Thule Shine Review (2023): Compact and Adjustable

“City strollers” are a tricky term to me. It seems to refer to a hybrid—sort of compact, sort of lightweight, but still with some heavier, fancy features. Mostly, it seems to be an excuse for a bigger price tag—popular city strollers can retail for well over a grand.

So Thule wasn’t my first pick for the best stroller in this category. When I think of Thule, I think of jogging, biking, and camping travel products, both with and without my kiddo. But Thule’s new Shine stroller has become a favorite of mine for local perambulation. To put it to the test, I stuffed it into my sedan trunk and took it to stores, restaurants, and other various outings to capture the glimmer of city life in my suburban beach town.

I even dropped it off with my parents while they babysat so they could try it out, and subsequently received texts from my dad about how easy it was to use and photos from my mother of my son sleeping soundly while they strolled.

Bend and Snap

Photograph: Thule

The Shine starts out in the parent-facing position when you put it together, but it is simple to pop out the seat, flip it around, and have your child face forward instead. Thule also sells a $200 bassinet attachment, if you’re using the Shine with a newborn, and a click-in adapter for car seats from Maxi-Cosi, Cybex, and Nuna, among other brands.

It has a few reclining angles you can adjust by squeezing the lever on the back of the seat, though I found it worked best after folding the seat all the way down and then bringing it back up to your preferred position. I loved how it was adjustable enough that we could experiment whether my son was ready to be fully upright (spoiler alert: he was).

The handlebar has four heights, which you can adjust by pushing the large button on the handlebar and either pushing or pulling the handlebar into the other position (it’s easy to miss the two middle options if you move too fast, though). My parents, in particular, loved how easy it was to change the handlebar position. My mom is 5′ even and my dad is 6′ 3″, so they preferred extremely different height settings. Both talked about how comfortable they found the handlebar’s heights to be.

Folding the Shine completely also uses the lever on the back of the seat, along with the handle. You fold the seat flat, then push two buttons on the handle and fold the whole thing down. A different little handle will pop up as you do this, making it easy to pick up and walk around with while holding your kiddo, even for a weakling like myself (it weighs about 20 pounds). It can also stay standing while folded, too.