Light wind jacket with a stand out design - but does it pack a punch when it comes to performance?
Clothing is far from the first category that pops into your head when you consider the brand Giant, or its women’s arm Liv. However, Liv has been working with Spanish clothing manufacturer Etxeondo since 2012 to produce gear for riders.
The Paradisa women’s wind jacket forms part of a wider Paradisa range, including shorts (waist only), jersey and wind vest (gilet). It’s designed to offer a race fit, keeping wind and rain showers from ruining rides where weather might be changeable.
I picked up a the Paradisa jacket at Liv’s Langma launch back in June last year, and it was admired en masse amongst the female cycling journalists gathered – with a number of us wearing it long after the event.
The key fabric is ‘ProTextura Plus Ultra Lightweight’, a material that uses a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish. The ‘Plus’ version on offer here promises enhanced waterproofing thanks to sealed seams, as well as odour neutralisation; it adds around £20 to the price when compared to non-Plus models in the range (such as the Zorya Wind Jacket).
Adding to the protection are elasticated cuffs and a gripper at the hem, there’s also some very subtle reflective details sewn into the seams at the lower back.
The graphics are pretty remarkable – Exteondo’s approach to graphic sublimation, according to Liv, uses the highest quality papers, inks and fabrics to produce exceptional colour retention in vivid technicolor.
Wearing the Liv Paradisa women’s wind jacket
Unseasonably un-spring-like weather in the UK has offered me plenty of opportunity to put this garment to the test: we’ve had rain, snow, hail, even the occasional burst of ‘thundersnow’ thrown at us.
At first, I struggled to determine what conditions best suited this jacket.
It’s lightweight, but not in a ‘you won’t notice it’s there’ way – this means that it’s substantial enough to keep out cold wind, and layered over a winter jersey can be worn when ambling along in chilly temperatures (sub 4°c). This was where I found it most useful.
When it comes time to work harder, it can become quite warm – as an example I was far too hot wearing it over a medium weight jersey for outdoor track sessions at 8-10°c.
The jacket can be slipped over a summer weight jersey, but the slightly plastic nature of the inner means it does get a bit clammy. It also rustles a bit as you move, which isn’t a massive detriment but isn’t ideal.
In terms of protection from the rain, this is very much your traditional packable layer designed to protect you from showers. Water beads off the surface, but get stuck in a downpour and you’re going to get wet.
Packability is middling – at 153g it’ll go into your pocket but you’ll notice it there and you probably won’t be able to fit much else in there.
It’s nice to see Liv creating items that are tastefully feminine. Style is personal thing, but the Paradisa has really stuck a chord with most women I’ve asked – it’s got none of that ‘FYI I’m a girl’ self-conscious pinkness you see elsewhere, but it’s not attempting to be masculine either, which is nice.
The fit however, is not ‘race fit’ as advertised. I’d typically wear a small/medium or an 8/10 UK dress size, I’m definitely not the lightest of my riding friends – and yet the Small (which is the smallest size Liv makes this jacket in) really is not form fitting. There’s just no two ways about that.
It is, however, pleasantly relaxed – and actually in winter I enjoy the freedom of having an item I can just zip up over a winter jacket without thinking twice (or breathing in).
My other bug bear with this garment is that, though it’s got some very slight reflective features at the rear lower back, they’re barely noticeable. Of course, the design is stand-out colourful, but not in a way that would mark a rider out on the road.
Attitudes to ‘all black’ on the road vary, I’m aware it’s the responsibility of all road users to utilise their senses, but personally I’m not a fan of the ninja approach for items designed to be worn in low visibility conditions.
All in, I enjoyed wearing this jacket – it brought plenty of admiring glances and kept the edge off the cold and precipitation of winter. In warmer conditions – such as the initial launch I wore it on – it kept rain showers at bay, but did become a little sweaty and it’s not the lightest for pocket-packing.
At £119.99, the Liv Paradisa jacket isn’t cheap. Indeed, it only undercuts established clothing giant Sportful’s excellent quality women’s Fiandre Light NoRain jacket by £5.01.
Works in cooler conditions and keeps the chill and worst of the rain off, whilst being light enough for summer rain though can be a little clammy; the Liv Paradisa isn't race styled as advertised but does provide a relaxed fit and a cool design.