Apparel

Archive

ULTRALIGHT INSURANCE Does it make sense to buy a jacket for times when you don’t actually want a jacket? In a word, yes. When you’re going light, the forecast is decent, and you’re tempted to leave your storm shell behind, pack the Isotope. At five ounces, it vanishes until you…

Although they look feminine enough for drinks on the patio, the Cubic Lush stayed put even on a windy road ride. Lightweight and rimless, they’re best suited for women with small features. adidas.com…

THE CLASSIC If Toyota made a jacket, it would be a lot like the Escape: solid performance, great value. Made of Gore-Tex Performance Shell (the new name for the classic two-layer waterproof-breathable fabric), the Escape shucked off the elements in the nastiest Northwest storms. It’s not as light as comparably…

Like their namesake, these shades are made for performance on the road. Everything about them screams cool, from the unbreakable blue-green polycarbonate lenses to the slim, squarish frames. porsche-design.com…

SWAP FEAT Beautiful. Smith’s ingenious Interlock system (which thankfully comes in several cool frame options) lets you change out lenses with heretofore unknown ease. Simply rotate the temples laterally to loosen the frames’ grip on the lenses, which easily pop out, then pick your next tint, pop ’em in, and…

The hiking-boot mainstay built its classic arch support into these shoes. Tiny perforations in the toe allow water to escape, while the mesh blocks grit. hi-tec.com…

AEROBIC MASTER Good for Resort Hesitant about wearing a soft shell to the resort? Relax. In drier climates, the fleece-and-soft-shell Gamma SV is the perfect choice for hard-charging lift-lappers. Built with cozy, high-loft Polartec Power Shield fleece in the chest and a lighter version of the…

Two reasons we rarely took these off: One, the bamboo-lined uppers are extremely fast-drying and comfy. Two, thanks to the collapsible heel and quick-lace system, you can wear them as slides or true stay-on-your-feet water shoes. salomonsports.com…

The faux-fur lining of these water-resistant cuties will keep your toes cozy when the mercury takes a dive. The toggles are just for show—an inside zipper makes the boots easy to take off. keenfootwear.com…

Good for Resort “It’s like you’re wearing a Muppet,” one tester said of the Flow’s ridiculously plush fleece lining. This jacket—the warmest here—is what you want if you’re heading somewhere frigid, like Wyoming or Alaska. But because all that insulation is wrapped in a waterproof-breathable eVent membrane,…

At night, the blinking rear light on Brooks’s Nightlife Hat is a little peace of mind. brooksrunning.com…

Remove the plastic side shields from these mountaineering-specific shades and you’ll resemble any Boulderite. But once you reach the high country, evade sunburned eyeballs by snapping them back on: Studies show they’ll block about 85 percent more light than going without. julbousa.com…

Keen started out as a summer-shoe specialist; now they go to the other extreme with a nubuck leather sneaker-boot thing—with faux-shearling flourishes at the ankles—that, surprisingly, works. Warm as your fireside, grippy on wet surfaces, waterproof-breathable, and rugged enough (though a bit clompy) for real work. TAGS: solid,…

Patagonia redesigned its flagship line of base layers, and it claims the new fabric wicks and dries faster than ever. We couldn’t confirm that, but one thing’s for certain: Thanks to an antimicrobial treatment, this slim-fitting layer did a much better job of fighting funk than our decade-old Capilene.

SAUCONY‘s wind-resistant, hunter-orange PROTECTION GLOVES have great features (terry snot wipe, big reflective patch, breathable palm panel, and nifty USB-rechargeable, clip-on light).

The Throttle pulls off a rather nifty trick: In addition to being superlight—they weigh less than a pack of Gu Energy Gel—the grippy temples also make them the most comfortable glasses here. nativeyewear.com…

Few sunglasses can switch from the Pacific Crest Trail to Rodeo Drive like this frameless number. Copper-tint polarized resin lenses protect against glare and pump up contrast for active sports. There’s secure grip in the right places, and the modest-size wrap lenses don’t sacrifice protection for fashion. Flair starts…

Welcome to Savile Row. Enter your measurements and choose options on Beyond’s Web site and a couple weeks later take delivery of a custom-fit, custom-featured soft shell—I designed a model for cycling and nordic skiing. The one nonnegotiable characteristic—Schoeller Dryskin Extreme fabric—kept me just right during a 15-mph road…

Stay cool—literally and figuratively—with this high-style lid. www.kaenon.com…

MEAN AND LEANA smidge less of anything and the ultra-minimalist Kicker would be missing something important. But it’s all there: optics, protection, and security. Since the gray polarized poly lenses present a slightly flattened view, the Kicker is best suited to sailing, say, or riding your cruiser bike—activities that don’t…

