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Interview with Kentaro, a heavy user of the MERINO AIR HOODY, about its versatility

Kentaro explains how he uses his MERINO AIR HOODY.

  • Photograph:Nobuhiko Tanabe
  • Text:HERENESS

The cold weather is in full swing and the air is even clearer. In exchange for the bitter cold, the clear scenery makes physical exertion more enjoyable.

HERENESS' MERINO AIR HOODY〉 is truly a wool knit that is useful for winter running and climbing high altitude mountains. The main feature of this item is that it has two contradictory functions: warmth retention and breathability. The unique three-dimensional structure of the knit accumulates dead air and keeps the wearer warm despite its thinness. The knit's unique breathability ensures that you will not feel stuffy during exercise.

As we are entering the season when HERENESS' "runnable wool knitwear" is at its best, we asked one of our real users to appear on the show. Kentaro, who is well-known for his podcast "Replicant.fm," shared his impressions and actual wearing scenes with us. The program, which is updated every Monday, invites a variety of guests and has a reputation for real talk on a wide range of topics from a unique perspective, winning the hearts of many listeners. He enjoys various outdoor activities such as road running, biking, and trail running, and has been using "MERINO AIR HOODY" since its first release.

Everyday Life with Running

Running is a part of Kentaro's daily life. His encounter with running coincided with the start of the podcast.

I started road running in 2018 when I was invited to the OMM LITE, which was a lot of fun, and I was encouraged to say, 'You must be a gifted runner. I was so excited that I was asked to join the OMM LITE and was encouraged to do it. At the end of that year, another friend invited me to run a full marathon. I thought I should train for my first full marathon. So I started running regularly. After about six months of training, I was able to break 4 hours for my first full, so I decided to train a little more seriously. In the next Itabashi City Marathon, I ran 3:30. There is a time to grow, isn't there (laughs)?

In the pursuit of race results, Kentaro's "running practice" was ignited. At this time, posts on social networking sites with the phrase "#Running Practice" spawned original products, and the community became a cult of popularity. Kentaro's topics of interest expanded from his pre-Road Run involvement in bicycle culture, such as pisto bikes and road bikes, to his newly started trail runs.

Commitment to Gear 

Kentaro's passion for gear is so strong that he is involved in producing his own apparel. When making or buying clothing to support his activities, he has a special preference that cannot be ignored.

「When I choose gear, my main concern is that it not smell. Running clothes inevitably smell of sweat when worn over and over again, and I often spend a lot of time wearing them when biking. In this respect, since I learned about the anti-odor performance of merino wool, I have come to choose merino whether I buy it or make it myself.

HERENESS' MERINO AIR HOODY is made of merino wool and hits all the points I like. The thumbholes that wrap around the arms and the neck that eliminates the need to carry a neck warmer make it an itchy piece of clothing. I also like the design that is not too sporty.」

Polyester has the moisture absorption and quick-drying properties necessary for sportswear, but it has a weakness: it tends to smell. Natural wool, which overcomes this odor, captivated Kentaro, who has a selective eye. The quality of merino wool, the most important material for HERENESS, which is particular about comfort, seemed to satisfy Kentaro.

Versatility of the MERINO AIR HOODY

Kentaro has used the MERINO AIR HOODY in a variety of situations, proving that it is highly versatile. We asked him about his favorite points and actual usage scenarios, which may be helpful for those who are considering purchasing or already own a MERINO AIR HOODY.

When I run, I wear another merino wool T-shirt ( SMOOTH WOOL T-SHIRT) underneath. When it's windy, I layer a shell over it to keep the dead air in and the warmth of the wool. If I take the shell off, the knit weave releases moisture at once, so I never get stuffy. It's been cold in the mornings lately, so I've been wearing one of these shells until I warm up

「When I ride my bicycle, I wear a balaclava because it provides wind protection. Of course I will check the weather before heading out. Temperature, wind, and mountain elevation will be taken into consideration when deciding on clothing and personal belongings. If I switch activities during the day, or in the mountains where temperature changes are unpredictable, a wool mid-layer gives me peace of mind.」

They also commented on the textures of the weave and the slim silhouette of the design, which allows for everyday use.

「These days I run for the simple reason that it feels good and is fun. When I first started, I did a lot of training to push myself to improve my times, but I have gradually shifted to a more relaxed style of running. The design of the jerseys fits me now because I can use them on a daily basis without feeling uncomfortable stopping somewhere after a ride. Dinner after a ride is more natural and less problematic than going out in a jersey. It's very versatile, and it's really convenient to have one!」

When running in cold weather, one piece of clothing can make all the difference in comfort. We hope that the MERINO AIR HOODY, which offers both heat retention and breathability, will continue to support those who enjoy running as a tool for warming the body from the core.

〈Wearing Items List〉

MERINO AIR HOODY(MEN) ¥19,800(taxin) Size:S
LIGHT STRETCH PACKABLE JACKET(MEN) ¥17,600(taxin) Size:M
Econyl®︎ LONG TIGHTS(MEN) ¥9,900(taxin) Size:S
FOCUS CAP ¥6,600(taxin)Size:Free

【model:168cm】