The latest in our summer clothing special is an offering from Spanish brand, Etxeondo. We tested their Reflex jersey and Feather short.
The Reflex jersey is made from a Meryl fabric, a microfiber with a hollow core and claimed benefits for allowing the skin to retain its natural bacterial level. It proved extremely soft and stretched beautifully, providing a naturally close fit with no excess material to flap in the wind.
We tested its breathability in a range of temperatures, beginning with a trip to the south of France in early July, where we wore the Reflex jersey for an ascent of the Cormet de Roselend, a climb begun in an unexpected shower, continued in temperatures in the high teens, and concluded on a open and wind blown road to the 1154 metre summit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Reflex performed best in the higher temperatures, where it kept us dry and comfortable even under the sustained exertion of an Alpine climb. It repeated the trick back in Blighty, where we wore the jersey on warm, summer days with temperatures in the mid to late teens without overheating.
The Reflex is a jersey of two halves, with the white shoulders (blue and red also available) and black body of the garment representing different panels, allowing Etxeondo to top the chest panel with a narrow lining, rather than stitch on a separate collar, keeping things low at the throat.
The sleeve finishes in a simple fold: no constricting silicone or elastic – a bonus. The elasticated hem was less impressive. It held the jersey in place but wasn’t especially comfortable and caused the fabric above it to bunch slightly. A silicone gripper would have avoided both issues, we felt.
We liked the full-length zip but would prefer to have seen a more robust unit. It’s a spindly affair, even by the standards of lightweight summer jerseys, and more rugged zips have greater durability in our experience. That said, we haven’t experienced any issues in a test period now approaching two months.
Three, evenly-sized rear pockets proved useful and the elasticated top to each kept the contents safely stowed.
The Etxeondo Reflex jersey is available in sizes from L to XXS and in white-black, red-black, and blue-black and costs £99.99.
We found much to like about the Feather short, which certainly lived up to its name by tipping our scale at 170 grams (Etxeondo claim a lightest-in-production 169 grams).
The pad is hand stitched to the lycra. The flat-locked seams in the rest of the short were nicely finished and didn’t draw attention to themselves.
The insert is Etxeondo’s own, thinner than most we’ve tested this year (for lightness perhaps?) but no less comfortable. More than an hour of an unbroken, seated climbing on an Alpine ascent is a good test of a pad’s ability to absorb pressure and we’re happy to say this one passed easily.
To focus on the pad, however, is to neglect the best feature of these shorts, which is the extremely fine Lycra Sport weave. Like the jersey, it is the softest and has the most stretch of any we’ve worn this season.
Lycra braces would be a legal requirement for bib shorts if this tester had his way, and the straps on these shorts were superb: soft, stretchy, and a full three inches broad, placing little or no pressure on the shoulder, and so more than sufficiently comfortable to wear without a base layer on really hot days.
The hem was also very impressive. The fabric simply folds over at the end of each leg with no constricting elastic or silcone; Etxeondo have relied instead on the ample stretch of the super fine lycra.
The Etxeondo Feather bib-short is available in six sizes from XXS to L and costs £169.99.