Martin Velits rides for Omega Pharma-QuickStep but away from his day job in the WorldTour peloton he has launched his own clothing company – Isadore Apparel.
The idea was born in November 2011 when Martin, having spent the season riding for Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia team, was training during the off-season in California. The company was founded 11 months later and the first products were shipped in May 2013.
The ethos behind Isadore, according to Martin, is to create clothing which focuses on clean design, blending contemporary styling with technical fabrics. Sustainability is key, too, and Isadore only use material and fabric suppliers who are Oeko-Tex certified, and all products, the majority of which are made by local and ‘environmentally responsible’ factories in the Velits’ native Slovakia, are packed in recycled or recyclable material (each item we received was individually boxed).
We’ve received Isadore’s men’s bib shorts, the Signature jersey, the merino socks and merino arm warmers to review. Let’s take a closer look at each before we hit the road.
Isadore men’s bib shorts – €99
The Isadore men’s bib shorts are, in their words, “designed to keep you comfortable for hours on your longest days on the bike” – something Martin, as a professional cyclist, is likely to have plenty of experience of.
The shorts are made from two types of ‘Power Lycra’, sourced from Italy, with a lightweight, matte black fabric used for the majority of the shorts, which have a six-panel construction, while a thicker and more durable lycra is used on the inside of the thighs, where its likely to come into regular contact with the saddle.
Both fabrics are ‘Coldblack’ treated, whereby a coating has been applied to the outside of the black fabric, susceptible to soaking up heat from the sun, to stop it doing just that. ‘Coldblack’ treated fabrics are claimed to be nine degrees centigrade cooler than non-treated black fabrics, and just as cool as a light-coloured material according to Isadore, while the treatment is also said to protect against UV rays.
Otherwise, the broad bib straps, nearly three inches wide by our measurement, are made from a mesh fabric, while the chamois is from Italian company TMF and, highlighting Isadore’s green credentials, is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Of course, comfort is key in a pad, and this one has an ergonomic, ‘4D’ multi-density construction. We’ll find out how it fares on long rides.
The Isadore men’s bib shorts are available in five sizes, from small to extra-extra-large, and cost €99.
Isadore Signature jersey – €99
The Signature is one of six short sleeve jerseys in an Isadore range which also includes two long sleeve jerseys, a softshell jacket, a gilet and bib tights.
We’ll focus on the Signature, which is available in five colours, including the ‘Rio Red/Jet Black’ we have on test. It’s made from a 45 per cent merino and 55 per cent polyester blend – a combination of fibres popular with jerseys like this as it’s said combines the comfort, cafe culture styling and odour-management of wool with the improved wicking qualities of a synthetic fabric. We’ll find out how the Signature jersey fares in that regard.
Otherwise, a lighter fabric is used on the arms and side panels to help disperse heat, while out back there are three pockets (one of which has an eyelet through which to run a headphone cable, if you wish), with an additional zipped, water resistant pocket for valuables, and a small reflective tab. Attention to detail in the quality of construction looks excellent, as is the case across the items we’ve received.
The Signature is available in five understated and classically-styled colours and six sizes, from extra-small to extra-extra-large, for €99.
Isadore merino arm warmers and merino socks – €35/€15
The Isadore range extends to accessories, including long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless base layers, merino and lycra arm warmers, merino knee warmers, lycra leg warmers, and socks. We’ll be trying the merino arm warmers and merino socks.
We’ve enjoyed a pleasantly warm summer to date but, in reality, that’s unlikely to last, and August will soon turn to September, and summer to autumn, when arm warmers will help keep the emerging chill at bay.
Isadore’s merino arm warmers are fairly thick, so we expect them to be most suitable for cooler days. The yarn is said to be fast-drying and they have a seamless construction. The merino arm warmers are available in two unisex sizes, small/medium and large/extra-large, for €35.
The merino socks, on the other hand, are made in the USA and are said to be naturally anti-bacterial and odour-resistant, thanks to that merino construction. They’re a little thicker than what we’d normally consider for a summer sock, particularly around the toe box, though Isadore’s other sock, made from a Coolmax polyester, is perhaps geared towards warmer rides.
Either way, the merino socks are available in black and white, in two lengths, standard and hi-top (above the ankle), four sizes (S-XL) and two colours (black or white) for €15.
Website: Isadore Apparel