The Gearhead’s Guide to Boulder
Back in the late 1800s, Boulder's first non-native settlers established the town as a supply base for gold and silver miners. Nowadays, the city is home to an astounding number of modern-day supply shops, providing the world’s best athletes (including many Olympians) and adventurers with top gear. We’ve pounded the pavement to curate a gearhead-friendly list so anyone — adrenaline junkies to casual hikers alike — can get out there in the right gear.
"Boulder's Pearl Street has become the Rodeo Drive of outdoor apparel."
— 5280 Magazine
For The Cycle-Obsessed
First off, there’s a “bike museum in the rafters” at University Bicycles and secondly, there’s a parts-dispensing vending machine. Need we say more? Townie, kid bikes, mountain, road, gravel and electric are all available to rent.
The Pro’s Closet
A trusted resource for quality pre-owned cycling gear, The Pro’s Closet buys overstock from retail bike shops, professional cyclists’ used equipment, samples, and consignment goods. Check out their online museum of famous road and mountain bikes along with the people who made and road them.
Boulder Cycle Sport
A next-level neighborhood bike shop with loads of expertise behind the counter, Boulder Cycle Sport is where to go for great advice, service, and selection in South Boulder and North Boulder. While you're at the NoBo location, check out Amante Coffee next door — a cyclist hangout and one of the places in town to watch the Tour de France live.
Specializing in repairing high-end road bikes and components, Vecchio’s sells bikes and frames but is mainly known for its outstanding service. Be sure to take in the vintage frames, jerseys and signed posters when you step inside.
Full Cycle and Colorado Multisport
At Full Cycle you can down an espresso or a beer while you wait during a bike tune-up. The recently merged Full Cycle and Colorado Multisport is an inextricable part of the thriving triathlete community in Boulder, offering an array of athlete support services — bike tuning and fitting, repairs and nutrition training — along with mentorship and educational events. You can also shop for nearly every type of bike imaginable or rent one for the day or week.
To experience a ride through Boulder’s endless mountain roads and bike paths but without all the…um…legwork, rent an e-bike from Pedego. Go your own way using a DIY route or book a tour with a guide.
Green Guru Gear
Making products in an eco-responsible way, Green Guru Gear repurposes old gear into new adventure products using materials that used to be billboards, wetsuits and bike tubes.
There are many, many more bike shops in Boulder — practically one on every corner — but these will get you started.
Boulder is a modern-day supply town for the outdoor-obsessed and is headquarters for manufacturers such as Scarpa, Pearl Izumi, HEAD, Spyder, La Sportiva, Matador and Polar Bottle. Industry groups such as the Outdoor Industry Association and International Mountain Biking Association are based here, too. And publications such as Outside Magazine, Backpacker, Ski and Skiing — as well as the filmmaking company Warren Miller — call Boulder home.
For All-Around Adventurers, Climbers or Backpackers
With a storied past and a loyal following, Neptune Mountaineering will have you geared up to climb, ski, snowboard, orienteer or summit fourteeners in a hot second. They've been a part of the Boulder outdoor recreation scene since 1973 and are more than just a shop. They offer talks and lectures every week. Be sure to save time for the in-store museum, filled with artifacts and gear collected by founder Gary Neptune himself as a fascinating tribute to his passion for climbing and skiing history.
Rock and Resole
This unassuming warehouse off Foothills Parkway is home to the largest in-store rock-climbing shoe selection in North America. Not only do they have all the climbing gear you’ll need, like ropes, carabiners, harnesses and helmets, but Rock and Resole also offers a top-notch resoling service for climbing and approach shoes as well as boots.
A global leader in technical gear for climbing, hiking, trail running, skiing and mountaineering, La Sportiva’s North American factory retail store is based right here in Boulder. Inside, you’ll find staff with expert knowledge to help you prepare for any mountain adventure, as well as brand new, cutting-edge gear and discounted sample and closeout items.
Play It Again Sports
From outerwear and skateboards to skis and tennis rackets, it’s always worth stopping by Play It Again to see what their current selection of used and discounted gear looks like. A nationwide chain that’s locally owned and operated, you’ll experience a neighborly atmosphere with no frills but plenty of hidden gems in the racks.
Patagonia recently moved to a larger location on east Pearl Street, tripling its size! An ideal spot to pick the brains of outdoor aficionados with a passion for sustainability, you can round up durable, high-quality outerwear picks that tread lightly on the planet.
Choose from a variety of rental (or purchase) options for camping and hiking to climbing to cycling to paddling to snow sports, REI has it all—along with the experts to help you navigate through their endless assortment. There’s also a community center inside with a mix of free and paid classes, a hiking-boot testing rock and a climbing wall.
