This year we've seen some of the nicest women's mountain bike kit to ever grace our trails, and it doesn't seem to be stopping.
The women's MTB scene is still in its infancy, still trying to find its fashion and function identity in the market. It's a difficult time of trial and error for brands to cater for a diverse minority, but it's great to see that considerable efforts are being made to help support the growing industry.
Howies is a small brand based in West Wales who's packed a punch in the outdoor enthusiast market. With a dedicated team of designers, Howies' strive to produce casual and performance wear for the avid outdoors community.
We got our paws on the new women's mountain bike kit, and took it out on a humid ride around the North Wales trail centres.
Howies' Women's MTB Jersey
The Howies women's jersey is super soft and light in the hand owing to the blend of Merino Sorona 160grm mesh fabric. Merino wool has great wicking and anti-bacterial properties, which sits against the skin to help keep you cool.
This lightweight jersey has a full length zipper for maximum breathability on those hot days, and a rear stash pocket with reflective features for those essentials.
The jersey was certainly cooling on the humid trail test day, and having the ability to lower the zip was a delight. I was particularly grateful for the long dropped hem on the back which eliminated the risk of the dreaded back gap when bent over, and descending those trails.
The fit was spot on for me as it's cut to flatter the feminine form, but loose enough to sneak a base layer under if needed.
Sizes: X.Small - Large
Howies' Women's MTB Shorts
The matching MTB shorts from Howies have the same subtle purple colour-way and trail style cut. The four-way stretch fabric is great for achieving a wide range of movement on the bike, and being constructed with water repellent material means you're kept dry during those summer showers.
The adjustable and secure waistband is one of the comfiest I've tried. A wide band with two poppers and a zip ensures your shorts will stay in place, and the Velcro adjustable tabs on the sides help dial in the perfect fit.
The two zipped pockets are ideal for your passes, phones and other basic essentials, and the discrete vent meshing in the thighs are cooling and easily accessible.
Mountain bike shorts tend to fall short on the legs with many riders preferring a longer length. Although the Howies shorts don't come down as low as I would prefer, I actually found them quite freeing on the trails. On hot riding days, it was actually quite pleasant to have that extra exposure of the legs, and the breathable material made it feel like I was barely wearing anything at all.
Sizes: X.Small - Large
Howies' Women's MTB Shewaddywaddy Jacket
No mountain bike outfit would be complete without a lightweight jacket for those unexpected weather shifts.
Made from an intricate design of 40gsm mini-ripstop Nylon, Primaloft insulation wadding and a microfibre collar, the Shewaddywaddy jacket is small and compact but protective and warm at the same time.
With reflective tabs covering a 360 scope of the jacket, it's great for those evening rides when the light level dims and you need to remain seen.
I love how compact this jacket is. The whole thing can be folded up and stored within itself for easy storage which can fit in your kit bag without taking up too much space.
Sizes: X.Small - X.Large
Howies have done a great job with this year's trail kit for women. It's light, stylish and extremely comfortable for the long rides.
A lot of care and focus has been made to ensure the kit is breathable whilst ensuring other bonus features, such as the stash pocket and reflective highlights, are well incorporated.
Because of it's super softshell and lightweight materials, this kit is ideal for trail, XC and leisurely rides, but less so for downhill and the more gnarly of routes.
The future of women's mountain biking is looking great in both riding numbers and available kits. These are very exciting times in the industry and with brands tackling the growing identity for women's riding, we can expect more awesome things to come.
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