Rapha has a new line of breathable, rain-deflecting race kit called Shadow, which is made of a stretch-woven fabric instead of the typical knitted material. After Castelli pioneered its Gabba foul-weather rain jersey years ago, many brands have been creating similar pieces.
Shadow fabric is made with a four-stage process. First, the yarn is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR). Second, it's woven into fabric. Third, it is shrunk with a steam-pressure treatment. Finally, another DWR treatment is applied.
“What that produces is an extremely dense fabric,” said Graeme Raeburn, Rapha’s lead designer. “It wouldn’t be physically possible to actually weave yarns that close together and so, consequently, Shadow provides very high wind resistance and excellent water repellency. It also has a fantastic range of movement and fit and, that crucial difference, amazing breathability.”
As with Gabba, the idea with Shadow is that pro riders can race in these jerseys without the need to put on or take off rain jackets, giving them more versatility and better aerodynamics than a jacket.
The Italian-made Pro Team Shadow Jersey features a large zipper pull, holes in the bottom of the pockets for drainage, taped shoulder seams and 3/4-length sleeves.
The Pro Team Shadow Shorts have the same cut and chamois as Rapha's Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts, with a double mesh pocket built into the bib straps and brushed inner fabric.
The construction on both pieces is 53% Polyamide / 47% Elastane, and they only come in black.