Sportful Giara thermal vest review

The Sportful Giara thermal vest is highly insulating and luxuriously comfortable, definitely one our first choices for cold days on the bike

(Image credit: Cycling Studio)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

For dry days throughout winter, this thermal vest is a must have, it's superbly warm and brilliantly comfortable.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Luxuriously comfortable

  • +

    Great fit

  • +

    Highly insulating

  • +

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not waterpoof

  • -

    No rear pockets

  • -

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Whilst the Sportful Giara thermal vest is recommended wearing for crisp autumn days, we’d be more than happy heading out into the wild with it on in deepest darkest winter.

Its construction is unlike any gilet I’ve used before, and it leans far more towards a brevet style construction than a slimline, packable wind gilet. Sportful’s 80g Thermore insulation on the front and shoulders creates a seriously well padded, almost down-like covering that’s highly insulating and luxuriously warm. Although it's bulky, it's never an annoyance on the bike.

Sportful Giara Thermal Vest

Highly insulating and luxuriously comfortable
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

The vest has wind proofing and insulation in spades, quite literally putting a padded, protective layer between you and any gales. However, the down-like insulating properties are the same ones that seem to absorb moisture, and on wet days throughout November, December and January it was prone to absorbing water rather than repelling it, and it came as no surprise that Sportful’s website scored the gilet two our of four for waterproofing.

On the flipside, if you were facing a gale or freezing conditions, there would be nothing I’d rather wear as an outer layer. Over the course of the last three months I’ve worn this over all manner of tops. Whether that was just thermal jerseys or full blown winter jackets, the thick front and high neck of the gilet has helped it hold its own in everything from blustery winds to freezing fog.

Watch: Buyer's guide to winter clothing

The fit is excellent. In a size small it's the perfect match to my torso and there's no bagginess around the armholes, which helps prevent unwanted draughts sneaking in.

One annoyance that detracts from an otherwise perfect score is the lack of rear pockets. Instead, the gilet has a large zip that grants access to any pockets underneath. It hardly mitigates the nuisance as it's still a faff to use, and three pockets on the rear would be far more convenient.

Sportful Giara thermal vest

Give us three pockets any day over an access zip
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

While a £100 price tag is a touch steep for any product, the insulation and warmth on offer with the Sportful Giara thermal vest takes much of the sting away – it feels substantial and works brilliantly, two things you definitely want when dropping that much cash.

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