Adventure Couture

by Shannon Kelley Gould

What’s a horny toad? Technically, it’s a horned lizard, best known for winding up squashed on Southwestern roadways; but in Santa Barbara, a horny toad is a stylish, comfortably outfitted lover of all things adventurous, earth-friendly, and fun. The Santa Barbara-based clothing company that calls itself Horny Toad specializes in cool, comfy pieces that are perfect for pretty much whatever floats your boat, whether it be yoga, running, kayaking, biking, or hiking; but the kicker is that they’re stylish enough to smoothly transition from walking the dog or playing 18 holes to dinner out.

The fabrics are meticulously chosen and the pieces are designed for maximum efficiency: The “Dyno Ringer T” has cotton on the outside and a wicking-enhanced poly on the inside, which means that what looks like a standard T-shirt keeps your skin dry even if you happen to be glistening like a pig. Doubleface Open Weave Gauze “Bud” shirts are designed for maximum breathe-ability, and the appropriately named “Hangover Pant” is perfect for a lazy day of lounging (or recovering, as the case may be). Better still, Toad uses organic cotton and other enviro-friendly materials in order to protect the great outdoors — after all, what good are the perfect outdoor duds if there’s no outdoors in which to wear them?

The Toads have been in town for four years; among the racks of samples in their newish office space on Mason Street — known as Toadville — you’ll find bikes, ping-pongers, barbecues, and dogs. The company philosophy is one of having fun, staying passionate, creating something special, and doing the right thing. And they have a “horn” in every sort of pie: Horny Toad was born in Colorado, and is a partner of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival and the annual unicycle street-hockey game. They’ve produced a movie and have assembled an impressive “Team Toad,” a group of creative, passionate folks like musician Chris Pierce and mad unicycler Kris Holm — people whom Horny Toad actually support and work with regularly to further their pursuits, as opposed to just slapping a logo on ’em and sending them on their way. It’s an impressive little company, with big ideas and fantastic clothes.

P.S. They’re hiring!

4·1·1 Buy Horny Toad clothes at Santa Barbara Outfitters or online at

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