REFRESHINGLY UNFUSSY When Jackson, Wyoming–based Cloudveil promises a do-it-all mountain soft shell for under $150, the smart money gives it a try. So our Jackson-based tester did everything in it: He biked to work in light rain and snow, boot-packed up Glory Bowl in 20-degree weather with just a lightweight…

The most refreshing trend in skiwear: technical ski jackets that are stylish enough to wear around town. The water-resistant J-Turn looks as good with jeans as it does with ski pants. quiksilver.com…

The next best thing to wearing a hat hand-knit by a loved one? One designed by Swedish freeskiers Kaj Zackrisson and Sverre Liliequist, who founded Kask in 2004. kaskofsweden.com…

Walk the walk: Thanks to a bamboo lining, organic cotton, and natural rubber, this jute-laced felt boot is eco-approved. Plus tiny bumps on the insole deliver a well-deserved foot massage. simpleshoes.com…

With no fewer than eight pockets (three of them zip-pered), adjustable cuffs, and zip-off legs, these quick-drying nylon pants are ideal for any kind of adventure travel. aigleusa.com…

Gore-Tex, supertough yak leather, and rubber have never looked, nor felt, so good together, and the springy footbeds and grippy soles let you tromp trails and tour town with equal ease. eccousa.com…

THE WHOLE PACKAGE Good for Resort System jackets might seem passé to some, but the reasonably priced three- in-one Rodeo Magic, which can be worn as a shell, a midlayer, or both, is a pretty sweet (and, of course, versatile) garment. While not as waterproof…

They’re waterproof. The outsoles are specifically designed for increased traction on wet surfaces. And they fit and feel like running shoes. In other words, they’re like your old clunky duck boots, only much, much better. llbean.com…

Good for Trail Our crystal ball sees a bestseller. The baffles are fully packed with midlevel, 650-fill down, which helps keep the price low but didn’t noticeably affect the compressibility or the warmth. Interior pockets are big enough to hold a bottle, gloves, or skins. 1.2…

By welding, and not stitching, this waterproof-breathable soft-shell glove to a leather palm, Spyder made the most comfortable glove in this year’s test. spyder.com…

Multisport Mixer An active type in casual-shoe clothing (and with sustainability cred), the comfy Sight Hemp features the tough eponymous fiber, a scrappy lugged sole, and an antimicrobial lining. If it weren’t such a great all-terrain traveler, it’d be in our mix of light hikers. merrell.com…

Relieve pressure on your hands by donning the mesh-backed Veer. Its leather palm gives excellent grip on shifters and full hand protection. pearlizumi.com…

Buy More Passes With its subtle herringbone-like weave, square buttons, and asymmetrical front pockets, the Mohave is stylish in a low-key way. So when we saw the reasonable price tag, we figured Scott blew the budget on flair. Wrong. This insulated hard shell is brimming with smart touches, like wrist…

Think of your winter workout gear, like SALOMON‘s lightweight, breathable MOMENTUM II SOFTSHELL JACKET, as a vacation investment—your ticket to transcending the slop and sleet to a warmer, sunnier plane (in your head, anyway).

Good for Resort Just like the turquoise-and-hot-pink, three-in-one Columbia you skied in as a kid—only much better. The inner jacket, a trim-fitting, polyester-lined down puffy with pit zips and three internal pockets, is practically worth the price of admission on its own. Ditto the waterproof-breathable shell, with…

Articulated sleeves don’t bunch or restrict mobility while you’re riding, making this one of the year’s most comfortable jerseys. Bummer: The Transformers-inspired graphics may not suit all tastes. www.sugoi.com…

You’ll look like an astronaut out for a run, but this Space Age polyester pullover—with a water-repellent coating—squashes to the size of a plum. The lone pocket is accordingly tiny. 3 oz; www.brooksrunning.com…

They look like a normal pair of chinos but perform more like Carhartts. Credit several industrial-strength touches— triple-stitched seams, reinforced cuffs, and bomber cotton canvas. mountainkhakis.com…

These future classics are a new spin on an old favorite, with a canvas upper for good breathability, a protective toe cap for knock-around durability, and an eco-friendly natural rubber outsole. keenfootwear.com…

Few base layers make the transition from chairlift to barstool like this moisture-wicking, antimicrobial button-down. eesa.com…

