At Impact Sun Valley, Idaho, Hannah checked out a US brand that’s been around for 25 years but hasn’t really crossed the pond.
American riders may well be familiar with the brand Zoic, though it’s likely you’ve come across them through friends or your local bike shop rather than a #instafluencer riding into the sunset. A brand founded 25 years ago which claims to be one of the earliest proponents of the baggy short, it relies on word of mouth and events to spread the word about its products rather than social media or advertising. It’s a traditional approach which seems fitting for a company focussed on catering to the price conscious mountain biking family.
Clothing is available for men, women and children in a range of traditional and wilder patterns. It’s likely the patterns that will draw your attention to the products – the women’s range includes camouflage and a very fetching galaxy or nebula pattern, while the men’s includes some fun and stylish technical ‘Evolve’ shirts that I’m sorry aren’t (yet) available for women. I’m told they’re in the works.
Zoic Evolve Jersey
Zoic Women’s Impact Liner
Once I’ve got past the patterns, there are a couple of functional items that catch my eye – a child sized chamois ($25) is something I’ve rarely seen, while a women’s specific chamois with impact protection built in ($55) is something I’ve never previously seen. My hip bones look forward to trying them out. With an accessible price point being a focus for the brand, all the outer shorts are under $100 – well under if you choose an option without a chamois.
Zoic Navaeh Print Shorts
- $80 (without liner)
Zoic Navaeh Shorts
- $70 (without liner)
Zoic Jerra Print Jersey
Those who have a tendency to add a layer of winter blubber may like to note that some of the men’s shorts come with elasticated rear waistbands as well as adjustable side tabs. I’m pleased to see shorts being available in different lengths, although generally they’re keeping their eye on the enduro market and tending to make their products longer. While ‘gravel’ seems to be taking off in a big way in the USA, Zoic is retaining its focus on the MTB family. Plans are afoot to introduce more outerwear items such as a down vest jacket, though they’re going to leave waterproofs to the many experts that already produce such products.
Some of the designs are good fun, and I like some of the wilder patterns used. I can see how a local bike shop holding this product line could kit out the whole family without looking like a matchy-matchy performing troupe. However, there is some variance between products – I notice that the women’s ‘Nevaeh’ (that’s ‘Heaven’ backwards) shorts vary quite a lot between fabric patterns. The turquoise blue short is floaty light, the galaxy pattern a touch heavier, and the camouflage feels burlier still – so different in fact that I think it must be a different model. They’re actually listed separately on the Zoic website All that I try are sized the same however – I fit a medium in them all (I have 99cm hips) – but they do have quite a different feel and drape to them. Those looking to buy Zoic products on the web rather than in their local shop might do well to note that this is the case. Of course, if you try them on in your local bike shop and then order them on the internet, it’s probably karma if you don’t like the fabric you end up with.
The world has changed a lot in the 25 years that Zoic has been going, and while the business model remains traditional, the designs mix safe block colours with out there patterns. It’s the more unusual ones that catch my eye and mark the clothes out as something a little different, so I hope the brand continues to produce these rather than playing it safe. If they run out of wild ideas, we’re sure Chipps’ wardrobe could inspire a few new options.
Hannah’s travel and accommodation was provided by CrankTank/Impact Sun Valley.