Designed for off-the-beaten-track adventures, we test the the Sportful Giara W shorts to see if they deliver form and function
For a brand accustomed to dressing the likes of Vicenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador in their respective team kit, adventuring onto the dark side of gravel roading is certainly a change of direction for Sportful.
So far, what we’ve seen of the Giara collection – the jersey, hat and gloves – has impressed us. Sportful has filled a gap in the market for relaxed-fitting clothing that offers both form and function, so I was really looking forward to pulling the Sportful Giara W shorts on.
The shorts have been constructed using a 62 per cent polyamide/38 per cent elastane fabric which has high-stretch properties, allowing Sportful to limit the amount of panels to just three and eliminating as many potentially skin-irritating seams as possible.
The Giara W shorts use Sportful’s proprietary women’s Princess chamois which the company says takes its cues from the range-topping Infinity seat pad. It’s a two-layer pad that Sportful says offers the right level of protection where you most need it thanks to different foam densities and cutaways.
The legs use a silicone gripper on the hemmed seam and have a bonded reflective band on the left leg. Doing away with bibs enables the shorts to weigh in pretty lightly at just 148g on the scales.
The whole ethos of the Giara collection is about a more relaxed style of riding, focusing on adventure rather than Strava segments, so it’s no surprise that Sportful opted for standard waisted shorts over bibs. It’s a real personal-taste decision and in an ideal world there would be room for both options. However, as waist shorts go, the Sportful Giara W shorts are comfortable round the waist. Other plus points are that the legs stay put on the thigh and that the chamois, although clearly not Sportful’s top-drawer option, is sufficiently padded.
After the first couple of wears I was ready to call the Giara W shorts a rare Sportful product shocker after issues with the bonded reflective leg band. Ideally for us Brits it needs to be on the right leg in order to fully take advantage of the safety feature. More frustrating was that on the first couple of wears the band was too tight, creating a slight tourniquet effect on the thigh. Sportful confirmed that this was down to the contracting of the band in the heat bonding process and its suggested fix of stretching the bonded band (by literally pulling either side as hard as possible) has pretty much resolved the issue. It’s not an ideal situation, but I was assured the band won’t degrade or become loose over time and I was really impressed by the amount of stretch it gave without any disintegration.
I’ve so far been really impressed by the Giara range in terms of offering something different for the less competitive rider. I feel I’ve had a bit of a roller-coaster journey with the Sportful Giara W shorts, going from loving the design to being majorly disappointed with the fit around the right leg, before getting a sort of fix to the problem. To pay £65 and then to have to make the shorts fit yourself isn’t really good enough. However, they do complete an otherwise faultless range.
The Sportful Giara W shorts are reasonably comfortable, but remedial work required to give the shorts a 'good enough' fit isn't what you should expect from a £65 pair of shorts.