FINDRA has only been in existence since December 2014 but has already acquired something of a reputation among my female cycling friends as the maker of products that make you want them. Understated colours, neat little finishing touches, and an aura of the deluxe make the products a little different to the more familiar enduro-flouro-technical-fabric ranges on offer elsewhere. But as the Route is essentially a t-shirt – and in my case a grey one – could this stand out from the crowd?
Made of 100% merino wool, the Route is a fine knit top of seamless construction. It is indeed seamless, and on a number of occasions it is only the care label on the side that has made me realise I have put the t-shirt on inside out. Although it is wool, the top is machine washable and has maintained its shape and finish with no bobbling or sagging – and I have just slung it in the machine at 30 degrees and hung it up with everything else; no drying flat and suchlike as the care label recommends.
Although the price tag made me feel like perhaps I should treat it as a luxury item, in reality I’ve just worn it – lots. As a baselayer on cold days; as a layer under a t-shirt on days where it’s warm enough to have your arms out if your core is warm; as a t-shirt on it’s own; as a smart top for evenings out. It’s a versatile top and you can probably get your money’s worth if you just wear it rather than saving it for best. I was worried that the knitted construction would have me catching threads and pulling them while on the bike, and while we’ve not yet reached peak bramble season, so far the top is still pull and hole free.
On the warmest of summer days this t-shirt might well be too warm – although FINDRA also does a lighter weight merino blend t-shirt for such conditions. However, in our British weather, there aren’t going to be too many days where the top of the moors are sufficiently warm and wind-chill free for this to be a problem. And because it’s merino you can wear it for a few days before it needs washing and/or your friends start complaining.
Within the knit there’s a subtle FINDRA logo on the right hip. There’s a ribbed V on the neck – although it is a round necked top, so no problems with cleavage when on the bike. The edges around the bottom, sleeves and neck of the top are flat, although I’d say that the neckline didn’t sit quite as flat to my skin as I would have liked and the bottom has a slight tendency to roll up – if I was being really picky. The top is completely itch free – and experience suggests I have a pretty low tolerance for itchiness. I went for the size 14/16 size because I don’t like thing really fitted and I tend to find 10/12 things a bit snug around the shoulders – this fitted me as I wanted, but if you want fitted rather than loose then go for your usual size.
Overall: A luxury, versatile t-shirt. Wearable in so many scenarios you’ll probably only take it off as long as it takes to wash it.
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