You might look at me like I’m some sort of noob, but I’ve got to tell you:
I recently discovered the power of macro-counting.
No joke, it’s been 30 years, and I’ve been pretty consistent with my exercise for the past six or seven of those years. But I never thought to measure anything I’ve been doing—in the gym or in the kitchen. After cleaning up my diet, I dropped some excess pounds and started pushing myself in my workout routine.
And to make sure I look cool while doing it, I’ve been checking out new brands that specialize in gym and workout gear. I recently picked up a few items from WOLACO, the upstart NYC-based brand with a pared down selection of essential gear for getting fit.
Keep reading to get my full thoughts.
What Is WOLACO?
WOLACO stands for Way of Life Athletic Company. As you can imagine, it’s a brand for the guys who make it a point to get active every day.
You know, the dudes who eat barbell sandwiches. Your snack is whey protein powder. When you drink a beer, it gets logged in your macro-counting app.
Jokes aside, WOLACO makes compression and workout gear for men and women seriously devoted to their health and pushing their physical and mental limits.
The brand doesn’t have a massive selection, and that’s by design. When they release each new item, it’s been meticulously designed, planned, and tested. The business model is part philosophy, part necessity. The gym-apparel world is crowded, so a young brand like WOLACO can’t afford to fail on any of their products, which is why I was excited to give them a shot.
Things to Consider Before Buying
WOLACO isn’t your brand if you’re on a tight budget and you need a set of gym clothes to get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolution.
But they’re worth looking into if health and fitness is a cornerstone of your daily life. I mean, it’s in their name: Way of Life Athletic Company.
When you’ve been consistently pumping iron (or boxing, cycling—however you get your heartrate up), you know about the subtle psychological boost you get from putting on that best-fitting pair of gym shorts.
So if you have no problem investing in gear that gives you that little edge, you’re in the right place.
My Hands-On Review
I’ve been on the hunt for excellent workout shorts since the time I did a box jump with my bargain basement meshies and they practically fell around my ankles.
And what I didn’t realize is how much of a confidence boost a well-fitting pair of workout shorts actually gives me in the gym. I can hardly wait to hit the squat rack and look at my thighs in the mirror. Doesn’t get much more manly than that, huh?
The Warren Shorts have a few key features that I wanted to try out: the most important being the fabric.
They’re made with 79% Polyamide and 21% elastane, which has a lot more sweat wicking properties than the other premium workout shorts I’ve tried. They have a bit more of the “swoosh” factor, and they have plenty of four-way stretch.
I’ve also been loving the waterproof (read: sweatproof) side pocket, which is sealed with a storm-proof zipper. But it’s not only the zipper that repels water. The fabric on the inside of the pocket is different, too: fully waterproof.
I would wager that if I was on a run and fell into a pond (hey, it happens) my phone would stay dry in this pocket, so long as I didn’t spend time swimming around.
The Warren Shorts feature a gusseted crotch, which is necessary for those leg days when people are watching and you actually have to get low on your squat.
I’m a big fan of the fit and feel of these shorts. I picked mine up in the 7”, but a 9” is also available. Since it’s winter at the time of writing, I’ve been pairing my Warren shorts with the Fulton compression tights and the combo has made my evening runs much more pleasant.
You may not realize how much of a confidence boost a well-fitting pair of workout shorts actually gives you in the gym. Can't you hardly wait to hit the squat rack and look at your thighs in the mirror?
Highline Hoodie 5.0
The Highline Hoodie 5.0 is another winner for me. The fit is slim through the torso and has a flattering cut for my shoulders and chest.
It’s made with the same Micronylon and elastane blend as the Warren shorts, so it has all the sweat wicking, lightweight properties.
One of the coolest things I’ve found on the Highline is that the hood and pockets have a nylon lining, which acts as a nice heat trap when it gets chilly outside. I’m surprised at how much warmth the Highline can retain given how thin it is, but even in low 40-degree weather, I didn’t get the shivers.
My only gripe on the hoodie is the front right pocket placement. It’s a horizontal pocket, which makes getting your keys or cards easier, but it’s a bit awkward for my phone.
My phone is pretty large, so if I leave it in that front pocket and start running, it basically flaps up and down, hitting my hip. It’s not a big deal, but still a little distracting. Because of this, I keep my phone in my shorts pocket (that sweet waterproof pocket in the Warren, to be exact).
