I’m checking out the latest threads in 2022 from Western Rise, a brand based in Colorado, USA. From wandering around The Highlands in Scotland earlier this year to enjoying the coast of Malta, I’ve typically been impressed by Western Rise and their ability to weave technical fabrics into everyday wear. Today’s outfit check includes the Strong core Merino Hoodie, X-Cotton Henley Tee, Airsoft Vest, Shift Hat and Versa Hat, which you can check out in the Western Rise store. Let’s dive into today’s outfit and see if it passes the vibe check.
What I’m hoping to answer is in 2022, if Western Rise still holds true to its values as a brand of everyday wear with technical properties. I’m currently living in Brussels, so let’s see if the latest crop of garments continues to meet the demands of my lifestyle, staying active and the usual routine.
This one surprised me because I didn’t think I’d wear it as much as I have been. The Strongcore Merino Hoodie is an excellent layer for all-season use, whether it’s braving the cold with the merino wool warmth, a slight chill in mild weather conditions or taking shade under hot weather. It’s true to size so I went for a medium which fits a t-shirt layer underneath, but do size up if you want extra room to layer with.
A string wraps around the neck and holds the hood without dragging back like many others do, while the hood itself is generous to wear over the Shift or Versa hat with headphones on too. An incredible fit that’s light, breathable and excellent to manage temperature hot or cold, this looks as great as it performs. The head opening is a little tight due to the string but just take some care and you’ll have no problems after. Besides the Airloft Vest, the Strongcore merino hoodie has been my go-to as a layer without any dangling threads, zippers or loose ends to deal with. The hoodie keeps me at the right temperature time and time again. Plus, I notice the UV ray protection as it bounces off the fabric and protects my skin against harmful rays and direct heat. Good news all around.
x-cotton henley tee
Don’t let the slightly weighty 220gsm fabric fool you – the X-Cotton Henley Tee by Western Rise is an excellent staple for the wardrobe. The fabric is quite dense but surprisingly breathable and does impressively well to wick away sweat in hot conditions. The dense construction makes it ideal in cold weather, but I found even wearing it under 35-degree heat shooting at the F1 circuits in France, Netherlands and Italy, no sweat patches form so I stay presentable and never felt my body overheat. This smart casual henley looks the part no matter if you dress up or down.
I’ve paired it with the Boundless Shorts which strikes a sweet balance in staying fresh on a hot day, but looking stylish as a two-piece, without overcomplicating the matter. Paired with a longer rear curved hem for coverage and quick-drying despite the thicker fabric, it’s a garment minimalist, travellers and individuals scoping for quality staple clothing will appreciate. It’s buttery soft to the skin that oozes an air of quality you come to expect from Western Rise. It just feels oh so good to wear.
OK, so I’ve trashed these to the limit, like walking the streets of Brussels, taking these for an ocean swim on the southern coast beaches of France, sweating like a maniac exercising and wearing as everyday shorts with my valuables. It passes all with flying colours and I’ve come to the verdict it’s one of the most stylish and versatile lifestyle shorts you can own. I’ve yet to try the movement or evolution shorts but considering my active lifestyle and need for versatile items as a minimalist, I’d certainly grab a couple of pairs of these and I’ll be good to go for years to come. Size options are easy to understand as it’s by waist size, so as a 32 I went for a 32 and it slid on perfectly.
The reasons why I sing high praise are because of the comfortable waistband, modern cut length, water and stain-resistant material, 4-way stretch and quick-drying ability. Exercise in the morning and work a sweat, dip into the ocean to cool off, dry these shorts in the sun and then walk around in the evening. It can do them all without breaking a sweat (or thread). The materials are robust and the details, are well-considered. The hip zipper pocket has been excellent for stowing my wallet and house keys. It doesn’t get in the way of my strides but I know my stuff are there when I need it. The zip could be better accessible as it faces towards the rear which makes access a little awkward, but in terms of security, I cannot fault it. The Boundless looks great in all colours (rocking the navy), but I’d grab the black and sand for colour options.
An incredibly versatile layer, the Airloft Vest is Western Rise’s best-kept secret. Mixed weather conditions make it difficult to strike the right attire that doesn’t undercut or overshoot comfort, warmth and style for the rest of the day. The insulated AirLoft vest works incredibly well as a sole outer layer or mid layer. Available in navy, grey and black, honestly having all three to make your style won’t go amiss. The navy hits that smart casual look with the x-cotton henley tee, while the black goes with any look. The grey adds a casual/outdoor look and doesn’t feel out of place if the sun decides to peer between the clouds.
With a breast pocket, side pockets and hidden rear pocket, it adds extra utility to free your pants and hands with convincing zipper pulls and security. The extra thermal insulation helps on breezy days or when a full-on jacket feels a tad too much. But even on cold days, add this as a mid-layer over a jumper and jacket and you’ll appreciate the extra warmth without compromising style, or dealing with bulky outerwear. A perfect add-on for minimalists, travellers and mid-layer options.
Deciding between the Shift and Versa hat is tough. I love the Versa hat as a travel-friendly waterproof headwear, but when it comes to style, Western Rise nailed the Shift hat. The structured silhouette strikes a sweet spot with a sharp look that fits any outfit situation. The laser-vented cuts in the rear make this breathable if you plan to work out or sweat in this. It won’t leave any sweat marks thanks to the fabric.
Easy to adjust to your head size, it’s water resistant for when I’m caught out in the rain, but won’t keep you dry because of those obvious vented cuts. For full waterproofing, the Versa hat is the choice. On windier days however, the structured Shift hat is more reassuring, while the Versa moves a lot because of the malleable form. I wasn’t much of a hat person before, but the Shift hat has made it stylish to wear again for me.
Athletic Merino Socks
A nod to the classics, the athletic design is made with merino wool for comfort, odour resistance and temperature regulation. The long length covers up to the calves for extra comfort and performance if you’re out running or hiking in the cold. Having no-show, ankle or normal length socks are a safe bet, but for those times when you just need extra length, a pair of these is all you need. I have a pair of these in the off-white colour, but I would certainly recommend black for the aesthetics. I do prefer the simple look of the Strongcore Merino socks out of their range (seen wearing with my Vivobarefoot Magna Trail in pictures), but these come in handy when I want the extra leg coverage.
does technical meet every day?
There’s a premium you pay when buying into Western Rise, but history has shone Will and Kell Watters – founders of Western Rise – continue to push the envelope. The X-Cotton Henley was a missing item in my luggage that straddles the smart casual line with a contemporary silhouette, while the AirLoft vest and merino hoodie ensure an all-season approach to stay relevant all year round. The Boundless shorts have proved their status as one-shorts for all which is music to minimal and traveller ears in 2022.
Does technical continue to meet every day? 100%. The functional aspects like quick-dry, water resistance and stain resistance make a tangible lifestyle upgrade for clothing, while the designs are tasteful and true to Western Rise DNA. I’ll be sure to follow up with individual reviews once I’ve got more mileage out of them but it’s clear in my mind Western Rise has put in a solid showing of quality that upholds the premium price tag for this year.
For disclosure, this article features affiliated links which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. They in no way influence or dictate my thoughts towards a brand, product or service. As the sole creator of One Tech Traveller, this helps support my work and platforms.