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Published: July 2020. Updated: June 2021.
When it comes to my workout apparel, workout equipment, or anything related to working out, I like to stick to the basics.
Because of that, I have never owned any special clothing for running or working out. A few pairs of all-cotton t-shirts and shorts was enough for me.
So, when I got the opportunity to test these high-performance running/workout t-shirt and shorts from Baleaf Sports®, I was interested to find if I had been missing out.
The Baleaf Sports® Brand
Baleaf is a relatively new sportswear brand that was launched in 2015 and is located in Los Angeles. They not only want to produce durable and high-quality apparel, but they also want to make workout clothing affordable.
Is it even possible to create high-quality workout apparel at affordable prices?
Well, with the right business model it is.
Take Nike, for example. They are a brand that is recognized all over the world. They make high-quality sportswear, there’s no doubt about that, and their products have a price tag to match. However, the premium price doesn’t come from the quality alone.
The Nike corporation continues to build its brand by spending billions of dollars each year on advertising and sponsorships, outspending, by far, every other competitor. They are also a publicly-traded company, which means that they’re expected to meet profit predictions made by financial analysts, and consistently reward their investors and shareholders.
To be able to spend so much on advertising, create huge profits, and meet or exceed financial expectations, they not only have to have a large number of sales, but they need big profit margins too. And that’s factored into their product prices.
Smaller brands, like Baleaf, are free from much of the pressures that large companies experience.
Baleaf can produce high-quality clothing and make it affordable because they know that great products with great customer care and affordable prices will create a buzz among their customers. We all like to share and recommend great product finds when we feel that we have found something truly amazing for a great price. This free word of mouth advertising is nothing new, but it works.
Baleaf also prides themselves on using recycled fabrics for their product lineup, which consists of
- running, and
- outdoor apparel.
It seems obvious that companies would use recycled fabrics to make their products, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many.
The Short Sleeve Running/Workout T-Shirt
I got to test the “Raglan Tagless Quick Dry Short Sleeve Running & Workout T-shirt”. I chose the Heather Red variation, which, in person, looks even better than in the pictures.
First off, what’s raglan, you may wonder.
Raglan refers to the style of the t-shirt and not the fabric from which it is made. Where regular t-shirts will have sleeves that end at the shoulder, raglan t-shirts have sleeves that extend all the way to the collar and neckline. This provides a more comfortable and relaxed fit when you are running or working out. The style allows for more movement and range of motion, perfect for sport and athletics. You’ll frequently see it worn in baseball, and it is often referred to as the ‘baseball t-shirt.’
The t-shirt is also tagless, which means that it does not have a tag that is sewn into the collar, as most shirts do. This hangtag makes way for a heat-sealed tag that will not rub against your neck when you are moving.
The t-shirt itself is made from 90% polyester and 10% spandex. The combination of these two materials not only makes the t-shirt durable, but it also makes it soft, comfortable to wear, breathable, and moisture-wicking. The quick-drying ability limits microbes and stops odors from developing.
Flatlock seams are created by placing two pieces of fabric side-by-side and sewing the raw edges. This results in no fabric flap, and the garment sits flush against your skin. With less rubbing, there are no chafing or other discomforts.
Baleaf also made an effort to make the t-shirt non-restrictive by making it stretchable in every direction.
Reflective elements are a nice touch for some extra security at night.
The t-shirt is available in 6 different colors and 6 sizes (from S to 3XL), so they have almost everyone covered.
At the time of writing, the t-shirt cost $16.99, which is a great price for a high-performance garment.
You can buy it at Baleaf’s online store and, as our reader, you can get a 15% discount on your entire purchase by using the DurabilityMatters15 code at checkout.
The Mesh Paneled and Pocketed Running Shorts
I got the black 7” mesh paneled & pocketed running shorts. They come in 10 sizes and 14 colors so there is something for everyone.
The materials used for the shorts are the same as for the t-shirt, but in different proportions (95% polyester, 5% spandex). This gives them the same great properties – they are skin-friendly, moisture-wicking, breathable, and stretch in 4 different ways for extra comfort and range of motion.
Mesh briefs are built-in, side mesh panels add extra breathability, two side pockets give storage space, and one zippered back pocket protects your belongings.
Just as with the t-shirt, you get some reflective elements for better visibility and safety.
At the time of writing, these shorts cost $22.99.
You can buy them on Baleaf’s online store and don’t forget to use the DurabilityMatters15 code to get an extra 15% off!
My Experience With Baleaf T-Shirt and Shorts
As I mentioned in the beginning, I would always wear all-cotton t-shirts and shorts for my workouts and runs. So, when I first wore the Baleaf t-shirt and shorts, I was amazed at how light they felt.
They were so light that it made me smile.
My first workout was a run on my treadmill. I set the speed to 5 mph (8 kph), with varying inclines (from 2% to 5%), and set the timer for 20 minutes.
Around 6-7 minutes into my run, I started to break a sweat. I immediately noticed that these garments did not stick to my skin as cotton normally did. This was a welcome change, for sure.
By the end of my workout, I had built up some sweat, so I went outside to my backyard to complete my cool-down routine and dry off. In around 10 minutes, the clothes felt completely dry (I’m not a heavy sweater, tho).
I wanted to go for another run later that day, so I rinsed my Baleaf clothes and put them out in the sun to dry. In general, you should not dry your clothes in direct sunlight, because they will become discolored over time – however, the UV rays from the sun will kill most of the bacteria and microorganisms that are trapped in the material, preventing any odors from developing.
I scheduled my second run for 4 pm. The outside temperature was 77°F (25°C), with light wind, and I planned to run for 3 miles (5 kilometers) on a trail by the local river.
This time I was able to appreciate the zippered pocket on the back of the shorts. The pocket is relatively small, so you can carry your ID card and keys, and maybe a power bar, but that’s all I need because I don’t do long runs. The shorts aren’t meant for marathon runs anyway, otherwise, they would have surely added a couple more zippered pockets.
The zipper is often a failure point, but this one is well made, and it feels high-quality when you are using it.
Running outside is always more fun than on a treadmill and I noticed that the wind helped to keep the clothes almost dry for the entire run. And I still couldn’t believe how smooth and light the apparel felt.
With the all-cotton apparel, I was experiencing some light chafing from time to time, especially when I started to break a sweat because cotton has a rougher texture. With this high-performance clothing, I think that chafing is a thing of the past.
I’ve been regularly using the Baleaf t-shirt and shorts for a month now. I use them for my workouts, for running, light cycling, and even for jumping on our outdoor trampoline (it was bought for my kid, but I think I’m the one who uses it the most).
Both pieces went through a few wash cycles and, so far, everything still looks and feels like new.
From what I can tell, they nailed it with the durability of these clothes.
The only downside, for some, could be that all their running t-shirts and shorts come in basic mono-color designs. This helps to keep costs down, and I don’t mind that. In fact, I’m always looking for simple designs, because they tend to match other clothing and never go out of fashion.
All in all, the difference, compared to all-cotton apparel, is very noticeable. Cotton-made apparel still feels better to me, more organic, but in every other area, the high-performance apparel from Baleaf wins out. And you don’t even need to feel guilty for buying synthetic clothing because, as mentioned before, Baleaf uses recycled materials.
If you’re looking to get some new sports apparel, try Baleaf. I’m sure you’ll like what you get.
I’ve been using the running shorts and the t-shirt for almost a year now and both still look like new.
I used the t-shirt for running, biking, and hiking, while the shorts were mainly used for running and home workouts.
Even after many washes, there is no damage on the seams and the colors are still intact.