FLYLOW WOMEN’S TRAIL COLLECTION REVIEW
Words by Emma Wooldridge | Photos by Cole Gregg
Started by a problem-solving pair of skiers, Flylow is a brand that has ballooned to embrace a variety of mountain sports. They launched their Trail Collection – both in Men’s and Women’s fit and styling – this year, focusing on quality and reliability while maintaining versatility for the mountain bikers who enjoy a side of trail work and post-ride beers. Designed with purpose, many of their product ideas are direct results of experiences on the trails and slopes. I ventured around in my full Flylow Trail Collection kit at bike parks and the local mountain over the last couple months to test out its performance, and I’ve gathered my thoughts below.
The Tia Shorts are a classic Flylow style, with a pants option available as well. They are lightweight and made with quick-drying material. Intended to be protective while providing the necessary mobility on trail, the Tia Shorts’ outer fabric is made with Flylow’s MTB Stretch IQ fabric, their nylon-spandex blend. The shorts combine an elastic waistband with belt loops to help riders secure their own specific fit and offer two hand pockets, as well as one zippered pocket on the thigh. Flylow opted to use a bio-based water repellent treatment for the Tia Shorts that is free of the common chemical compounds used in DWR coatings (perfluorocarbons, aka PFC). Taking the protection, a step further, the shorts provide a ultraviolet defense of 40+ UPF (ultraviolet protection factor). UPF is a standard used for clothing, while SPF is used for sunscreen – it’s always nice to provide clarification for those that read these reviews and haven’t nerded out on these things. The Tia Shorts are available in three colorways with women-specific sizes of 0-14 at a price of $110.
Using Italian-made fabrics, Flylow’s Women’s Cru Liner Short offers plush padding for the long rides of up to six hours that need extra support and comfort. The chamois measures 3-6mm in thickness depending upon the size and uses high-density foam for comfort. The liner shorts feature two side pockets and perforated paneling to enhance function and breathability for riders. Available in sizes XS-XL, the Cru Liner Short is made out of nylon and elastane and comes in the color black for $90.
The Honey Jersey is a long-sleeve jersey that was designed to fight the solar rays, with a UPF rating of 30+, and prevent stinky bacteria buildup using an antimicrobial treatment. The polyester and spandex material is Flylow’s proprietary Intuitive Solar IQ fabric, which protects riders from the sun while also preventing overheating. Hidden conveniently on the lower inside of the jersey is a built-in wipe for sunglasses or goggles. The Honey Jersey has a subtle v-neck and comes in three outdoor-inspired colorways like alpenrose and redwood for a price of $80, with women’s sizes XS-XL.
Flylow’s Dirt Glove is designed to be a multi-purpose glove with touchscreen-friendly finger tips, a velcro wrist closure, and the unique addition of a leather strip to protect the knuckles in crashes. Adding to their versatility as part of the Trail Collection, the Dirt Glove is crafted out of a lightweight material that dries quickly, and they are equipped with a softer fabric on the back of the thumb to wipe off snot and dirt. These gloves are intended to be put to use whether you’re hanging onto your grips or trusty McLeod. Offered in three colorways in unisex sizes XS-XXL, you can purchase a pair of Dirt Gloves for $35.
The Summer Foot Short 6 (a 6-inch-tall pair of socks, in case you were wondering) are made with a polyester-nylon blend, lending themselves to be stretchy and breathable while wicking away moisture. Durability was at the forefront of Flylow’s design, and these socks are intended to keep your stinky feet comfortable and protected for more than just one season of intense riding. Flylow offers the Summer Foot Shorts in unisex sizing (S-XL) and in two neutral colors for $18.
