Nike Element Half Zip Running Top Review

Not only is this top incredible for running, it’s so cozy and warm for an everyday layer. I wish all my clothes felt this soft! I’m glad that “athleisure” is in style so I can wear this top running errands and out and about, in general. I like that this top doesn’t scream running top.
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I bought my Nike Element Half Zip literally three days before the Richmond Marathon, to wear for the Richmond Marathon. Mike doubted this decision. I admit that it was a bit risky to wear something for the first time during a marathon, but my other running tops were either too warm or not warm enough. With the polar vortex predicted for the Richmond Marathon, I realized that a t-shirt or tank top with arm warmers (2013’s outfit) wouldn’t cut it. I also realized that my Nike thermal hoodie and other cold-weather tops would be way too heavy and warm for a marathon. The Nike Element Half Zip seemed to offer the perfect warmth.

I planned to just wear the Nike Element Half Zip for the marathon but made a last minute change in the parking lot by the start line, which turned out to be a very good call. The temperature at the start line was 27 degrees (AH) so I decided to wear my Lululemon Run Swiftly short-sleeve crew neck underneath. Mike woke up marathon morning, regretting his clothing options, realizing he’d be either too warm or too cold. Luckily Matt had brought his Nike Element Half Zip (planned to wear post-marathon as athleisure), so loaned his to Mike to wear for the marathon. So Mike and I were both wearing Nike Element Half Zips for the first time…. Matt was also wearing a jacket for the first time that he had bought just two days before.

Matching Nike Element tops

Matching Nike Element tops

So why is this shirt so amazing? First of all, I love the half zip on long-sleeve running tops. A zipper really helps regulate body temperature while running. It’s amazing what a difference unzipping the collar can make when you start to get warm. Also, I like how it comes up on my neck a bit since once my neck gets cold, my seasonal asthma kicks in and I have trouble breathing and cough a lot (I did wear a turtle fur neck warmer for about half the marathon, as well).

Neck warmer layer to my Nike Element Half Zip

Neck warmer layer to my Nike Element Half Zip

The long sleeves cover your hands and have thumbholes for an extra snug and cozy fit. I hate when my wrist is exposed between my shirt and gloves – long sleeves with thumbholes make a huge difference, in my opinion! When I got warm during the marathon, I took my gloves off (step one), then after a little while, I took my thumbs out of the top and push the sleeves to my wrist (step two). Again, this top offers options for regulating your body temperature, especially important over 26.2 miles.

Some other things I love:
– The colors. This top (for both men and women) comes in a variety of colors! I had trouble choosing between the two shades of pink.

Loved the hot pink but thought it might not be as versatile as the other

Loved the hot pink but thought it might not be as versatile as the other

– The flattering fit. I think this top is just tight enough. I actually sized down for a tighter fit since I don’t like loose tops when running in races. I’d definitely recommend trying on before purchasing to get the right fit for you. Though snug, this top isn’t clingy, resulting in a flattering and smooth fit. It flares slightly at the bottom which makes your waist looks smaller too and didn’t ride up at all during the marathon.

– The soft, dri-fit material. Did I mention the softness already!? It’s by far the coziest running top I own. I want a Nike Element blanket. The dri-fit material is excellent, wicking sweat away and keeping me dry and comfortable for the entire race.

– Reflective elements. Important, especially for cold-weather running when it’s typically darker out.

– How light it is! At first, I really wasn’t sure if it would keep me warm enough. It’s so lightweight, especially compared to my other cold weather running tops! I was pleasantly surprised at how warm it actually is. IMG_3692

Basically, I can’t say enough good things about this shirt. At $65, the top isn’t too pricey for what you get and can often be found on sale (Macy’s, City Sports, etc.). I found the Richmond Marathon tough to dress for this year. I knew I’d be really cold at the beginning but how would I feel after 2 hours, after 3 hours? This top offered the perfect solution. I was able to layer another shirt underneath and adjust my body temperature by unzipping the neck (and rezipping when running into the wind!) and pushing the sleeves up.

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