similar to the Naked Running Band, the Naked Running Vest utilizes this double-layer fabric mechanism to create pocket simplicity. That simplicity is drawn from two attributes. First, the see-through nature of an individual layer makes items stored inside the pockets visible. Of course, this only works for the front pockets, but that is where you would store the mostly commonly accessed items such as water and nutrition. Second, accessing the pockets simply requires you to pull back the outer layer and reach your hand in. Gone are the days of sticking your hand into a pocket and feeling around to find what you're looking for, or raising and lowering a mechanical zipper.
We like the styling, basic black with white and black lettering that pops. The larger Naked vertical lettering in the back is certain to draw attention from those unfamiliar with the product. Lettering is reflective for safety purposes.
The Naked Running Vest contains several utility features. Of course, there are the aforementioned five pockets that, in aggregate, provide 3.5 liters of storage. Two cords in front allow for easy race bib attachment. One of the side pockets includes a key clip, although we can hardly see how keys could fall out while moving. A safety whistle is attached to a shock cord inside a front pocket and just below the neck. There are two additional small straps just below the armpits. Lastly, the vest comes with two 350 ml hydration flasks.
Taking it Out for a Run
Our primary concern before heading out the door was whether or not the tight fit would create a chafe. This was the identical concern to the similarly tight fitting Naked Running Band. Fortunately, the results were also positive with the Naked Running Vest and we felt no chafing over several runs, with and without body lubricant.
In fact, the fit, expansive coverage, and lightweight meant we hardly felt this at all. Specifically, most vests carry the weight in the shoulders. Over time, a runner can start to feel that weight along narrow straps that build pressure over the shoulder. The Naked Running Vest better distributes weight across the entire back, shoulders, and torso to improve this feeling over long runs.
Accessing gear is a breeze. As we mentioned above and for the front pockets in particular, we were able to simply visualize the item, pull back the liner, and grab it. This can easily be done with one hand in a swift motion. There are no zippers to pull up or down.
The mesh layers hold gear tight and there is virtually no bounce. We tried runs that maxed out the storage capacity and runs with only one or two items to see the impact, and the bounce was minimal in either case. We even placed just our cellphone in the expansive back pocket and again were unable to notice it while running.
Storage capacity is more than ample. We've yet to run an ultra marathon in this vest as we did with the Naked Running Band, but considering the vest has nearly twice the storage capacity of the band, and the band was ample for an ultra, we're sure the vest can also accommodate those extreme distances. However, when racing be cognizant of distance, particularly between aid stations, and prepare to carry additional hydration beyond the included 350 ml flasks as necessary.
There is a lot of good to say about the Naked Running Vest, and very little to mention otherwise. Perhaps the only drawback is what we discussed earlier in that it can be challenging to utilize during colder weather that requires heavier layers. The tight fit makes it impractical to wear over a jacket, and difficult to access under a jacket. Outside of that, it's a tremendous product for its vest category type, and certainly one that we'll go to often.
In summary, this is a fantastic vest and one of the top products available to runners today. It is lightweight, practical and convenient, and super comfortable with a skin-like feel while wearing. Storage is ample for any distance up to longer ultra marathons. You'll struggle to find another vest that offers the fit and convenience to make accessing water, nutrition, and other gear while running so simple and easy.
Thank you for reading. Keep doing amazing things. And however you run, Run Uncommon.
The Uncommon Runner