Rider Review: SmartWool Midweight Bottoms

by bonjourbicycle

I’m in love! And the objects of my affection are my SmartWool leggings. I bought two pairs of these – black and burgundy – during City Sport’s Black Friday sale and have been wearing them pretty much ever since, every chance I get. Being in the depths of winter now, I wanted to try something other than regular tights to wear while riding. I also wanted something that, while somewhat technical, could still be dressed up and not scream activewear. Finally, I needed leggings that washed well and would hold their shape. These babies fit the bill.

smartwool leggings

 image via

I first tried the black ones, wearing them on my normal 8-mile commute to work. This was in early December, when it was not too cold yet. For the ride, I paired them with an Ibex woolies long-sleeve shirt, a poncho-y sweater from Anthropologie and short Uggs. I packed a red and white cowl-neck tunic to change into at work, and wore the tunic and leggings with a pair of black booties that I keep under my desk. The tunic, while really cute, is an acrylic blend, so I was hesitant to wear it on such a long ride. I don’t think it could handle sweat at all. At the same time, because it’s acrylic, it was really light and easy to pack down in my basket without becoming wrinkled. Anyway, the point is that the leggings held up great on the ride, were not sweaty all, and have kept their shape in my multiple, subsequent wearings. They dress up really easily, but are also great with just a sweater or denim button down and flats or boots. I’ve washed them –- on a cold, short, gentle cycle –- and damp dried them, and still love them. My experience with the burgundy has been the same, though the color — which is really more of a plum — in my opinion, makes them harder to dress up. But it is nice to have an alternative to black. As for sizing, they seem to run TTS. I’m 5’1” and a 4/6 and the small fit perfectly. (I imagine they could seem short for taller women, however.)

My only negative comment is that SmartWool’s leggings are made in Vietnam. Most of Ibex’s clothing is made in Canada and costs about the same amount. SmartWool’s site does include a section on corporate responsibility and its commitment to supply chain partners, so perhaps I’m making too much of this. I did think it was worth pointing out, though.

Overall, I am extremely happy with my SmartWool leggings. Having tried them in a range of cool to cold temperatures, and on long and short rides, I can say they are excellent for riding, walking, or just lounging, and very versatile, allowing you to dress for both the ride and the destination.