Gear Review: Oiselle’s Women-Specific Outdoor Apparel
I spend a lot of time in workout clothes, which I guess kids these days are calling “athleisure.” And by “a lot of time,” I mean I spend all of my time in whatever I’ve hiked or run in that day. I’m always on the hunt for high-quality, good-fitting apparel to add to the collection.
Oiselle is a company that makes activewear entirely for women. It was founded by CEO Sally Bergesen, the clothing is designed by women, and their team is full of badass lady crushers. The pieces I’ve worn are all low-key, beautifully constructed athletic apparel built for fit, movement, and comfort.
I chose three items from their line to put to the test and see if the hype was true: the clothes fit wonderfully, moved with freedom, and were well-designed and put together with high-quality construction. In short, yes, yes, and yes. I would recommend the clothes I tested for women looking for well-fitting athletic apparel designed to move with the body during high levels of activity. They’re on the pricy side, but I’ve worn the three items on an regular basis for the past six months, and I can attest to their durability.
These tights are listed as high waisted, and they aren’t messing around. They took a few wears to get used to, as they sit over my hips and the band is hefty elastic, but the fit is secure and it’s a relief to not be constantly pulling them up over my butt or fishing the waistband from under my hipbelt. I wear my pack hipbelt high, and these are among the only hiking/running pants I’ve tested that really truly stay in place. The material (Nyelle Compression) is thick, the four-way stretch pulls on easily (a blessing in cold mornings), and even when they get wet, the tights wicks and I have’t frozen yet. The reinforced waistband feels a little crampy while sitting for extended periods of time, but again, I got used to it. I’ve worn them during multiple day hikes and overnights in Montana and New Hampshire, and in classic dirtbag fashion have also slept in them on multiple occasions. I’ve worn them on their own and under windproof pants, and the high waistband and secure fit is a blessing. They have a large pocket stitched into the waistband with a vertical zipper. I’ve stashed my phone in the pocket during runs, with room for an extra energy gel. The sizing is numeric— for reference, I am 5’6″ and wear a size 6 in these pants. If in doubt, size up.
The fit of these lightweight shorts is somewhat surprising—you can feel the material around your legs, but once you start moving, they stretch in all the right spots and move with your strides. They have an articulated design and panels placed with running and hiking strides in mind. They are semi-fitted, which means they aren’t tight enough to bunch up, but not loose and floppy. The built-in liner doesn’t chafe or pinch, which is new to me. I typically cut out shorts liners due to chafing, but I haven’t had to with this pair. I’ve worn them on overnight backpacking trips, extended hikes, and many runs. The front panel and waistband lies flat, avoiding the stupid poof from other running shorts of a similar style. The mid-rise, wide waist band doesn’t grab or pinch, and the shorts stay in place under a hipbelt. I personally like the four-inch inseam, but if you’re worried about chafing, I would recommend going with the six-inch inseam option, found here.
Wazzie Wool Racerback Tank
I was intrigued by the idea of a merino tank—one that I could conceivably hike in, sleep in, and in true hiker trash fashion, never take off. I’ve put this tank through the wringer, from fall overnights to winter runs and day hikes under a variety of layers. I’ve worn it on its own, under a wind layer, as a base layer for a core warmth, and packed down under the winter Montana layering system of merino, fleece, down, and windproof. It’s performed well under all layers and in temperates ranging from low 70’s to far below zero. Like the rest of my Oiselle clothing, the clincher with this piece is the fit. It was made to move with a wide, natural range of motion, and boasts a fitted cut, a long hemline, and high-quality knitted construction. I wear it constantly and wash it infrequently—staying stink-free is one of the best properties of merino, and this lives up to demands of someone who hates laundry. The racerback is one of the best cuts for tanks, allowing for unrestricted movement while avoiding underarm chafe.
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