You may have heard about Lululemon and their dominant position in the athleisure industry, however they have recently entered the outdoor and hiking retail space. Here at Hiking and Fishing, we decided to put some items to the test with some Colorado mountain hikes. In this article, I am going to be reviewing select items of clothing from the new Lululemon hiking line, and the line in general, with a focus on quality, comfort, price and overall thoughts.
I wore a select few items on several Colorado hikes, including short day hikes and a long 14,000 mountain. This allowed me to test the functionality in different terrain, and with varying hike length and weather.
A little background about the testing: I am a trail runner, hiker and an exercise physiologist who takes performance seriously. In addition, I am a mid-sized woman on the hunt for outdoor gear that will fit a curvy body. I try out clothes from different brands that are often marketed towards petite and more rectangular-shaped women to sort through what will fit and what will “thigh gobble”, etc.
Where To Purchase
Or on Amazon
Lululemon Athletica was founded in Vancouver, CA in 1998 with a focus on fitness apparel, particularly yoga, running, and other forms of training. The brand was created to target young professional women who want comfortable and long-lasting athletic attire. Following controversy of the original CEO, Lululemon has made strives to be body inclusive with both size expansion (from 0 to 20) and ambassadors. The company has created an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action function in 2020 to enact brand vision with consideration towards all people. Read more about their inclusion for all here: https://corporate.lululemon.com/about-us/inclusion-for-all/our-journey
Further, a large feature of the mission of Lululemon is to encourage exercise, so the brand hosts free events to promote physical activity across the United States. You can learn more about those events here: https://shop.lululemon.com/community/_/N-1z13zib
Similarly to many major outdoor apparel retailers, Lululemon has goals to improve their sustainability, including using 75% sustainable materials for their products and 50% less freshwater use for product creation by 2025. Read more about Lululemon’s commitment to sustainability here: https://shop.lululemon.com/story/product-sustainability
About The Products
Below, we review the products we have tested individually, and then make some conclusions on the entire line based on these reviews.
Tech Fleece Hiking 1/4 Zip Pullover
Starting with favorite item of the review, the Tech Fleece Hiking 1/4 Zip Pullover which I tested in black size 8.
- Brushed on the inside for warmth
- Four-way stretch
- Mesh fabric panels under the arms help you let off steam
- Secure kangaroo pocket with a hidden phone sleeve
- Hem cinch allows you to choose your fit
On my body, this fits somewhere between boxy and fitted and lands right at my hips as the description says. The hem cinch is incredibly useful to allow for a looser or more fitted waist, which I always appreciate.
The second I picked this ¼ zip up I knew it would be a new favorite for my hikes. The soft-to-the-touch fleece feels amazing and expensive. The underarm vents for the heat are constructed well and functioned excellently on our hike, which began at 5 am when I required a jacket. I typically run hot so this is a perfect mid-layer or an outer layer for late spring, summer or fall. There are a few reviews mentioning pilling or other issues with the fabric but I did not experience that at all. The item washed well and no pilling took place after both hikes. I will update this article if I feel there is rapid deterioration, but at this point have had no issues.
Going along with fabric quality, this piece felt incredibly comfortable. I am looking forward to getting constant use out of it both on hikes and in my day-to-day.
This was my favorite piece for many reasons, but the main one being that it can double as a wonderful fleece for the mountains and the city. As a weekend-warrior type adventurer with a limited budget, I need my outdoor attire to double as everyday clothing as well. Lululemon hid the technical aspects of this pullover very well, allowing for a stylish piece.
Cargo Super-High-Rise Hiking Short 8″
Next item of the review, which may be ranked the lowest for me personally (given my love for the other two items this may not be surprising), the Cargo Super-High-Rise Hiking Short 8″ which I tried in size 8 color Laurel Green.
- Four-way stretch
- Added Lycra® fibre for stretch and shape retention
- Side drop-in pockets
- Zippered pocket
- Clip a carabiner to the front D-ring
- Drawcord to customize fit
I thoroughly enjoyed the high-rise as those shorts were not going ANYWHERE whether hiking or spurts of trail running. For context, I do not tolerate shorts that fall in the slightest during exercise. With the drawstring I feel comfortable that even if the fabric ever stretches, I will be able to cinch the waist so it still does not fall.
These shorts were made with some love for curves. They have that typical Lululemon flattering nature to them despite being made for an outdoor adventure. This feature is superior to many other shorts I have tried – they will hug your curves in all the right places.
Positives: I feel that the quality of these shorts are great, I hiked between class 1 to easy class 3 (typical hiking to requiring my hands) and there were no tears in the fabric or any other sign of damage to the pants. I am one that has several holes in the butt area of my shorts as I often sit on rocks and crab-walk down steep sections, so I was happy to see the shorts held up great. All dirt and other inevitable stains also washed out great, which I was happily surprised with the lightness of the color. The pockets kept my phone and other items secure across a 4 and 11 mile hike with no issue, and the drawstring really helped keep the shorts in place. There are currently several review complaints regarding sweat stains, but I did not experience more sweat display than any other short I own.
