Form is function.

Racing in cold-weather requires certain characteristics of minimalist protection, but training and commuting benefit more from the general functionality of Louis Garneau's Alcove Hybrid Pants for Women. The Alcove is a hybrid in that it combines commuting and training, weather resistance and insulation, and pedestrian comfort and in-saddle utility. This utility includes structural details like an adjustable waist, a traditional fly, zip pockets, and articulated knees; however, the materials are what really set it apart.

The Alcove features an impressively exhaustive list of fabrics, and the key of these is LG's own DirtMax. DirtMax is a four-way stretch, breathable, DWR-treated face material that's primarily nylon but includes some spandex to give it some pedal-friendly yield. As its name suggests, DirtMax also resists soiling of all types. To support the DirtMax, LG uses a material called FreeFlow, which is another high-denier weave that blocks wind and continues the theme of protecting against road spray and rain with its own DWR treatment. It's 100% polyester, which helps it stay breathable.

Those two materials protect a host of insulating fabrics, but—like with DirtMax—there's a standout star here, too. Louis Garneau places Polartec Alpha insulation in strategic areas to target warmth without bulk, making it ideal for cold-weather sports like cycling and Nordic skiing. It breathes well and dries quickly, but getting wet doesn't compromise its ability to insulate, a quality that it shares with wool. Polartec Alpha's synthetic construction lets water vapor out, but it doesn't allow wind the same freedom of movement, so it contributes to keeping the elements at bay while keeping body heat in.

The final two fabrics in the Alcove's impressive array are Interknity and Drytex. Interknity is a ribbed, double-knit layer with a mélange finish that looks every bit as cozy as it is. It's construction gives it a cycling-appropriate amount of loft and increases the fibers' effective surface area, a combination that insulates by trapping body heat and helps keep your microclimate dry by breathing and pulling moisture from your skin. Drytex provides a similar service; it's a knit material with a brushed inner face to insulate without Interknity's mélange aesthetics.

  • Cold-weather cycling pants for commuting and cross-training
  • Multi-material construction blocks wind and repels water
  • Various insulating materials arrayed strategically to reduce bulk
  • Adjustable waist and zip lower legs for a cycling-friendly fit
  • Finished with reflective details and zippered hand pockets
  • Reviews
  • Q & A