IMPORTANT: Before purchasing any cooling vest or cooling technology, ActiveMSers recommends reading our detailed Cooling Vest Buying Guide, a comprehensive look at the different types of cooling options available, complete with plusses and minuses of each type. Also read our exclusive Cooling Vest Shootout, which featured an exhaustive battery of tests, from controlled (77 degrees in A/C) to hot (sunny 98 degrees) to real world (worn in typical situations). These tests have been instrumental in us reshaping our recommendations. We highly recommend the FROS-T shirts and bras, but other cooling vests and technologies may be better suited for your individual situation.
Ultra-lightweight evaporative clothing works well on many levels
Upsides: + Extremely lightweight, will not get heavy when wet + It looks great, just like regular clothing + Very affordable, no more expensive than other performance clothing + Compact, well suited for travel, no need for freezer Downsides: - It comes in black; good for stains, bad for heat - Does not last long in humid conditions - Must always have a way to access cold water for recharging - Women should purchase both the bra and shirt for max cooling
It cools... and it looks smokin' hot. The FROS-T Sports cooling shirt blends in with other performance apparel.
ActiveMSer Aliènne AJ Morrione, an avid triathlete with multiple sclerosis, extensively tested the newly release FROS-T Sports bra and sleeveless shirt. She subjected the cooling gear to a cornucopia of weather to see how well it would work (humid to dry, warm 80s to hot 90s). It was also field tested for effectiveness during swimming, biking, and running. The manufacturers claim the apparel’s sensors are 10-20 degrees cooler than outside temperature for up to 2 hours. Are they? Here are Aliènne’s findings. First off, the appearance of the FROS-T Sports bra and sleeveless shirt is not what I expected: black with white side panels, the only color available. Black, the hottest color one can wear, seemed like an odd choice for a cooling garment. The shirt is comprised of a very snug fitting mesh-like material, similar to “compression style” underclothes, however it is not uncomfortable. The white sides actually are quite slimming if you are concerned about wearing such a snug-fitting garment. There are “sensors” or little blue dots that are paper thin glued strategically into the fabric on both front and back. However, there are no sensors on the lower back of the shirt, presumably to prevent cooling of the kidneys. I went by their sizing chart and everything fit rather well and true to size. Test #1: Hot, Dry Weather I tried both the shirt and bra together and just the shirt alone with a standard sports bra for running in hot dry weather approximately 80-92 degrees with no humidity first. When wearing the shirt alone with a standard bra, I found that the cooling did indeed last quite a long time but needed to be recharged with cool water about 45 minutes into my run. However, you can not feel the sensors if they are not touching your skin, so my upper body did indeed overheat and the cooling effect was greatly diminished. I tried this again in the same conditions but with the bra underneath and yes, it felt like someone had a nice cool pack against me for most of the run. As soon as I became too warm, I recharged them with cool water, I was right as rain again. I was also amazed at how light this garment was and despite being a compression shirt it stretched beautifully and never felt constricting. It was exactly as described, cool, lightweight and easily rechargeable provided you have access to cold water. Test #2: Hot, Humid Weather Then I tried this in the same hot outside temperature but with very high humidity. Unfortunately the cooling only lasted about 10-20 minutes before the heat was unbearable. Once I recharged the gear by pouring ice cold water over them, they were back to working again, but I had to pour water every 10-15 minutes. I did find that any activity on a humid day is going to be a challenge unless there is ice cold, not cool, available. It was a bit of a pain to keep pouring but it was better than nothing at all. Test #3: Biking I also wore these items for my training bike rides. I tried riding with just the bra under my jersey and the bra and shirt sans jersey. Worked just the same as the run, perhaps even better with the constant breeze, but the black fabric I think made it a bit more uncomfortable since I was in the sun most of the day. Also, there are no pockets on the shirts so you will need to find some other way to carry your supplies. And of course the ability to have water for recharging the cool factor was a bit of a challenge, but we adjusted the route to include several places to stop for water. [Maybe freeze a Camelbak? – Dave] Test #4: Triathlon Last but not least, I tried both bra and shirt for triathlon. I had intended to race with it but alas, my immunosuppressant state prevented that as I came down with a fever two days before the race. Once I felt better, though, I went to the course and did a training triathlon on the same course as if I were racing. The conditions were 88 degrees, moderate humidity, flat bike and run, in direct sunlight. There was absolutely no drag in the water with the shirt and bra. I never wear a wetsuit because it makes me too hot and this was a nice change. It’s almost like swimming with nothing at all, better than a suit in fact. The bike leg was great because I had friends to hand me water, so I was always able to throw water on just like any other triathlon. I had one of the best bike rides I’ve done all season; it was like riding in a cool breeze. The run was just another repeat of above. I certainly can not imagine racing without this shirt/bra combo.
ActiveMSers Bottom Line
All in all, the FROS-T Sports cooling shirt and bra combo far exceeded any of my expectations and I will not train or race without it. It is ideal for racing since the recharging can be done several times on the course, as cold water is always available. It’s also far lighter than any cooling vest on the market and much more affordable. Plus it looks like regular clothing so no more people asking why you’re wearing that giant vest; you can just blend in with the crowd. At $45 for the shirt (available with or without sleeves) and $35 for the bra, this is a solid investment for anyone with multiple sclerosis who races triathlons or participates in outdoor sports. I intend to buy a few more and sew pockets on one so I can use it for my training rides. I will retire the ice vest for indoors only (although the FROS-T Sports gear works well indoors, too) and I will race with these items at Ironman Lake Placid 2011. Highly recommended!
Get the FROS-T Sports shirt with or without sleeves. One MSer, who could not get cold enough with AC alone, found that the shirt helped her complete her home workouts.
A look at the sports bra inside out so you can see the cooling sensors (normally hidden).
Chill out on runs, sailing expeditions, gym visits, bike rides, you name it. Even swim in it!
Members of ActiveMSers can save up to 20% on select cooling vests with reserved coupon codes. To get your discount, join today by signing upfor our newsletter. NOTE: ActiveMSers has negotiated these discounts and has no other affiliation with these companies and receives no compensation or commission of any kind. Vests were donated for testing purposes.