Wednesday, 29 April 2015

XBionic Soma Cap - A Review

It's no secret that I have been a fan of XBionic kit for a long time now. Yes it's expensive, but I have never had a bad bit of kit from them. As I am packing my bag for Thames Path 100 the sea of XBionic is apparent. Amongst that one piece of kit i expect may become a God send is the Soma Cap.

I have had this hat for over a year and a half. It's been worn in all conditions and franklys it's superb. I have never been a great fan of wearing hats. For me they I've get sodden with sweat, make my head too hot, don't keep the wind off my ears and many other issues. What i found myself doing on long runs was carrying three hat options. I would have my buffs, a cap and then a warm hat. I still carry buffs as frankly so Danny convenient, but the Soma Cap has dispensed with the need for multiple headwear options.

I cannot and frankly have no desire to go into the science debate that XBionic puts forward for its items. A scientist I am not! What I care about is how a product functions and whether it's right for me.

The thing I first noticed with the Soma Cap is that it looked far too small. There was no way that this thing was going to fit on my head. It did though and very comfortably it has to be said. This is because the hat is super stretchyyyyyyyy. When on the head though it doesn't look stretched or distorted in any way. The added bonus of this is that it packs down really small, can be chucked in a pocket or scrunched up and shoved into that last bit of remaining space in the bag. For those concerned by such matters it weighs practically nothing as well.

When I've worn the hat over extended periods of time I have not been disappointed. It's incredibly comfortable, stops any sweat from getting in my eyes and at no point was the product soaked in sweat. It does a great job of keeping the wind off too. With the design being such that it covers the ears as well, the wind protection is a welcome addition. This has meant I have worn the hat on wet days... Or more precisely torrential rain, sunny but cold, bloody freezing days, mild days where it's windy but normally too warm for a hat and everything in between.

The hat is far from waterproof and not does it claim to be, but what it does do is dry bloody quickly. Consequently on long races I don't carry multiple hats. Nor do I worry about additional headwear in drop bags. The Soma Cap stays in my bag and accessible throughout races. It goes on and off as required, although I have previously forgotten I'm wearing it. During night runs I've found I'm not fully aware of how cold it has become until I take the hat off, so plus 1 for the insulation aspect as well. Further verification of this being that every year since I've run I have suffered with chillblains under my ears. Since wearing this hat I've had no I'll effects. Now of course other warm hats would probably achieve this benefit, but I had not found one that efficiently kept my head warm without over heating.

The product washes well and retains its shape. Mine has been washed several times and still looks like new.

It's only real limitation (in my opinion) would be no peak to keep the sun out and on extremely hot days you may not want the total coverage it offers. For me if it's sunny enough to not want a hat on that's when I revert to a buff and sunglasses. Let's face it how often does this scenario occur in the UK ;)

The price point of around £30 may put a lot of people off. For me the hat has proved excellent value and something I highly recommend.