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New inov-8 STORMSHELL: is it improved?

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Tuesday 5th September 2017
We’ve been using the inov-8 STORMSHELL jacket for a while now at Run247 and it’s been a great companion on those rainy but mild days. It’s a good balance of weight and protection and we’ve found it a really comfortable, handy and effective jacket on everything from mountains to road. It had a few slight drawbacks, but nothing too major, and when inov-8 brought out a new version I have to be really honest and say I thought it would be just the usual revamp of ‘new colours for 2017’. However, it turns out I was wrong. 
Let’s start with what we liked about the original STORMSHELL:
It was light (140g), very packable (it has its own stuff sack it packs into), nicely breathable but waterproof. It had a decent-sized hood, a good pocket, elasticated cuffs to keep the rain out, thumb loops, a very nice fit and even though it’s very light you just feel very well protected in it.
Here’s what we didn’t like about it:
I never really got on with the wired hood. It was a pain when you packed it up and I found it didn’t really stay on my head in the wind unless I zipped the zipper right up, then I’d get too hot. I wasn’t that keen on the fact it was a half zip (i.e. you pull it over your head to put it on) either. It made it a bit of a pain to take on and off quickly on a run. It was also a little bit swooshy on the run (you know how some jackets just make noise?). 

The original STORMSHELL (left) and the new one (right)

Inov-8 sent us the new STORMSHELL to see how it compared. Here’s what we found: 
- the first thing I noticed was the material. The outer is a pertex shield which is incredibly light and soft. It looks like it couldn’t possibly be waterproof but it is (to 20,000 HH) and, like the first STORMSHELL, it has taped seams so it will pass mandatory kit check. 
- the hood is much better. It’s now a bit more minimal and it’s elasticated with just a tiny bit of (much thinner) wire. I’ve found this much more snug on my head, much more comfortable and, most importantly, it stays on in the wind! 
- it now has a full length zip and a press stud at the top, so that you can open the zip up to keep cool on a big ascent but keep the jacket on to keep the rain off. 
- they’ve kept the good stuff. There’s still a good pocket (which the jacket now packs away into), the cuffs (and now the hem) are elasticated and snug, it’s still incredibly light, with a great fit. 
Essentially, they’ve taken a good jacket and made some real improvements to it. I wondered whether this was due to feedback from the market so I asked inov-8. They sent me a response almost immediately. Their product and marketing director, Michael Price, said: “As with all our products we listen to all feedback, including that from our running ambassadors across the world, and work hard to continually improve the design and performance of shoes, clothing and equipment. The AT/C STORMSHELL has proven to be a very successful product but rather than rest on our laurels, we took on board all the feedback regarding fit, usability and of course performance, made changes to the design and have come back with what we believe is the best lightweight waterproof running jacket on the market.”
To find out more about the inov-8 STORMSHELL go to www.inov-8.com

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