BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: women’s apparel

Review: Loeka’s Waterproof Shell Jacket

When the weather first started turning cooler and wetter last fall, I began testing a new waterproof jacket from the women’s mountain bike clothing company Loeka. This company makes women-specific gear primarily for mountain bikers, but this jacket is designed with commuters and everyday riders in mind helps them achieve their mission to simply “help build a strong community of female riders from beginners to professionals by encouraging more and more females to try/take up cycling.” With this jacket, the nasty elements certainly are one less excuse to not get out and ride. And with this company’s attention to fashion, riders will definitely be getting compliments on their chic “look”; I know I have received more than a few compliments while wearing this jacket (never before received while sporting my other waterproof commuter jacket) – nice!

It certainly holds up its end on being waterproof! After a rainy ride home you can see that all the water beads up on the surface and kept me dry underneath.
rain
Despite the higher visibility color (noted online as “Peppermint Figgy”), it doesn’t scream blinding yet still provides the rider with a light-colored jacket that stands out on the roads. (Loeka also offers this jacket in a blue color they call “Hey Ocean“.)

Originally I received this Loeka commuter jacket when the weather was still wonderfully warm and pleasant and couldn’t start testing until the fall/winter weather descended upon Chicago.

I debated about which size of this jacket would best fit me; their website provides detailed sizing charts, but I still found that my measurements fall somewhere in between, and after talking with the kind folks/owners of Loeka to help me sort out my sizing questions, I was more comfortable sizing down rather than up, since the cut on the torso for me was more than spacious and long enough; if I had gone with the larger size, the sleeves would have been a bit longer and shoulder area roomier for bulky layering underneath. According to the owners,

“The jacket has been designed to fit a little looser, that way the jacket can accommodate more girls, you can wear a soft shell or other layer underneath comfortably. The jacket can be used for crossover such as running, snow shoeing, spring skiing if you wanted, casually ect. Now depending on the girls body style and how she likes the jacket to fit, loose, fitted going up or down a size will most likely accommodate that girls specific fit preference.”

The cut on this jacket is long enough all the way around so as not to allow nasty road spray sneak up on your rear (not a longer tail on the back) and you can see how it fits while on the bike.
fit on bike

This jacket offers bike commuters/around town riders waterproof/weatherproof protection in a fashion-forward design. Unlike my previous waterproof jacket designed in a more (non-stylish) unisex manner, this shell offers the same 3-season protection from rain or snow or clear, cold and windy days – basically to “tackle all the not very nice weather” with a unique look. The most obvious feature that stands out is the angled zipper down the front (as opposed to all the other commuter jackets that have a straight zipper down middle front of the jacket). Beneath this zipper, a windproof flap (in a curvy design) blocks any wind/rain from sneaking through the zipper.
loeka flap

This angled full zipper down the right side of the jacket is balanced on the the left with another small zip at the neckline that not only provides visual symmetry to the design but also (according to Loeka) helps to provide easy ventilation while keeping you protected from the elements. Personally I found the ventilation offered by this smaller zip to be negligible at best, but visually it succeeds from a design perspective. There are also ventilation flaps on the front side of the jacket (along the chestline) but no equal venting on the back. Luckily the lack of the rear venting is not an issue since this jacket does boast the essential pit-zips for added ventilation – and I appreciated their length and the added breathability they offered to prevent overheating.
pit zips

From the functionality perspective, this jacket sports a hand pocket on either side of the angled zipper; the left side pocket reaches across the jacket and offers ample room for gloves, keys, etc – just don’t put too much in it since it stretches across the belly area in the front. The right-hand pocket (though small due to the angled zip) provides just enough room for your keys or any small accessory. At first I missed having a handy chest pocket which I’ve had on other jackets, but I soon came to appreciate the pockets at hip level (especially when just walking around town on my lunch break). There is also a rear zippered pocket (covered with a flap) to store extras while riding (cell phone, snack, etc) that doesn’t call attention to itself when not in use.

