From Impact Sun Valley in Idaho, Hannah brings us a look at Wild Rye, a brand making mountain bike and ski clothing for women.
When Cassie Abel started Wild Rye, she did so because she wanted functional and attractive clothing for riding mountain bikes and a more welcoming brand experience for women. As a brand producing mountain bike and ski clothing exclusively for women, she makes an effort to support other women in the industry, thinking it’s important to build capacity and opportunity within the outdoor industry.
The clothing appears fairly simple and clean, without an excess of embellishments. The clothing on display had the feel of a ‘capsule wardrobe’ – just enough for there to be choice, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed. Indeed, she’s already sold out of the llama print Freel shorts in my size (darn, I liked those llamas). Base layers are produced on a two year cycle, so the current cheese plant leaf pattern will be available for a while yet.
Wild Rye Freel Short
- Price: $119
The Freel short at $119 is a 4 way stretch nylon printed with a choice of three designs. There’s the pale blue with llamas, a coral pink with blue arrows, and a navy blue with cream kind of leaf shaped spots. Designed to be breathable, the gusset is shaped to avoid thick seams under your undercarriage, and there are just two front hip pockets plus a zipped thigh pocket. Crucially, this zipped pocket is designed to take a monster sized iPhone 7+ in a case – a feature which had me wearing these shorts for a substantial part of the press trip.
Wild Rye Kaweah Short
- Price: $95
In addition to the Freel there’s also a new Kaweah (named after a mountain peak) on display, just about to be launched. This is a nylon short which allows Cassie to offer the shorts at a lower price point of $95. On first glance, the fabric appears a little shinier, and I thought that they might be a little sweaty. However, such fears were unfounded, as I had a sample pair to wear for two rides during the day – even over my bib shorts I found them to be plenty breathable. They also feature the same mega-phone sized pocket, and I confess I really like the constellation pattern. Also available is a floral pattern – a first for Wild Rye. Cassie explains that she wanted to avoid the ‘women’s clothing’ cliches, but has seen that there is a market for floral designs and hopes this tropical one will hit the mark.
Sizing of the shorts seems accurate – I’d usually hope to wear a UK 12, which translates to a US 8 – and that is indeed what I fitted. Even with my mum/cheese lover’s hips – result. Neither shorts featured any kind of waist adjustment however, so you do need to get the right size (and stay that size…).
Wild Rye Vicuña Tank
- Price: $28
A technical vest (tank top to those in the USA) in a size medium also fits me just right. I’m not too keen on the idea of riding in a vest, quite liking the idea of something between my skin and the ground when I crash, but it’s a really nice soft fabric with a good drape that I’ll certainly wear out and about. Indeed, the label says ‘recover’ so this is perhaps intended as more of a post-ride item. For those familiar with the ‘side boob’ exposing school of tank tops, I can assure you this is not one of them. And, bonus llama.
I didn’t try them on, but there’s a Marion chamois priced at $115 with quite short legs (handy for those who like to ride in XC short shorts) and a high yoga style waistband that ought to be flattering and comfortable on even the squishiest of tummies. If that sounds a little steep for you, they’re working on a version with a cheaper chamois in order to offer a lower priced chamois short for next season, along with extra jersey options.
Cassie uses female illustrators who are also passionate about bikes to design her prints – a little touch I really like. It’s a small way in which the business can help support other women, and I like the idea that buying this gear goes up the chain, helping bring women into the industry. Items that aren’t made in the USA are made in fair trade factories, and environmental impact is always a consideration.
I first became aware of Wild Rye having seen an advert on Instagram featuring shorts with dinosaurs and cactus patterns, and at Outerbike I spotted plenty of women wearing last year’s designs – which bodes well for durability. Since I’ve barely taken the Freel shorts off since I got them, it looks like I’ll be putting them through their paces too.
For now, Wild Rye is only available in the USA via the US postal service, though you could get it shipped abroad if you were to navigate customs rules. If you’re lucky enough to be in the USA and you like the designs, you could get the products shipped to your accommodation – on the basis of my experience, the sizes are realistic. Or, make the trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, where Wild Rye is based – the trails there won’t disappoint.
For more details visit: wild-rye.com
Hannah’s travel and accommodation was provided by CrankTank/Impact Sun Valley.