Which Fiandre jacket is right for me?
06 October 2022
By George Wise
The Fiandre collection from Sportful was born out of a need for high-performance, all-weather clothing suitable for racing the Belgium Spring Classics in. The name ‘Fiandre’, Italian for Flanders, is a nod to the most iconic Spring Classic of them all.
The concept behind the Fiandre collection is high performance in dry conditions, with exceptional breathability and moisture management, alongside the ability to offer a level of water repellence if the weather turns. It’s a ‘fit and forget’ range of products to cover all eventualities.
Choosing the right Fiandre product should be as simple as looking at the thermometer and pulling out a suitable piece of kit. The collection is expansive, with a range of jackets, jerseys, bib shorts, bib tights and accessories, all of which combine water resistance and wind protection with a performance fit.
The jackets follow an easy-to-understand naming convention, which indicates the level of thermal protection they offer. For example, you can choose between the Fiandre Light, Medium and Warm jackets. The only jacket that deviates from this pattern is the Pro, Sportful’s fastest and most technical, WorldTour level foul weather racing jacket.
Fiandre Light No Rain
The Fiandre Light is the perfect transitional jacket, combining the fit and weight of a summer jersey with thermal protection akin to that of a heavier or thicker long sleeve jersey. It has a windproof front to take the chill away, while the back and underarm panels use Sportful’s proprietary NoRain 4-way stretch fabric, which delivers a great fit and breathability.
The whole garment is sufficiently water resistant to protect you from road spray and light rain, but because the Fiandre Light range is fitted it can only be worn with a thin base layer, so isn’t suitable for cold weather use.
The Fiandre Light range also includes a short sleeve version and a packable vest that share these same features. The vest can be used all year round as part of your layering system, whilst the short sleeve jacket is best worn on wet summer days with temperatures above 20˚C, or if paired with NoRain warmers, can go down to 12˚C.
Fiandre Pro Medium
Arguably, this jacket is the one best suited to the UK winter. The Fiandre Medium is thicker and heavier than the Fiandre Light, with lightly brushed Gore-Tex Infinium fabric on the front and arms and NoRain 4-way stretch fabric at the back, promoting performance fit and breathability. The blend ensures that this jacket is both highly breathable and highly water resistant.
With its performance cut, this jacket won’t flap when you want to go. However, its shape and added stretch does allow for a wider choice of base layers, enhancing its versatility. With a light base layer it will serve you well at around 14˚C, whilst with a heavier weight base layer it will keep you comfortable down to 5˚C.
A raw cut hem and a double-layered, snug fitting collar that articulates while you’re on the move reduce the possibility of cold air entering jacket while you’re pedalling along at low temperatures.
As the name suggests, this is the warmest jacket in the Fiandre range. Designed for deep winter riding, when the temperature is hovering around 0˚C, it incorporates all the best features of the other Fiandre jackets and more.
A thick and luxurious brushed Gore-Tex Infinium fabric is used on the front and arms, paired with a lighter brushed fabric on the back, making it incredibly warm, breathable and water resistant all at once. To aid temperature regulation during hard efforts, it carries two easy-to-open vents on the front for when extra air flow is required. To help exhaust this air to speed the removal of moisture, there are large vents sit on the upper back that sit flat in a ride position.
Three large back pockets, comfortable raw cut cuffs and a matching hem, plus the same double layered collar used on the Medium jacket complete the perfect deep winter jacket.
One of the best pieces of performance clothing you will ever buy, the Fiandre Pro is Sportful’s go-to foul weather race top, with a performance that amazes new athletes that join Sportful’s pro teams. Loved by pros, consumers and the media alike, it’s our best-selling Fiandre jacket.
Utilising Polartec NeoShell fabric, the Fiandre Pro is highly water resistant, breathable and aerodynamic. The fabric is waterproof, but to aid breathability the Fiandre Pro doesn’t use taped seams, so the garment itself isn’t fully waterproof. To minimise water ingress, it has double backed seams and uses a clever panel construction, ensuring that areas most likely to be exposed to driving rain don’t have seams on them. For example, the seam that is typically at the shoulders has been moved over the back.
NeoShell fabric is 4-way stretch, ensuring a performance orientated fit, similar to that of an aero summer jersey. No flappy material here! Because of the nature of this material and the jacket’s cut, it does size small compared to the other Fiandre jackets, so you will need to size up and be sure to use only a thin base layer.
Finishing touches include the raw cut cuffs and hem, a double collar, perforated rear pockets, which facilitate drainage of any water that runs down your back, and a long drop tail, which offers protection from rear wheel spray.
So, which should I choose?
In an ideal world, you would have all of these jackets in your wardrobe and don the most suitable, depending on the temperature. Whilst the range is primarily made for the colder months, there are pieces that can be used year-round when the weather is looks unfavourable. Being pragmatic, knowing what weather and temperatures you tend to ride in should dictate which jacket you buy. By changing the thickness of your base layer, you can add then extend its usefulness.