Sorry for such an obvious title. But what else could I call a post all about bamboo activewear by a certain company named BAM?
I’ve talked about them before, numerous times, but just to clarify; I am not an affiliate nor did I receive any form of encouragement or incentive or compensation from them for writing positive reviews. I’m just a bit obsessed with their stuff. [Note: since writing this post, they have sent me a range of products from their new collection so that I could give them my feedback and/or review it online, but I was under no obligation to provide said review.]
As well as providing me with some items to try out on top of the range I had already bought myself over the course of a few months, BAM have kindly offered my readers a 15% discount code!
You’re probably familiar by now with the ethical advantages of bamboo fibre as opposed to cotton or synthetics (it grows quickly and easily, uses less water, has a higher yield per given area than cotton, isn’t made from fossil fuels, produces more oxygen). However, I did come across this article suggesting that bamboo may not be as ethical as we think due to the necessary use of harmful chemicals to extract the viscose from the bamboo grass. I did a little more clicking around online and concluded that it was a case of the lesser of two evils.
Just to be sure, I did email BAM to ask about their ethical commitments; after all, it’s not just about the impact on the environment or on non-human animals, but also on human welfare and social responsibility. They replied quickly with a friendly email pointing me to their Frequently Asked Questions page which mainly deals with concerns around ethics and product efficacy.
- The manufacturing process does have its drawbacks, but bamboo remains a more sustainable crop and fabric than cotton
- Advances are being made in finding more environmentally-friendly processing methods for bamboo
- BAM use the most environmentally-friendly dyes they can
- BAM are committed to ensuring that the highest of human rights and labour welfare standards are upheld in their factories
Of course, I have no way of verifying any of the above but in all of my interactions with BAM, I have come to believe that they are committed to ensuring that their company promotes higher standards in every way it can. They are honest and open about difficulties (such as the necessity of caustic soda in the fibre extraction process), and about the processes they are going through to overcome them.
Either way, we are fairly selfish creatures by nature so, eco-friendly or not, what do you get out of this?
Ok, first, it’s super soft and comfortable. It is quick-drying and moisture-wicking, and naturally anti-bacterial. So all-round, it’s ideal for training but also great when you’re out and about either on a warm day, or on a cold day when you’re layered up.
- Claims about bamboo’s moisture-wicking, antibacterial, and UV protective properties have all been supported by testing in an independent laboratory
- Claims about keeping warm in warm weather and keeping cool in cool weather have not been scientifically tested, but have been made through anecdotal observation and by logical extension from the fabric’s properties
I now own a number of their items, as does Ben and various members of our families. Out of everything we own, only a couple of items haven’t been a total hit.
– Women’s Bamboo Trainer Sock: Luxuriously cushioned yet breathable and so far showing little signs of wear. No slippage which is a huge bonus! A little bunchy around the toes so may be an issue for those with slim feet.
– Women’s 4 Pack Sock (Wide Stripe and Thin Stripe): Awesome colours and perfect fit, soft and breathable, can’t fault these!
– Women’s Roll Top Sock Contrast Active: Lightly padded but still light and cool. Love the contrasting colours!
– Women’s Active Sock: Lightly padded with a flat elasticated band at the top. They stay up and look sleek, but I personally prefer the other ranges of socks.
– Men’s & Women’s Bamboo Trainer Sock: “Really, really good. Well padded, fit nicely, don’t slip – I was so confident in their performance that I ran my first half marathon in them (as well as the boxer shorts)!” (from Ben)
– Men’s Set of 4 Socks: “Good, I like them – I have no complaints about any of their socks.” (from a slightly-tired-of-answering-questions-about-socks Ben)
– Women’s Bamboo Classic Brief: Surprisingly flattering and sit incredibly well, without riding or slipping, and create barely any underwear lines.
– Men’s Bamboo Branded Boxers: “Immediately comfortable and fit well, look quite stylish. Stitching around the band on the first pair came loose but the other five pairs have been fine.” (from Ben)
– Women’s Bamboo Long Sleeve Baselayer: Incredibly flattering and comfortable with its slightly longer length than your average baselayer, and its side panelling that helps it sit tight without twisting or riding up. A perfect long sleeve top all round.