Warm, yet wild. Touches of corduroy give these waterproof, PrimaLoft-insulated pants a dash of outlaw flash. But what feels downright illegal is when you shed your base-layer bottoms, go commando, and still feel warm and fuzzy inside. powderhorn-world.com…

This coat is a two-in-one piece: a zip-in reversible vest (insulated with synthetic fill) plus a water-resistant nylon shell. Wear the combo on a cold day, then sport the flower-printed vest at the bar later that night. spyder.com…

With a wide peripheral view, the Betrays are fit for a romp in the woods yet fashionable enough for a stroll through the city. oakley.com…

Good for BackcountryPatagonia’s H2No shell is about as closed off as North Korea, only much cozier, thanks to a polyester mesh lining that puts a warm buffer between your skin and the well-guarded exterior. patagonia.com…

APRÈS This jacket is as comfy as a sleeping bag, but with a flattering waistline it looks exponentially better. The DWR-treated exterior repelled light precipitation surprisingly well, but the wind whipped right through. Alter ego: Use as a liner under a shell on cold days. cloudveil.com…

The most breathable soft shell here, the Verglas was our favorite jacket for high-energy excursions. Whether testers were climbing or simply riding their bikes home from work, they were impressed with the Verglas’s vast comfort range. Credit the thumb loops, hood, and a woven nylon fabric that’s treated with…

Good for Backcountry The only one of our selection with a built-in Recco avalanche-rescue reflector, the Shuksan is a waterproof-breathable eVent pant—with four front pockets, full side zips, and scuff guards—built to last. And the generous cut makes these wear like an old favorite pair that’s been…

Packable Half-Zip “It’s as packable as it is practical,” observed one tester. That pretty much sums up the Zephyrus. While it has roughly the same amount of synthetic insulation as the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, it was better at shedding light rain and snow, due to its more windproof (and…

Even though communal yoga mats get cleaned, they still make us cringe a little. We love that this one’s free of toxic glues, and, unlike other mats we tested, it never let us slip in downward dog. manduka.com…

Unfold the top of this flowy skirt and you have a dress. Testers gussied up this beachy item with espadrilles for dinners in Sayu­lita, Mexico. patagonia.com…

FORCE FIELD If you’re often out in the wet conditions typical of places like the Pacific Northwest, a classic Gore-Tex shell like the Albaron is an indispensable outer layer. It’s cut from Pro Shell, Gore’s best material, so it’s the most water- and windproof piece here, with user-friendly pit zips,…

The waxed-suede Jillian zips easily over jeans, hugs your legs and feet with soft sheepskin, and grips icy sidewalks with a molded rubber outsole. It’s the perfect snuggly boot to make you feel put together after a day in baggy ski clothes.

VERSATILE, AFFORDABLE Lose your glasses every other month? Don’t be embarrassed. Just buy these bargain shades and stop losing your money too. You get pink/red photochromic lenses that are good to go all day, and detailing like an adjustable metal nosepiece, sticky rubber where you need it, and antifog vents…

This no-nonsense Canadian company specializes in “practical high performance”—a quality exemplified by the generically named but brilliantly engineered Rain Jacket. I stayed comfortably dry while cross-country skiing in a wet snowstorm, thanks to highly breathable eVent fabric and spare but effective features, like a huge chest pocket and a…

Despite the name, there’s nothing feminine about this hard-riding, go-anywhere rig—except the women’s fit, of course. The racers among us loved the aggressive position, which made for fast handling on tight trails but still provided plenty of hookup in back on loose, sketchy climbs. On one log-riddled trail, a…

VIKING-TESTEDThis is virtually the national label of Iceland—and for good reason. When it’s raining daggers in Reykjavík, this two-layer piece keeps you bone-dry, thanks to an eVENT waterproof-breathable membrane that bars rain and wicks away perspiration. Soft fleece lines the collar and pockets, and a zip-off hood moves with you…

HIGH-PERFORMANCE HIPSTER Our guarantee: With this jacket you’ll either be the best-dressed guy in camp or the driest sidewalk cruiser in town. The Sray is unabashedly unlike any storm shell we’ve seen before, and that’s why we love it. With a slim cut and head-turning plaid pattern borrowed from Helly…

Shades in this price range are usually ill-fitting or outfitted with crappy lenses. Not so with the Alpe. The ear pads are adjustable and the polycarbonate lenses are surprisingly crisp. tifosioptics.com…

MOST VERSATILE New Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric, which is lighter, more comfortable, and more durable than the company’s former top-of-the-line stuff (XCR), is one of the season’s standout innovations. The key is a softer inner fabric that works great when worn over a base layer. In the La Grave, Marmot…

