By Christopher Cudworth
Deborah Cape is an apt name for someone who perfected a super new way for women runners to cover that transitional time when the weather outside is too cool for a tank top but might warm up enough once you get on the move.
The type of garment she creates is called a “shrug” and is designed as activewear. But more than a few women may find it just as comfortable in other transitional climate situations, such as a too-cool office space or around the house.
A shrug above
The term “shrug” comes from the fact that the garment covers just the shoulders and arms, perfect for the warmup or cooldown session, but also great for keeping warm during the entire workout.
I know. Smart, right? The idea makes so much sense it almost jumps out at you once you see one. Like arm warmers for cyclists, the shrug is a tuckable and convertible garment yet highly wearable piece of fabric that women runners can grow to love.
“How about shrugs for men?” I asked Deborah during our interview about her products.
“Well,” she admits. “I wasn’t sure there was a market there as yet. But if there’s a demand then yes, we might do that.”
Her ingenuity got its first tweak a few years back when she saw other garments designed for temporary or transitional wear and began thinking about what runners need out there day to day, because Deborah is a runner.
One thinks of a shawl, for example, but a “running shawl” would blow in the wind. The shrug, as it was designed, is designed for sleek aerodynamics and transitional warmth, combined.
Once the idea was conceived, Deborah set about making the design. She cut out some fabric in the shape she thought was needed, then conceptualized with an actual clothing designer and finally a pattern and test garment was produced. Following a few tweaks for fit and flow, the Shrug from Urban Running Girl was born and ready to sell.
The website describes the many ways shrugs can come into play in daily life.
“You can wear it with your favorite t-shirt or tank top without adding an extra layer around your torso like a jacket or a long sleeve shirt will. When you’ve warmed up enough, it’s easy to take off and tie around your waist, and unlike a jacket it won’t weigh you down. A shrug has no zippers, buttons, or touch fasteners that may rub against leggings when tied around the waist, potentially damaging the material.”
Cool beings need shrugs
That all sounds pretty good, does it not? A shrug works like running tights for the shoulders and arms, where tension from cold or sudden chills can wreak havoc on muscles and tendons if you’re not wise about the chill.
Deborah notes that a shrug can also be worn during many other activities including cycling, yoga, warmups at the gym, dance or walking.
One wonders what the sporting world will do now that shrugs exist. Plaster logos on shrugs for athletes male and female? This is a garment begging for commercial uses. They might make interesting “team flair” for pro basketball players during warmups. Why not, those guys wear every other kind of whatzits now to warm up, compete and play.
The market for shrugs seems well on its way, Cape admits. “I’ve been told that NIKE has a product on the market that’s like a shrug, and it’s sold in pair with a tank top. But it’s much more expensive than my product of course,” Cape says. “And the Urban Running Girl product is a bit more practical. I designed mine with rollover cuffs so that you can cover your hands on really cool mornings.”
Deborah Cape’s goals for her product are perhaps a bit more modest than those of a global company like NIKE. She’ll be content knowing that women find her product comfortable, practical and purposeful. “I’ll like it if women are using my shrugs just to watch a movie–movie theaters get pretty cold!–or inventing their own purposes,” she says.
One starts to imagine other purposes for shrugs, such as sun protection during gardening or other outdoor activities. You really can’t shrug off any potential ideas with a product this novel.
On the move
Runners and cyclists will find shrugs easy to remove and either tie around the waist or stuff into a cycling shirt or fuel pack.
Urban Running Girl makes its shrugs out of tech fabric designed to wick moisture and stay comfortable in all kinds of conditions. Colors include Sky Blue, Black, Amethyst, Orange and Hot Pink, of course. And that last one’s a great idea for fund raising, wouldn’t you think?
Urban Running Girl Shrugs are $32.99 (Canada) when you order direct from the website at www.urbanrunningirl.com. Shrugs come in small, medium and large and chest sizes up to 38.