– Women’s Bamboo Sunblaze SS Baselayer: Another perfect fit, with contrasting trim and a half-zip to adjust coolness and fit around the neck. Lovely top to train in.
– Women’s BAM Enduro Full Length Leggings: These would be perfect for running outside in cold weather! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to wear these as much as I would have liked to as they are very warm and I don’t train outdoors, and I’m poised to throw them in my bag the day the gym gets too cold for capris. Super comfy and flattering thick waistband, but I found that wearing them on the hips did result in a bit of crotch slippage (for want of a more technical term). Not a major issue as I just hiked them up and folded the top back down. Long in the leg but I don’t mind a bit of bunching around the ankle. None of the nasty see-through shine that you get from traditional lycra tights.
– Women’s BAM Enduro 3/4 Length Leggings: “Very pleasant thick fabric with good elasticity and resilience – they don’t go baggy at the knees for example – but too warm for summer. Have worn to gym and washed several times and they have not budged – keep their shape, no pilling… As far as the cut and fit are concerned, just right.” (from Mum)
T-shirts and Polo shirts
– Men’s Bamboo Handstand T: Ben prefers the feel of the Performance T to the Handstand T, but prefers the fit of the Handstand T. (personally, I can’t see a difference in the fit!)
– Men’s Bamboo Performance T: I’d also like to point out that even as a much smaller individual than Ben, and a female, this t-shirt actually didn’t look ridiculous on me when I forgot a spare t-shirt at the gym and had to wear Ben’s… I didn’t want to take it off when I got home!
– Men’s Bamboo Classic Polo: I think these look great on Ben and he confirms that they are super comfortable, but says they have stretched a bit in the wash.
– Women’s Bamboo Sweat Pants: The only item that hasn’t really worked for me. Even then, they are incredibly comfortable, super soft, warm and cosy, with a lovely wide waistband. Perfect for slipping on over a pair of running tights or shorts to warm up or cool down in (or, in my case, for working in on colder days). Unfortunately, they were too short in the leg for me, but BAM have informed me that they will be offering two leg lengths in future! Hooray! I will be reordering these in a longer length as soon as they come out.
– Women’s Bamboo Funnel Neck Sweat: Absolutely perfect! Fits like a glove (snug fit though so order a size or two up if you like them baggy), warm and soft, and with no bulky hood to get in the way of a coat or jacket. I love the contrasting lining and thick drawstring too – it’s the little things that count.
– Women’s Bamboo Sundowner Hoody: From last season’s collection, this is a lovely light summer hoody perfect for layering or scrunching up small in a bag just in case. Unfortunately the open neckline didn’t quite work for me so much, but it is nice to have something different.
– I also have last season’s Sundowner Hoody Dress, no longer on the website, but which I suppose would be similar in cut to the Bamboo Hoody Dress now available. The style is perfect, feminine yet practical and perfect for layering. I have my eye on those new season hoody dresses, which look a bit thicker and warmer, with the cute button and pocket details – love the teal colour too!
Besides the leg length on the Women’s Sweat Pants, I had only one other piece of less positive feedback to give BAM and that is that the stitching has a tendency to come loose on some of their items. Not in a totally unravelling, self-destroying way, but just the odd loose thread on a cuff here, or on a trim there. I emailed BAM my comments and they replied:
“… we have commented back to the factories ref the stitching possible issue. This was done very soon after the production so the follow up / top up and moving forward should be no issue.”
I trust that there will be no further issue with the stitching, but even if there were, I would continue buying these products – at least for myself – as it hasn’t affected the overall quality. I already have a list of all the stuff I want on my next order… been eyeing up the Long Line Sweat Top and basically all of their long sleeve tops.
And that is pretty much everything I can tell you about BAM! Please do get in touch with me if you have any questions, or feel free to reach out directly to them as they are always willing to help.
If you like what you’ve read and seen, BAM have kindly offered my readers a 15% discount on your orders – just select your items and enter code GEF (for Great Expectations Fitness) at the checkout! I’d also advise you to sign up for their newsletter where they frequently announce deals and promotions. I hope you love your new purchases, I’d love to hear what you think!