Arc’teryx Women’s Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees

Helen's in-depth review of the trail running-specific Norvan running shorts and Taema tee, including key features, sizing tips, pros and cons.


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Now, you may already be familiar with Arc’teryx, or at least have seen some of this Canadian brand’s cool looking, premium priced gear and have been curious about how it performs and why Arc’teryx running gear is so popular, particularly among trail runners and runners who crave minimalist, lightweight gear.

Here at Trail & Kale we’ve been testing and reviewing Arc’teryx gear for years, including some of their most popular trail running shoes and clothes, such as the excellent Norvan Shell Jacket (a runner’s best friend when you need a high-end, trusty waterproof running jacket) and the rugged Sylan trail running shoes.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 1 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Arc’teryx women’s running apparel review | Trail & Kale Running Co.

In this review I’m shining the spotlight on some of Arc’teryx’s women’s running clothes, the Taema crew neck short sleeve running shirt and Norvan 5 inch running shorts, which, together with my Norvan Shell Jacket, make up a running outfit for the trails or roads.

Overview of Arc’teryx women’s running range

Before I get into the specifics of the Taema tee and Norvan shorts, it’s worth knowing that as well as this gear, Arc’teryx sells a complete range of running clothes, shoes and accessories, including hydration vests, the Norvan running belt, socks, waterproof pants and caps. So if you discover a love for the brand (and have the budget for it), you can actually dress top to toe in it for hitting the trails!

What does Arc’teryx Norvan mean?

In case you were wondering why so many Arc’teryx running shoes and gear hold the ‘Norvan’ name, that’s because all their gear, across the various mountain sports they cater to, is grouped into product families which share certain design characteristics. So, for the Norvan family, that means if you see that name on a product then it’s an item of high performance trail running gear for extended high output in challenging terrain.

Taema Short Sleeve Tee Review

First up in this review is the Taema short sleeve running tee.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 2 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Arc’teryx women’s Norvan and Taema running apparel

Like many of those more premium, yet understated items of running apparel, it’s one of those garments that looks and seems simple when you see it on their website or from a distance, and it’s only on seeing, touching and actually wearing it can you appreciate the quality and attention to detail that’s gone into designing and making it.

Key specifications

  • Cost: $70 at Arc’teryx
  • Size range: women’s XXS through XXL
  • Color options: Black, Blue, White plus other seasonal colors
  • Weight: 85g / 3oz
  • Intended use: running, hiking, fitness, gym

The Taema women’s SS tee is available in a wide range of sizes, from XXS through XXL, and it’s currently sold in several colors including black, white and the blue colorway I’m wearing in the photos throughout this review.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 3 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
The lightweight, technical fabric used to create the Taema tee has some stretch to it.

It’s made with soft, technical synthetic fiber that’s been engineered with a focus on ensuring breathability and freedom of movement as you run… or do anything sweaty. It’s not purely a running shirt, it’s a lightweight layer you could wear to the gym, hiking, or as a layer under warmer clothing for winter snowsports, for example.

The tee’s fabric, which is made in a Fair Trade factory with 80% recycled materials, also provides some UV protection – it’s UPF rated at 40+.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 4 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Fine, anti-chafe seams on this Arc’teryx women’s running shirt.

Other technical details to appreciate include the very small seams, designed to minimize risk of irritation, what the brand calls ‘articulated patterning’ for freedom of movement, and generally the fact that it’s very well cut in length, seam location and sleeve length, so you hardly notice you’re even wearing it as you run.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 5 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
The Women’s Arc’teryx Taema lightweight breathable tee is something you can wear for many activities other than running.

When it comes to sizing and fit, Arc’teryx sizing runs true to size. Being an athletic apparel brand, the tee, like their shorts and waterproof Norvan jacket, are athletic, or slim fitting, so while there is some stretch to it, it’s worth considering whether you want to size up if you need a little more room in the chest area, for example.

At $70, and like all Arc’teryx gear, the Taema women’s tee is premium priced, and for that price you’re getting an exceptionally well designed, quality item of clothing that will last you many miles and years of running without falling apart, stinking or getting out of shape, like we all know those cheaper running shirts tend to do.

Norvan Women’s Running Shorts Review

Moving on to the Arc’teryx Norvan 5-inch running shorts.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 6 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
Running in Arcteryx’s women’s running apparel

While they already look great from a distance, again, the key to appreciating their quality and reason for the premium price is to understand the finer details and thought that has gone into their creation.

Key specifications

  • Cost: $90 at Arc’teryx
  • Size range: women’s 00 through 16
  • Color options: Black, Blue
  • Weight: 80g / 2.8oz
  • Intended use: running, hiking, fitness, gym

On first impressions, these shorts are crazy-light. I mean, you basically don’t know they’re there. These shorts are made with a very thin, 100% recycled polyester fiber that provides a high degree of breathability, as well as a good amount of stretch.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 7 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
The women’s Arc’teryx Norvan running shorts are made with an ultra-thin, breathable recycled polyester material.

The women’s Norvan shorts are available in sizes 00 through 16, and, like the Taema tee, fit true to size.

Other notable features of these shorts include a wide, stretchy waistband and a small zippered pocket on the right side, which can be useful for small items such as a card and your key – but not your phone, you’d need to use a running belt or hydration pack to carry that with you on your runs.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 8 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
The wide, elasticated waistband and drawstring on my Arc’teryx 5 inch women’s Norvan running shorts

Like the tee, the shorts have been designed and cut in a thoughtful, flattering way, so they fit comfortably and also look great on.

Arc'teryx Women's Running Clothes Review: Norvan Shorts, Taema Tees 9 - Trail and Kale | Trail Running & Adventure
The side pocket on my Arc’teryx Norvan running shorts is zippered and will fit cards and a key, but not your phone.

However, it’s worth noting that these women’s running shorts do not include a built in underwear-style liner. That was a surprise to me, especially at this price, as the majority of women’s running shorts I’ve worn (and reviewed) have that built in, which saves you from wondering what underwear would be suitable to pair with the shorts for a low-sweat, comfortable running experience.

In case you are wondering just that, I recommend checking out Paradis Sport athletic running underwear. This is, for me, a winning pairing and also means the shorts don’t necessarily need a wash after every single run! You may find keeping underwear separate from the shorts in this way particularly appealing if you value extreme breathability in that area of your body. It also helps to minimize restriction of movement, as well as the risk of chafing.

Lastly, it’s also worth noting that these shorts are available in a 3 inch, as well as the 5 inch length. So the 3-inch are the ones to go for, if you like a shorter short.

Arc’teryx women’s trail running apparel review summary

Like all Arc’teryx running gear I’ve worn over the years, the Taema tee and Norvan shorts are some of the most lightweight, breathable and comfortable running apparel I’ve worn, and are a top choice for me especially on those longer trail runs and races in hot weather when I need to wear clothes that I can trust to perform and not distract me during the run.

Yes, they’re premium priced, and for that, you’re getting highly technical, durable running gear that should last for many years.

One of Trail & Kale's co-founders, a mom, and guardian of our resident trail dog, Kepler, Helen can be found trail running with Kepler and enjoying road runs with her mini in a jogging stroller, all while testing out the latest running gear for our readers.


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