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Brooks Distance - Women's Review

This soft shirt is best suited to casual gym days, not your daily run
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Price:  $34 List | $20.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Soft fabric, affordable
Cons:  Fairly heavy, not very breathable, odd cut-out
Manufacturer:   Brooks
By Paige Klugherz ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 25, 2020
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 8
  • Comfort - 30% 5
  • Breathability - 30% 6
  • Drying Speed - 20% 7
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 5

Our Verdict

We were excited to try the Distance short-sleeve tee from Brooks, which is a force in the running shoe world, but were left disappointed by the odd styling and less than optimum performance. The cotton blend fabric is certainly soft and cozy, but it doesn't live up to what we expect from a hard-working running tee. It is fairly heavy, not quite breathable enough, and the triangular cut-out on the back at the nape of the neck proved to be irritating. If you're looking for a comfy shirt for a casual gym day or a top to throw on after a run, this could be it, but skip it for any serious outdoor running workouts.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The best feature of the Distance is its super soft fabric, but this tee is lacking in performance across the rest of our metrics. It's a comfy hang out shirt, but not our top pick for real running workouts.

Performance Comparison


We put the shirt to the test in the Bishop heat.
We put the shirt to the test in the Bishop heat.

Comfort


Comfort is key in running apparel, and while the fabric on this shirt is certainly soft, the fit lets us down in this category. There is a triangular-shaped cut-out on the back of the shirt at the base of the neck, and the top of this cut-out is spanned by a piece of binding in the same fabric as the shirt. Our testers found that this feature caused some odd pulling in the fit of the shirt, and it can rub uncomfortably when worn underneath a running vest — an absolute no-go for long days! Additionally, it's just a strange spot to have to remember to apply sunscreen. That said, we do like the length of the sleeves, found the sizing to be accurate, and the overall quality seems decent.

The cut-out looks a bit odd with most sports bras and can cause some rubbing underneath a running vest.
The cut-out looks a bit odd with most sports bras and can cause some rubbing underneath a running vest.

Breathability


Though the looseness of this shirt allows for some good airflow, the fabric itself doesn't feel that breathable when running. When weighed, it is heavier than most of the running shirts we test, and it isn't our top choice for heat.

The Distance tee is on the heavier side for running shirts.
The Distance tee is on the heavier side for running shirts.

Drying Speed


Drying speed is a metric we look at it because it plays a factor in both how quickly your sweat will wick away, as well as how quickly your shirt will dry if you're caught in a rain shower or if an alpine lake is calling your name. The Distance is a mid-pack performer when testing this feature. It dries faster than some other shirts that are a bit lighter, but not as quickly as shirts that are really aimed at running on trails or in the heat.

The front and back necklines are nearly the same  which resulted in an odd fit on our testers  and the seams run down the top of the shoulders  which can potentially cause rubbing over long distances or under a pack.
The front and back necklines are nearly the same, which resulted in an odd fit on our testers, and the seams run down the top of the shoulders, which can potentially cause rubbing over long distances or under a pack.

Features & Versatility


This is a simple shirt without many of the performance specific features we look for, such as a UPF rating or odor control. However, the softness and looseness of the Distance gives this a bit of versatility and would make it comfortable for activities such as yoga or indoor climbing. We'd probably skip this one when packing for any backcountry adventures, but it is a good gym-to-daily-life top.

The fabric of this shirt is very soft and looks like cotton  although it's actually a polyester blend. Here you can see the overlock seams and that the back hem dips slightly lower than the front.
The fabric of this shirt is very soft and looks like cotton, although it's actually a polyester blend. Here you can see the overlock seams and that the back hem dips slightly lower than the front.

Value


The price point of the Brooks shirt isn't at the top end of the spectrum of the shirts we test, but it does feel a bit expensive based on the fact that it isn't really a shirt we'd choose to run in. Without the running-specific features, it just feels like a casual top that you could also do an easy workout in. If you're looking for a high performer, there are other shirts we'd recommend investing in, and if you're on a tight budget, other cheaper shirts perform better than this one.

Conclusion


There are aspects of the Brooks Distance that we like, mainly the softness of the fabric, but it just isn't our pick for running. It's moderately breathable and dries decently quickly, but the issues with the cut-out that affect the fit and cause rubbing outweigh the pros. Wear this one to watch your favorite inspirational running film from the comfort of your couch or to do your post-run stretching, but it's not the best choice to log all your weekly miles.

We appreciate the reflective decal on the sleeve  but overall this shirt just doesn't have enough of the features we're looking for in a performance running tee.
We appreciate the reflective decal on the sleeve, but overall this shirt just doesn't have enough of the features we're looking for in a performance running tee.

Paige Klugherz