The Tia Shorts were a bit of a miss for me, but not for any stand-out reason. Perhaps I’ve gotten used to shorts that can fit higher on the waist, whereas these sat lower on my waist than usual, leading to an obvious gap between the shorts and my tank tops on the hot days. The shorts have three pockets, only one of which can fit a phone. The two open hand pockets weren’t useful for me, as they couldn’t fit much and couldn’t be zippered, so when my hips hinged (as they do on rides) it would leave the pocket’s contents susceptible to falling out. Wearing a Size 4, the shorts fit well but felt a little snug. I feel that this is due to the material not having much stretch rather than the fit or sizing. Yet also because of this, I was of the opinion that these didn’t look half bad on the behind. But for women who might prefer more stretch in their shorts material or on the cusp of sizes, these shorts might not be the perfect choice. The material hits the mark for protection and durability, just misses the stretchiness and resulting comfort that many of us love. The Tia Shorts have a grippy Flylow logo on the inside of the back of the shorts that help grip to your undies or liner short so you don’t show off your crack, but I tend to have a gap in the back of the waistband (which is mostly elastic on these shorts) when I bend over, so this feature isn’t as helpful for me.
You know that pair of underwear that sits in the drawer, specifically excluded from date nights, doesn’t have much personality, but provides guaranteed comfort so you keep them around? The affectionately named Granny Panties. Well, I refer to Flylow’s Cru Liner Short as my Grammie Chammie. It’s not that the liner short is ugly or grandma-esque, but after seeing the progression of women’s chammies as they’ve turned into butterfly and flower-inspired works of art kinda makes me feel a touch less cute in it. It does feel slightly diaper-ish, as it comes with a thicker pad, and it’s a no-frills design offered only in black. But if you’re looking for that solid, dependable chamois short, this is the one. If you enjoy the freedom of riding in only a chamois, the two side pockets can fit a phone and some snacks and the perforated side panels also give some breathability. The Cru Liner Short has always made for a comfortable ride for me – there’s no chafing, pinching, or soreness from the saddle. As much as I feel like I’m wearing a diaper before I hop on the bike, I immediately forget I’m wearing them once I’m riding. And I feel like that’s the ideal padded short! I wear a size Medium and I’m a typical size 4 in bottoms with a 27.5-inch (not 650B) waist. The fit was comfortable and I didn’t feel like my legs were being squeezed by the leg bands. The waist of the liner shorts stayed in place and I didn’t find that it wriggled down at all during rides. Overall, these may not be the cutest liner shorts on the market, but they may very well be the comfiest.
The Honey Jersey has been my top choice for bike park and colder days. Bike parks were days where I really needed the extra long sleeve protection from the sun and rocks and the breathability doing lap after lap. The Honey Jersey performed well for these needs. After reading the sizing chart, I opted for a Medium rather than a Small and it was a good choice. The Medium fit perfectly, allowing room for movement, but avoiding looking shapeless. The branding is minimal in all of Flylow’s gear and the jersey was no exception, featuring only the brand name on the top of the jersey in soft lettering. I may have proven to be a match for the antimicrobial treatment, though. After riding in this jersey all season long, it’s not allowed to hang in my regular closet and has been subjected to the garage. Still, the protection it provides with the durable material, the pretty Alpenrose color, and the comfortable fit are reasons why I still choose to wear it constantly.
I do want to note that Flylow has some variable sizing. Sizes are limited and it took me longer than normal to figure out what size to order. I am privileged to be what is often used as a standard model size in the mountain biking world, and even trying to use the models’ sizing on the website to help guide my decision had me confused. If I didn’t share a similar body size and type to the models, I may have not been able to make an informed decision on my sizes in Flylow’s gear.
Flylow’s Dirt Gloves were too large for me to wear on rides but have been a handy accessory for trail maintenance and honestly the house yard work. The unisex sizing may have played a part in the fit. The gloves are touch-screen friendly, but don’t have great grip for the brake lever fingers. Don’t write these off yet though, because they are a great option for trail work due to the exterior’s durability – these may be the toughest gloves I’ve worn yet.
The Summer Foot Shorts did the job well. I’ve never been a person to really criticize my socks unless I’m hiking as I’ve never experienced blisters while mountain biking. The socks were stretchy and didn’t dig into my newly found muscly calves (did not realize that mountain biking gives you calves, not a butt). They certainly don’t stink or get drenched in sweat as much as my other socks. And there’s not a single hole in them from wear – just a nice pedal strike hole from user error, and if there’s a sock that can handle the pins on my flats, let me know.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Flylow’s Trail Collection uses beautiful colors and durable materials inspired by experiences outdoors. Although their sizing could use some minor revisions, many women riders will find that the apparel is comfortable and functional, blending well with our needs on the trail.