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Adidas Belgements jacket review

16 Mar 2016
Verdict:

Who says snug can’t be racy, and thermal can’t be light? Adidas doesn't and the Belgements is here to prove it.

It seems the key to carving out new apparel niches is to marry two usually contradictory traits into one product. The Gabba manages to be racily cut yet weather-resistant; aero helmets manage to be wind-cheating yet ventilated, and jackets such as the Adidas Belgements manage to be insulated yet non-bulky. In fact, there seems to be a bit of a ground swell in this last area, which has all the hallmarks of becoming a new must have apparel category. It even has a moniker: puffer jackets (after Puffa).

A host of companies are now making puffers, but don’t be mistaken by the regular connotations of the word – these are no highly flammable 1990s throwbacks, but rather highly technical garments designed to keep riders warm down to negative temperatures, all without making them into Michelin Men. 

The snug

The Belgements (a portmanteau of Belgium and elements, because, you know, Belgium is full of the elements) uses PrimaLoft insulation in the cavity between its stretchy inner layer and a durable water repellent (DWR) outer shell. The result is a jacket that is water resistant, wind resistant and warm, yet has a relatively streamlined fit and is incredibly lightweight given the first two characteristics – a medium weighs just 341g (compared to, say, Adidas’s Rompighiaccio jacket, a fleece-lined garment weighing 550g). It’s also ‘packable’ reckons Adidas, and while I’d hasten to use the word myself, if you get the right jersey with a stretchy enough pocket, a scrunched up Belgements will fit. Just.

As mentioned, a potential flaw with the whole idea of insulated jackets is bulk, and linked to that, unedifying flappiness. I have had a few issues with Adidas’s sizing in the past (for example, jerseys fit across the shoulders but have incongruously baggy torsos), but recently the brand seems to be nailing it, and as such the Belgements’ fit was excellent, with its svelte-ness and light weight belying excellent thermal properties and unrestricted movement.

Adidas doesn’t rate the Belgements for temperatures like some brands, however it kept me comfortable down to -1degrees, with a jersey and baselayer beneath.  I’d reckon it would be overkill above 10degrees save for short, low effort rides but between those two temperatures it was wonderfully snug and felt like it breathed well without getting permeated by the wind.

If there’s an area that does let it down it’s the rain. Light showers, fine, but it won’t stand up to heavy rain for long. What is neat is that should you get stuck in an absolute downpour the Belgements doesn’t become cold, heavy and sodden.

Twin powers 

In terms of features the Belgements is fairly basic, but well executed. A zipper across the small of the back leads to a roomy pocket, plus a regular jersey pocket with elasticated access down the side. It also has front chest vents to help regulate temperatures.

If there are any major concerns I’ve yet to find them. I’d have liked three pockets, not just the zipper plus one but other than that, the Belgements is a seriously good piece of kit.

It’s not for everyday riding as not everyday will require something so warm, but for those days when there’s a real chill in the air and drizzle to boot, the Belgements is excellent. And I’d hazard to say if Adidas replaced the DWR outer layer with something like, I dunno, fellow German-based brand Gore-Tex’s new ultralight Active Shell membrane for true waterproofing, you might just have the ultimate winter jacket. Adidas and Gore-Tex, what are you thinking?

adidas.com

Price: 
£140

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