I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a bit of a rowing kit geek. I have strong views on what is OK and what is not when it comes to river attire, and will be the first to admit that I’m picky. So when Blue Heron – the new kid on the kit block – launched last year I was keen to find out if they would have something new to offer.
Happily I had a chance to find out for myself when Blue Heron kindly sent me one of their rowing suits – an all-in-one (or unisuit) to the likes of you or me – to try. And such is my commitment to all of you that not only did I try it out, I was even prepared to pose outside in it, on a freezing day. You can probably see the pain in my eyes (though that’s partly the after-effects of an erg test the night before).
So, what did I think? The Women’s Henley is an unashamedly high performance piece of kit. Light as a feather, with a mesh panel at the back, it is designed for people who work hard on the water and on the erg and is a really classy bit of sportswear.
Super-comfortable, I found nothing to chafe or irritate, and the detailing is superb. There’s a cute little zip at the front and – brilliantly – a rear pocket with a separate, zipped mini-pocket so you can keep your rings or keys safe and carry your water bottle. There’s a reflective stripe on the back and it has a water-repellent finish. The price tag reflects the quality – this all-in-one retails at an eye-watering £95, but if you have the budget for a luxury item it is a lovely piece of apparel.
It’s worth noting that it is not the most forgiving garment. Although there’s some flattering contouring, with grey side panels that make your waist look a little narrower, the combination of a dropped waist and white front panel means that it’s not one to wear on a fat day or straight after Christmas, and it might not be for you if you’re carrying too much spare. But this is aimed at the high performance market, where I’m guessing most people don’t have to worry about that kind of thing.
If you’re going to wear this it’s probably also a good idea to get hold of a nice, white sports bra. My black one meant I couldn’t quite do it justice, but don’t let that put you off.
The Women’s Henley is available from Blue Heron for £95 and comes in seven sizes, with three different height options. They make specific suits for both men and women and amply cater for tall people (real rowers) as well as midgets like me. Check out the Shorty, which has short sleeves, and the long-legged Winter, both of which have a touch of merino wool for warmth and breathability. Definitely worth a browse.
With thanks to Blue Heron.