I’ve been wanting to discuss this for a while as I’m finding as time goes by more and more outdoor companies are slowly changing their outdoor gear in to more ‘fashionable’ wear, but my question is, in doing so are they sacrificing quality?
Running for me has always been about the running, about feeling free and giving me the opportunity to find clarity in my life. I moved from roads to fells as being outside on the fells gives me a sense of overwhelming calmness and clarity that I’ve never found anywhere else. It also brought the ‘fun’ element back in to my running which for a long time I struggled to find after years as a youngster being what I felt like forced in to it.
I feel privileged I get to experience all that the hills offer and love it most when I don’t see a single other person. It was never about fashion, in fact it never even crossed my mind until I reckon the last year or so. I used to go out in what I’d like to call ‘functional gear’ and never gave it another thought but now I find I actually spend time considering what I’m wearing, what colours I have on, what brands I might want to buy next etc.. and recently it has started to concern me that this is happening and that maybe coincidentally my gear doesn’t seem to last quite as long. Soles of shoes seem to be peeling off quicker, leggings unravelling at seams, holes appearing in jackets….but, then I have to ask myself, is this because these days I’m doing longer runs and running on more challenging terrain which is stressing my gear more? Or, is this the compromise for buying lighter weight gear?
‘Is social media forcing fashion on the fells?’
Another factor is with the help of social media idols such as Emelie Forsberg and Kilian Jornet can be followed more easily and are seen more frequently than ever before so companies can use these athletes to promote their gear more and because the likes of these two people are wearing them it makes you think ‘Ooo well if Emelie Forsberg is wearing that, it must be good’. I guess it’s the same with any clothing/shoe industry, perhaps it’s just that the world of fell running is only just catching up and has done because of athletes such as these two.
I don’t know what the answer is, all I do know is that prices seem to be going up and the amount of time I need to replace gear seems to be going down. I personally dont want ‘fashion’ to become important as such in fell running. I want it to stay care free and ‘fun’ and most certainly not at the expense of function and durability. It’s important that on the hills your gear can withstand changing conditions otherwise you could find yourself in a dangerous situation. As a woman, what I am keen for is continued improved fit that is specific for the female physique and comfort and, if they throw in some colour, even better 😃.
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