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OR Gear Roundup #7 – Clothes, shoes & shades that might just work for cyclists

kaden womens mountain bike clothing
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Most of the clothing at Outdoor Retailer was aimed at general (or sometimes very specific) outdoor activities. While familiar crossover brands like Chrome were present, we wanted to find the new stuff from brands you may not know. Like Kaden, a women’s mountain bike clothing line (shown above) that launched in Burlington, Vermont, in 2017. It was founded and is run by women, with all of the pieces designed by and for women, and it’s all made in the USA. With a collection ranging from casual to XC to enduro, they have tops and bottoms for any type of off-road riding you’re into.

Ultimate Direction

We’ve been seeing more and more riders using bibs or base layers with pockets and storage, so this pair of running tights from Ultimate Direction caught our eye. It has a center flap pocket for snacks, and integrates two flap-covered stretch pockets, each holding a 10oz soft flask. You may not wanna rock those shorty running shorts at your next enduro race, but the baselayer with the pockets could easily transition to enduro…as long as there are refill stations along the way. It’s $89.95 for the Base Skin Short, available in men’s and women’s.

They also make this race-day roll to help you get all the essentials in easy reach. Hang it from the workstand or your tent to have everything easy to grab…or just pack it full of snacks for the family.

Saxx “Ball Park” underwear

This one is something I’d been hearing about from so many other mountain bike editors, who were singing the praises of chamois-free riding at bike parks that I had to see what the buzz was about. The founder of Saxx came from baseball, and so the internal pouch is naturally called the “ball park”, and it’s exactly what the name implies:

Just looking at it won’t likely convince you, but we grabbed a few pair and have been loving  them. The sport version is a lightweight, breathable and wicking material that worked perfectly in Andalo (italy) even for riding between parks. Normally, I’m a chamois-all-the-time kinda guy, but these have changed my mind. I’d still go with a chamois for anything with a lot of pedaling, but on shuttled, gravity fed rides, I’m a convert. They also introduced swimwear and other versions at the show, check those out on their website.


Smartwool has introduced a new collection of socks with printed designs. They’re not sublimated, which would show white strips as they were stretched around your calf. Rather, it’s a more thorough infusion of color that’s more vibrant. But there’s more to them than just colors, the padding and compression were designed for different sports (cycling, running, hiking, etc.) by their sponsored athletes. The sock on the right is turned inside out to show the different padding and stretch bands, with a broader patch of padding under the forefoot to offer more comfort on trail runs.

They’ve also launched their first wool-blend and non-wool products, starting with a blended tech tee (that looks more like a casual tee, so it’ll fit in anywhere) and an ultralight windbreaker. Follow them if you’re interested, they’re coming out later this year.

Topo Designs

In addition to their new packs and roller bag, Topo Designs was  showing off this bike-friendly wind breaker. It comes in their usual bright colors to match the rest of their stuff, has ample pockets and a nice tall collar with full zip front.

What makes it bike friendly is the thumb loop and pull tabs on the zipper, so you can keep the sleeves down and easily get into your pockets with full finger gloves on. Available soon.

Howler Brothers

if solids aren’t your thing, this hooded wind breaker from Howler Brothers should help announce you on the trail.

Their Aransas Shirt was one of their original products, but for 2019 it gets lighter weight materials and a bit more tailoring, a good things for slim cyclists. The standout feature is that slit pocket on the chest, which is lined with a microfiber cloth for cleaning your sunnies.

Altra Running

We spotted these forever ago when they were announced, but now (finally) they’re shipping this month. The Altra Grafton ($140) is their first foray into an approach shoe, but it brings with it all the features that have made Altra an exceptionally fast-growing company (which helped them get acquired recently, too). Those features include a wide, foot-shaped toe-box and zero heel lift. Add in a suede upper and Vibram outsole and you’ve got what should be a really comfortable and capable pair of shoes for other adventures around the trailhead.

The Waheap is a hemp canvas version with toe bumper and a custom rubber outsole that brings the price down to $90. The tread design is siped, and is a sticky compound, helping them grab onto whatever you’re walking or running on.

The rest of their trail running line gets updates, too, offering better support and more durability.

The lifestyle collection grows as well, with some clever wrapped knit designs for walking and just kickin’ it off the bike.

Avalanche, Glerups & Sole

Avalanche makes some comfy looking slippers for post-ride, using memory foam for cushioning, and quilted uppers to keep your toes toasty in the winter. Their website says info is coming soon, and we didn’t ask about pricing.

Glerups are made with thick felted wool uppers and come in slip-on, shoe and high top versions. They run $140-150 with rubber soles, leather soles are about $50 less. Thanks to the natural material, they’re anti-microbial, and they have a double layer footbed molds to the shape of your foot. Each pair gets a 2-year warranty.

If you need something for warmer days (and cooler feet), check out the new recycled cork fotbeds from Sole. The flip-flops are $75-80 with recycled cork, which comes largely from wine corks put into drop boxes at retailers nationwide.  They’re still very flexible, and they say they’re durable, too, thanks to the proprietary blend of something they wouldn’t tell us about that holds it all together. But it’s all eco-friendly, and they all get the shapely Sole footbed that’s quite comfortable, particularly after a long day in cycling shoes.

If you need something warmer, the $129-149 Jasper Wool slip-on or Chukka lace up gets the same re-corked option.

Buff & Sunski

If your rides end at a shop or restaurant or bar, and you don’t like helmet hair, Buff makes some rollup hats that’ll easily fit into your jersey pocket, then look fairly normal when you pull it out and pop it on. Sorry flatbillers, nothing to see here.

Sunski is, in their words, the first brand to use 100% recycling plastic to make their frames and still be able to get clean, clear colors out of it. A perfect example is the new Ansa, which remarkably weighs in under half an ounce (like, about 15g) and retails for just $69 with polarized lenses. While they don’t make sport-specific sunglasses, they do have a lot of casual styles that are all very well priced.

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4 years ago

Saxx work pretty well on the bike since they don’t have seams near sit bones. They’re my go-to undies.

4 years ago

Have some of those SAXX underwear 10/10 would recommend.

4 years ago

I’m a big fan of using safety glasses for eyewear. My favorite is Edge Eyewear. They have numerous lens options, and they’re one of the few that have lenses that block UVC.

Anthony DeRubeis
Anthony DeRubeis
4 years ago
Reply to  lihtan

UVC doesn’t penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, so unless you’re an astronaut…

4 years ago

They come in handy for roadside welding on your steel frame though.

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