Potential Negative: While hiking under the extremely bright Colorado sun, my partner mentioned he was able to see the outline of my underwear. While I can confirm the shorts did pass the squat test (squat in front of a mirror with a light on and no underwear was seen), but it is impossible to replicate the exact conditions faced during the hike. I did figure I would mention this, as it is one of the only potential negatives to be aware of. This took place with the lightest color of the shorts and may be avoidable with the darker colors available.
Keep in mind: Before trying these shorts out, I was informed they are for single-day ventures. However, I was going on a backpacking trip and enjoyed them thoroughly during my testing, to the point that I wanted to bring them along. By day 2 I noticed that these shorts accumulated smell more than the average shorts I bring, to the point where I had to wash them in a nearby river. While this should not be counted against the shorts as they are not intended for this use, I did feel it was noteworthy.
To keep it short and simple: the shorts felt amazing. Even after a quick jump into an alpine lake, they were so comfortable I forgot I was wearing them several times. As someone who suffers from thigh chafing and shorts that often ride up (the dreaded “thigh gobble”), these stayed in place and left me with no chafing-related issues even after an 11 mile hike and several miles of trail running. It is important to keep in mind that these shorts are very high rise (as mentioned in the name), which I enjoy as it prevents any falling of the shorts (like, those suckers did not move an inch all day). It should be noted I went with my upper size (typically fall between a size 6 and 8 and I wore a size 8 to try them out) and they fit like a glove. If you enjoy high-rise, and want a pair of sturdy, stay in place biker shorts for a day hike, these are the ones for you.
As you can tell from the photos, these are clearly hiking shorts. If you typically wear 8” biker shorts out and about (that is typically not my style), you could absolutely to style these in a way that is more casual. However, with all of the technical features (the D-ring, the thick drawstring and pocket design), these appear more as hiking attire than the other two items in the review.
Price: $98 USD
High-Neck Running and Training T-Shirt
Lastly, I tried the High-Neck Running and Training T-Shirt in white size 8.
- Four-way stretch
- Added Lycra® fibre for stretch and shape retention
- This garment was treated with No-Stink Zinc™ to inhibit the growth of odour-causing bacteria on the fabric
- Reflective details
Fit: I felt that this shirt has great balance for an athletic body type. I have relatively broad shoulders but this shirt did not make me appear that way. It is well fitted on my arms (but not uncomfortable as some t-shirts are created too tight on the sleeves) and looser in the waist. It landed right at the hip and with the balance between loose and fitted, maintains a very flattering shape.
One aspect I deeply appreciate in Lululemon clothing is the anti-odor feature in many tops, including this one. As I mentioned in the review of the shorts, they maintained smell. However, this shirt remained odorless throughout all of the testing, including several day and overnight trips. The shirt was slightly see-through with the white color, but this could be avoided by purchasing a darker color. I would also be weary to wear this in tight forests or other overgrown trails as I can imagine the fabric could snag fairly easily (though I did not have this issue on any of my hikes).
As mentioned in the fit, I felt that the balance between fitted and looser was extremely comfortable. Also, the fabric was very unique allowing for an incredible amount of heat release which was much appreciated on hotter days. This shirt also prevented any underarm chaffing which certain fabrics, or skin-to-skin contact, can cause.
I feel this shirt is extremely flattering on more athletic body types than many you can find in the outdoor space. While I really enjoyed wearing it on my hikes, it can absolutely also be a staple in your wardrobe for going into town or other casual activities.
Price: $58 USD
Returns & Warranty
Lululemon offers a very buyer friendly free return policy. You can read more about that policy here.
I think Lululemon did a great job at combining their trustworthy high-quality incredibly comfortable fabrics and more flattering designs with technical components for spending the day in nature. I want to continue to reach for these pieces as they are so comfortable and do not budge while wearing them.
To briefly discuss the elephant in the room: with the Lululemon name comes the Lululemon price tag, which is something I judged harshly. Does someone need to purchase $100+ hiking gear? Absolutely not. However, with the price tag also comes incredible customer service, free tailoring and repairs on items, and oftentimes replacement pieces if there are damages (though no guarantee on this last point). Additionally, I believe this line is more body-inclusive than most, if not all, classic outdoor brands. If you have struggled to find outdoor clothing that fits your body comfortably, particularly if you have a curvier or athletic figure, I think it is worth giving this collection a try.
Victoria Bandera has a Master’s degree in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University and is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist. Currently, Vicky is at the University of Utah working on her PhD in Population Health Sciences and working in the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is passionate about the use of physical activity and nutrition as a source of longevity and overall health. Find her on some adventures with small health-related posts at @viqeeinthewoods on Instagram!