Fashion, Style and Clothing

FITS Co Sock Review
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Review: FITS Co Sock

There are select socks that I refer to in my life. I’m not a complete sock snob, but I am pretty darn close to it. I love Smart Wool socks in the winter or for cold rainy training rides, I love Twin Six socks (especially their new brand) for the look and sexy factor. The rest of my sock drawer is mostly filled with Sock Guy and DeFeet cycling socks, keeping only one or two “girl stockings” on hand for when I have to wear a suit.

FITS Co Sock Review

FITS Co sent me a couple pairs of socks to try out, nothing behind it but a beautiful handwritten note and a funky business card from their brand manager Wood Talkington. I won’t lie, their story is unique and worth a visit by itself.

Knitting socks in Niota, TN since 1902, Crescent Sock Co. endured the ups and downs that shaped the character of America’s people and her textiles industry. Today the company produces socks under its own FITS™ name in the oldest operating hosiery mill in the U.S. -FITSSock.com

Review of FITS Performance Trail Sock

Pulling on the Performance Trail sock I felt like I was pulling on a Smart Wool sock but with more arch support. As if the sock was giving my sock a nice hug at the end of a long day. The cuff seems to be of a different knit than the body of the sock, I’m assuming this is for circulation and support, without cutting your circulation off in the leg. The socks are heavier in weight and warmth. I wouldn’t wear these around in 90 degree weather with out reason but on a hard hike and mountain biking these socks provide the shock absorbing to my feet for all day comfort.

FITS Co Performance Trail Review
The cost is high for FITS socks, $17.99 for the Performance Trail. One could argue it is American made and high end wool, I would argue to buy a pair to keep for those long rides or cold night rides in the winter. I don’t plan on wearing them too often for everyday around the house as I want them to last!

Review of the FITS Light Runner Sock

These socks were reviewed by my girlfriend so I’ll turn over the keyboard to her.

I don’t know what to say about reviewing the socks, but this is what I think of them so far. For wool, these socks are very soft, the compression is exactly where I want it and when I was riding in 100 degree weather I didn’t notice these socks at all on my feet other than comfortable!

FITS Co Light Runner Review
The MSRP is $15.99 for the Light Runner socks. With the cuff showing above the shoes, and a heavy cuff at that it seems that it is going to wear well without Kim wearing a hole in her socks quickly. If Kim can’t kill these socks, no normal user will be able to!

Overall Review of the FITS Co Socks

The socks feel amazing, both pairs feel amazing. If I had a larger income, I would wear some variety of this and Smart Wool of some variety. The costs on the flip side is what brings me hesitant from giving this a 100% positive review. $15-20 for socks is steep, and I hope these socks feel as amazing as they did the first day for the next 8 months.

These socks were provided at no cost. I was not paid or bribed, and hopefully if you read this far you know I’m honest and won’t put my name next to something.

 

Icebreaker Wool Womens Bike Jersey
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Review: Icebreaker GT200 Halo Jersey and Shorts

I love wool. That is a great way to start an article about wool products, right? I love wool, the thought of wool reminds me of skiing trips, bundled up at the bus stop and all things winter. It does not remind me of 90º weather on the bike.

This review took longer than I would like. Normally after a couple rides, a few washings and time on the saddle you’ll know if clothing is going to last or work for you. Personally, I didn’t if the pieces from Icebreaker would work for me but overtime these bike clothing pieces won me over.

Icebreaker SS Halo Jersey $130

Icebreaker Wool Womens Bike Jersey

Last year I was able to try one of Icebreakers first bike jerseys for women. I loved the material, but the jersey fit my body (and several friends bodies) like crap. Fast forward almost a year exactly, this past March, when I was approached with trying another round of clothing from Icebreaker. Right away the jersey fit amazing, it was tailored for a woman. After many washings (per directions) the fit didn’t stretch out, or did the color fade. The pockets were proportional to the jersey, and there is even a smaller pocket inside of one for your pump to fit in and not flop out!

