A rundown of the sun hoody, reversible tank, and shorts from the custom apparel company.
December 1, 2017 by Naomi Redmond and Zakk Mabrey in Review with 0 comments
Disclosure: Ultiworld was compensated for writing this product review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own and are not subject to approval from the sponsor. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Zone Ultimate.
After spending a week — possibly the hottest week of my life — in Royan for WCBU this summer, I, Naomi Redmond, would like to consider myself a sort of beach attire aficionado. Typically, less is more when the mercury rises and you’re set to spend a day seaside. But when you’re competing, you often can’t stick strictly to your bathing suit. Covering shoulders is a good move for anyone disciplined enough to commit. Wearing something loose-fitting and sweat-wicking is your best chance to avoid sand getting trapped everywhere, though any attempt on that front may ultimately be in vain. Either way, a quality kit can be the difference between going home in sunburned, dehydrated, chafed misery or… well, going home sunburned, dehydrated, and chafed — but a triumphant champion. Ah, beach ultimate.
Zone Ultimate is a rising apparel company coming out of Asia who have created a line of beach gear for ultimate players. They’re producing extremely affordable deals with screen-printing, sublimation, embroidery, and design on these, as well as gear for grass competition. With representatives in the US, Japan, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, this growing brand has gone global.
Zakk Mabrey and I had the chance to test out some of their gear for an Ultiworld review. We each received a sun hoody, shorts, and a tank top. Here’s what we thought about the feel, fit, versatility, and looks of each.
The material on this garment — Zone’s Velocity II weave — is lightweight and soft. It’s perfect for warming up in the morning, or tossing on once the sun has gone down. The material has a good amount of give without being elastic, and is light enough that it can be worn as an under-layer, an over-layer, or on its own.
I love that the sun hoody has nice, tight wrist cuffs, but still a relatively loose fit in the body. I find whenever I’m wearing a longsleeve, especially for a warm up, I hate thinking about pushing up my sleeves. The front pocket is also clutch for anyone who likes to warm up with music, or maybe if you need to have your phone and your wallet on you for pre or post-frisbee treats.
I think one of the biggest struggles with gendered cuts is that sometimes women don’t want something completely different from the typical men’s shape, but even the smallest unisex sizes are still too big. For example, sleeves are too baggy and get in the way of throwing, or jerseys are too long and need to be tucked in. Although Zone’s sun hoody is a ladies cut, it’s not shaped as much as other brands in the waist, so I still feel like I have space for another layer and a big lunch. It fit me perfectly in the shoulders and the arms, and as my first hooded long sleeve, I wasn’t disappointed. 10/10.
The hoody material was very comfortable and lightweight, but one of the first things I noticed was the sizing. The fit in my standard size was a little off — it was a bit tighter on my torso than I would have liked. The sizes seem to reflect the company’s Asian roots and I had to order one or two sizes up to make sure that I found the correct fit for me. Something to pay close attention to when ordering gear from Zone Ultimate.
I wore the hoody for the warmup to my workout on a day that it was about 90 degrees outside and it was fantastic. It did well keeping my body heat in as I warmed up, but I never felt overheated. When I got down into the sand, the hoody did a great job of wicking it away. At the end of the workout, I was able to get into my car after quickly wiping myself off and didn’t end up with massive amounts of sand left behind on my seat.
Although I am not a huge fan of the design I got — a sabertooth tiger over a red, orange, and yellow gradient — it does a great job of showing off what the Zone sublimation is capable of. The colors are bright and vibrant, and the transitions between them are seamless. With such a high number of colors in the design, I would expect some sections to blur together, but there are no mistakes or misprints — it looks great the whole way through.
Overall, the hoody is high quality and serves its purpose. It kept the sun off me without becoming so hot I overheated and it kept me from getting too sandy. I am very pleased with this product.
The reversible tank top was made from a slightly material as the sun hoody, though it was still super comfortable in favorable temperatures. But, it is double-layered. While this is great for the sublimation — since you don’t have to worry about colors bleeding or anything like that — it unfortunately makes the tanks run pretty hot and heavy when the sun is really beating down.
Like the sun hoody, the cut of the tank is really great for playing ultimate. The shoulder straps are wider than many other tanks, meaning they cover your shoulders well, helping big time with sun protection. Also great for coverage, the neckline is relatively high, almost like you’re wearing a regular crewneck. This reversible has a shorter length than any unisex one I’ve owned before, so I didn’t have to tuck it in. Just be aware that in general, it fits on the small side. Generic mesh reversibles are usually big enough that you can pop them on top of another layer;1 the cut on Zone’s didn’t really suit that purpose.
Overall, Zone’s reversible tank is a decent piece. But while it has a flattering cut and works well for playing, I probably wouldn’t include it in the rotation of ultimate clothes that have worked their way into my everyday wardrobe.
