RYU stands for Respect Your Universe, the name of a men’s and women’s Vancouver-based athleisure brand with its own store in Toronto.
The urban athletic apparel brand originated in Portland, and used to cater solely to MMA fighters. Now the brand has been brought to Canada and the apparel has been expanded to suit a range of sports.
The shop is minimal but reflects the upscale nature of the products, central and wall-mounted displays giving items lots of room to breathe so they’re easy to examine.
The brand that once only made duffels has made utility backpacks their new specialty. The Quick Pack Lux ($190) holds 18 litres, and is extremely lightweight but can still hold your laptop.
It also has a mesh pocket made from a special material to keep wet items dry and inhibit bacterial growth, as well as shoe pockets on the inner sides.
They still make duffles ($160), though. Like the backpack internal molding helps the bag keep its shape when empty and protects what’s inside, and also similarly has a top passport/wallet/key zip pocket.
The bag can be worn several different ways, like a messenger bag or strapped tight to your body for cycling.
The men’s Ethos crew embodies the comfort and practicality of RYU. Plated four way stretch cotton knit makes this sweater as comfy as an old hoodie, but with even better stretch, diamond underarm gussets and the fewest stitches and seams possible for maximum mobility.
Women’s wear includes the Tough Tight (around $100) in various styles, designed to support and smooth your core without falling out of place or needing readjustment and hiking up.
The Tough Racerback ($60) has four way stretch like the men’s crew, flatlock design to reduce chafing, and is super durable.
Zero Socks ($13) have a mesh instep to keep your feet cool and a flat seam so your toes don’t rub against your shoes and get those horrible blisters and rough patches.
The Beautiful Tough towel ($20) is nicely plush and soft, but it’s slip resistant if you need to lay it on the ground for a workout and has a loop so it hangs easily.
RYU doesn’t make shoes but they do stock unisex laceless SKYE Rbutus trainers that go with the brand’s aesthetic of being able to work out but also just walk around in these pieces.
They do make their own hats, though. In the same neutral range of colours as most of the products, dad caps go for $33, flat brims for $37.
RYU also connects with the community through very regular free workouts. A basement area makes for a potential exercise space of their very own.