On the Trail: Terrible T’s | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Terrible T’s

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

I just picked up my race packet for the Golden Leaf Half Marathon and couldn’t help but feel disappointment. Crud, I thought, the race T-shirt, a standard for nearly any race of distance, was once again crappy.

This one is much like most other race T-shirts ” it’s white with a big logo right in the middle. Sure, I might wear it on an early-morning run, or I might use it for a bike rag.

If you took 100 race T-shirts and evaluated them for style, there might be a single one that would be cool enough to be worn on a normal weekend day.

Race T-shirts don’t need to be lame. Further, I would contend that nonlame race T-shirts would actually be worn by people and would serve as far better advertising than lame ones.

Here are some things that would help:

– First, make it usable. The first condition for a T-shirt should be that it not go into the bottom of a drawer or into the rag bin upon arrival at home. One thing that would help with that is to skip the cotton. I know cotton is cheaper but at least out here, there’s only about three months where a cotton shirt can be used for running. Go for the polypro.

– Second, consider design. The best example of a good cotton race T-shirt this year was the one for the Snowmass Trail Trifecta. It was understated and simple, with blue sleeves and a white center. Good stuff.

– Third, try a new color. Really, for those who run races, we’ve had enough of the white. Try something ” anything ” different. The best example this year was the Ride for the Cure; they busted out hot pink jerseys (with an extra point for usability).

– Fourth, rock the silkscreen if you must. Some would argue that things like polypro and design considerations lead to a higher-priced T-shirt, cutting back on the profit of putting on a race. The organizer of the Mount Sopris Run-off has come up with a good way of making the right number of shirts: He contracts someone to silkscreens on the day of the race. No waste is nice and it helped lead ” at least this year ” to a more interesting shirt.

In summation, making a lame white T-shirt is the same as dumping cotton in the toilet. At least try to make someone’s favorite shirt. Otherwise, people will just use it to clean their bike before next year’s Ride for the Cure.