Sportful has announced the latest update to its Fiandre Pro collection – its range of kit inspired by the Flandrien spring classics and designed to perform in all weather conditions – with the bold claim that the Polartec fabric that’s used is “the world’s most breathable waterproof fabric”.
Called NeoShell, Polartec says that the fabric “provides the stretch and durability of a weather protective fabric” while its “sub-micron membrane structure releases heat and perspiration without the need for high pressure build-up.”
Most waterproof fabrics rely on the differences in pressure between the inside and outside of a fabric, meaning that hot air and perspiration will only diffuse through the fabric when there is a difference in pressure between the two environments.
For example, as you cycle, hot, humid air builds up inside your jacket and creates a pressure difference. This leads to diffusion across the membrane to the lower area pressure outside, thus keeping you, theoretically, dry. This is why waterproof jackets feel less breathable in humid conditions.
Polartec appears to be claiming that, thanks to “optimal pore size and placement in the membrane” to improve breathability, the NeoShell fabric requires less pressure to build up before the humid air will diffuse across the membrane.
Obviously, these sorts of claims are very hard to test objectively, but we’ve previously tested Sportful’s Fiandre Extreme jacket, which also uses this fabric, and found it to be a good performer, especially when riding hard.
The update encompasses three jackets for men, two for women and a unisex glove.
Designed in collaboration with Sportful’s sponsored professional riders, including Peter Sagan, we expect the cuts to be fairly close-fitting.
For 2020, Sportful has updated the colourways and added a host of new details to the garments in the collection, but it remains to be seen if the performance of the fabric has improved.
Sportful Fiandre Pro collection
- Fiandre Pro Jacket (men and women’s versions available): £210 / $300 / €230
- Fiandre Pro Jacket Short-Sleeved (men): £190 / $260 / €210
- Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket (men and women’s versions available): £170 / $250 / €190
- Fiandre Glove: £85 / $90 / €95
Fiandre Pro Jacket
Sportful says this is the jacket its pro riders choose when they’re competing in cold and wet races.
It uses the NeoShell fabric throughout, which, according to Sportful, means it will provide the most protection from the elements of all the jackets in the range.
It also has fully taped seams, a waterproof zipper, three external rear pockets and reflective transfers on the back for added visibility.
It’s available now in four different colours for men and three for women.
Fiandre Pro Jacket Short-Sleeved
Sportful’s answer to the ‘jerket’ craze, which the Castelli Gabba started back in 2013, the Fiandre Pro Jacket Short-Sleeved offers the same level of protection as the Fiandre Pro Jacket but in a short-sleeve version (as you may have guessed).
Like the long-sleeved jacket, it uses the Polartec NeoShell fabric throughout, with taped seams and a waterproof zipper. There are also three external pockets and a reflective transfer on the rear of the jacket.
It is available now in four colours for men only.
Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket
By using Sportful’s lighter NoRain fabric on the back – as used in its arm and knee warmers – Sportful claims the Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket offers even more breathability than the standard Fiandre Pro Jacket.
That aside, the construction is similar to the heavier Pro jackets, with fully taped seams, a waterproof zipper and three external rear pockets with reflective detailing.
The Fiandre Pro Medium Jacket is available now in four different colours for men and three for women.
Said to be Sportful’s best glove for bad weather, the Fiandre Glove is claimed to keep the rain out and the warmth in by using NeoShell fabric on the outside and a fleece lining inside.
Like the jackets, the seams are said to be fully taped, while Sportful says a neoprene cuff provides a tight seal against the wrists to keep water and the cold out.
Silicone strips have also been strategically placed on the palm to aid grip and the glove is pre-shaped to improve fit while gripping handlebars.
The Sportful Fiandre Glove is available now.