Sharkskin Review – by Dog Musgrave

Product Reviews   |   Sep 10, 2013

Like most Obstacle Racers, I just hit the course for a bit of fun.  I do lots of them, but I am incredibly average and just to finish upright is the goal.  I don’t spend hours at a gym or bootcamp working on my fitness or strength or endurance, but might head along to bootcamp at the beach once or twice a week.  I go for the occasional run with friends or my dogs at about the same frequency, and might go and play on some obstacles at a kid’s playground once or twice a month to hone my meagre skills.

Therefore, when I hit any obstacle course I don’t mind being a bit comfortable out there – and with Winter just done this is where Sharkskins come in.

If you are crazy enough to run in the snow like a Spartan you go for it – but if you don’t mind being a tad comfortable like Dog on the right then take a look at Sharkskins.

Most obstacle racing types will be quite familiar with compression gear.  Sharkskins are kind of halfway between those and a wetsuit, made of lycra but with a fleece lining on the inside to keep the warmth trapped and not leeching off into the mud and water.  Many athletes from kayakers and stand up paddleboarders through to adventure racers have all discovered the benefits of Sharkskins, and we jumped at the chance to see how they would fare in obstacle racing for the average obstacle racer.

The first outing was at True Grit Brisbane on 13th July where I wore just the bottoms.  This proved somewhat fortuitous as the first obstacle was sloshing down a creek for about 300m.  Some parts were shallow, some parts were slightly deeper, and there were many cries of ‘oh shit this is cold!” but I was as warm as a very warm thing in my Sharkskins.  Conversely, I never found them too warm throughout the 10km course, and towards the end of the race when there was a dam crossing to be done I found my upper torso screaming in ice-cream pain whilst my legs and lower torso where quite pleasant.

The second hit-out for the Sharkskins was at the Winter Warrior Challenge, the only snow-bound obstacle race in Australia.  Again the Sharkskins proved their worth and kept me comfortable and warm against the 5 degree temperatures throughout the 2 hours and 50 minutes it took me and my friends to plod around the course.  This time I wore both the bottom and the top, and although I also had aSharkskins beanie on before the race to keep my noggin warm I did take this off at the 1km mark as it was a bit warm.  Other than that the Sharkskins kept my body temperature regulated well, and I never felt like I was overheating.  Perhaps a hardcore athlete who goes hell for leather would have sweated it up a bit too much in them, but for a plodder they were ideal.

One thing that has impressed me about the Sharkskins is their durability.  When I first looked into them I thought they would be prone to tearing and shredding whilst climbing walls or cargo nets, or whilst crawling along the ground and through tunnels.  I am pleased to say that despite the punishment inflicted upon them at both True Grit and the Winter Warrior Challenge they have held up very well, and although they have a few scuff marks there is no major wear or tear issues.

Would I wear Sharkskins at a Summer race?  Definitely not.  I am pretty sure if I wore them to a warmer event like the Sydney Mud Run last December that was held in 35+ degree temperatures I would roast, but this is not what Sharkskins are designed for.  But as I also enjoy paddling and watersports they will probably be used in other ways over once the cold has been banished for another year.

So all in all, Sharkskins are great if you are a casual obstacle racer who feels the cold.  They are tough enough to handle the punishment we Obstacle Racers throw at them, and will keep you warm whilst racing or training next Winter

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