RYU is a new urban athletic-wear brand carving that’s all about functionality meeting style. Instead of copycatting Nike or Adidas, they carve out a niche of their own in the Canadian landscape. Three locations are already thriving in Vancouver, and their Toronto location is opening this weekend on Queen street. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the apparel before the opening, and RYU did not disappoint. I was ushered in by fit, brightly smiling employees, dressed head-to-toe in RYU and looking as stylish as they were comfortable. The back wall of the store is lined with RYU’s most iconic backpacks, which are definitely RYU’s highlight pieces.
All of their backpack models are minimal, trendy, and hide a bevy of cool features for all of your workout and/or commuting needs. Their daily duffle is by far our top pick. It features a self-landing leather flap with magnetic closure, and a large carrying capacity, along with a ton of handles that make the bag convertible and easy to wear in a multitude of styles. Four internal pockets compartmentalize your items.
It’s a perfect work-to-gym essential – a padded laptop sleeve protects your electronics, while a secret zippered compartment at the bottom of the bag separates your wet, sweaty workout goods from the rest of your items instead of creating a bacterial breeding ground like many duffles do. And while they’re not completely waterproof, the Polyurethane-coated canvas face is quite water resistant and durable.
One of their best-selling backpacks is the Quickpack. A laptop sleeve, Multiple mesh pockets and hidden zippered pockets at the base let you organize accessories of all sizes, from your water bottle to your keys. This bountiful compartmentalizing aspect is vital since the downfall of many backpacks is that annoying fumbling moment of blindly grasping at the bottom of the bag when you need to find something in a pinch. We appreciate how flat and sleek the silhouette is, with such a large carrying capacity (18L). Goodbye bumping into fellow commuters and crowds with an awkward behemoth of a backpack.
All of the accessory and apparel colorways are subtle (in mostly olive, grey, navy and black shades), and the general design and construction are low-key but timelessly on-trend. Their apparel features mesh with bacteria-killing properties, and feature odor-killing, antibacterial Polygiene technology. This silver chloride technology naturally occurs in water and soil and stops bacterial growth. RYU sources from recycled silver. It’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin and allows your natural bacterial to thrive while killing the bad guys, and that unsavory smell. It won’t wash out no matter how many times you throw it in the laundry, and due to its eco-friendly technology, you won’t even need to wash it that much.
Their Vapor and Ethos collections are two essential RYU lines that you need. The Vapor fabrics are sumptuously soft and light as air and are a wonderful layering base, while the Ethos line features pockets that lay flat and 3D knitting technology that allows for the ultimate stretchy comfort.
For compression pieces, their 2N1 short is what your training game has been missing. if you’re worried about looking like peter pan or everyone seeing your junk. These offer an internal 4-way light compression layer and a looser, outer layer with side slits that allow you to reach your best lunge or squat. The inside pockets even feature a phone side pocket with a headphone exit in the hand pocket – an upgrade from that useless little slit that brands usually cut in the waistband, as an afterthought.
We love how everything in RYU’s store works cohesively and seamlessly together. They even have sweatbands, microfibre, and plush sweat towels, and a unisex sneaker line brought to you by Skye. We can’t wait to see what new partnerships will emerge after this Toronto launch, and what new pieces RYU comes out with that we can integrate into our wardrobes and daily wear.