Other than the collar on your neck, the jersey feels naked on you. The breeze flows through easily, yet on early morning rides this jersey was perfect with arm warmers.

Icebreakers Halo Jersey website->

GT200 Fabric

The GT200 fabric is amazing. Warm, soft, cooling, wicking and best of all – it doesn’t stink! I learned the importance of wool during a 5 day bike tour in western North Carolina. It rained for most of the day and you were left trying to dry out your clothing. I brought enough clothes for the week, but sweaty clothes aren’t good in your bag – even if you wrap them in multiple plastic bags. All the clothing I had brought that was wool from Smartwool, Icebreaker and Defeet, did NOT stink and was easier to care for it seemed.

Icebreaker Halo Bike Shorts $160

Icebreaker Halo Wool Bike Shorts

These wool cycling shorts are where my hang up for this review was. When you wear these shorts on the bike they could be the most comfortable fitting shorts I’ve ever tried. They remind me of boy boxers, with the tight cotton feel around your hamstrings and upper quads. What surprised me was that attaching the chamois to the shorts was spandex. Right in the crotch area. Why is this weird? Wool wicks and doesn’t stink – wouldn’t that make sense to have in that area? I know, not right on it but around it?

The chamois was comfortable on long rides. It has much more mass than I am used to, so when standing around off the bike it defiantly felt like a diaper. This feeling disappeared once I was back on the bike, and I never had any chaffing issues so I can’t complain.

These shorts I have an absolutely love/hate relationship with. I love them, they fit amazing and I mean AMAZING. I want to order boy boxer briefs from Icebreaker to wear to bed because of it. I feel that the benefits of wool, especially at this level, would benefit a rider closer to the crotch. Then you have the issue that thin wool is rather see-through and I’m sure you can’t attach a chamois to wool for long term use without it ripping the material. I’m sure someone in product design with more knowledge than I has thought of all these things but they still perplexed me on the long rides. Enough not to write a review until the love outweighed the bad and I could put my name behind it.

At the end, when I was finally ready to weigh the pro’s and con’s I realized this clothing has inspired me. Sometimes you get something (a bike, clothes, computer, etc.) that make you want to try something new. I think these pieces of clothing from Icebreaker would be the ultimate unsupported bike tour clothing. Pair it with a nice set of cycling knickers for colder weather or night times by the fire, and a pair of wool socks – you would have a perfect, quick drying, and non-stinking set of cycling clothing!

Icebreaker Halo Shorts website->

Bontrager Shoe Review
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Bontrager RL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes Reviewed


Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review

MSRP: $139.99
Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5)
Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle

Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me.  I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years.  When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes.  Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over.  I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!

Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe

Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk!  The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton.  The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove.  I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes.  This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years.  Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)

Bontrager RL Shoe Review

Side View

Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe

The key selling features to me were the following

  • fit
  • neutral yet fun color
  • ventaliation
  • toe box protection
  • toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
  • price

Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes

If the shoe fits, wear it.  I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep.  While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes.  Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs.  The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop.  Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.)   I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between.   My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes.  There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.

Bontrager RL ATB Shoe Review

Sidebar

I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay.   Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost.  If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased.    Also, my shoes are worn out.   The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”

These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.

Review: Cutter Tech Knickerbocker

MSRP : $149.99
Details : A very stretchy, comfortable knicker that was designed for those that pedal more than stand.

Roughly 11 months ago we were gifted with a pair of Cutter Tech Knickerbockers, which were originally reviewed for commuting purposes at Commute By Bike.  Since I’ve been rocking them lately for mountain biking and they will be going in to my “How to dress for winter mtbing” video, I pulled the review over here for all you ladies (or gents) to benefit from.