Let me just start by saying that tank tops aren’t really my style. But when playing on the beach, they are a staple, so I gave it a go.
The tank top material — this time the DriMesh — is very similar to that of the sun hoody: lightweight, breathable, and thin. It is high enough quality that it has held up well after a few washes. But the best thing about this material is it’s ability to keep sand off me. Unlike cotton, or other dry fit materials I have used for workouts in the past, I left the sand with almost none stuck to me. I’m very impressed by the material’s ability to prevent me from taking half of the beach with me to my car!
Again, the fit was different than I expected and a bit tight in the shoulders for me. I would really recommend consulting the sizing chart and chatting with a Zone representative before buying one of these to make sure you get what you need.
The tank had the same sabertooth tiger design as the sun hoody I received, and again the sublimation work is excellent. The colors really pop in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen many other brands replicate. I would really love to make my own design to have sublimated by Zone someday, as it looks like their high quality sublimation makes the design possibilities endless!
At the end of the day, this is a good tank top, but there’s not much special about it.
Ever since I started playing, long and baggy shorts were how baller players were identified. But shorter shorts are coming back into the women’s division and they’re all the rage. Super stretchy materials are out, and more structured cuts seem to be on the rise. Teams are adapting to a more soccer-style short type, which is especially conducive to running on the beach.
The lightweight material in Zone’s shorts — their NylonW fabric — is great at deflecting sand and keeps you cooler than most other ultimate shorts do. They also seem to be impervious to pilling and breakdown from sand wear. But they don’t have a ton of give, and may not be stretchy enough for breaking marks or for throwing low on windy beaches. In super hot temperatures, they got sticky and a little more restrictive.
Speaking of restricting movement, let’s talk about built-in underwear. Personally, I always wear compression shorts when I play, which I find especially important when trying to not get too intimate with sand. I know the built-in style is really popular in running shorts, but I’m not sure it’s ideal for ultimate — it really can be restrictive and might make you think twice about getting up too fast from that lay out. Can’t say this was my favorite element of Zone’s shorts, though apparently it’s optional.
One thing I did love was that these shorts have an elastic waistband, which is great because it means you don’t have dangling drawstrings prone to getting eaten by your laundry machine.
I think the cut and material of the shorts is really flattering and comfortable, but given some of the limitations, I would probably prefer to use them in cross-training and everyday wear2 over using them for ultimate.
Straight up, this is one of my favorite pairs of shorts that I have for ultimate. They are extremely lightweight — maybe the lightest pair of shorts I have — and very comfortable, making them barely noticeable. They are not in the way at all when I run, like some shorts are. The material has a perfect amount of stretch that makes movement easy.
More importantly for beach garments, though, the shorts kept sand away. Usually, when I work out in the sand, I come away from the day with pockets full of sand, and even more stuck to the outside of my shorts. But with the Zone shorts, that was not a problem. They wicked away sand, and all it took was a quick wipe to get all of the sand off of me at the end of the day!
In terms of looks, the shorts are pretty normal looking. The one thing to note is the “v” shaped slit at the bottom hem, which we haven’t seen a lot of from ultimate apparel companies. Some people are not a big fan of it, I don’t mind it.
The now standard caveat here: I had to get an XL to feel comfortable, when in most shorts I wear a medium. They were also a bit shorter than I generally prefer. Just be conscious of sizing.
With how easy they are to move in, I will likely wear them whether it is for beach or field play. I was very impressed with how well they wicked sand away, and now I use these shorts any time I am working out on the beach!
As was mentioned throughout this review, I found that everything fit a little small — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m used to most of my ultimate clothes not being form-fitting, but less material meant nothing was getting caught and everything actually was a lot more flattering.
All in all, this was some pretty sweet gear. I was especially impressed by the stitchwork on all three garments — the flat seams look like they’re going to survive a lot of wear-and-tear and there were no loose strings or pulls anywhere. Especially with sand as an incessant eroder, durable execution is key to any beach product’s success.
Naomi’s Overall Grade: A-
As you could have guessed, my biggest warning for this stuff is to make sure that you really look into the sizing chart before buying. I compared Zone’s stuff with another ultimate gear company’s sizing chart and it was a bit off with what I was used to or would expect. I had to size up considerably in the shorts, and while the hoody and tank top were both pretty tight in the shoulders for me, they were the correct size everywhere else.
Finally, I want to compliment the Zone staff. Robert, the North American regional rep, was very helpful at recommending sizes and talking about the materials. The delivery of the items was good, and very quick. I was happy with the customer service and the staff. Overall, this was a great experience with Zone Ultimate, and I’m going to be looking into their prices to consider doing team gear with them!
Zakk’s Overall Grade: A-