What happens when a 20+ year veteran of Nike Innovation gets a chance to run his own athletic apparel company? Thanks to Stefan Olander stepping outside the Swoosh and working on ways to help people get fitter, we’re going to find out. The result of his journey? Omorpho Gravity Sportswear, an ambitious line of apparel products centered around the concept of MicroLoad.
What’s MicroLoad? It’s basically weighted clothing. But not heavily weighted and only weighted in the right places. Erin Feser, Omorpho’s Head of Science, wrote her thesis about microloading and its benefits. In her words, Omorpho Gravity Sportswear lets you “move normally under an appropriate stimulus” so you “load what’s moving.” For example, as your thighs swing forward while running you can feel the extra resistance of the weight, but it’s not enough weight to screw up your form. That allows you to participate in normal training without compromising your intensity or speed. And you’ll feel faster and lighter when you go back to your typical sportswear or uniform.
And though the science on microloads is new, the early returns are good. Sprinters see a 3% decrease in their times, vertical jumps increase up to 9%, power increases up to 8% and calories burned increase by up to 8%. Those are impressive numbers. With that kind of scientific basis, I had to find out how Omorpho Gravity Sportswear fit and whether I could feel the microloads doing their thing. Here’s my review:
- Microloading works
I’ll admit, I was skeptical. The G-Top short sleeve only weighs 1 pound 10 ounces and the G-Short 2-in-1 only weighs 1 pound 8 ounces. It doesn’t feel like much weight in hand. However, I felt the weight clearly as soon as I slipped on the shirt and shorts. It was pushing against my natural motions just enough that I could still move naturally. Every movement was just slightly harder. My heart rate was a little more elevated than it would normally be during similar exercises. I was a little more winded. And, the next day I felt just a touch more sore than I expected. Unequivocally, the concept of MicroLoad worked for me.
- Feel faster afterwards
And that’s not even mentioning the psychological and physical gains I got when I removed the clothing and went back to normal athletic apparel. I felt faster and fitter. I’m sure it was partly placebo effect but it was a damn nice effect regardless. Not having the extra weight, all four pounds of it lol, is a bigger benefit than it has any right to be. My body was happy to get back to normal and rewarded me for it.
- Great materials
The material mix Omorpho uses is notable. The tops are a super soft polyester and spandex mix. The shorts use the same soft polyester and spandex mix for the inner tight layer while using a super stretchy nylon and spandex mix for the woven outer short. It’s a super premium feel that’s surprisingly machine washable and dryer safe.
For a company to launch with this many options is impressive. On the men’s side, you can choose between a short sleeve shirt, sleeveless shirt, long sleeve shirt, tight, short and vest. On the women’s side, Omorpho has a long sleeve shirt, crop top, tank top, tight, biker short and vest. Each item also comes in three colors. Nice work by the company creating this type of selection from the jump.
- Look good, play good
Wearing Omorpho Gravity Sportswear makes you feel like a gladiator. Well, your mileage may vary on that but putting it on made me feel unbreakable. Like I was wearing armor and a secret weapon rolled into one. As someone interested in all things fitness, I can’t express how much fun it was to wear the microloaded apparel. One woman I know did say I looked ridiculous in Gravity Sportswear…but, you can’t please everybody. Most importantly, I felt AWESOME. And as most athletes know, when you feel confident, you play great.
This is more specific to the shirts. The bottoms fit perfect and the weight was not placed in any area that could cause chafing. But the tops, ouch. Wear an undershirt or you’ll end up like Andy Bernard in The Office’s Fun Run episode. In fairness, this is a problem with a lot of shirts across the athletic apparel industry. You can easily work around it with a tight compressive undershirt or sports bra. I imagine future iterations of Gravity Sportswear will tweak the pattern of weights around the chest/nipple area. The issue may even be solvable with a tighter, compression shirt version (which I hope is in the pipeline).
- Length of Shirts
So close. They just need about a half inch to an inch more length on the shirts. A separate tall version would also work. Why? Once you’ve got the microloads on your body without the bulk of a weight vest, all sorts of fun exercises are possible. But you need to tuck your shirt in when doing stuff like handstand pushups or hanging situps/crunches. Otherwise, the shirt bunches around your neck/shoulder area. Again, this is something that could be fixed with a compression shirt version. A small complaint, but something to be aware of before purchasing.
If you look at Omorpho as athletic apparel, the price is high. If you look at it more as workout equipment, the price is slightly more reasonable. $200 shorts and a $175 shirt will always get listed as a drawback…but, Omorpho is a super young company without any scale. Right now, the price is out of the range for most weekend warriors. But, due to the product’s nature and effectiveness, serious athletes wanting a training advantage and early adopting fitness enthusiasts won’t have a problem with the current price. Is the product worth the price? It depends on who you are.
Omorpho Gravity Sportswear Conclusion
I always get excited to test new, out of nowhere products like Omorpho Gravity Sportswear. Most of the time, the products disappoint. Omorpho, however, delivers a strong value prop. The MicroLoad concept is a winner. The materials, looks, physical benefits and psychological advantages all make this a product line and company I’m going to keep track of over the long term. They’ve got some places to improve, as all brands do, but they’re off to a great start. Omorpho has made something really cool and I’m excited to see it get into the hands of athletes all over the world.
Thanks to Omorpho for sending apparel to test. Omorpho was not given any editorial control of the review. This review is based on our weartesters’ experiences using the products across various athletic activities.