Finding the perfect clothes to workout in is no small task. From fit to function, the athleisure market overwhelms you with hundreds of options to wear while you break a sweat. However, one Canadian company sets itself apart with its innovative technology, stylish apparel, and community culture, and its set to become the hottest urban athletic apparel on the market.

Designed without compromise for fit, comfort or durability, Vancouver-based RYU(stands for Respect Your Universe) engineers products to facilitate the human performance of a multi-discipline athlete. This means that their clothes are appropriate for any activity, whether it be spinning, yoga, Pilates, lifting weights or just going to brunch. Built on the foundation that consumers need clothes to fit all aspects of their lifestyle, RYU has created a curated collection of tops, bottoms, bras and accessories for both men and women to reflect the versatility of a healthy active lifestyle.

Recently, we were able to walk through their stunning Queen St West location in Toronto, which opened in 2017 and was RYU’s first retail expansion outside of BC, where the RYU team explained to us what sets their company apart from everyone else.

The standout feature of RYU’s newest release, a selection of tops known as the Vapor line, is the innovation. The garments are made with a 360-degree knitting technology, so there are no seams to cause chaffing, and the shirts feel ultra-lightweight. On both the sides and back of the shirt, there is minimalistic mesh zones that create airflow, so you’re able to cool down and minimize the amount of sweat that may be culminating. The real treat is the Polygiene technology used to create the fabric of the shirt: it’s integrated into the actual fabric to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This differs from competitors, where there is often a top coat of protective anti-odorants, but those deteriorate after washing your shirt a couple of times.

The shape of the clothes is designed with an athletic build in mind. The shoulders are built to allow for maximum movement – perfect if you have broad shoulders or are moving your arms in different directions. The waist tapers in slightly to flatter your form and also prevent any gaping that occurs in most box-cut shirts. Another stand-out fit is the women’s legging, which has medical grade compression that wraps around the waistband to ensure your leggings stay put for the duration of the time you’re wearing them. But that’s not all. This core support waistband also acts to smoothen your silhouette AND they have an antibacterial diamond gusset so these babies are built to wear commando.

Another standout innovative design is their line of bags, perfect for any urbanite on the go. They aren’t just bags; they are carrying system. Each pack comes with a functional lining that prevents odors and wicks away moisture, perfect for transporting everything you need from the gym to the office or just on the weekend. Each bag has an easy access laptop pouch with protective padding and multiple mesh organizing pockets for water bottles, wraps, tape, keys, wallets and whatever else you need to carry around. The Daily Duffle is a real show stopper, with waterproof leather accents and a patented cross-body carrying strap that takes the ease out of adjusting your bag. You’re going to want to bring these everywhere.

RYU has built not only an impressive line of clothes but a community of devoted fans. Despite the fact the clean designs show minimal branding, their followers are loud about their passion for the brand. Just check out #RespectYourUniverse or  #BeautifulTough on Instagram to see an inspiring collection of driven individuals wearing RYU apparel. They even have dedicated employees who actively search for individuals and brands to collaborate with embody the philosophy of the brand. They also have a Trainer Program designed to bring together athletic trainers who live the values of RYU.

RYU stands for something bigger and better than the norm of athletic apparel. They bring life, expression, curiosity, and discipline into each piece of clothing to truly materialize the beauty of human performance. We hope Canadian athletes and recreationalists alike can experience this universe.

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Jane Bradshaw

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