Boulder Sports Recycler
Looking for equipment on the cheap that you’d rather buy instead of rent? For smart shoppers who don’t mind trading a little time digging through racks for generously discounted gear, Boulder Sports Recycler is for you. Nab brand-name supplies for camping, hiking, biking, skiing, climbing and more at a fraction of the cost.
One of the first brick-and-mortar locations for this very popular discount outdoor gear retailer, Backcountry can be found in the heart of Boulder on Pearl Street. Inside you'll find outdoor gear and clothing from all the big brands as well as smaller, up-and-coming companies.
If you're looking for premium technical gear for your next skiing, climbing or mountain adventure, stop into the Black Diamond Boulder Store on Pearl Street. From carabiners and climbing ropes to headlamps and skis, you'll have plenty to browse.
To be comfortable outdoors no matter the temp or the continent, stop in Red Fox for technical gear and apparel. Browse an assortment of tents, backpacks, clothing and accessories crafted to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Don't let the name fool you. McGuckin's, a local favorite for its variety of goods and old-school customer service, is way more than just a hardware store. Within its 18 departments, you'll find a solid selection of outdoor gear and apparel, from tents to backpacks to camping cooking tools.
Big Brands Galore
Boulder is also home to countless adventure-enthusiast national and international chains. Gearheads can make a day out of outdoor store hopping on Pearl Street at Athleta, Fjallraven, Title Nine, prAna, North Face, Montbell, Rapha, Helly Hansen, Nomad Boulder and Norrona or dash over to Moosejaw and Trek Light Gear.
For Snow Bums
Crystal Ski Shop
If you’re seeking day or seasonal rentals to hit the slopes or discounted lift tickets, this family-owned shop has your back. Crystal Ski Shop also provides tune-ups and repairs for skis and snowboards.
Here to equip, fit and educate consumers, this outdoor sports institution on Folsom handles ski and boot fittings, mountings, bindings and repairs like no one else. Sit in an 80s-vintage red velour movie theater seat for your shoe fitting or scour the ski-history adorned walls while you shop or get fitted at Larry’s Bootfitting.
Epic Mountain Gear
For retail offerings, rentals and service, try Epic Mountain Gear on Arapahoe. This full-service ski and snowboard shop offers rental options for winter mountain sports and cycling. Lift tickets, tune-ups and boot fittings are also options, and the Junior Trade Program lets kids exchange outgrown equipment as they grow.
Boulder Nordic Sport
Recently merged with Boulder Cycle Sport, Boulder Nordic Sport now holds all things ski and cycle under its South Broadway roof such as boots, poles, eyewear, clothing, bikes, snow skis, and roller skis. They’ll stone grind your skis and tune-up your bike.
Work hard, play hard. At Christy Sports, you can handpick your ski and snowboard equipment and your outdoor patio furniture while you’re at it. Because what’s better than a good meal at sundown after a day playing on the mountain? Fitness, mountain and cruiser bike rentals and tune-ups are also available.
For Those Who Run Like the Wind
Boulder Running Company
Boulder Running Company is no stranger to the best running stores in the U.S. lists that come out every year. The shop has been a Boulder institution for over two decades. Peruse running and walking shoes along with casual wear at their world-famous Pearl Street location. Hop on the treadmill to get your gait analyzed and then round out your workout by selecting nutrition and recovery products.
In Motion Running
Those who like to travel on foot should pound the payment over to In Motion Running. Have a niggling run injury? Go for a PT session, receive a gait analysis and training on how to improve form to prevent re-injury, and then walk over to the shoe section to pick out a pair most suited for your feet.
In addition to providing top-notch apparel, footwear and accessories, this passionate group of runners strives to be the “go-to” place for the Boulder community by offering events and fun runs, as well as partnering with sports medicine practitioners. While you’re at Runner’s Roost, toss your old kicks into the recycling bin to be transformed into tracks and playgrounds for kids and shoes for veterans and the homeless.
Nike by Boulder
A new small-format concept inspired by the local neighborhood, Nike by Boulder offers high-end products for running, training and yoga in a lab-like space where Nike tests and evolves new services, experiences and offerings.
Rocky Mountain Anglers
Chat it up with an expert at one of the state’s top full-service fly fishing outfitter and retail stores. Go on a guided fly fishing trip or catch an instructional class — either one-on-one or in a group setting — at Rocky Mountain Anglers.
Front Range Anglers
A convenient Pearl Street location, local expertise and guided fly fishing trips around the Front Range and Rocky Mountain National Park, make Front Range Anglers a trusted pro shop. Go in to pick staff's brains, come out with a shiny new reel.