REVIEW: USWE Pace 8 Running Vest
You’ve seen them on every serious runner on Strava. You’ve seen them on every “serious” runner on Instagram. Running vests. If you have one, you know what the hype is all about, if you don’t, well here’s the 10 second pitch–sometimes you need to carry stuff on your run. The running vest is like a backpack that distributes the weight better and doesn’t bounce around.
I’m definitely a believer in the power of a good running vest so I was very happy to test out the new Pace 8 Running Vest from the excellent Swedish active-sport pack company USWE (pronounced Yoo-Swee!).
Fit (5) ★★★★★
This thing does not bounce around! If USWE could be said to hyper-obsessed with one thing it would be making their packs 100% Bounce Free. I’m serious, they have a whole page dedicated to their NDM technology. And what does NDM stand for? No Dancing Monkey! And honestly I have to say it works perfectly. I’ve been able to get other brands’ vests pretty snug, but they aren’t nearly as form-fitting and require quite a bit of strap adjustment to achieve a similar result. USWE nails this element.
Design (5) ★★★★★
The Pace 8 is a really well-designed piece of equipment. For such a small piece of clothing it took me a surprising amount of time to discover all of the thoughtful features built in. From a safety whistle to the energy gel pouches in the shoulders. The 3 pouches on the back were particularly well-designed. One pouch zips at the bottom so you can actually grab stuff out without having to take off the vest. Another zips at the side and the top pouch (which holds the optional 1.5L bladder) has internal straps that thread up to your shoulders so that as you drink, you can compress the bladder so it doesn’t bounce and slosh around.
Comfort (4) ★★★★
Like I mentioned in the Fit section, this vest is really well designed to hug your body. If you compare the shape of the USWE vs. other brands this one is clearly better designed to fit the shape of the human body. Unfortunately I had to knock it down to 4 stars because I don’t love the mesh they use for the inner lining. It’s softer than it looks in the photos and it let’s a lot of air through but the trade off is that you’ll need to take extra precautions to avoid chafed nips. The texture really started to rub ‘em raw after about mile 6 every time I went out. Overall I love this vest so I guess I’ll just invest in a box of bandaids or some BodyGlide.
Capacity (5) ★★★★★
I really liked the extra storage in the Pace 8 and the option to use either a 1.5L bladder in back or two 500ml Hydrapak Softflasks up front. If you want maximum breathability and would be fine with just two front flasks then you may prefer the Pace 2. It’s a bit lighter with less full fabric in the back. It just has 2L of storage rather than 8.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!