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Written by
FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

Kit review: Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell

The Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell jacket has been created by a brand that listens to runners. So, when trail runners told the company that they wanted a lightweight running jacket with good waterproof and breathable features and a fabric that doesn’t rustle as they ran, that is exactly what Inov-8 came up with. The non-rustle fabric simply means that when you move in jacket, it remains silent. Many other fabrics, you will find, made a crinkling or rustling type of sound when running, even when it is not windy. And it is surprising how much the “noise” of a jacket can annoy when running! It is actually quite difficult, Inov-8 told me, to make a waterproof fabric that is silent but they have managed it. The fabric feels amazingly soft and flexible yet it still does a good job of keeping the wet out when it rains. The breathability rating of the fabric is also good. It’s vital when running, because you tend to sweat, that the vapour can evaporate off the skin and through the fabric. If this doesn’t happen the inside of the jacket becomes saturated and that leads to a very damp runner. Features of the Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket:

  • Full-length YKK Aquaguard front zip with internal storm flap and locking zip head
  • Roll-away hood with wired peak and single-hand adjustment
  • YKK Aquaguard chest zipped pocket with fully taped seams
  • Lycra cuffs with integrated stretch and thumbholes
  • Single-hand adjustment hem, which means it’s easy to adjust while running
  • Reflective detailing
  • Packs away into the pocket.
  • The fabric’s waterproof rating is a pretty good 10,000 HH (hydrostatic head)
  • Extra waterproofing comes from taped seams.
  • Four-way stretch fabric for freedom of movement
  • Soft fabric so it’s comfortable against the skin
  • The jacket weighs 9oz/262g
  • Men's and women's fit and range of sizes.

What’s it like running in the Inov-8 Elite Raceshell jacket?

Don’t let the name of the jacket – a Raceshell – put you off choosing this for trail running holidays. Because it has been designed with racing in mind, it is lightweight and comfortable. It also packs down very small so you could pop this into your day rucksack and use only if the rain comes on. I have run in this jacket in heavy rain, drizzle, wind and warm conditions. I have tried it while running on flat terrain and when going up hills. I have also worn it over just a running vest against my skin, as well as on top of a long-sleeved baselayer. The jacket is wonderfully comfortable, even on bare skin, and the soft fabric really doesn’t make a noise when moving around. The fit is “athletic”, which means it fits neatly and doesn’t blow about in the wind. The slight stretch in the fabric is also welcome because it allows good freedom of movement when running. Crucially, the jacket is waterproof and also breathable. It worked well for me in short bursts of heavy rain and in longer periods of light rain. When running hard or uphill the sweat seemed to magically disappear from my skin to the air outside the jacket. I was most impressed by this. The jacket will not withstand a long day of torrential rain because eventually the water will penetrate but for most situations, especially summer running or a trail running holiday in mostly good conditions but with the threat of possible rain, this is a great  choice. I am not that keen on thumbhole loops on most clothes because I have long arms and I find the loops dig into my hands but not on this occasion. I was able to wear the thumb loops and I almost forgot I was using them. I have only one small complaint about the jacket. When the hood is up it fits neatly and the wired peak keeps the hood structure so the rain stays off your face. But when I tried to roll up the hood using the basic Velcro loop it was annoyingly heavy at the neck. Inov-8 Race Elite Raceshell HZ jacket RRPs at £130 but I’ve seen it cheaper online.

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