Otherwise, this hoodie has been crucial for the cold weather. I was previously wearing a 20-year old windbreaker that’s about three sizes too small. It was essentially a space-bag. I’m much more grateful to be wearing something that actually fits, and goes the extra mile to make me look good, too.
Fulton Full Length Compression Tights
Hey, my first pair of tights!
I decided to pick up a pair of compression leggings to figure out what every cool basketball player in the world knows that I don’t.
The Fulton Full Length Compression Tights feature a nice, thick two-inch waistband that doesn’t budge—not on runs, squats, box-jumps, nothing.
If one was so inclined, they could wear these tights solo, but I think you have to be ripped to pull it off, and that’s not me. Still, I’ve been wearing these under my Warren Shorts and I’m loving the extra protection against the wind and cold.
I’m curious to know how they perform in the hotter months, but for now they’re a mainstay through the fall and winter.
The Fulton has two water-resistant pockets: one on the right hip, and the other on the left thigh. These are big enough to fit my large Google Pixel 3XL, so they’ll fit your phone, too.
That said, I haven’t had much use for these pockets as I’ve always worn my compression tights with the Warren Shorts (I always wanted matching workout gear). It feels a bit awkward to reach up under my shorts to grab my phone, and since I’m always changing my music, it’s just easier to keep my phone accessible.
The compression on the Fulton is excellent. I haven’t had a chance to lift in them yet, but in my timed sprints, I was able to shave a full second off my personal record. Maybe it was the extra support, or maybe it’s just the psychological impact—either way, I’m not complaining.
The Fulton Full Length Compression Tights feature a nice, thick two-inch waistband that doesn’t budge---not on runs, squats, box-jumps, nothing.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
There aren’t many reviews around the web for WOLACO, which is part of the reason I wanted to write this. The best I could find was the brand’s individual product reviews on Amazon, which generally have roughly 50 reviews and all land somewhere between four and five stars.
If you’re anything like me, it can be a tough proposition to drop significant cash on gear without reading 20 or 30 crowdsourced reviews to get a good scope of what I’m actually getting.
So if you’re in that boat, I totally understand. I’ve been there, too. And I hope this review gives you better insight.
My Thoughts Overall
What I Like
Each item I tried strategically uses specialized fabrics to boost performance unlike any other brand I’ve tried (ex. the Highline Hoodie has a nylon liner in the hood to increase heat-retention).
The Fulton Compression Tights offer a lot of support, especially in the glutes, and have convenient pockets that allow them to be worn solo.
The Warren Shorts and Highline Hoodie each have a trim, modern fit. These pieces could easily double as chill, casual clothes if you have that athletic style.
What I Don’t Like
The products have premium pricing, so you need to have dedication to improving your fitness and health to make it worthwhile (though our exclusive discount helps).
Who is WOLACO for?
When was the last time you had a shake that was any flavor other than Oreo? If you have the faint smell of whey on your breath, you’re committed to smashing PR’s, and you take pride in your looks, WOLACO is a fantastic brand for you.
I’m a frugal guy, so the prospect of dropping serious coin on workout gear was daunting. But after trying out WOLACO, I’ve come around.
The brand has a clear dedication to improving your performance, whether you’re hitting the weights or going for a run.
The Warren Shorts are the big winner for me—the water-resistant pocket at the hip fits my phone perfectly and I don’t have to worry about it picking up moisture as I sweat myself silly. They have a slim, modern fit so you can get double use from them as a pair of casual shorts (if you’re going for that athletic aesthetic—don’t wear them on a date unless you’re going rock climbing).
I’m also impressed with the Highline Hoodie 5.0. Small details like the nylon lining in the hood for extra heat retention offer clues to just how much thought WOLACO puts into making their products the best they can.
As for the Fulton Compression Tights, they helped me beat my old sprint PR, so that’s all that really needs to be said. I’ve enjoyed wearing them in the winter, though I’m not sure I would ever wear them solo (without shorts on top).
WOLACO is an excellent brand for those who consider fitness an investment, and they’re not afraid to make their health a priority.
So the only question remains: is it your way of life?
Are WOLACO shorts good?
After trying the Warren Shorts from WOLACO, I’m impressed with the thoughtful construction. The water-resistant pocket with a storm-sealed zipper is awesome, and the shorts are lightweight and have tons of stretch.
Does WOLACO make compression shorts?
WOLACO makes two lengths of compression shorts: 5” and 7.5”. Take a look at the 5” if you want something that fits more like a pair of boxers, or the 7.5” if you want more thigh coverage.