Wild Rye brings fresh technical apparel to the trails
Words by Addie Levinsky | Photos from Wild Rye
Finding tailored, aesthetically pleasing technical apparel for mountain biking has generally been somewhat of a challenge. For female mountain bikers, there hasn't been a wide selection of baggies, and what has been on the market isn't always as...ahem, flattering, as many of us would like. Katy Hover-Smoot founded Wild Rye with co-founder Cassie Abel in 2015 to "address the need for design-forward, technical apparel for the modern outdoor woman."
I was elated when Katy & Cassie reached out about their 2017 Spring/Summer collection. I, admittedly, had given up on finding baggies that I was both comfortable and confident wearing on the trail. I had submitted to being *that* (recovering) roadie decked out in lyrca head to toe while shredding my 150mm trail bike.
The Freel Short paired with the Wild Rye Chammy and the Solstice Snap Raglan has quickly become my favorite kit for a day on the trail. Each piece is incredibly versatile regardless of the terrain, season, or style of riding.
The Freel Short - $119
I'm not ashamed to say that looks matter on the bike, and the Freel short looks adorable. The two patterns available (arrows & cacti) are quaint and cute, both available in bright colors. After the first impression, the next selling point for a solid pair of riding shorts is size. Classically, baggies have a strange fit. Of course, we're all different, but in my experience, finding a pair that is loose enough on the quads (but not so loose it gets stuck on your saddle) and while having a flattering length, is really difficult.
Wild Rye uses a traditional 0-12 sizing model, and recommends ordering true to size. I went this route, and the shorts fit perfectly. Designed with a four-way stretch nylon fabric, the short is incredibly sturdy (for a lighter material, check out the Whitney short).
Whether you're riding cross country, hitting the lifts, racing an enduro, or just cruising to the bar post-ride, the Freel shorts can do it all. While I don't necessarily recommend endo-ing into unidentifiable shrubbery, these shorts thankfully acted as a shield so only my ego got a little bruised. And if you're lucky enough to get caught in the rain, which unfortunately has not been the case in Colorado this fiery summer, you'll won't experience the ol' soggy chamois, as the fabric is water resistant.
What's a solid pair of shorts without a chamois? Wild Rye says this is the "best chammy we've ever made." It's a big assertion, but completely accurate. As I mentioned, I succumbed to wearing my road kits on the trail largely because I could not find a comparable chamois. The Wild Rye Chammy goes above and beyond your typical under-short chamois.
It's compressive and high-waisted, but Wild Rye added a yoga style waistband that can be folded over depending on preference. The chamois also features leg bands, so you can say goodbye to sausage legs. Let's be real, there's nothing worse than fabric pinching your legs.
While I used the Wild Rye chamois under my Freel shorts, and under dresses/jorts for commutes, they can be worn on their own for a road ride. That makes the price point more justifiable, too, as they are definitely more substantial than a liner.
This Raglan is adorable; I wouldn't think twice about wearing it off the bike. That's also because it's so dang comfortable (thank you, merino wool). This top does a lot more than keep you looking stylish and comfortable on the trail, though. The merino is blended with nylon for strength, so it can withstand even the hardest of shredding.
The top is breathable and temperature regulating; the snaps add an extra element of temperature control, as you can button up/down as needed). And if you're spending a full day on the trail, or camping, you really don't need to worry about packing more clothes because the Solstice Snap is stink-resistant (Dirt Bags unite!)
It's pretty clear that I love the Wild Rye technical apparel. I've never really been excited about baggies. I would wear them begrudgingly because, well, Enduroing in lycra just isn't the most ideal. I'm stoked every time I slip on my Freel shorts, Wild Rye chamois, and Solstice Snap Raglan (as if I needed more reason to be stoked to shred singletrack?!)
Not only am I beyond impressed with the quality, design, and technicality of Wild Rye's apparel, but I love the philosophy of the company. Wild Rye is innovative and unique, but maintains a sense of simplicity, and the rich history of outdoor apparel. Katy and Cassie developed a line of clothing by way of experience, community, and detail. They've made sure nothing is overlooked, nothing is compromised, and everything is tested on the trail.
Check out the full line and more on Wild Rye's website!