I got my V2 denim jorts for women from Ripton and Co. ($ 89) on a Monday. Within a week, I put over 60 miles on them – doing quick jump laps on a local Santa Fe trail system, ridden a massive day of cross-country skiing on the highest section of the Colorado Trail, and spinning through fields of Crayola-colored wildflowers in front of Durango Engineer Mountain . Within a month I had worn them cycling up many of Santa Fe’s relentless forest trails, on my favorite trails, and on a backpacking trip. I received more compliments than I could count. I’ve posted the brand’s Instagram handle a dozen times for friends and strangers. I wore them on the first date and was asked – duh – on the second.
But before I put them on, I had my doubts. The only time I’d tried going into jeans cutoffs, my spandexless Calvin Kleins soaked up the sweat and left me with a brutal wedgie – a far cry from the casual vibe I’d set out on. However, from the first time I tried on the lightweight shorts from Ripton and Co., they felt as airy as they looked.
You could argue that driving in Jorts sends a certain message: you are so comfortable with what you’re doing that you don’t need fancy gear to make you feel at home, that with a properly tuned kit, you won’t have anything to do with have to prove. But in all honesty, you’d probably reconsider. These shorts just Rule – and just because they don’t look technical doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for anything you can throw at them.
Thanks to a generous 5 to 6 inch step length (depending on size) and super stretchy Denim, you could kick up to your heart’s content and never break a seam. They fit comfortably over a chamois and my quads, which can be especially difficult to get into other shorts. Though designed specifically for bikes, they’re also jorts approved by harnesses, ski touring, ridges, and beer in town. And they are available for both men and women.
(Photo: Courtesy of Ripton and Co.)
Despite the name, Ripton and Co. is actually just one guy: Elliot Wilkinson-Ray, a Vermont-bred skier and biker who now lives in Aspen, Colorado. After years of marketing in the bicycle industry, Wilkinson-Ray decided it was time to do his own thing. He cites the Californian cycling culture as a great inspiration. “I’ve started seeing high school kids in Santa Cruz on the newest mountain bikes riding in Hawaii [shirts] and Jorts because they felt that the options for mountain bike clothing were really limited, ”says Wilkinson-Ray. “When stretch elastane and polyester were processed into classic cotton fabrics such as denim in the outdoor industry, I realized that something can look really timeless and retro, but is very comfortable.”
It’s still a minor operation: the shorts fall in batches that routinely sell out. (You can currently pre-order the brand’s new Black Acid Jorts.) Wilkinson-Ray packs them by hand and delivers them to the post office by bike. The line of products will likely add a few new silhouettes in the coming year, but right now Ripton is focused on doing one thing really well. And it does.
When I started riding I felt like I put on a costume every time I went out. Clad in baggy clothes that I would never wear off my bike, my roommates called my alter ego Tanner. Ripton is one of only two brands that I’ve found they are creating something outside of the norm in cycling clothing (the other is Wild Rye, which has been successful in creating female silhouettes in technical fabrics). The jorts scratch a personal itch: they feel like my own clothes, something with character that builds a personality over time, as Wilkinson-Ray explains.
“The outdoor enthusiast is essentially counterculture. It’s a group of people who do things a little differently. “ he says. “Ripton is an ode to the past and to be a little more rebellious about how you think about the world and the powers that be.” For those who don’t feel like donning the Bike Bro uniform, he created an option with a classic, iconic look and legitimate functionality.
Support outside of online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. For the past several years, Outside Online has reported groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you updated on the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous reporting helps spark important debates about wellness, travel and adventure, and provides readers with an accessible gateway to new passions in the outdoors. Time outside is important – and we can help you get the most of it. Providing a financial contribution to Outside Online takes just minutes, and it ensures we can continue to deliver the breakthrough, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you will support us. Many thanks.
Main Photo: Courtesy of Ripton and Co.
Thank you so much!
You are now subscribed to Gear Fix
We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.
You can find more newsletters on our newsletter registration page.