Meet the Women: Fox Racing’s Women’s MTB Designer

micheala Fox womens mtb

It doesn’t feel too long ago when women struggled to find suitable mountain bike clothing that fitted well, and when you did, it was floral and some garish hue of pink. Fed up with the ‘shrink it ‘n’ pink it‘ concept, women’s voices created a volume that was finally heard by the industry. One brand that has become somewhat of a shining light, paving the way for equality in mountain bike apparel is Fox Racing. Year upon year, the Fox women’s mountain bike range grows and evolves with fresh designs, innovative technology and features that are shared in both the women’s and men’s collections. I first reviewed Fox clothing in 2016 when the brand had just turned a corner to expand the women’s line. Suffice to say, Fox has taken women’s demands for stylish and fitting mountain bike apparel and delivered, tenfold. To uncover the inner workings of the Fox women’s design process, I went straight to the source, Michaela Wells, the Fox Racing Women’s MTB Designer.

Based in their US offices, Michaela has been a fan of Fox Racing since her teenage days in motocross. Having been at Fox for the past 18-months, Michaela designs all of the Women’s MTB and Women’s Lifestyle collections, including Tahnée Seagrave’s spectacular riding kits! When it comes to the brand’s views, Michaela explained that Fox Racing is “working quickly to become more inclusive to all types of riding styles, and in all riding conditions. We are also working on becoming more sustainable. Choosing recycled fabrics is important in mountain biking, and it is becoming much easier as the industry changes. We use many recycled fabrics in the bike category already and are always looking for more.

micheala Fox womens mtb
Michaela Wells // Fox Racing Women’s Designer

Even though women’s mountain bike clothing is more widely available now than a few years ago, many of us will occasionally buy men’s wear or unisex clothing. Many brands prefer to use the term ‘unisex’ for their adult clothing range, but will still have a small selection of women’s-specific garments. For Fox, this is not the case as they firmly believe that different genders have different body types that require different cuts and styles of clothing. At Fox Racing, it’s about the fit and the feel as Michaela explains, “It is rare that we make a unisex product. Everything that we fit, we are focused on how the garments feel while on the bike in a riding position, with and without guards, and with and without Chamois liners. Due to all of these factors and how different Men and Women’s bodies are, it’s important to keep fits gender-specific.

As we’re on the brink of Fox Racing’s SS21 launch, I was curious as to where the whole design process begins for each new collection; “At the start of a season, both the design and merchandising teams come together and we start discussing products we would like to evolve, products that we want to carry forward, problems in the bike space we would like to solve, and inspiration for new ideas based on what we are seeing out in the world. These discussions are what light the fire to get us designers inspired to dig deeper“… “Fox tends to look outward, finding inspiration from locations in nature, artwork, periods in history, athlete styles, etc. I believe this is how we stay unique and cohesive as a brand. We have recently started surveying product for new seasons throughout the development process to ensure that our fits are perfect when they go to market,” shares Michaela. And when it comes to the input of Fox athletes… “We are working diligently to create more collaborations and capsules involving our athletes and we often get their feedback at the start of the season on our colour palettes and overall look of the line,” added Michaela.

Fox Women's Ranger 2.5L Water Jacket 04
Fox’s Women’s 2.5L Jacket // PC: Scott Windsor

When it comes to sizing, the cycling industry has a tendency to seemingly make them up. Different kits have different fits, and sizing can vary between countries and styles, thus making it somewhat tricky to find the right size for you. The Fox Racing women’s mountain bike range offers sizes from x.small to x.large throughout, with each collection offering a different fit, as Michaela explains, “You will begin to see the sizing of the Women’s product become more specific in the launch of the SP21 and FA21 seasons. As the line grows we are offering a couple of different fit options based on riding style, preference, and what types of protection are to be worn with different garments. Our fits are segmented based on our 3 franchises; RANGER, FLEXAIR, and DEFEND, and these differences will be represented on the website as the line expands. With the growth of the line in the coming seasons, I believe there will be a Women’s fit represented for every type of rider.”

“From 2021 to 2022 the Women’s line is expanding tremendously and I am so excited for everyone to see it come to life,” – Michaela Wells, Fox Racing Women’s MTB Designer

If there’s an athlete who embodies femininity and strength with a flair for fashion, it’s 7x World Cup winner, Tahnée Seagrave. The Fox x Seagrave marriage has bought forth swathes of glittery goodness, tie-dye envy and playful pink power. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes Fox Racing would release these kits to the world, so why haven’t they and will that change? “All I can say is stay tuned! Tahnée is very involved in her kit design process and always comes to the table with great ideas that we work together on. We also have some pretty cool collaborations in works with Tahnée for the future, and we are expanding our limited edition capsules in Women’s MTB to give some fun interest throughout the season,” teases Michaela.

Some of Tahnée’s 2019 Fox Racing custom kits

As a woman working in the mountain bike industry, I’m always keen to hear what other women would like to see more of and how we, as an industry, can be more inclusive and supportive. Michaela shares her thoughts on this: “I would love to see more women’s riding focused media, and riding groups to bring around more awareness. Seeing women out wearing the gear is what helps to inspire me most to design great products for women’s needs. Post more pictures and share what you love about products and what you wish you had that isn’t currently offered for women.

Michaela Well’s passion and enthusiasm are exactly what the women’s mountain bike industry needs more of. People who are driven, who strive for change and equality in an otherwise skewed industry. Having followed the evolution of Fox’s women’s range since 2015, the growth has been tremendous, not only in the offering of kit but the support of female athletes and the growing community also. I, for one, am extremely excited to see what Fox Racing has in store over the coming seasons.

You can browse and shop the full range of Fox Racing’s women’s mountain bike collection here, with the new SS21 collection expected to drop in the very near future.

You may also enjoy:

Review: Fox Racings SS20 Collection

Interview: What the heck is Dafé?

Interview: 5-yrs on with SHREDLY