I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty simple guy.
I like a cold beer, an exciting Saturday college football game, and hanging out with the fellas.
Same goes for my clothing. I go for the tried and true.
I first heard about bamboo-fabric brand Free Fly Apparel a few months ago at a bar. A mutual friend was bragging about how soft his t-shirt was.
“I don’t even fish or boat, but I’ve spent like $500 bucks on these clothes,” he told me.
After hearing this raving (albeit slightly intoxicated) review, I was curious to find out if the brand really lived up to the hype. So, I picked up a few signature pieces to give them a go and my review is in.
What Is Free Fly Apparel?
Free Fly was born out of frustration with the amount of over technical and uncomfortable clothes coming from the outdoor industry.
Having grown up on the water in Montana, the founders knew there was an opportunity for more comfortable gear.
So, siblings Austin, Jenna, and Taylor quit their jobs (two of them being at Nike) and launched the family-owned outdoor apparel brand in 2011 with the Bamboo Lightweight Long Sleeve after years of fabric research.
The company emphasizes four core values: simplicity, comfort, community, and freedom.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Free Fly makes some solid clothing. They look stylish and feel quality, but it comes at a price.
The key factor to consider is your use case and whether you’re able to justify the cost.
Free Fly is more for low-impact, “chill” activities like strolling around casually or fishing. The line isn’t designed for hard workouts like Under Armour or Nike is.
Free Fly is priced in the same ballpark as mid-range performance brands but without as many features.
The question is, are you willing to cough up the cash for something that may not be as durable? That being said, they look fashionable enough for casual wear—which can’t always be said for many performance brands.
My Hands-On Review
I picked up a well-rounded wardrobe from Free Fly’s bestsellers.
I’m a sucker for a good pair of sweatpants. I work from home, so I’m pretty much in a pair of joggers 24/7.
Free Fly’s Breeze Pant is 86% polyester and 14% spandex, which provides a pleasant four-way stretch while also being extremely light. I almost felt like I wasn’t wearing anything.
They have UPF 50+ sun protection. This is great because you can wear them on a hot sunny day and because of their weight, you don’t feel like you’re sweating heavily.
Where I live, it’s about 95 degrees pretty consistently and I didn’t feel uncomfortable running errands outside while wearing these pants. Major plus.
I’m 5’ 11” so I opted for a medium size which has a 32” inseam.
I chose the Blue Dusk II color, but if you choose the Black, Blue Fog, or Cement colors, they recommend going a size up. This is a little weird to me.
Like I mentioned, I typically wear joggers, which can be a little annoying because they rub against your ankles. The straight-leg style on the Breeze Pant is a welcomed change, but they may be a little baggy depending on what you’re typically used to.
Two features that really stood out to me were the waistband and the pockets.
The waistband is elastic and extremely comfortable. It’s fitted and holds well, but not strangling.
There are two on-seam pockets like any pants and an extra zipper pocket in the back. This is a major plus if you’re going for a quick walk or hike and need to make sure your keys or cash are safe.
At around $100, the Breeze Pant is certainly a winner. I may pick up some more colors in the future to add to my WFH arsenal.
Free Fly’s Breeze Pant is 86% polyester and 14% spandex, which provides a pleasant four-way stretch while also being extremely light. The waistband is elastic and extremely comfortable, and there are two on-seam pockets like any pants, and an extra zipper pocket in the back. This is a major plus if you’re going for a quick walk or hike and need to make sure your keys or cash are safe.
Lined Breeze Short 7″
I don’t wear shorts too often unless I’m going to the gym or going to the pool, in which case I’ll just wear swim trunks.
The Lined Breeze Short is a classic, versatile short.
Like the Breeze Pant, it uses the same polyester-spandex fabric and man, this stuff is great. It’s so lightweight and airy.
They have a 7” inseam and again I ordered a medium. I found the fit to be perfect and they sit above the knees. Though, if you’re used to longer basketball shorts, they may be a touch short.
The major benefit of these shorts is how many activities you can use them for. They’re simple enough to look almost like a pair of dressier shorts while the material can also get soaked (in the pool, for instance) and you can hang them up to dry for the next day.
