The Madison Flo is advertised as a 'softshell', meaning it’s not quite coat-like, but is more substantial than a long-sleeve jersey. Constructed from DWR 3-layer 10,000mm waterproofing fabric that is 10,000gms breathable, the Flo is considered to be showerproof rather than fully waterproof.
The difference being that water beads off for a certain period of time, but will give in a lot quicker than a waterproof, and won’t stand up to saturating rain for very long.
The beauty of this softshell is the brushed fabric on the inside, meaning you can wear it with a short-sleeved baselayer or jersey and not worry about that wet, flappy feeling on your arms when it rains.
The Flo is as soft, warm and comfortable as any lounging sweater, and moved as easily as if I were wearing a standard long-sleeve cycling jersey. The hood fitted over all of my trail helmets well, but was a bit restrictive when looking left and right.
How it copes with water
Out in the rain, the water beaded off the jacket surprisingly well. There were patches around the arm where movement forced the raindrops to penetrate the fabric, but the fleece inside never let on.
While the jacket is bulky to store in the backpack, I never once felt the need to stow it away after downpours of rain had dried up because it breathed exceptionally well and never got too hot or stuffy.
This jacket may not be able to compete with more waterproof coats, but what it lacks in stats, it makes up for in comfort. In fact, it was as breathable and as comfortable as any long-sleeved jersey I own, but with the added benefit of being rain-, splash- and mud-repellent.
In short, for those wet days when it's not pouring but is wet, and where a full waterproof would get too hot, it's spot on.
Madison Flo Softshell overall impression
Though it wouldn’t be a jacket I’d store in my backpack for emergencies, nor a jacket I’d wear on those super-heavy, rain-drenching days, it was an absolute dream out in the woods, where the rain was more sheltered and I valued a splashproof feeling of freedom on short mountain rides rather than complete aversion to the elements.
Madison Flo Softshell pricing, sizing and availability
If you're looking for stealth colours, you won't be in luck with the Flo softshell jacket as it only comes in the wonderfully bright orange (pictured) and a vibrant turquoise/blue.
As with the more traditional waterproof jacket, the Madison Flux, it comes in UK high street sizes from an 8 to a 16, which in US sizes is a 4 to a 12.