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Maybe the unexpected energy of a pandemic pup has brought (see: forced) you outside. Maybe your new found love for running—and the deceptive amount of gear involved—has translated to the trails. Maybe you, like us, yearn for the days when there was nothing to do in your small town, but hit the local peak for a few miles and brew with your buds. Either way, we’ll say it: hiking is all the rage.
Also in? Lululemon. The Vancouver-based workout label has gained immense popularity since its inception in 1998, with the rise of athleisure and the unforeseen demands of a global pandemic pushing the brand to new heights and expanding audiences to a grassroots of multi-gender and multi-generation fanatics. united by the desire for comfortable and beautiful clothes.
It is therefore logical that these interests collide; if anything, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, as other high-end athletics labels have long since taken the step outside. But to our delight—we, too, were won over by the power of wonderfully stretchable boxers—Lululemon announced its inaugural Hike collection in July, a bountiful 33-piece unisex capsule designed as a “complete collection of adaptable pieces—convertible.” , packable and water resistant – intended to make time outdoors easier than ever,” as the athleisure giants explain.
To see how their first foray into the world of outdoor exploration holds up, we got our hands on a complete Lululemon kit — packable anorak ($168), convertible hiking pants ($198), ventilated hiking shirt ( $88) and Power Stride Crew Socks ($28), to be precise — and has been putting the gear through its paces over the past few weeks. We’ve hiked, biked, moved, and come away with a series of concretes: there’s been a lot of good, a few concerns to mention, and some unexpected benefits of wearing zip-up pants in public. Below is our review of Lululemon’s Hike collection.
Design and materials
18 months in the making, Lululemon’s Hike collection is a departure from the brand’s previous efforts. While premium materials, attention to detail and much-needed stretch are present throughout the collection, new features – utility-oriented design in pockets and zippers, as well as a new “Abrasion Resistant” fabric designed to keep you safe on the trails — highlight Hiking. The focus is on convertibility, with many pieces featuring sturdy zipped sleeves and customizable tightening. Dynamic ventilation helps regulate heat as temperatures rise, with reinforced seams protecting against the harsher conditions your normal bodega bottoms are used to.
While my Lulu braved the daring trails of Connecticut, the majority of testing was in a different type of jungle. My aforementioned kit went through a barrage of sprints on the subway, trips to a dusty dog park, and even one of the best beers of my life (but we’ll get to that). Through the hustle and bustle of city life, I’m happy to report that the collection held up admirably – with my testing mostly limited to the ventilated hiking shirt and an adapted version of the Convetable Hiking Pants (CHP) – j I had few complaints. The former performed admirably during a New York heat wave, making downtown jaunts a bearable chore, and, as I soon learned, I vastly prefer the CHP in sport mode (c i.e. in shorts). There are few experiences more pleasurable than crashing in a shady patio on a 99-degree day, ordering a Stella, and converting your pants to shorts. The cargo pockets even allow for easy storage, another unintended benefit.
For the trail experience, the Lululemon Hike collection worked perfectly, more than a match for easy trails. A few notes from the trail test: that the heaviest layers (Anorak and CHP), while strong, weren’t as breathable as one would hope; while the top and socks provided light, cloud-like cushion, I’ll probably opt for traditional shorts on my next summer hike. Likewise, I can’t speak to their weather resistance. I only felt warmth, but I will again note that for their substantial weight, they felt surprisingly delicate.
What we like
- Versatility: Yes, you can wear Lululemon’s latest offerings on your next trek, but its possible use cases aren’t limited to the trails – rain runs, workouts, and the occasional hangout all fall under it. Preview of Luluelon’s Stretchy & Comfortable Motion Bonding – Forward Speed.
- Style/Appearance: The Hike collection is beautiful, pure and simple. The brown, gray and black color scheme that runs through the unisex capsule seems appropriate for the approaching seasons, and the cuts are clean and modern.
- Details: Lululemon is so revered, at least in part, because of its attention to detail, and that attention really shines through in the Hike collection. Clean metal snap closures (as opposed to cheap velcro), a smartly designed hooded lip to keep water away from the face, low profile pocket seams for maximum support – it’s details like these that set them apart Lulu from the competition.
- Personalization: With a multitude of straps, zippers and attachments to customize to your liking, the fit, feel and look of Lululemon Hike is in your hands.
What we don’t do
- Sustainability: Less a total problem and more an individual gripe, the mesh lining of the Packable Ripstop Anorak, especially when fitted, feels dangerously thin, a question mark for water-repellent style.
- Price: There is no way around this; Lululemon’s Hike collection (just like most of their sports leisure offerings) comes at a hefty price tag. We’ll say most of the capsule is worth the hefty price tag, but if $20 for a pair of socks puts you off, then this isn’t the gear for you (especially with the aforementioned durability issues).
Should you buy it?
For those already inducted into the cult of the Lulule-men or those influenced by high-profile brands and equally innovative technologies, the Lululemon Hike collection is a must-have. Chic and sporty, it’s a perfect option for hitting the town and trails in style, whatever the elements, and while outdoor parlance may overstate the collections’ merit as rugged gear, the capsule indeed offers a variety of trail-ready utility gear, apparel, and accessories — provided you have the funds to catch the high-end duds.
The Hike Collection sells for between $28 and $198 and is available to buy now on the Luluemon website and in select stores.
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