Race Shirt Rant

Just picked up my packets. Waited till I got home to look at the race shirts. Want to cry and/or barf. Maybe it’s just local races, but three of the last race shirts I’ve received have been downright ugly. And a few of them just fit weird. I wish there was some way to have a proper fitting shirt. Perhaps I will take needle and thread in hand and rectify these unfortunate race tees.

It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just kind of a bummer. I’m proud to do these runs and would like to remember them, but if the shirt is ugly or doesn’t fit well, I’m not going to wear it! Race directors, if you are going to make a shirt, make it good! Don’t accept cheap, ugly crap! Don’t make me lower my standards. If you need someone to design your shirt, give me a call. I guarantee I can make something better. (In fact maybe that could be a side project…)

First I would like to show the shirt from a couple of years ago. It’s a simple, but graphically appealing design. The shirt neglects to mention that there was a 5K, which seems like a major oversight, so rather than being a race shirt, it’s just an ad for Culinaria. Which is fine.

It’s a regular cotton t-shirt, and that doesn’t bother me one bit. I’d rather have a good-looking cotton t-shirt than an ugly tech tee any day. And in fact, I wear this shirt quite frequently because it looks good and fits well.

Old Culinaria Shirt
Old Culinaria Shirt

Now on to the rant!

Here is the first offender, the Culinaria 5K.

Culinaria 5K 2013
Culinaria 5K 2013

When I was waiting in line to pick up my packet, I caught a glimpse of this shirt and thought it looked cool. Right? However, upon closer inspection, it’s not so great. What’s the first thing you notice?

Culinaria Closeup
Culinaria 5K 2013 Closeup

The first thing I noticed was the dude’s ears. The concept here is good, but the execution is not.

The colors are great, they are probably the most effective element. The yellow tape is a vibrant bit of color. Although I am confused as to why it’s so low and curved. It should be higher and a straight line, but that’s a minor quibble. The silohuettes of the grey and black runners are wonky up close, but no one’s going to be examining them that closely. They serve their function well enough.

The main failure is the man’s silohuette. It is ugly on several counts. There’s nothing wrong with baldness, but in this context, I think it was a bad choice. Since there’s no hairline, it makes the guy’s ears REALLY stand out. The ears aren’t even that big, they just seem like it. Finally, his hands make look like melted stumps. They should have included his legs to take away some of the focus on his melted stumps. But maybe his legs were melted stumps also, and they figured two was plenty.

As for the logo, Culinaria is an umbrella event. What it says to the left of his head is: CULINARIA WINE & FOOD ARTS FESTIVAL. Once again, nowhere does the shirt mention that this shirt was for the Culinaria 5K. Why do they not want to mention the fact that this is a race shirt?!

The back is just huge logos of the sponsors, which is weird considering how small they made their own logo.

100% polyester, made in Tanzania(?!).     Design: C+     Fit: B- Too wide.

Here is the second offender, the Alamo 13.1:

Alamo 13.1 - Front
Alamo 13.1 – Front

Okay, it’s not that bad. But it probably won’t make it into my regular rotation of running shirts. Actually, I’ll probably never wear it.

The black and white doesn’t work here with the red and blue graphic. The black parts are a lame attempt to make it look sportier. The shirt should have been all white or all black. The graphic of the canon itself is pretty cool. And yeah I get it – it’s done up in red, white and blue, but it would have looked better in say, white, on a black shirt. And the slogan of the race “13.1 Fight to the Finish” is really reaching. Yes it references the fight at the Alamo, but it sounds like the runner has to struggle to finish the race. I sure that isn’t the case on Sunday

Alamo 13.1 - Back
Alamo 13.1 – Back

The back of the shirt is clean and simple. “COME AND RUN IT!”

100% polyester, made in Egypt.     Design: B-     Fit: A-

Here is the Bandera 50K, which started this string of ugly shirts:

Bandera 50K
Bandera 50K

While it’s not terribly ugly, the fit is terrible. It is incredibly wide and the armpits are really low. I don’t know what sort of body they made the pattern after, but it’s not normal. If I liked to swim in my clothes, this would be a great shirt. I honestly believe I could make a better shirt. What’s surprising is this is a brand name shirt, Champion. You’d think they knew how to make a simple shirt.

Graphically, the logo should be larger and they really ought to find a better font. And blue? I guess they figure people get tired of white shirts, which is true, but… none of that matters because the shirt does not fit properly.

100% Polyester, made in Cambodia.     Design: C     Fit: F

Finally, the one shirt that was a pleasant surprise, the Nueces 50M:

Nueces 50M
Nueces 50M

Classic black with a zip up mock. Big, bold graphic logo with a touch of color. It fits a little snug, but it is a small. (I never know whether I should get a small or a medium. What happens is Smalls are too small, and Mediums are too big and hey don’t make shirts to fit this Goldilocks.)

The only bad thing about this shirt is that I have to wait till November to wear it!

Nueces 50M Logo
Nueces 50M Logo

63% Nylon, 32% Polyester, 14% Lycra, and made in the USA!     Design: A+     Fit:A

So, dear reader, I would like to know what you think about this topic.

Do you think it’s a big deal what the race shirt looks like and/or how it fits?

*   *   *   *

On a somewhat related note, I bought some two new pairs of socks. I know, the excitement just doesn’t stop! On the left are $15 Neon green Thorlo’s which I plan to wear for the half. (I know you’re not supposed to wear new stuff on race day…)  On the right, $11 neon orange Feetures which I plan to wear for the 5K. (I know, I know…)

After I bought them, I was thinking, “You know you’re a runner when you no longer flinch at spending more than $10 for a pair of socks.

New Thorlos in green, Feetures in Orange.
New Thorlos  and  Feetures.

One thought on “Race Shirt Rant”

  1. Shirt thoughts… as long as i doesn’t rip the nips it’s good! The 50k shirt is def the coolest! that a cool club to be in. Ya don’t have to pass a sanity test to run a 50 miler ya have to fail one! ha ha. The socks quote cracks me up. so true. Guess I’m not a serious runner yet. Can’t get off $15 for socks. Bet ya don’t lose those in the wash though!

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