The Montane Allex Micro Hoodie is part of Montane’s new VIA trail series of mountain trail running gear and has been designed in collaboration with world class trail runners.
So with that information front and foremost my response to the lovely PR team who sent this for me to test was errr…”I think you’ve sent this to the wrong person.” You see, I haven’t run for some years – not even for a bus, and whilst I love hiking, you’ll see me doing it at a bimble not a scarper.
So did the PR make a mistake? Well no, not really because whilst this top has a heap of features designed with trail runners in mind, it is also suitable for those of us who are looking for a super lightweight base or mid-layer to adorn our backs whilst moving at a more leisurely pace whilst out and about.
The blurb claims the design of the top has been designed with a specific womens’ fit (rather than the mens just ‘pinked & shrinked’) and I can testify that it hugs in all the right places. I do have an issue with that zip puckering a bit, but I find that happens on all tops of this style.
The sleeves are articulated – meaning you can move and stretch without the top riding up and bunching. In classic GWA non-scientific testing I wore this top whist digging some new vegetable beds in the garden and can give the claims a thumbs up – I was delighted to discover that the hem didn’t ride up, resulting in a a big grin as I do struggle with tops exposing my kidneys given my overly long back.
Another feature which I am rather partial to is thumb loops, I’m sure these are brilliant for running but I personally love them whilst out on my motorbike. It means you can cinch the sleeves down before putting on your gloves and thus stopping any breeze whipping up your arms.
The top, as the name suggests, also has a hood – I must confess I’ve not any cause to call this into action yet here in the UK as the weather has been rather balmy, but it’s there if you need it and being super lightweight is not too bothersome if you don’t. I can see it being great for popping up under a helmet if required as it’s rather stretchy.
The real fanfare feature becomes visible if you turn the top inside out, you see it’s made with Polartec Power Grid.
Now the boffins at Polartec know how to do some seriously clever things with fabric, and this particular bit of fabric technology is what allows this top to be so incredibly lightweight – just 185grams, yet it also keeps you warm – it’s all down to those grid channels. Simple, but oh so clever.
Those channels also mean you have a top that is highly breathable and they also give you great wicking action. Now this last point is rather key…I initially wore it over a lightweight base layer and I smelt like a baboon by the end of the day. Subsequently i’ve worn it next to the skin and it has definitely worked better.
I feel – and there is no science behind this next statement just my gut – that it works best when worn next to the skin as it allows those channels to do their thing and allows the wicking action to really work.
So with that in mind, this top does have too many features for me a base layer – the zip and hood are superfluous as I won’t really use or benefit from them – but like I said at the beginning I am no trail runner and I suspect if you are then they’ll be marvellous.
The recommend retail price is at investment levels – again totally worth it if you are going to really use this top as it was intended and put this top through its paces, but for me as Joe Average walker probably I feel its not worth splashing out.
Price: £85 (SRP)