Wool has a long and binding history with cycling garments. It was the material of choice before modern fabric technology (and a global marketplace) became common place. While somewhat effective, it was also generally considered uncomfortable and had an abrasive texture. It was also hard to wash and mend. Fast forward the calendar about three decades, and we see the masters at Castelli take wool to a new level. So much so, this is one of our staff picks and a must for any 3 season cyclist.
The Flanders Wool LS is constructed of 18 gauge Merino Wool that has been brushed and combed so it has a hand much akin to cashmere. As you might guess from the name, the wool is harvested from Merino sheep. Reason being, their wool is perfectly suited for athletic clothing becasue Merino strands are naturally hydrophobic at one end and hydrophilic on the other. This means the water is held by the hydrophobic end, then transported and repelled by the hydrophilic side. This causes an organic wicking effect that works with surgical precision. A typical scenario is the sensation of dryness and warmth while you ride at effort due to the expulsion of perspiration. Imagine taking off your base layer and observing how damp the garment is after exercise, while simultaneously noticing that your body is perfectly dry. This is one of the beauties of Merino wool. The other being comfort.
Brushed and combed to perfection, you'd be hard pressed to find a base layer that is more comfortable. Beyond this natural finishing treatment, Merino wool has finer fibers and smaller scales than other wools making it softer. Think of it as having a higher thread count. Merino fibers contain Lanolin which provide antibacterial properties to ward of all kinds of nasty that's associated with perspiration. The base has an anatomical fit so you won't see any bunching of material.
Other details include a 4-needle flat-lock stitching that lies perfectly flat and will not bind. A crew neck profile for added comfort and a flat finish bottom to prevent bunching when tucked into your bottoms. Any rider who enjoys cycling in 3 season conditions should have one of these in their arsenal.
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