What can I say? I am a Tucson native and have grown up in the Southern Arizona sun! When I was a child, I played outside all day, everyday and sunscreen was not part of our daily routine at all! When I started college, I took notice of magazine articles and doctors recommending use of a daily moisturizer with sunscreen. They stated that it’s the daily exposure to the sun’s rays that causes premature aging (wrinkles), dark spots and skin cancer. I promptly bought my first bottle of Oil of Olay SPF15 and started wearing it daily.
My mother is extremely fair skinned and has had her share of dark and suspicious spots evaluated, biopsied, and removed. Luckily none of them have been malignant! She has never been one to spend a significant amount of time in the sun since she burns quite easily. In fact, she seeks shade or brings her own! I have observed and taken note of this throughout my lifetime knowing that I am one who enjoys living it up in the outdoors and having a bit of color (aka a tan!)! I love to run, surf, play at the beach, play sand volleyball and soccer…all under the sun! I do take precaution when I am outside. I always run with a hat, wear protective sunglasses when driving or outside, wear protective clothing or a wetsuit at the beach, and sunscreen when playing outdoors.
Now I’m in my 40’s and can see that so much of the damage has been done. Wrinkles, spots, freckles…check! Luckily nothing has had to be removed…yet! It’s inevitable living under the relentless desert sun that we love so much, as it gives us year round warmth and shine! What more can I do now to protect myself?
Well, along comes a wonderful group of people who also enjoy playing under the same hot, desert sun who decided to do something both sensible and stylish about it! One of the developers of Uvida Sportswear is a skin cancer surgeon who knows first hand the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. Like most people who live in Tucson, they enjoy playing tennis, golf, swimming, cycling & the scenic outdoors almost year round. They also realized that even though they were slathering on the sunscreen, they were still seeing the harmful effects of the sun.
Uvida tops come in a variety of beautiful colors and the fabric and fit are one of a kind! All are UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50+ to protect you from the sun’s damaging rays. The first thing you will notice about the shirt is the fabric! It seriously feels like silk…smooth and so soft! Once you slip it on you’ll see how comfortable the fit is! It is dry-wicking with flat seams that won’t chafe…trust me on this one! I’ve put these tops to the ultimate tests! They are fitted, yet have four way stretch woven into the fibers. The sleeves are long and can be stretched over the hands with a convenient thumb hole…who doesn’t love that? The neckline comes up high, but not in a choking or uncomfortable manner and they are available with or without a partial zip top. They are stretchy and have a lot of fabric, especially in the length, so you can also pull it down over a swimsuit for more sun protection and they are great for layering!
I received my first Uvida top last summer and immediately took it out on a run. It was monsoon season so the temperatures were hot and it was more humid than usual. Surprisingly the top didn’t feel too hot even though it was long sleeved and I was sweating. It didn’t feel or stay “wet” for long. It definitely passed with flying colors when it came to the dry wicking category!
Shortly after that, I ran a 50K, a double crossing of the Grand Canyon, two marathons, and two more 50K’s all in Uvida! This does not even include the countless training runs all around Tucson and the surrounding mountain ranges! I cannot say enough good things about this product!
First off, they are comfortable and have never, ever chafed my skin…anywhere! When I’m out hitting the trails or a race, I am out in the sun for hours! The last race I did was quite exposed to the sun as we climbed 6,000 feet up a mountain! It was hot, yet I was glad to be wearing my long sleeved Uvida top! I find it difficult to reapply sunscreen while running. Even if it is available at an aid station (which is not always the case) I’m frequently sweaty, salty, and in race mode. Have you ever tried applying sunscreen to sweaty/salty skin? It is gross. My legs are usually really dusty from running, so then I successfully make some type of mud compound on my legs. This makes me feel sweatier. Plus, if your hot and still sweating…does it really soak in? It tends to just run off and then my skin feels grosser and I usually get it into my eyes…hello burning and tears running down my face washing off what sunscreen was left.
When wearing Uvida, I’ve got my whole upper body covered, including my hands! I don’t have to worry about it! If the weather is cool, it keeps me warm and if the weather is hot, I try to keep it wet to keep me cooler. I must say that this can be a challenge as these shirts are so dry wicking!! In the heat, I usually carry a bandana that I soak in water when I can, whether at an aid station or creek to keep myself cool. I’ve learned to really wet the shirt down when I can so that I stay cooler for just a little longer. When I’m running in the cold, this feature is helpful since you don’t want to be running in a “wet from sweat” shirt that will only make you feel colder.
Taking care of these tops is a breeze. I wash mine in the washing machine in cold water and hang them to dry. They can be put in the dryer on low heat, but I’m just in the habit of hanging my favorite workout gear up to dry. Oh, and did I mention how fast this fabric dries?? Even after wearing these tops over and over on long runs, they have held up well. My first Uvida top looks as good as my newest one. I look at my workout gear as an investment, and I like it to hold up to tough workouts and still look and feel great! They also have proven to be stink proof…unless I leave it on too long after a tough run…but I think that’s just me.
I wear these tops often. Picking up the kids from school, running errands, out to lunch. They are so stylish and have such a great fit! I also can cover up my hands while driving which is nice. I’ve worn them to the beach, Legoland and Disneyland…places where you’ll have sun exposure all day!
In addition to being a great running top, they are also effective in both chlorine and salt water! I’ve taken mine to the pool for a swim and it felt great in the water. The extra fabric does create a little extra drag for swimming laps, but that’s not really a bad thing! It’s perfect for hanging out at the pool with the family! I haven’t worn mine in the ocean since I have wetsuits and thicker rash guards that keep me warm and protected at the beach. But, I have worn them running on the beach and hanging out at the beach with my kids! It’s perfect for that!
What don’t I care for when it comes to this product? Well, I am short, and sometimes I feel like there is too much fabric since it can get a little bunchy on the arms or the waist. However, you tall folks will love it! Since I use them mostly for running, I have some ideas on how to make it more runner-friendly. Maybe a little hidden key pocket at the waist or a slit in the fabric near the wrist where a GPS or watch would be worn would be nice. I have found that I have to wear my watch on the outside of the sleeve which solves the problem of trying to see my pace when I have it pulled down over my thumb. Of course, I have yet to remember to remove the watch from the outside of the sleeve before trying to take off the top! Hah! I also wonder if there could be less material over the palm of the hand for better grip on a club or racquet? Or to just keep a little cooler when running since this part doesn’t really need to be covered. Perhaps having a loop over the 3rd finger could be an option to keep the palm exposed and cooler while protecting the top of the hand from the sun.
Overall, I am so thankful for being able to try out this amazing product! To have a shirt that is so stylish and so versatile is awesome! I can wear it in the winter and it keeps me warm and in the summertime, I never feel too hot in it! The sun’s damaging rays are year round and I feel better about being outside and training hard if I’m a little more protected! Of course, nothing is a guarantee from preventing skin cancer, but these tops are certainly a step in the right direction! Be good & protect the skin that you’re in!
As a Uvida Ambassador I am provided with their sportswear, but I was in no way monetarily compensated to write this post. These products are also made in the USA! As always, my opinions are my own.
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