The Madison Sportive Women’s Softshell Jacket is a nicely fitted, soft and snug outer layer for cooler weather and long-distance riding -- but ‘heavyweight’ is going a bit far.
I really like this softshell jacket, that combines a sleek shape and styling with supreme comfort while not marking you out as a cycling ‘anorak’. I’m always willing to forgo style for high visibility, but it’s nice to have a jacket that can double up as cycling-wear and a trendy coat. That said, it’s liberally covered in reflective strips, zips and logos, so you’re lit up like a Christmas tree at night. Perfect!
From the wearer’s point of view, it’s lovely to slip into; it has a fleecy lining, nicely tapered elasticated wrists, figure-hugging cut as well as plenty of body length -- so your lower back is never in danger of getting cold. Also, the elasticated hem with silicone gripper effectively stops it riding up. My stylish cycling buddy pointed out how nicely it fitted and how, from behind -- with just a simple wide panel of reflective material, on a black background -- it looked like a well-known top-end cycling brand.
The three rear pockets are nice and deep, so held my mini pump, inner tubes and snacks with ease -- with plenty of room to spare. The concealed hip pocket is a nice touch, as is the zip compartment in the right-hand rear pocket, although I’m not sure how many riders would need 2 zip-up pockets on a sportive or club ride. The zip-up vents under the arms are a nice feature and handy when you’ve worked up a sweat but it would be even better if, like some jackets, these zipped on and off.
A softshell jacket can feel like a life-safer in cool, damp conditions, and I wouldn’t be without mine -- but I certainly wouldn’t call this heavyweight or particularly water resistant. It’s cosy, and ideal paired with a merino base layer and or a gillet, but I have worn warmer, more heavy-duty softshell jackets. That said, it packs down small, so would be great to take on a cycle tour or for a weekend away.
Lovely snug fit
Soft, fleecy lining
Cons: Not as warm as some soft-shell jackets
Only available in black -- so less daytime high viz
Verdict: This is an ideal jacket for the style-conscious rider who wants to be cosy on spring or autumn rides, or layer it up in winter.
Price: £79.99, available from Madison.
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