With the upcoming holiday shopping season upon us, it's time to update the coolest cycling t-shirt list. After all, t-shirts make the perfect gift. They're personal, inexpensive, and there is no shortage of unique designs available. So here are a few new shirt makers you may want to check out this holiday season, and don't forget to check out the full list.
First up, Flirtees. Hailing from Canada, Flirtees has some really fun designs for the woman cyclist in your life, maintaining a balance between pretty and strong - a phrase found on a few of the shirts. The illustrations are top notch and printed on high quality cotton t-shirts in vibrant colors. I asked Kgirl (my wife) to pick her favorites. She chose "Dirt Flirt," "I need to work on my tan lines," and the pink version of "Pretty and strong." Coming soon, "Girls ride too," a birds eye view of the handlebars made to look like fallopian tubes...you see...there's that balance again. (U.S. readers, don't let the prices fool you they're listed in Canadian dollars).
If classic road racing is up your alley, it's essence is captured in the designs made by Art by Opsal. More than just t-shirts, Art by Opsal designs posters, jerseys, and even cycling inspired polo shirts. Artist Brian Opsal starts by designing posters in a "turn-of-the-century, letterpress style" which layers colors creating a distinctive effect. Many of these original designs make it to the T's. The shirts tend toward a slim fit, but if you've got the body for them you'll be the hippest one in the brew pub.
Evomo designs apparel that captures the guts and the glory of that which is mountain biking. No riding apparel here (except the Evomo team jersey), the clothing is designed for riders when they are off the bike just "doing their thing." With names like "Hurl," "Blood donor," and "Balls out," these designs capture the emotional and physical aspects of the sport. Designs can be found on T's, thermals, and hoodys and are available for men, women, and even kids. The detail on these shirts is incredible. Just check out the stitching and 3D appliqué on the long sleeve "Splatter."
Twin Six was included in my original post on cool cycling T's, but they have really hit the scene strong this past year and have some new designs along with an expanded women's line. The company is most well known for it's distinctive jerseys, with it's t-shirt line carrying a more understated simplicity. Twin Six designs exude a retro, yet modern, hipster style. I love how designers Ryan Carlson and Brent Gale describe their motivation as a reaction to the "unwilling billboards, moving color explosions and unfortunate cartoon characterizations" of so many of the uninspired designs in the cycling industry. Twin Six can take a cliche and turn it into a classic.
There you have it...some of the greatest new t-shirt and apparel companies in cycling raising the bar for others to follow.
Oh, what's that you say? You want to know what happened to the Go Clipless T's we debuted at Interbike? Well, we're tweaking the design a bit so you'll have to wait until after the holidays. Perfect timing, right? ;-)