Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items that we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about.
As a former NCAA athlete in volleyball and basketball, I practically have a degree in hoodies and sweatpants. For my four years in undergrad, I wore them nearly constantly: to the gym, to the cafeteria, to class (sorry, Mom). And though it’s been some time since I’ve stepped back on the court in any serious way, my love for sweats hasn’t waned. In fact, during the pandemic—when WFH has meant WIS (work in sweats)—you could say it’s only grown. It was with great excitement, then, that I discovered what I’m calling my game-changing go-to: the Champion Reverse Weave StormShell Fleece.
Unlike a majority of hoodies, which are typically made from heavy cotton or polyester that dampens twice as fast as it dries, this one stays cozy. Part of that is its construction: Made up of three layers—the first, brushed with polyurethane for water repellency, a second windproof barrier, and a third with Thermolite heat retention technology—the hoodie has the functionality of an outerwear jacket but looks like something your cool friend picked up an an athleisure store in Daikanyama, a densely packed Tokyo neighborhood known for its trendy boutiques. Perhaps not coincidentally, the fleece was developed, tested, and trialed in Japan by Champion’s C-Lab Design Team.
The garment also has other thoughtful design touches that make wearing it just seem easy: a zip-up scuba collar that keeps your neck warm, a lengthy side-zip that lets you take the fleece off with ease, and a three-panel hood with drawcords that you can secure tight around your face and release by pressing hidden welded locks. My favorite feature, though, might be the roomy side pockets, which zip close with a satisfying zzzzzzip and also have an inner slip pocket for your phone. “A pocket in a pocket?!” my six-year-old nephew shouted, after shoving his hand through to test the softness of the hoodie. (My sister just took one look at it and said, simply: “I covet.”)
Launched in late October, the Reverse Weave StormShell Fleece is available in two styles (an anorak hoodie and a full-zip hoodie) and two colors (black and oxford heather gray). I currently own the anorak hoodie in black, and have taken to wearing it in all manner of occasions: for walks around my Oregon neighborhood, picking up pumpkins from a nearby farm, and sitting outside for dinner as temperatures dip into the low 50s. Given all the questions and comments I’ve received about my hoodie, though, I have no doubt I’ll need another one soon—I don’t trust my nephew.
Buy Now: Reverse Weave StormShell Fleece anorak, $175, champion.com
Buy Now: Reverse Weave StormShell Fleece full-zip hoodie, $150, champion.com