I first found Valleau Apparel while skimming through Instagram. The photo that caught my eye showed my friend scaling a wall at the rock gym while wearing a Valleau sports bra. Intricate but sporty straps cross-crossed her chiseled back muscles. It was a sports bra unlike any I had ever seen. It was the cool of cool sports bras.
Here's THAT photo. Thanks to Katie Levy over at Adventure-Inspired for permission to use it.
As some of you may know, I love the idea of femininity in sports, of going big while giggling, of ripping bad ass lines while wearing pig tails or skirts. This photo captures that essence, completely.
I did some investigating, and was thrilled to learn that not is Valleau Apparel eye catching, but the company’s clothing is also USA made and has a great founding story.
Valleau Apparel was founded in February 2013 by Katie Valleau. As a former NCAA gymnast she decided there was a market for unique, quality active wear. Katie designs all of the pieces herself in sunny San Diego and carefully chooses her materials.
For the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to test Valleau’s Hammock Sports Bra in Snake Black and the Galaxy Shorts. I was so excited when they arrived in the mail. But there was one problem. It was February in the Teton Mountains.
Putting a sports bra and shorts to the test just doesn’t work well when the temps hoover in the single digits and snow is blowing sideways. And to add salt to the wound, our local hot yoga studio shuttered its doors. So much for blissfully sweating my way through pigeon pose wearing Valleau. Sigh.
But, eventually spring rolled around, and I’ve been able to wear my Valleau sports bra and shorts for some running, mountain biking and outdoor yoga. I look forward to getting to a beach or desert with them, but wanted to share my initial thoughts.
- Bright, unique and cosmic ... the fabric patterns and clothing designs catch eyes and turn heads. It's fun and refreshing to experience Katie's unique take on active wear.
- The Hammock Sports Bra is plenty supportive for high-impact activities like running. I wear it even when it's cold outside, and I have three other layers on over it, just because I like how it performs. (It's worth noting, I'm a B cup, so I can't speak well to how it would work for more robust women.)
- The fabric is quick drying, which means it wicks sweat and doubles well for swimwear. This is definitely the ultimate all-in-one outfit for a beach run followed by a dip in the ocean.
- USA made. Let me jump up and down, and say it again ... USA made. It’s especially challenging these days to find clothing made here at home. So Katie gets a major thumbs up for this.
- As versatile as clothing comes. Use it for running, mountain biking, yoga, swimming, climbing, evening wear (think backless dress) and post evening wear (I’m not going to elaborate).
- The sizing felt a little small to me. If you’re on the cusp between sizes, I’d suggested sizing up.
- The fact that the fabric is sheer is actually a pro and a con to me. As mentioned above, I like that it’s quick drying, but it’s not cuddly soft to the touch.