Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Gear

‘Long live’ award: Women’s-specific design

Maybe it needs a new name, but the concept is sound.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
$1.90 / week *

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Beta MTB, Peloton, Clean Eating, Yoga Journal, and more
  • Today’s Plan training platform with customized programs
  • Two books from a cycling & fitness curated library by VeloPress
  • Discounted race entries to local sportives and centuries
Join Outside+
VeloNews.com

Print + Digital
Special Price
$0.46 / week *

  • Annual subscription to VeloNews magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on VeloNews.com
  • Ad-free access to VeloNews.com
Join VeloNews

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Is women’s-specific design dead? Maybe it just needs a different name. It certainly continues to catalyze countless conversations about what is best for the ladies in the room.

The ongoing debate is okay for one very important reason: More than ever, the “room” is full of ladies, which is why it’s perhaps time to change women’s-specific to the more apropos women-led, or women-run moniker.

Look at Liv, whose bikes are not just designed for female cyclists but are also created by them. From its boardroom, to its teams of engineers, designers, and brand managers, Liv is unwaveringly committed to the women who work in women’s-specific design.

In apparel, women-led brands are becoming de rigueur. Ashley Rankin started Shredly when she couldn’t find any baggies that A) fit and B) weren’t boringly black. Both she and the dirt-loving ladies at Wild Rye offer us mountain bike duds that are both flattering and functional. Ever notice the expensive price of a bike kit? Leave it to a pair of midwestern women to solve that. Des Moines’ Velorosa sells pro-quality kits at norm-core prices.

And finally, we had to wait for a woman to say — yell, really — that one size (or even four) does not fit all. Jenn Kriske’s Machines for Freedom recognizes that female cyclists often fall far outside of a traditional sizing spectrum and offers apparel ranging from XS to XXXL.

Although women’s-specific design has brought us some of the best bikes on the market and certainly the most flattering and fun apparel to date, it’s also inspired a trend that will last far beyond patterns and styles: women-led and women-run. Is women’s-specific dead? Nope. It has simply evolved.