REVIEW: GoGo Gear Kevlar Leggings

The timing of GoGo Gear‘s email advertising their new kevlar leggings with removable knee pads was just about perfect. I had been taking my scooter back and forth across the bridge to Millvale, where Ed at Goose Farm Motorcycles helped me put on my license plate, then Geoff at Slagheap Cycles in the same space helped me attach my trunk because I was having compatibility issues. In mid-late November, crossing a river at night is a cold journey, and wearing regular tights under my jeans just wasn’t cutting it. After a particularly cold evening, I arrived at the coffee shop where Evan worked to soak up some warm beverage as he prepared to lock the doors. I checked my email and saw these leggings. They seemed perfect, but with a price point well above my budget at the time, having not quite shaken the shock of quitting my job.

A couple weeks later, I was awoken by another email from GoGo Gear, this time a more personal email sent to previous shoppers (my parents bought me a great winter riding coat from them a couple years ago). It was inviting people who essentially name a price if we had an interest in the leggings but couldn’t afford the MSRP, because they were trying to reach a price point for their own ordering. I jumped at the opportunity, talked with Arlene, the owner, and a couple weeks later, was ecstatic when I took them out of the UPS box.

I was about to embark on my monthlong adventure at the Vermont Studio Center for my residency, which was made available through a Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship for Nature and Environmental Writing (Did you hear that? Don’t worry, it was just me, popping my collar). I signed up for a January residency because Pittsburgh winters are exceptionally depressing due to the grayness and rain, but I’m no fool. I knew it was going to be colder up there and wanted something I could wear on long, snowy hikes and snowshoeing adventures. Turns out, it got as low as -50 ºF at night. Dang. Luckily, I thought ahead and got these leggings, because they sure came in handy.
I also wanted to take them for a mountain bike ride, because they have great knee protectors. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a time when the trails were in good enough shape to ride that it was also cold enough to warrant this amount of warmth, so they haven’t hit the trails yet. I have a feeling this pants will last a long time, though, so there’s always next season.
Here are some highlights of these awesome pants:
  • They look and fit a lot like “skinny jeans” with a denim-like kevlar weave and jean-like pockets. Even though they are technically leggings, I think these fall into the category of “acceptable to wear in public” if you’re the type to care about that sort of thing.
  • They look good. I know I mentioned looks earlier, and I’m not vain or nuthin’ but these really went above my expectation. For how thick they are, they still have a very slim look and feel. Like other GoGo Gear products, these leggings are something that can be worn for a ride and then partied in without feeling like you’re wearing motorcycle gear (as long as you remove the knee pads).
  • They are comfortable. The inside is fleece-lined, and these are cozy enough to wear all day outside. Even with the kevlar (and even with the kneepad inserts), the leggings are soft rather than stiff.

 

  • They are super warm. I took these out for head-clearing snowshoe adventures, following the tracks of animals off trail and deep into the woods, exploring for hours in the deep snow of northern Vermont. If anything, I got a bit overheated with all my warm gear, and probably broke a sweat in these puppies (but the sweat didn’t freeze, which is an added bonus).
  • They are water resistant. I fell in the snow quite a few times, and it didn’t really affect me at all. I was also caught in a few drizzles (not hardcore storms, thankfully) and also stayed dry. I don’t know how well they would do in a downpour, and would prefer not to test them out. The first week I had a scooter, I got caught in a storm and had to ride through a flood because there was no place to turn off. It sucked.

 

  • They are wind-resistent. That unfortunate chill crossing the river at night in the winter? Not a problem with these pants. It’s so nice to not be thinking about temperature and body functioning while riding a scooter or motorcycle. I never once wished I had one of those European lap blankets all those Brits use (though I still want one of those).
  • They have removable knee pads. There’s a time and a place for safety, and as the proud owner of two achy knees, I can tell you that a place for safety is during a time when you can fall at a high velocity onto these precious discs that are basically just calcified jellyfish that we beat up on a lot. So I appreciate having these pads for longer rides where safety is a larger concern (I know, I know, most accidents happen within three miles of home but I live on the edge, you know?). I also appreciate that I can take them out and not feel like I’m wearing hockey equipment all day.
  • They feel legitimately safe. In addition to the knee pads, I think it’s worth mentioning that the kevlar fabric, however soft and comfortable, and regardless of the additional benefits like wind- and water-resistence, also feels incredibly durable. I have yet to have a spill on my bike, but I have been in two other motorcycle incidences that left me with serious burns and a deep wound the first time, and a hematoma the second time. If I had these pants on, I might have been in much better shape.

But like everything in life, there are a few downsides:

  • They tended to slip a bit while hiking. I tried to go trail running in the snow with them and it wasn’t ideal. I got diaper butt pretty hardcore, with a lot of sagging. If these came with a belt to keep the top up, that would be idea. This should be taken very much in stride, since these are motorcycle pants and I was really putting them through tests they hadn’t studied for.
  • Some people have had problems with getting them on. I honestly don’t understand that, but they received enough emails to put together a handy video to show people how to do it correctly. Maybe it’s just because I have muscly calves, or big swollen knees? I don’t know. I thought putting on pants was something we’d all figured out by now, but I’m glad they took it in stride and made a helpful video for people who were having problems.
  • The knee velcro is a little scratchy before you get the hang of putting them on. This is also very minor, because after you do it once in a way that’s uncomfortable, it’s very easy to adjust your methods to not get caught on a velcro hook.

 

And that’s it for the negatives, really. I wish they had belt loops, and some people had a problem getting them on. I ordered a size down because I got my coat a size bigger, thinking I should size up for wearing thick hoodies/sweaters underneath, and the coat is way too big (But I still love it). Sizing down was a smart choice for me. They also come in a wide range of sizes, so whether you’re a size 2 or a size 22, these leggings could be a great option for you.
The weather went from 31º and raining to 88º literally overnight, but once it gets cool again I’m excited to take these out for a long ride through the hilly country roads outside Pittsburgh or wherever the road takes me.
The next item up for review are the “regular” (i.e. men’s) and women’s Yurbuds headphones. Yippie!

 

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