Casual wear and swim shorts all in one.
I have one gripe with these shorts, and it’s a big one: they have a liner.
Everything else about these shorts is great. They have a wide range of colors, the fabric is flexible, and the pockets hold a lot.
But I just can’t get over the liner.
Maybe I’m weird, but shorts with a liner just don’t cut it for me. I wear tight and comfortable boxer briefs, so I just never have the need for a liner.
If you’re like me and want linerless shorts, Free Fly has a liner-free 6” and 8” version of the Breeze Short without a liner, but not the perfect 7”.
I’d probably go for the 6” linerless version if I did it again. Other than the liner issue, these shorts are a winner.
The Lined Breeze Short is a classic, versatile short. It's made from polyester-spandex fabric that's lightweight and airy, features roomy pockets that can hold a lot, and comes in a range of colorways.
Lightweight Long Sleeve
I was really excited about the Lightweight Long Sleeve. I consider myself somewhat of a long sleeve aficionado, wearing all different brands, fits, and materials over the years.
Rough cotton doesn’t do the trick for me anymore, so I’ve been exploring other materials.
The Lightweight Long Sleeve is Free Fly’s OG signature shirt, made mostly of bamboo (70% viscose from bamboo and 30% polyester).
I picked up a size medium which was perfectly form fitting, but pro tip: If you like a looser fit, consider going a size up because the brand also advises it will shrink after its first wash.
The feel of the shirt is incredible. It really feels like butter, almost like a nice Italian silk.
It even has an unintentional cooling effect, which is a bonus.
It’s a pretty elegant piece and Free Fly recommends hang drying it after a cold, delicate wash cycle. I wouldn’t workout or sweat heavily in this, but if you’re boating or hanging around the house, it’s perfect.
I sense this shirt will last a long time with proper care, but at over $50, I think you could find something cheaper on Amazon. If price isn’t as big of an issue for you, this is an automatic buy.
The Lightweight Long Sleeve is Free Fly’s OG signature shirt, made mostly of bamboo (70% viscose from bamboo and 30% polyester). The feel of the shirt is incredible. It really feels like butter, almost like a nice Italian silk, and even has an unintentional cooling effect, which is a bonus!
One thing that’s really lacking in my wardrobe is a solid classic polo. I have a few fancier polos that have cool designs, but sometimes simple is better.
Compared to the rest of Free Fly’s line that I tried, the Flex Polo has a heavier weight. It feels more premium.
It’s made of 46% viscose from bamboo, 46% polyester, and 8% spandex and a fabric weight of 270 grams per square meter (GSM).
For reference, brands like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste have a GSM in the range of 220 to 250, so the Flex Polo is on the heavier side.
The Flex Polo has a basic look and, unlike some performance brands I’ve seen, Free Fly incorporates “normal” buttons. I appreciated this.
Below the collar in the back there’s a subtle Free Fly logo, but other than that, the shirt is basic and iconic.
At under $100, the Flex Polo’s iconic style and premium fabric makes it a winner.
Made from a comfortable, durable material, the Flex Polo has a premium feel. It’s made of 46% viscose from bamboo, 46% polyester, and 8% spandex and a fabric weight of 270 grams per square meter (GSM). Below the collar in the back there’s a subtle Free Fly logo, but other than that, the shirt is basic and iconic. An instant classic!
Bamboo Flex Hoodie
To round out my comfy-closet overhaul, I chose Free Fly’s lightweight Bamboo Flex Hoodie.
Like the Breeze line, this fabric uses bamboo and polyester, but also incorporates spandex. This gives a bit more luxe feel and heavier weight (the same 270 GSM as the Flex Polo).
Similar to my sweatpants, I love rocking a hoodie all day in an air-conditioned house.
I’d best describe the Flex Hoodie as a heavier long sleeve shirt with a hood. It’s not like the bulky, fleece-lined Champion hoodie you may be used to.
There’s no annoying drawstrings or unnecessary embellishments, just a fitted hood attached seamlessly to the body.