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Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pittards Glove WS : Review

Let’s be honest, gloves are odd.  I’ve always been a fan of the basic long finger mountain bike glove. Everyday, on road or mountain, I wore them.   Then about two months ago I was sent a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pittards Glove.  Things changed, the first was I quickly became P.R.O. by wearing them.  Read More

Introduction : Gore Bike Wear Power Lady Jacket

MSRP : $199.99
GORE-TEX® Paclite® Shell

Options : 4 colors, 6 sizes

From the Company

This waterproof and breathable road cycling jacket offers great protection in bad weather conditions. Plus it will fit in any backpack folded up.

Initial Thoughts

A compact, completely waterproof jacket even down to the taped seams.  It is able to zip up in to its own rear pocket, making this a very small and easy to carry jacket.   Because all of the rain that the Southeast had been having this spring I’ve kept this jacket in my messenger bag at all times.

Once I see how this jacket does with wear and tear I’ll upload a video for you all to see the highlights and key features, or negatives concerns of course.

Visit Gore Bike Wear to see more

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Lab-Gear 99 : Full Review

Lab-Gear 99 Mid & T

The end of October I was approached by Lab-Gear to review a few of their new woman’s line, 99.  Today we are going to go over the pro’s and con’s, as well as share some photos of the different shirts we reviewed.  First, make sure to read our preview from December.

The Process

One thing very unique about Lab-Gear was the process of ordering these garments.  You go through a whole build out picking sizing, color weighs, and options.  The options include a GT Stripe (racing stripe,) thumb holes, and various stitching for the cuff and collars.

After submitting your order the customer service is top notch.  At anytime it is telling you where your order is along in their system.  Finally, you take delivery.  They are wrapped up nicely like a brilliant gift for you.  Made exclusively for you!  It happened also, to be delivered on my birthday.

99 T


This is a lighter weight long sleeve top.  Easily worn with jeans or on your favorite long ride.    We chose to build out our 99 tops to match well together as you can see in the photos.  Due to this being very close to your skin, if you are sensitive to wool, you may get itchy while wearing this top.

Merino wool does its job, even though a very thin (tshirt like) top.  This guy will keep you warm by itself on slightly chilly days, or team it up with the 99 Mid to have a very warm outfit.

With the fitting we decided to order the top to be a fashion fit.  Not too tight, but a normal size you would by from a clothing store.  The shirt fits well, but is on the shorter side for the size it is fitting.

99 Mid


As an outerwear top it is not quite a jersey, not quite a full on jacket.  It reminded me a lot of a track style jacket.  The Mid has a higher collar, thicker weave of merino and a zipper collar.

We ordered this top a size bigger than the T as it was going to be worn over other tops.  Teaming the Mid and T up together is going to be the perfect spring morning ride apparel.   The colors we decided on go well together for the pieces separate or together.

Final Thoughts

The cost are high for these tops, but merino wool comes at a price, as does customizing to your own liking.  At the time of typing this the convert of currency from AUS to USD is:

$130 for the Mid
$78.35 for the T

After a couple months of weekly use, washing, wearing and riding in - these tops look brand new.  This isn’t normally the case with wool, you often get pulling or threads snagged.

The Mid will be a great purchase for multi use, and the T is a dream if you are a fan of wool.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Video Podcast: Keen Coronado Cruiser Review

A very brief video of benefits and initial thoughts of the Keen Coronado Cruiser on review.  A full overview will be in the next week for both Bike Shop Girl and Commute By Bike.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Lab-Gear 99 : Preview

Lab-Gear 99 Mid & T

The end of October I was approached by Lab-Gear to review a few of their new woman’s line, 99.

To say I was excited was an understatement.  I’ve been drooling over their merino wool line for months, especially as the guys love to rub their products in my Twitter face.   Going through the design process was very rewarding and very unique, so unique that the design process will have its own article.

I look forward to showing you the couple tops I was provided and also hope that Lab-Gear read my review to take the feedback and input.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Smartwool PhD Sock Review : Intro

In the South East of the US it is becoming time to pull out your base layer long underwear and find your wool socks. Personally, I enjoy wearing my wool socks year round but not many others around my bike shop feel the same way.

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