We talk a lot about firefighters as “tactical athletes” and do our best to train folks to be “Mountain Tough”, so when the team from Elite Sports and Born Tough reached out to us and asked if we wanted to sample some of their gear, we said “Heck Yeah!” For those of you unfamiliar with the brands (which to be perfectly transparent, was us as well), they’re an LA-based sports apparel brand specializing in gear for athletes.
Elite Sports caters their products towards the martial arts and boxing communities, and has a number of sponsored fighters that sport their gear. Additionally, they make general workout gear, as well as crossfit specific gear. Their sister brand, Born Tough, features product lines focused on more general fitness apparel.
We had the chance to check out two of their products:
Let’s start with the shorts. First impression coming out of the bag was that they looked sharp. The weight of the material was nicely balanced. Some running shorts we’ve used in the past are paper thin, and rip just as easily. Not a good choice for the mountains. These on the other hand feel much more durable, but not too heavy. They’re designed to be rolled around in and scuffed up, and over the last few weeks, they’ve held up well.
The fit is where they really shine. And it starts with the over-sized draw strings. I hate fumbling around trying to find tiny draw strings that look like they belong on children’s shoes not adult shorts. These things are BOSS. Note, the only drawback is that they do have a nasty habit of sliding back inside the waistband lining after you wash them. Just put a little overhand knot on the end, and that problem goes away.
And while it’s important to like the way shorts look when you put them on, it’s how they perform when you’re in motion that really counts. A couple minutes into my first run with them, I knew I liked them. Which honestly surprised me. Normally, I prefer a shorter inseam (5”) for running, but I think this one is a little longer (maybe 7”). Nevertheless, the cut was great. No chafing. I tucked an iPhone into one of the zippered pockets and ran with it. Felt great. The way the zippered pockets are constructed, the phone didn’t bounce around too badly. Which is nice, because I just don’t love those arm bands that folks wear. Looks like you have an iPad on your bicep these days. But that’s a digression.
Going back to movement, the shorts offered a nice range of motion. No restrictions doing movements like squats and lunges. The shorts moved with me. I never felt like I was battling it. Which is critical. I found myself not being aware of the shorts frequently, which is just what you’re looking for. A nice piece of gear that doesn’t draw attention to itself because it’s restricting motion or rubbing your inner thigh raw like a cheese grater (looking at you lined running shorts!)
All in all, the shorts were solid. And the price is great. $24 or so for a decent pair of shorts is a bargain. Only downside is I wish they had a deeper inventory of colors to choose from, but black goes with everything, so you’re good.
Next up, we tried out the Born Tough Men Air Pro Fitted Tee in Military Green. It’s a sharp looking shirt.
For starters, this shirt is going to either show off your shredded bod, or reveal the fact that you’ve been snacking on Cheez-Its a bit more than you should. So if you look more like this guy – you’re gonna like it. Love it even. It’s snug through the top, and longer than normal shirts. I’m 5’11” 170lbs and the Medium was a solid choice. It runs long and narrow through the torso by design, so be warned that if you want a looser fit, and are thinking about sizing up, you’ll probably wind up with a shirt that looks more like a cocktail dress than a workout shirt.
The shirt moves well. We put it through the paces on quite a few workouts and runs. It can handle both easily. It breathes nicely and range of motion was great. The only issue I noted was that it bunched up a little bit above my armpits, on the front of my shoulders. I’m sensitive to this because in the past, while wearing line gear I’ve gotten BRUTAL chafing in that area. So this might not be the best shirt to wear underneath your yellow, but as far as a training shirt for off-season and in-season workouts, you really can’t go wrong with this one. And the price – $14.99 – c’mon. They’re practically giving it away. You’re not going to find a technical shirt with this fit for cheaper, that’s for sure. And who doesn’t love it when a bargain price is paired with high value?
If you’re in the market for some new gear, and want to support a rising, independent brand, instead of an enormous global conglomerate, we recommend you check some of their gear out. We think you’ll like it, and it should stand up to the rigors of an off-season workout out, or mid-season PT session at the station.
And if you happen to be shopping tonight, you can take advantage of the following discounts:
20% off @ Elite Sports by using the promo code USA20 at checkout
25% off @ Born Tough by using the promo code USA25 at checkout.
Here at Hotshot Fitness, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to help firefighters achieve optimal performance on the fireline. Which is why we wanted to bring the following study to our readers attention.
The University of Montana is currently running an anonymous study on Wildland Firefighter health and behaviors. The wildland firefighting community has not attracted nearly the same amount of interest from the academic community as the structural world has, and this is an opportunity to correct that. But in order to do that – they need data. The survey covers not just physical health but mental health as well. It was designed by a former wildland firefighter, and is supported by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. So it is as legitimate as they come.
So if you are an active (or former) wildland firefighter, please take some time to respond to the survey. The more data we can gather, the healthier and safer we will be. But more importantly, we can aid in the discovery of insights that will make the profession safer for the next generation of firefighters. And that’s an important cause.
To do your part, here’s the link to the survey.
The motto of the Arrowhead Hotshots is “fortitudine vincimus,” which translates roughly as “through endurance we conquer.” As the hotshot community deals with another tragic loss, those words should guide us as we grieve this tragedy. While we here at Hotshot Fitness did not personally know Brian, to read of his life, and of his character, makes us wish we had had the chance to get to know him. As Brian’s colleagues have shared, he was funny, and energetic, and a pillar upon which the crew counted on for support. He was an archetypal hotshot captain, a man who led from the front of the line. Over these next few days, and months, our thoughts will be with the Arrowhead hotshots, and with Brian’s family and friends. May they be granted the strength to endure this time, and in doing so, may they someday conquer those feelings of anger and sorrow that burn so powerfully right now. Fortitudine Vincimus
“He will be missed. He will always be remembered.”
~ Joe Suarez, Supt. Arrowhead Hotshots
HF All-Stars –
Kate over at JSM Casting reached out to me yesterday seeking my help to find some physically fit studs (and studettes – is that a word? If not, it should be) who have a powerful message to share. The Jockey #ShowEm campaign celebrates unique and brave everyday heroes who are sharing their truest and best selves with the world. You can see the current heroes featured here: https://www.jockey.com/showem
She thought it would be great if we could find some hotshots, smokejumpers, helitack crew members, engine crew members, or other members from the wildland firefighting community interested in contributing to the campaign.
Interested? If you decide to signup, please use this link to submit an application. And if you do decide to signup, do Kate Antognini from JSM Casting a solid and let them know you heard about it from her.
Best part – there’s some cash compensation available, and it ain’t too shabby. But don’t spend too much time thinking about it. The deadline to apply is Thursday January 11th by 5pm EST.