That title’s a bit of a mouthful. So is Odd Roar Lofterød; the name of a Norwegian sports enthusiast who started Odlo in 1946 and where the name stems from.
A Norwegian company that has now gone international, Odlo was created originally to develop high qualify winter gear for the speed skating market. It has subsequently developed into producing extremely high quality and functional gear for the running and skiing markets in addition.
Much like Salomon, the brand originated for winter athletes and whilst Salomon now encompass summer mountain running as a core part of the brand, Odlo retains its routes as a winter brand.
I was kindly sent this jacket to review over winter and I am pictured below wearing it the morning after I finished the Brazos Bend 100 with Victor Ballesteros.
I didn’t wear the jacket during the race as it was very humid in Houston in December, but wore it before and after the race as my body temperature struggled to control itself. However, it has been with me on most of my long runs this winter and especially on the very cold days and evenings.
Usually I try and run in the bare minimum and I have an ability to retain heat quite well. This poses a problem in the summer, but in the winter I am usually comfortable in just shorts and t-shirts on most runs. I very rarely wear tights unless it is significantly cold. Before I used the Odlo jacket, on cold days I would wear the below base layer over a t-shirt and this was taken at the Brecon Beacons ultra in late 2013.
I bought this for around nine euros in the alps a few years back and it is the best base layer I have ever used. That said, it warms up very quickly so at both the Brecon Beacons and South Downs Way 50 last spring, I was constantly taking it off, cooling down, putting it back on and so on. Quite frustrating whilst wearing a race vest.
The Odlo jacket hits that perfect balance when it is too cold for just a waterproof jacket and yet the body temperature may fluctuate dependent on effort.
What is key here is how distinctly this has been designed for running. The material is incredibly flexible and adapts to the bodies movement. The fabric is Primaloft which offers excellent wind-proofing, although isn’t waterproof throughout. It is highly breathable with the front and sleeves being shower proof, but the back and underams being a mesh fabric to allow breathability and for airflow to allow sweat to absorb and run off.
There is only one pocket, by the right hand and this features a small hole for headphones to run from a device in the pocket and up through the jacket. In addition, the sleeves pull down over the hands so you can wear without gloves on a cold day and these have thumb hooks to stop the sleeves flapping. They are also elasticated so can be rolled up too, when you warm up.
Finally, there is even a gap on the sleeves where you can position this over your watch so you can see detail without having to adjust the sleeves. It is just all very well though through.
At £150 RRP it is not the cheapest jacket on the market, but offers so much that it can be used in a variety of conditions. It will be my go to jacket for training runs in the cold when heavy rain isn’t forecast, for when I head to the alps to train in a couple of weeks and also for the night leg of summer UK ultras when I know I will be slowing down and need something more flexible than a base layer and warmer than a waterproof.
It also goes without saying that with a full length zip at the front, it is very easy to regulate the temperature and being as lightweight as it is, when I have warmed up and had it completely open, it doesn’t drag when fully opened.
You can find out more and buy the jacket here