Curious Creatures has joined the apparel party to ensure that what we wear riding is just as fun as the experience itself.
With construction and functionality at its core, the new mountain bike apparel company turns up the volume on self-expression, versatility, and comfort. All-day and off-bike wearability is a claim made by many but, for Bozeman, Montana-based Curious Creatures, it’s a promise.
Curious Creatures is the brainchild of longtime Patagonia technical apparel designer Natasha Woodworth. Her years of technical outdoor apparel experience are evident in the construction and quality materials, but with a design that’s more playful and less high-tech. The Curious Creatures launch collection is a female-focused, three-season line featuring tops, bottoms, and a chamois in wildflower-inspired colors, comfort-focused fits, and easy-to-wear function. Men are not the focus of this collection, but they aren’t ignored either as many items are unisex and include a size conversion chart.
“I was very focused on taking my background and experience in building performance technical gear and not compromising on functionality,” Woodworth said when asked about her company’s launch. “Often apparel is designed to appear additionally technical for the customer that wants to look that way. I wanted to launch an MTB collection that functioned at that same high level but was designed more casual to cross over to all aspects of life, particularly mountain life such as climbing, hiking, and more.”
Curious Creatures’ launch collection prioritizes continuous wearability and comfort through innovative construction. Pants and shorts feature pull-on waistbands, side zippers, and minimal seams for reduced bulk and improved comfort in the riding position. The 100-percent cotton short and long-sleeve tees are either garment or hand-dyed. Often shunned in performance apparel, I find cotton to be comfortable against the skin, easy to transfer from on-the-bike to regular life, and better at managing sweat stink than polyester.
“This was largely a reaction to what I was seeing on the trails and what I felt myself—that there was some ineffable comfort that came from wearing natural fibers. I also noticed a small but mighty rejection of slinky, shiny plastic fabrics,” Woodworth said. “I think there is a time and a place for both, and that's why we offer the tank in a polyester-Tencel blend, which is a more performance, hot-weather piece focusing on moisture management.”
Woodworth leans into the sustainability and responsibility experience she gained while working at Patagonia. Sustainability is never an afterthought but is considered from the beginning of the design process.
“This means, at Curious Creatures, I thought about end-of-life solutions like recyclability when choosing fabrics,” Woodworth said. “I especially choose fabrics that were not blends of two contents or included too much spandex, something that can make a garment unrecyclable.”
Curious Creatures prioritizes sustainability through local and U.S. sourcing, Bluesign materials, and a focus on recyclability. The products predominantly use 100-percent poly or cotton, enhancing recyclability compared to blends. Three out of four bottoms in the launch collection are fully recyclable, and all tops are domestically manufactured by minority-owned U.S. factories, one of which is woman-led. Woodworth personally verified excellent working conditions in international factories. For repairs, a local sewer is engaged, and the company accepts retired kits for recycling, completing their commitment to minimizing environmental impact.
Sun Dog Pant
I got my hands on a pair of the Sun Dog pants before a road trip from Whistler to Northern California. I knew something was very right about these pants when I found myself wearing them through long drives and right into layover rides. The Sun Dog pant is that comfortable. Resembling a performance jogger, these pants transition seamlessly from the bike to life after the ride. The Sun Dog pants have been a new favorite with lots of on-bike functionality, a new take on the often-bothersome waistband, and fashion-forward features.
The most notable feature of the Sun Dog pant is its construction. The midrise pull-on stretch knit waistband, complete with a drawcord, is a smooth silky and bulk-free dream. From lounging to riding, this waistband is oh-so-comfortable. The pants have four pockets: two zippered and tape-seamed thigh pockets, perfect for phones and snacks; and two rear pockets with flaps and snap closures. The cuff is another favorite feature of the Sun Dog Pant. Two contrasting snaps allow you to adjust the cuff to your liking. You can also open the cuff to make it easy to pull these pants off or even sneak a pair of knee pads out when the ride is over. I have short legs, and rolling the cuff provided a perfect length.
The lightweight stretch poly fabric, finished with a PFC-free DWR, is soft, conforming, and doesn’t lose its shape after a long ride. Contour seams in the waist, thigh, and calf provide a tapered fit that moves with you. There’s no side seam which creates a sleek look that adds mobility. Both my daily trail and more substantial park knee pads fit great under the pants. The fit runs true to size with numerical sizing 0 to 14. The inseam runs a bit shorter than other pant options, which I prefer for both look and function.
An easygoing look and feel, ample riding functionality, two vibrant color options, an extended size range, a fantastic waistband, and fashion-forward details all add up to a riding pant that I highly recommend.
Corner Pocket Tee
There is always a time and place for a great t-shirt, whether you’re riding or not. The Corner Pocket tee is Curious Creatures’ rendition of the perfect cotton shirt. It’s buttery soft and just the right ever-so-slightly cropped fit.
Positioned as a staple tee, the Corner Pocket tee is a combination of 50-percent recycled cotton and 50-percent virgin cotton. The tee has a breezy feel with a four-way stretch that magically does not get too soggy when riding. It comes in three garment-dyed colors with a vintage look and feel right out of the bag. My only qualm with the Corner Pocket tee is that I don't have more of them. My favorite tee to wear during the day is often in the laundry from the ride before.
There are many different types of rides. There are the sweaty training rides, the hardcore park sessions, the multi-layered big mile rides, and then there are the fun rides—the laps with friends that end with post-ride hangouts, the celebratory birthday rides, the post-trail work community sessions. This Curious Creatures kit is my go-to for when the ride leans more playful, more expressive, less serious. Don't get me wrong, the functionality is all there. Curious Creatures has simply made a kit that has me feeling comfortable and playful, on and off the bike. I am excited to see another woman-focused and woman-owned brand in the mix and I can't wait to see what Curious Creatures has in the pipeline.