On Tuesday, January 24th, KontrolFreek announced a new line of apparel: Performance Gaming Wear. The new brand features two products: the Icon Performance Gaming Hoodie and the Icon Performance Gaming Shorts.
The peripheral market for esports has always been one of the strongest components of the industry–between gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, monitors, and chairs, there’s always more gear out there, and all of it is tugging at your wallet.
That being said, I’d never really thought to myself that I needed clothes specifically for gaming–at least, not in the same way that one needs “gym clothes.” Pants? Always optional. Shirt? I’m cool with whatever. Socks? Depends on the season.
Is KontrolFreek’s Performance Gaming Wear worth it? I spent a weekend wearing the hoodie and shorts while I played games, and I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s start with the shorts.
Performance Gaming Shorts
Full disclosure: I laughed when I read the words “Performance Gaming Shorts.” Outside of a short-lived experimentation with DDR, I’ve never really felt like I needed to move my legs much when I’m gaming. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
And then I remembered about “swamp ass.” It’s an unpleasant term to describe an unpleasant feeling–one you’ve almost certainly experienced during marathon gaming session. For presumably obvious reasons, KontrolFreek doesn’t talk about “swamp ass” anywhere on the site, but the shorts are eminently breathable. That’s the main focus, and it’s a wise choice. The shorts are made out of a material that feels like a more resilient version of UnderArmour, and they’re relentlessly comfortable.
KontrolFreek have included some sizable pockets and “DryV Fabric Panels” on the side, which I’ve decided to think of as racing stripes. Speaking of appearances, KontrolFreek’s gaming shorts are entirely inoffensive–they could pass for basketball shorts to the casual viewer, and while they might not get you an interview with a fashion blogger, there’s nothing gaudy or ostentatious about them.
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I’ll be blunt: if you’re gaming a lot, you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting. And the longer you sit, the grosser you get. Swamp ass is a fact of life. And after playing five games of Dota in a row with the heat in my apartment cranked up to the mid-80s, I was delighted to confirm that the Performance Gaming Shorts passed the test with flying colors.
Performance Gaming Hoodie
The second part of KontrolFreek’s inaugural venture into the apparel world was another surprisingly functional surprise. While the shorts could perhaps be passed over in favor of ‘regular’ workout clothes, the Icon Performance Gaming Wear hoodie is a more unique offering.
The material is sleek, and KontrolFreek’s promise of “maximum cooling” is far from empty–the hoodie is breathable, and while I’ve never considered ventilation to be a necessary feature of my clothing, the Performance Gaming Hoodie feels like your torso is surrounded by an invisible fan running on low.
It’s a comfortable piece of clothing, and I grew quite fond of it during the weekend–if you had to choose between picking up the shorts or the hoodie, go for the hoodie. Your arm movement is completely unrestricted, and the fabric helps keep your body at a comfortable temperature–never too cold, never too hot.
Gaming Clothes: Worth It?
Here’s the truth: buying gaming clothes won’t make you better at gaming. KontrolFreek know this. You know this. Everyone should know this. But in a world of often disappointing hardware and lackluster peripherals, the Performance Gaming Wear line passes the most important test of product design: KontrolFreek gave me something I didn’t know I wanted until I had it.
If you want to order your own gaming clothes from KontrolFreek, check out their store.
Esports Edition was provided with a review unit of the products by KontrolFreek. As with all of our game and hardware reviews, our opinions are our own and this article reflects our experiences with the product. Please review our Ethics Policy for more information.