British company Milltag has released a new range of women’s road cycling clothing, designed and developed in collaboration with pro cyclist Iris Slappendel.
When the UCI ran a competition last year to design podium jerseys for the Women’s World Cup, they probably didn’t expect one of the professionals racing the events to win it. Slappendel, however, is no stranger to the creative process.
The Bigla Pro Cycling team-member has her own product design business, but she thought cycling kit would be "something cool to try". Her bright, distinctive jerseys got "super nice feedback" from her fellow riders; she even ended up wearing one of them herself when she won the sprint category.
Now Slappendel has collaborated with British-based Milltag on its first full women’s collection. As a young company, Milltag pulled off a coup by winning the contract to supply podium jerseys for the Tour de Yorkshire this year. The kit was well liked by the pros, and the company is now in talks with ASO, organisers of La Course and the Tour de France, about supplying other races.
Slappendel jumped at the opportunity to work with Milltag, saying: "It was great to have all the freedom to design a kit I would really love to wear myself on the bike [without having to worry about colours or placement of sponsor logos]."
Slappendel wanted to design something "edgy and a little crazy", in keeping with her own style on and off the bike, should fit well and should be flattering. Enter the Iris Jersey and matching cap.
We took the Iris collection out for a first look spin on the bike. We like Slappendel's use of colour: aubergine for the jersey and cap, black for the shorts, with bands of bright tropical flowers accentuating the cut. It’s exotic and grin-inducing, without being saccharine. In fact, for better or worse, we’ve had male riders say "I’d wear that".
The lightweight, cool jersey has plenty of useful features, including a full-length hidden zip and three rear pockets, as well as a hidden zip pocket. Cut slightly longer than many competitors, it would work with waist shorts as well as bibs.
The bib shorts are cut flatteringly long in the leg, the compression fabric feels supportive and the wide cuffs stay in place without the cheese-wire effect of some leg grippers. The mid-weight ‘floating’ chamois was comfortable on our short initial ride, and there’s plenty of give in the bib straps making them suitable for taller riders too.
The women’s collection is completed by two jerseys – Stripe A Pose’ and Latitude – by Sarah Croucher, who wanted to design something "feminine without being patronising".
Milltag kit has a more relaxed club-style cut, so if you prefer a very close fit you might want to order a size down in the jerseys. Our tester is 5ft 11in (180cm), takes a UK dress size 10 and is wearing a medium jersey and shorts in the photos.
Made in the UK, Milltag ships products worldwide.
Milltag women’s road cycling clothing range
Iris jersey, bib shorts and cap
Featuring Coolplus fabric on the torso with elastane collar and cuffs, the distinctive looks of this jersey is all down to Slappendels design. The black bib shorts feature an unsewn ‘floating’ center section which Milltag say aids comfort. You can finish the ensemble off with a cap in the same design constructed from Windstop fabric.
- Jersey: £70
- Bib shorts: £70
- Cap: £15
Stripe A Pose jersey
With the same technical features as the Iris Jersey, the blue/green block colours of the Stripe A Pose (£70) are complemented by stripes on the shoulders and back.
Bright coloured with a geometric print, like the Iris and Stripe A Pose jerseys the Latitude (also £70) comes in a 'club' fit. We recommend going down a size if you prefer your jersey more fitted.
Women’s Feather shorts
These plain black women’s cycling shorts (£50) feature Milltag’s ‘professional’ level chamois pad, which the firm recommends for longer rides.