It’s also pretty versatile. You could wear it as a base layer under a down jacket or as your main outerwear.
If you’re really bold, the fabric is so soft you could even go shirtless on a fair-weather day.
And at under $100, I’m not sure you could find a better value in a hoodie like this.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
When sifting through feedback online, one thing is clear. People. Love. Free Fly.
Almost all the reviews mention this like “these are the most comfortable clothes” and “I can’t wear anything else.” A few people even said they bought several more shirts and pairs.
For reference, the Lined Breeze Shorts have an average of 4.9 stars based on almost 400 reviews at the time of writing and the Bamboo Lightweight Long Sleeve has an average of 5.0 stars based on over 1,600 reviews.
Free Fly Apparel Alternatives
The outdoor space isn’t completely owned by Free Fly. Here is how they compare to two other well-known brands.
Outerknown is another outdoors-focused brand, specializing in sustainable apparel that caters to a more environmentally focused crowd.
Compared to Free Fly, they make more fashion-forward pieces rather than the functional clothing that Free Fly specializes in.
Outerknown’s men’s best sellers are fashion looks like the Westerly Denim Shirt and the Cloud Weave Shirt that has several patterns and colors.
Another major difference between Outerknown and Free Fly is the price. A lot of Outerknown’s main items are between $100 and $200, which can be steep for a shirt.
If you value sustainability, want to express it with fashionable graphic apparel, and can afford it, Outerknown may be a good place to look.
Another comparable brand is tentree—a “sustainable” brand meeting somewhere in the middle between simplicity and style.
Their t-shirts are more classic than Free Fly’s with a lot being made of 100% cotton. But most of the shirts have earth-themed designs like mountain and tree illustrations.
tentree’s line isn’t as silky or “luxe” as Free Fly’s, but they’re both in the same ballpark on price. Both brands are mostly in the under-$100 camp.
I prefer Free Fly because of the cozy feel and I’m not as big on the graphic-tee look. But, tentree is still a worthy pick if you’re a guy who likes clothes with character—we really like their earthy tones.
My Thoughts Overall
What I Like
- The styles aren’t trying to be overly fancy, they’re simple and iconic.
- All the styles I picked up have a slim fit.
- The fabrics are extremely comfortable, and I’ve tried just about everything from polyester to linen.
- They’re great “hanging out” clothes.
- They have a generous charity program, giving back to initiatives like clean water and healthcare.
What I Don’t Like
- They lean slim which may not suit all builds.
- They suggest air drying most of their pieces, which takes time and space.
Who Is Free Fly Apparel For?
Free Fly Apparel is for the guy that loves relaxing and being comfortable doing it. If slow weekend walks or casual hangouts are your thing, then Free Fly probably has something for you. Also, if you work from home, you can’t beat the comfort Free Fly offers.
Free Fly has created something really innovative and interesting with its bamboo-based fabrics.
There are so many options for comfortable, stylish clothes these days. Some are better for the gym like lululemon or Nike and others are better for the outdoors like tentree or Outerknown.
If you want to take it easy in buttery-soft apparel that isn’t flashy and doesn’t claim to be the “most advanced technology” of all time, then Free Fly could be for you.
My favorite items are the Breeze Pant and the Bamboo Flex Hoodie. I wear a lot of different sweatpants and I’m excited to now have the Breeze Pant in my collection. I also wear hoodies all the time, so the Flex Hoodie is a welcomed addition.
I’m excited to see how Free Fly keeps pushing the envelope in the world of comfort apparel.
Free Fly emphasizes four core values: simplicity, comfort, community, and freedom. Their bamboo-based fabric is innovative and a fresh take on comfort apparel. If you love simply hanging out in cozy clothes, Free Fly is a solid option.
Are Free Fly shirts good?
Yes, Free Fly shirts provide a combination of comfort, quality, and timeless style.
Where is Free Fly apparel from?
Free Fly is based out of Charleston, South Carolina where they design their garments.
Does Free Fly apparel run small?
Sometimes, yes, but it depends on your preferred fit. Some items from Free Fly can run small if you prefer looser apparel.