Wherever you roam—on the sea under a blazing sun or in the forest on an overcast day—these polarized green-gray lenses, with a gradient that’s darker up top, let your eyes relax and enjoy the scenery. revo.com…

ONE FOR THE ROAD The worst highway glare disappears with these polarized, photochromic lenses. The reddish tint is even called Driver. And comfort is king here. With ultraslim nylon temples and barely-there frames, the Maestrale is so lightweight you forget you’re wearing it. It sorta disappears, too: You don’t notice…

BIG PROTECTION The anorak is back (also see the Triumph, below)—and we like it. When a group of testers got stuck in a downpour on a mountain-bike tour in Utah’s Abajo Mountains, the only guy who stayed bone-dry was the one in the Alpha SL anorak. Credit the material, Gore’s…

BACKCOUNTRY STANDBY Good for Backcountry Technically, the Vanquish is a “soft” shell, but it certainly didn’t behave like one in the field. Gore-Tex’s Soft Shell material is fairly breathable and virtually waterproof—we didn’t test it in driving rain, but it easily shed several hours of…

OK, so they cost five times more than gas-station flip-flops. They’re worth it. The Chaco Flip uses a low-profile, ergonomic footbed that gives you just as much arch support as a good pair of running shoes. Plus, the sole is made out of 25 percent recycled rubber.

Felted wool wraps the upper, while the outsole is made from natural crepe. The webbing is made from recycled plastic bottles, and water-based cements glue it all together. Of course, they’re comfy, too. simpleshoes.com…

Après Shoes Yet another travel-day dream from Patagonia, this is our pick for those rambles that take you from rain-soaked streets to sprawling airports to snow-piled sidewalks to hotel bars—and back. patagonia.com…

If you spend a lot of time doing self-rubdowns, get Trigger Point Performance’s Smrt-Core Grid, which gives a better massage than cheap foam. smrt-core.com…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that protection from wind, rain, and sun is important. This DWR-finished, recycled polyester windshell weighs no more than one pound and scrunches down to the size of an apple. Your pack won’t even notice. nau.com…

Light as a feather and stuffed with 700-fill down, these moonboot-like waterproof-breathable pillows-for-your-feet have just enough guts for a run to the beer store, while cordlocks cinch tight to keep out snow. Though designed with winter camping and hut trips in mind, it’s really the perfect après footwear anywhere.

It’s not just a name. The Sonam, like 90 percent of all Sherpa apparel, is made in Nepal, with a small portion of the proceeds going to support the education of Sherpa children. The poly-and-nylon fabric wicks like a champ and, thanks to silver ions, resists odor. Slim-fitting.

Reflective highlights on your shoes don’t keep you safe—defensive running and big stripes of the shiny stuff, like those on ASICS‘s REFLECTIVE VEST, do.

Thanks to tough—and 100 percent recycled—fabric on the rear, knees, and ankle cuffs, these weather-resistant pants can handle everything from ice climbing to bushwhacking. patagonia.com…

If you pack a cell—and you know you do—Oakley’s Razrwire lightens the load and keeps you moving. No need to stop hiking or get off the bike to take a call; simply reach up and tap a button to connect to a Bluetooth-enabled phone. Got voice dialing? Tap and talk…

Get howitzer-like bang for your buck with the Logic. Its functional midweight fabric—a stretchy nylon water-repellent face woven to a soft fleece lining—works for almost any activity from early spring to late fall. The high versatility is married to clean detailing (such as laser-cut zipper openings) normally reserved for…

This high-performance tee fights odor, wicks sweat, and will outlast your passport. www.prana.com…

Why They’re CoolYou barely feel these rimless half-ounce wonders, which perform like big wraps. A springy stainless nosepiece and temples support poly lenses. The copper tint, enhanced by polarizing, reveals a splendidly sharp take on reality. » The rearward swoops at the lenses’ outside corners make for good protection from…

CROSSOVER ARTIST Don’t mistake these shades for snooky streetwear; the sports bona fides are all here in this elegant blend of style and performance tech. Cleverly concealed sticky pads at the nose and ears, combined with springy nylon frames and temples, kept the Serpent from migrating on sweaty faces. The…

We think it’s called the Flow Pant because it transitions easily from the mountain to the bar. Or maybe it’s because it hangs off your body with a loose fit and baggy cargo pockets. Either way, the hard-shell pants are a great choice. thenorthface.com…

The acrylic Roman, like all the clothing and accessories from this small, Seattle-based company, is hand-knit in small Balinese villages. spacecraftclothing.com…

Back Next