Polaris Bikewear have been around for a long time. Based in Derbyshire, they have become one of the best known home grown cycling brands. I was very much looking forward to trying out their kit. Polaris sent me an entire outfit, which made testing a lot of fun.
Vela Italian Coolmax Socks
Starting from the toes up, first up in this review is the Vela Italian Coolmax sock. These come in a pack of two (pairs) and were in a duck egg colour-way. The socks felt very smooth to touch and this was noticeable when putting them on too. No nasty itchy fabric here. These are women specific socks, which basically means that Polaris have thought about their female customers and our differences to men. The design is a simple one, they have a reinforced heel for stability, a specially selected yarn to keep sweat away from your skin and compression at various points.
In practice, I found the socks to be very good. The compression points on the heel, toe and mid-foot made the socks fit well and stay put with movement. I did note that when riding, my feet were kept warm at all times ( September into October) and sweat wasn't an issue. I wouldn't say it was too cold to sweat, but it was certainly minimal. However, I will be using these as part of my autumn/spring cycling wardrobe. The socks look good and function really well. The colour choices allow you to create a full matching outfit too. They are priced at £12.99, and are perfect for road cyclists and commuters alike.
Women’s Core Bamboo Baselayer
Next up is the Women’s Core Bamboo Baselayer. Coming into the cooler winter months, a base layer is something really worth considering. Bamboo has long been known for its sustainability, as a material, and for it’s warmth and moisture wicking properties. It sounds like a perfect baselayer. Featuring the ability to keep you warm in the cold and cool in the warmth, it is an all year round top. It has flat lock stitching and this is supposed to make it non-abrasive. It protects against UV and bamboo is naturally odour resistant.
To test, I wore it repeatedly on every ride I did. Of course I washed it, but I did leave it for a couple of rides to see if it had any odour, but it really didn’t. The fabric is incredibly soft and smooth and sits close to your skin. This means it is close fitting, so bear this in mind.
The Polaris range are true to size, so if you refer a looser fit, simply size up. In cooler months you can wear this top under a jersey and in summer just wear it by itself. At £21.99, the price tag won’t break the bank and it is worth every penny. I found it warm, comfortable and it washed really well every single time.
The Mica Jersey is a perfect winter companion. A long sleeved jersey, with a windproof front panel, it is sure to keep you warm. It is a soft shell cycling top (almost jacket like) with a brushed inside for extra warmth.
I found the top to be really true to size and it has some wiggle room underneath too, for extra layers. The material is Thermastretch, and it really does allow for a great range of movement without the jersey budging or clumping up. Once it is on and you are on the bike, leaning into the drops or siting up on the hoods, you never feel restricted.
When it comes to a jersey, fit and warmth are very important. The Mica covers both of these with ease. It has three rear pockets, one with a velcro tab for extra security. These are large and deep enough for all of your essentials. There is enough reflective piping for you to feel visible in the darker evenings too. Soft to touch, the brushed inner really gives the jersey a feeling of warmth and the fabric just feels thick and good quality.
The price point is £59.99, which may seem a little on the high side. However, for everything this offers, like other similar jerseys of this quality, the price is very much middle of the range, for a top quality winter essential.
Women’s 3/4 Contour Tights
Finally, the Women’s 3/4 Contour Tights. These are high performance tights that will allow for many hours in the saddle with no discomfort. I found them very comfortable indeed. They feature a Coolmax pad, which is antibacterial, dense enough to provide support where needed and breathable. I can’t stress how lovely it was for a pad to not end up feeling sweaty quickly. Of course it happens over time, but the important thing is that it works and keeps sweat away, which this one does.
The tights themselves have a cross over waistband, which makes them easy to put on and they look great. The pull everything in and it all stays there too, making them great for long distance rides. The contoured fit makes them women specific and they take into account that women come in different shapes, which I loved. The tights have reflective detail for added visibility too. I found them really easy to wear and they worked really well. Living up to claims is something Polaris seem to do. Priced at £39.99, they are a mid range tight, perfect for spring to autumn.
Overall, the kit I tested worked extremely well. The price of the entire outfit is very reasonable. Polaris have seriously taken into account the needs of women with this range, and this is to be commended. They don't assume that every female cyclist is a pro athlete. They consider that we are all shapes and sizes and this is reflected in their kit design.