Performance-Driven, Weekday appropriate

The Athleta for Men Has Arrived and We Love It


October 29, 2018 Editorial & Opinion By Photo by Chase Pellerin

In 1969, Gap Inc. opened up its doors in San Francisco and has since churned out classics for young men, dads and retirees alike. In addition to Gap Inc., the brand produces clothing under the Athleta, Old Navy and Banana Republic labels. As of the end of September, Gap Inc. added another label to its portfolio: Hill City. The high-performance brand focuses on crafting gear for the athletically minded guy, whether he’s running errands after a gym session, hiking through the woods or taking his kids to soccer practice on the weekends. It’s basically equivalent to Gap’s Athleta, just for men.

Gap Inc. named eleven-year veteran Noah Palmer the general manager of Hill City and under his leadership, the team created a 50-plus piece collection. Men can find pants, shorts, tees, sweatshirts and sweaters as well as outerwear, underwear and accessories. Three-quarters of the line falls under $100, with 90-percent of the items coming in at under $150. Each piece is made with performance in mind, taking cues from archetypal guys that the brand identified. “Jeff Johnson has served as a point of inspiration for Hill City,” Palmer says. “He embodies all of those things we stand for: highly active, ageless, family-first, unique sense of personal style and has built a career around the lifestyle he aspires to have.”

With those ideas in mind, Hill City is looking to create a one-stop head to toe destination. The brand wants to eliminate the need to go to a store for your gym shorts and a separate one for your pants, and yet another one for your suits.

While traditional retail stores are closing practically every week, Gap Inc. seems to have figured something out. They’re adding stores and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. The Hill City line already has another season of gear in the works, and the brand is looking to work with gear testers — an unusual way of communicating with your target audience for a company like Gap. Hill City wants to work with real men to send them products from the line in exchange for viable and detailed feedback about the activity, durability and reliability of each piece. The brand will lean into what consumers say, and translate the feedback into changes and tweaks to its clothing.

In testing, the clothing lives up to its marketing materials. One tester noted that the Thermal Light Shirt Jacket is like any other shirt jacket, but in puffy jacket form. As for the Hooded Trail Shell (pictured above) it more than fulfilled its purpose. In fact, our testers noted that the jacket performed well above its $198 price point.

As for what lies ahead for the brand? “Hill City is not specific to a season,” Palmer says. “For spring, we’ll be expanding our offering in training, shorts and introducing swimwear.” There’s still more to come from this young brand with the backing of an iconic American-classic.

Buying Guide

Reversible Puffer by Hill City $168

Hooded Trail Shell by Hill City $198

Bodymap Train Tee by Hill City $48

8″ X-Purpose Short by Hill City $58

Hybrid Trail Pant by Hill City $108

Merino Cashmere Beanie by Hill City $48

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Meg Lappe

Meg Lappe is Gear Patrol's Editorial Coordinator, handling strategy across our digital, print, video and social teams. She can typically be found running around.

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