One bothersome feature for me was the lack of a higher/more fitted neckline, especially since I don’t like getting any drafty wind (or rain) sneaking in at my neck. (For full disclosure, my neck is one area that I like to keep warm in order to keep the rest of me warm, so this may not be an issue for other ladies.)
neck line
Loeka purposely left the neckline a bit looser to help accommodate a layer underneath comfortably and for 2010 they have made the neckline closer and not so loose. For the coldest days, I really appreciate the ability to comfortably layer-up under this jacket. All photos on their website reflect these adjustments for their 2010 line.

Technical Specs on this jacket from Loeka:

FABRIC
100% 75-denier polyester.
Lined with 100% polyester mesh.
TECHNICAL FEATURES
Waterproof up to 10,000ml with taped seams.
8,000ml breathability, armpit zippers and natural chest vent.
Reflective piping built in to back panels and sleeves.
Adjustable wrists and rear zip pocket.
Longer arm length designed for sports. (When you reach out, the sleeves do not creep up to expose bare skin.)

According to the owners of Loeka, the jacket should easily last 3-5 years of heavy use if properly maintained or even longer. If the jacket is being worn occasionally then it could last who knows how long. For care instructions, please see their site for care info which basically directs using a sport wash like Nikwax or Grangers to help keep the waterproofing last. Then hang dry, do not tumble dry.

With the winter thaw setting in and the rainy spring season on its way, this jacket is a great outer layer addition to any female cyclist’s wardrobe. (And fashion savvy, too!)

Please read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

ZOIC REVIEW

I have been testing this little ensemble from Zoic for some time now in this sunny California weather. Zoice offers apparel for mountain biking, daily commutes and for women, men and kids! You can read my first impression here.

DSC09978
I was sent 4 items for review.

First is the Namaste hoody.
yogajacket

From their website:

Namaste Hoody
Cover Up with Style

* Description
* Content/Fabrics
* More Info

Description

* Long sleeve fitted hoody with front pouch pockets, hidden key pockets and screen print detail on inside hood
* Internal MP3 pocket with ZOIC grommet with additional “Streetside” screen print
* Vented Sleeves
* Flatlocked body seams for improved comfort, durability and a smooth non-chafing surface against the skin.
* Chest darts for improved fit and shape
* Wrist cleavage

This hoody has quickly become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe! It’s a very stylish piece but you won’t believe how comfy this little jacket is. The jacket is a polyester, bamboo charcoal, and spandex blend. Soft and stretchy. I love that this jacket breathes well, yet is just enough coverage for cool evening strolls. I even wore this jacket for an 8k I ran some time back, in the rain!

Hoody
I’ve received alot of compliments on the screen print on this hoody.

ipodholder
This jacket features a little MP3 pocket. LOVE IT!!

I love the small details in this jacket. The MP3 pocket, the additional screen prints, a hidden key pocket in one of the front pockets! Love, Love, Love it! This is also what I consider to be a very high quality jacket. The stitching is beautiful and the fabric is incredibly durable. I’ve washed this jacket many times over and there has been NO shrinkage or fading of the fabric. All the stitching has stayed in tact also. This jacket actually looks the same as when I first received it. This hoody is priced at $65.00 and is available in these colors:Antique, Blue Moon, Creole, Envy. I don’t typically spend that kind of money on a hoody, but this jacket is definitely worth it. The fact that it still looks pretty new after all these months is a testament in itself that it is going to last a very long time!

Next is the Cuello Tee.
jerseyfront

From their website:

Cuello Tee
Fashion Meets Function

* Description
* Content/Fabrics
* More Info

Description

* Cap sleeve fitted tee with screen printed details on the inside neck, sleeve and back bottom panel.
* Scoop neck collar for a fashionable look in your pursuits
* Chest darts for improved fit and shape
* Flatlocked body seams for improved comfort, durability and a smooth non-chafing surface against the skin

This tee proved to be equally of the same quality as the hoody. Many washes and no shrinkage or fading. This is also a polyester and bamboo charcoal blend. Again, very soft on the skin and it breathes really well. I also wore this tee on a mountain bike ride to test how it does with some serious perspiration. It held up strong and kept me cool!

Backof outfit

What I love about this streetside collection is that these pieces are very bike riding friendly yet they are stylish enough to confidently shop and do your errands. This is a nice classic comfy loose fitting top. Priced at an affordable $40 and available in these colors: Antique, Blue Moon, Creole, Envy.

