Ladies (and gents), hold up, sit down, and watch this HUMBLE. parody if you haven’t yet. If it’s lost on you, refresh yourself first with the original Kendrick Lamar version, so you can get the full appreciation.
Like Mikayla Gatto, I’m sick and tired of the shrink-it-and-pink-it m.o. the outdoor industry takes when creating women’s active apparel. There is so much laden sexism tied up in that idea alone that, combined with the announcement of the first-ever International Women’s Mountain Bike Day (which is tomorrow!!!), I decided it was time to honor some of the brands who are getting it right (even if there is still some room for improvement).
For the Roadie
Hands down my favorite pair of bibs is the Giro Base Liner Halter Bib Short (MSRP: $100 for the Chrono Sport, $150 for the Expert). It is so, so, SO much harder to discreetly pee on the side of the road when you’re a gal. This halter bib is such a game changer, especially if you’re like me and don’t necessarily want to pull a George Costanza every time you need to tinkle.
If the idea of having something around your neck bothers you (understandably so), my other go-to is a pair of Starlight Custom Apparel Black Bibs. At $40, you really can’t get much more bang for your buck (and they’re based in Roanoke, Va., so go local!).
On top, I’ve been digging the Pearl iZUMi Select Escape Texture Jersey (MSRP: $65). The fact that pink and/or baby blue aren’t even options gets Pearl iZUMi some serious brownie points, but the fit is really what does it for me. Relaxed but with an attractive cut, this jersey isn’t a full zip, which gives it more of a casual look. Even so, with two back pockets, this jersey can definitely hold its own on big days in the saddle.
Finally, you’d be hard-pressed to attend a group ride or a race in this region without seeing someone rocking a pair of Ridge Supply‘s iconic mountainscape socks (MSRP: $15). As one of those weirdos who likes to show off her socks (as opposed to wearing no-show-slipper-POS that fall off the heel every step you take), I love how Ridge Supply offers a variety of color schemes and designs that speak to any rider’s style. Plus, the socks are made from recycled resources in our backyard of Cedar Point, N.C. Hard not to love any of that.
For the Gnar-lerina
Giro’s Roust 3/4 Jersey (MSRP: $70) is my new favorite top. I’m pretty pasty, and I tend to unintentionally shoulder check trees from time to time, so I appreciate the extra coverage for multiple reasons. The loose fit keeps it cool even when the sun’s out in full force, while the designs give just enough of a feminine touch that I feel like I’m not just wearing my boyfriend’s hand-me-downs.
Mostly known for their impressive fleet of paddling helmets, Sweet Protection is taking the deep dive into the world of mountain biking, and so far, I’m impressed. Their Hunter Shorts (MSRP: $129.99) are everything you’d ever want in a pair of baggies — lightweight, breathable, durable, all packaged together in a surprisingly flattering cut. There’s an adjustable waistline, too, which means you can really dial in your shorts to fit your unique shape. I will say that at 5’4, the shorts fell right at that awkward bend behind my knee whenever I was on the bike, which could be uncomfortable once the pit of sweaty despair descends upon us later this summer. Just something to keep in mind if you prefer an above-the-knee length for your shorts.
As for protection, the 2018 lineup of G-Form Pro-X elbow and knee pads are the best quality for the price (MSRP: $59.99 for knee, $49.99 for elbow). They’re incredibly light, easy to clean, and comfortable to wear for long rides (even up around the mid-thigh area). Even with the moisture-wicking material and the technical mesh in the back though, the only downside to these pads is that they’re hot. Maybe in 2019 G-Form will surprise us with a swanky mesh pad made for the sweltering summers of the South…