Stylish thermal jersey for mild winter rides or to use as a breathable mid-layer
The Sportful Giara Warm Top is a stylish long-sleeve jersey which works well as an outer layer in mild winter conditions or as mid-layer when the mercury drops. It’s a relatively simple piece but excels thanks to its breathability, fit and contemporary design.
While Sportful’s Giara range was original designed for the adventure bike market – it has a more relaxed fit than the Italian firm’s race clothing, along with subtle styling – it’s equally as adept for regular road riding.
We’ve already reviewed the £120 Giara Softshell Jacket this winter and the Giara Warm Top is a more affordable piece with a £85 price tag. Whereas the Giara Softshell is windproof, the Warm Top is made from a brushed thermal fabric. That gives the jersey a fleecy texture on the inside and a soft cotton texture on the outside.
The fact this fabric can be permeated by the wind means it’s not for especially cold (or wet conditions), but I’ve found it ideal down to around seven degrees. I’ve also used it with a gilet down to around four degrees, but for anything colder I’ve used it underneath a jacket.
Breathability is excellent. There are generally two schools of thinking when it comes to winter clothing: keep the wind out or, well, don’t. The benefit of a thermal piece like this is that, while you might not directly block a chilly breeze, you also don’t run the risk of soaking your base layer in sweat and catching a chill on a descent or when riding under less intense effort.
I’ve used this jersey in a range of conditions and it’s worked fantastically well at wicking away moisture, allowing excess heat to move away from the body while still providing pretty good insulation.
The fit of the jersey certainly isn’t aero-specific, but nor does it flap unnecessarily in the wind – it’s cut closed in the right places. I’d described it as ‘fitted’, rather than ‘tight’, and that leaves some breathing room for extra layers underneath… or an extra slice of cake at the mid-winter cafe stop.
The jersey is held in place by a silicone band across the bottom and I found it didn’t ride up at all. In addition there are three good-sized pockets on the back which are big enough for everything I needed on a longer ride, as well as a zipped pocket for valuables on the right-hand pocket.
The design takes its cues from the rest of the Giara range, with a bright stripe running around the chest (there are two colours available: green and blue). There are also a couple of reflective Sportful logos; one on the chest and one on the lower back.
This is a relatively simple piece but there’s a lot to like. It’s a subtle, stylish design and there’s a luxurious feel to the soft fabrics used inside and out. While it may lack the wind or waterproofing for deep-winter use as an outer layer, the excellent breathability means it works extremely well on its own in milder conditions, or as a thermal mid-layer on truly cold days.
Can also be used as a thermal mid-layer
Sensible cut for winter riding
Not warm enough to use as an outer layer on really cold rides
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