Remember that awesome running dress I saw in Boston that made me want to get a running dress? Well, do I have a review for you! As some of you know, I have some issues with running skirts/dresses. It's hard for me to embrace since it often seems to be looking girly purely for the sake of looking girly. I eventually tried a running skirt when it was on super sale at Target and all of sudden I realized - hey, running skirts are actually pretty comfortable! It's fun to run wearing a skirt sometimes. Maybe because it's different. Maybe because it's fun to have something swishing about. This gave me hope when I saw the dress at Boston. I also like a quote from the book of one of my heroes, Kathrine Switzer. When she started running, there weren't women's cut shorts and she ended up mostly racing in a tennis dress since men's shorts were not made for women's hips and thighs. Anyway, her thought was something along the line of 'here we are inventing our own sport, why should we have to conform to what the men wear?' Indeed. Why not have fun with what you wear?
First off, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I contacted the creators of Nuu-Muu about how excited I was to find them and they gave me a dress for reviewing. But I think you all know that if I hated it, I would be honest about that!
A little about the company first: Nuu-Muu is created by Christine Nienstedt when she wanted to make a fun dress that worked for running as well as every day. It had to be comfortable, functional, and something she wanted to wear after running. She teamed up with Ashley Fullenwider. They support non-profit organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of women and girls and I love their motto:
So I chose my dress style (the Ruu-Muu, which comes with a pocket in the back) and design (Fruit Punch, since that's the one that made me so happy before Boston). I diligently took my measurements for the dress size which put me in low Medium for bust, high Large for hip, and Large for waist. Hm. Well, I didn't want my dress to be tight across the hips and butt and uncomfortable to move in so I went with a Large. This ended up being a mistake as a Large was WAY too big - saggy in the armpits and several inches could be folded in back in order to make it fit. A bit frustrating since by the measurements they have I was solidly in Large except for the bust however, Nuu-Muu is good about returns. Their customer service is fantastic and it was a piece of cake to mail back my big Ruu and exchange it for the next size down.
My second package came and behold! A perfect fit! I was worried about a Medium being too small because of the measurements on the website but it's not tight or uncomfortable at all. No seams anywhere that rub funny. The armpits don't hang strange like a lot of things do on me (clothes companies just assume I have more up top than I do). The tag is sewn on the outside so nothing there to rub weird.
The first test was not actually a run but wearing it around on top of jeans. See - Ruus (and Nuus, too) don't have any built in undergarments. No annoying shelf bra (I have lots of hate for those) and no compression tights or liner underwear. This means you can wear whatever works for you underneath it and makes it easy to be a walking around tunic just as easy as a running/biking dress. You might notice the word tunic there . . . . That's because it's rather short for someone who's 5'11" and that's probably my only negative about it. I won't be going shortsless unless I'm by myself on a trail where I'm not likely to find other people or maybe with someone who would only be allowed to run in front of me. This makes me a little sad since, honestly, I was very excited about the ease of peeing in a dress while running trail!
So there it is in jeans and here's a shot of the back, showing you the pocket. You don't feel the pocket when it's empty. If something's in there, it does feel a little weird but just because a person isn't used to a hanging weight there. It doesn't interfere with anything or rub:
I got my dress in mid-May. This being Minnesota, I have since been able to run in it and wear it in all sorts of weather. Cold, hot, rain, sun, knee deep puddles. No snow, thankfully. My Ruu is great for most all weather so far. It doesn't get super heavy and weighed down in rain, which I was worried about. I've used it running with my dogs and while it doesn't hike up with with the leash around my waist, there is something on the leash that catches at it so the fabric pulled out a little. Happily, it's not noticeable but I'll have to figure out the sharp spot before I wear the dress with the dogs again.
My Ruu doesn't ride funny when wearing a pack - which I was worried about. The longest I've run in the Ruu in one go was about three hours. During that time, the straps lined up right and I didn't have to fuss about with adjusting every ten feet and it didn't bunch strange under the pack.
Bare shoulders are great for cooling and it's easy to throw a t-shirt or long sleeve over the top of the Ruu to work with layers. I'm not a huge fan of running in it in gross heat/humidity, though - the fabric is just a bit heavier than I would like for hot weather and I prefer running in just a sport bra on top when it's hot. However, the Ruu is great in terms of sweating or being wet - it doesn't show sweat at all which, as someone who sweats like a pig, I appreciate. This is also good for rain storms and nixes the whole "my sport bra is wet and now just that area of my shirt is wet" problem. This is also a fabulous thing if it's being worn as a swimsuit coverup post swim. I love my Ruu for water. It's good for wearing over a swimsuit if you're, say, floating down the Yellowstone River:
Ruus are also great for biking. I actually like it better than a shirt, depending on how/where I'm riding, because it won't ride up on me on fast downhills (of course, take "fast" with a grain of salt, there, remembering that I'm a runner and not a road biker).
So! I've worn it on it's own, with normal underwear, tri-shorts, my old DRC racing shorts (my favorite so far), a swimsuit, and jeans. I've worn it running, biking, driving, floating down a river, running through a sprinkler, and just walking around. Perhaps the best indication of how much I like it - I'm in process of figuring out which pattern will be my second Ruu. Three cheers to Nuu-Muu for creating a comfortable and fun running dress that even I like and aren't embarrassed to wear.