Sweated & Vetted: Hero Sport

Hero Sport was launched this past spring by Parsons Design School alum, Nima Taherzadeh. The male counterpart to his women’s activewear line, Heroine Sport, which he launched in 2015, Hero Sport is comprised of US-made basics like sweats, tees, and shorts, with retail prices that range from $75 to $225. According to Taherzadeh, both brands “embody high-fashion sensibility with a sporty attitude.” As he explained in an interview with Fashercise, “I saw a niche I wanted to fill… There was nothing in the marketplace that offered truly fashionable performance clothing.” Hero Sport sent me a pair of Training Shorts and a Racing Tank to wear-test and review for Sweated & Vetted. Overall, I think Hero Sport has accomplished the goals they’ve set for themselves, even though some of their design choices don’t quite align with my preferences when it comes to workout wear.

The Racing Tank is made from a soft, stretchy 90/10 poly/spandex blend, and has a laser-perforated reflective strip sewn down the center of the back. The shirt stays cool and wicks well in hot, humid conditions, and I found the reflective element to be both functional and attractive. The quality of construction is very high, with double-stitched seams throughout. And, overall, I really like how the shirt is understated without being dull. FYI, for those who don’t like tanks, the company also makes a t-shirt with a similar cut in the same fabric.

After multiple washes (cold water and hung to dry), my size medium measures 14” across the shoulders, 20” across the chest, and 26” in body length. At 6’2″, the relatively short body length is a bit of a problem for me. Especially because the front and rear hem are curved, so the side seams actually end above my belt line. Also, the shoulders are wide enough that the shirt fits more like a sleeveless tee than a true tank or singlet. Personally, I would prefer narrower shoulders and a longer body. But, the Spring / Summer 2016 lookbook shows short-fitting shirts on all of the models, so I think Taherzadeh and I probably just have different ideas about how a workout shirt should fit.

The Training Shorts are made from a four-way stretch 92/8 poly/elastane blend, and have an even stretchier interior liner of unknown fabric. Like the Racing Tank, the shorts have reflective elements integrated neatly into the design, with a double-sided stripe down each hip and a small reflective Hero Sport logo on the left leg. The fabric stretched enough to never feel binding or restrictive, and the interior liner was comfortable with no chafing, even on long runs. The shorts have two hip pockets that are deep enough to hold cash or a card, and no rear or interior pockets.

I had two quibbles with the shorts. First, the drawstring is capped with square metal aglets that would repeatedly bounce against my crotch during runs, And second, while the fabric has plenty of stretch, it’s also loud and swishy, which I found distracting. I like for my clothes to essentially disappear while I’m working out, and these shorts did not. As for the fit, the size medium shorts I tested measure 14” across the waist, and have a 12.5” front rise, 8” inseam, and 11” the leg openings. For those who prefer a shorter inseam, there are the 5” Fitness Shorts, which have many of the same details.

Overall, Hero Sport (and its sister-brand Heroine Sport) are the closest thing to a genuine, US-manufactured fashion / activewear crossover. The aesthetic is well-defined, and the quality is high, but I found some of the specific design details to be less than ideal. Regardless, I’m interested to see how the brand develops in future seasons.

Jason Brozek is an ultramarathon runner, lapsed Ironman triathlete, and professor at a small liberal arts college, where he teaches courses on sustainability and international politics.