'Arc’teryx’s foray into activewear is surprisingly affordable and unsurprisingly high-quality. These could be my new go-to’s.'
Fabric & Comfort
Design & Fit
Sustainability & Price
Uber lightweight fabric
Next-to-skin fit
High-stretch fabric held belongings in place during a run, with no awkward drag-down
Quick drying and didn’t show up sweat patches (even the lighter coloured tights)
Durable and so far, pill proof
Environmentally conscious materials and construction
The light-coloured fabric did tend to show up any dimples in your skin – though the dark fabric was fine
While I loved the fabric, I could imagine it may lose its stretch a little over time

Just as keen for a run as she is the post-run caffeine hit, we had a sneaking suspicion We Are Explorers’ crew member Anna was wearing activewear on all of her work Zoom calls, so we decided there’d be no one better to test out Arc’teryx’s new Essent range in and out of the office.


Whether it’s a weekend out exploring, an after-work run, a morning yoga sesh, or my 9-5 business-up-top, gym-gear-underneath attire – they were right – I am unashamedly one of those girls who lives in her activewear. As such, I’ve been through them all – from the cheapest to the bougie-est and I’ve learned spending money does not always equal quality or comfort. 

When Arc’teryx asked me to put their latest Essent range to the test I was keen to see where they fit on the spectrum and exactly how they stacked up. I put the Essent High-Rise Legging, the Essent High-Rise Short, and the Soria Long Line Bra to the test – here’s what I thought.


Fabric & Comfort

From the moment I unpacked the parcel from Arc’teryx, the fabric was the first thing I noticed. At between 120-175g (shorts vs tights), this gear is really light – to give you an idea, 120g is almost half a small 8-ounce coffee, or a small hamster.  

I live in Queensland, and the insane humidity means it doesn’t take much effort to work up a sweat, so quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics that don’t weigh you down are high on my list of necessities. 

While I’m sure it’s not on most people’s list, I also like my activewear to work just as well in the water as it does on land – post-run swim for the win! It also happened to be a surefire way to put the range’s quick-dry claims to the test, and these did not disappoint.

After a run and a rock-hopping adventure through Yuraygir National Park, I indulged in a mid-way ocean swim – dry before I’d even returned, these were superior to any in my collection. 

With a high elastane content, both the tights and shorts offer incredible stretch with surprisingly minimal show-through, and actually feel a little like a really lightweight swimming costume.

Boasting a next-to-skin fit, these really do feel like you’re wearing nothing at all – cue Flanders’ butt wiggle. The bra was uber comfortable, though it wasn’t my favourite of the pieces as I found the double-lined fabric, while incredibly supportive, a little heavy for the Queensland conditions.



Over the course of the last few weeks, these were undoubtedly the most worn three items in my wardrobe. My trial also happened to coincide with a couple of weeks of living out of the back of my car. 

From hikes and post-run dips in the ocean to washing them in the bathroom sink and drying them across the back seat of my car – these were well and truly put to the explorer test, and lived to tell the tale*. 

Made for everything from trail runs to mountain climbing, the nylon elastane knit is highly abrasion resistant. These babies were tough and handled the pressure of an adventurer’s lifestyle with pure class, with not a single pull, pill, or fade in sight. 



* It’s not recommended to subject your gear to as poor conditions as this writer did.

Design & Fit

Pockets are likely the most underrated design feature in any item of clothing, but Arc’teryx is all over it, decking out the Essent tights and shorts with not one, not two, but three pockets – a large thigh pocket on both sides, and handy above-bum pocket for all your essentials. 




The high-stretch fabric also held my belongings in place extremely well during a run, with little to no movement or awkward drag-down – phew. I’m also told the thigh pockets are perfectly placed just below a climbing harness’ leg loops. 

Second to pockets, a high-rise fit is a must for me, and this thick waistband was made for comfort and holding everything firm. The 8″ length of the shorts was just the right amount of coverage and stayed exactly where it was supposed to be, with no riding up or sliding down in sight.



The fabric on the Soria Long Line Bra was a fair bit heavier than the shorts and tights, offering a much tighter and more rigid fit – which was a winner all-round. The design offered a much higher neckline than I’m used to, but when paired with the cross-over back design was extremely comfortable and supportive. If there was a downside to the bra, it would be a slight amount of roll-up along the bottom hem, this wasn’t noticeable during exercise so for me wasn’t a major issue but may cause discomfort on longer day hikes. 

Of all three items, the bra would have been my least favourite. While the fabric was the same as the tights, the elastic underband felt cheaper and less durable than the rest of the piece – after a few wears, I did notice slight pilling on the elastic, though as it’s on the inside it wouldn’t sway me from rebuying.


Sustainability & Price

Arc’teryx’s Essent range uses certified bluesign-approved materials – in case that means as little to you as it did to me, I did a little research and it’s another big win for the range. The bluesign certification means that the products are not only safe for the environment, but also for workers and consumers, with harsh, dangerous chemicals replaced with safer and environmentally better alternatives. 



Arc’teryx says its gear is ‘designed for the long run’, pursuing a model of circularity, reusing materials and products, as part of its path to net zero. While it’s not there yet, I reckon that’s an ethos I can be happy about supporting. 

Sitting between $60-$130 the price point is on par with other good quality activewear and on the more affordable side for Arc’teryx gear.

Having worn most of the activewear competition, to me, it far exceeds them in value, comfort, fit, and sustainability.

There’s no denying there are cheaper options around, but I’d sooner fork out to buy these ‘for the long run’. 


The Arc’teryx Essent Leggings, shorts and Sports Bra –Review, dog

Final thoughts

Having worn these – to yoga, running, swimming, clambering through national parks, and coffee dates and meetings in between – it’s safe to say I’ve put the Essent range through more than most would in three weeks, and yet the fabric is yet to show even the tiniest hint of wear.

The colour hasn’t faded or stretched and considering I’ve swum in both the ocean and chlorinated pools, I’m impressed. 

After a few weeks of, admittedly, overuse, these have earned a place at the top of my favourite activewear brand list. I haven’t hesitated in recommending both the shorts and tights to friends already – pointing out the multiple pockets in the process, of course.


Anna was provided with the Essent range by Arc’teryx and was allowed to keep it afterwards. She was allowed to say whatever the heck she wanted about it!