Next is the Damsel Skirt.
DSC09979

From their website:

Streetside Damsel Skirt
The Cutest Piece in ZOIC’s History

* Description
* Content/Fabrics
* More Info

Description

* Solid colors are made in lightweight stretch fabric with 92% Nylon/8% Spandex composition
* New flat front waistband with snap/fly closure and added belt loops
* Contoured design lines and back yoke for perfect fit
* 2 Front hand pockets 2 rear pockets
* Liner: Women’s Girl Short Liner
* Removable moisture wicking stretch liner with “barely there” pad
* Pad: Barely There fleece lined pad
* 13″ Center front length- long enough to cover, short enough to entice!

I was really excited to test out this skirt! You can’t deny that this skirt is adorable! The skirt is lined with a removable black short and it is made of a nylon/spandex blend that makes it very stretchy for an attractive fit.

DSC09988
Lots of pockets. Two in the front, and two in the back.

blackshort
The liner is actually really comfy. Its comparable to a boy short type underwear, just a little longer. And it has side snaps on the top to secure it to the skirt if you like.

I love the feel and the look of the skirt. Like the other items, very durable under all the riding. On the bike I didn’t feel like the skirt made it difficult to pedal and it never got in the way. I did feel sometimes the need to pull down the bike short. That may be partially because the skirt and liner runs a little on the shorter side. There is also barely any bike padding, which I really didn’t mind because there were worn for “cruising” around town or my shorter commutes to work. I don’t care for the diaper feeling for my shorter rides.

The only drawback with this skirt was probably the length, as I don’t consider myself a modest mouse but I don’t care for gawks and stares either. And you will get both with this skirt. I even managed a few dirty looks from other gals while out at stores. And I wanted to say, “But you don’t understand, there’s shorts underneath!! This is a bike specific skirt for biking!!” Eh – I just smiled instead. And this attention could be a bonus for bike commuters I suppose. We need all the help with visibility on the roads, and this skirt will not disappoint! Get Jack in a skirt like this and he’ll be sure to turn some heads! 😉

This skirt is priced at an affordable $50. That includes both the skirt and the removable liner, and it is available in the shade seen above (cachi) and a darker version (cub). Despite the “shorter” style, I will still be sporting this skirt around town. I really liked that these are bike specific yet so classy and casual looking to wear while shopping and running errands. It’s nice to have more and more variety for us commuter gals!

And lastly the socks!

From the website:
Dazzle Sock
Women’s Mountain Bike Socks

* Description
* Content/Fabrics
* More Info

Description

Soft, breathable, quick drying, non-bunching sock with ankle height, double layer seamless cuff, & built-in arch support.

Ok, so what could be said about a sock? Well, let me tell you. When I put these on my feet, I said “Oooooohhhhh, these feel good!”. Really soft, and a GREAT arch support. Best socks on my feet thus far. And they matched my namaste hoody and skirt – bonus. 🙂 Priced at $15.

Zoic offers a great variety for both the ladies and the gents! I really loved all the items I have tested out. They may be a little on the pricier side but you won’t be disappointed. The quality is excellent and these pieces will last you a long time. Check out all they have to offer here!

***I also need to mention that Zoic is taking a pro active approach with eco friendly designs. As mentioned above they have incorporated bamboo into the namaste hoody and the tee that I have reviewed along with other items. You can also find organic tees on there website!

Here are some of the benefits of bamboo from their press release:
Integrating bamboo into the woven and knit pieces has numerous comfort, performance and environmental benefits:

¨ Bamboo fabric is softer than cotton with a texture similar to silk.

¨ Bamboo is a naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic fabric.

¨ Bamboo fabric wicks away moisture and dries faster than cotton.

¨ Bamboo clothes can be worn all year round as they keep you cool in summer and warm in winter.

¨ Bamboo fabric protects against the sun with its natural UV protection.

¨ Bamboo is grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides.

¨ Bamboo is a fast growing and self replenishing plant that requires little water.

¨ Bamboo is also a symbol of friendship and resilience.