The Howies Slipstream short-sleeved jersey is nicely made, smart-looking and generally comfortable but a few niggles make it less lovely to live with than the companion long-sleeved jersey.
The short-sleeved Howies Slipstream jersey has quite a lot in common with the long-sleeved version, but with some small but significant differences.
It shares the same clever weaving technology that allows Howies to combine varying material properties across a single fabric panel without seams. For some reason, I'd expected literally no seams at all, which is apparently not yet actually possible. Even the much-vaunted Castelli Bodypaint has to content itself with being "almost seamless".
Do we have Castelli technology for dhb prices here? Mmm, well, not quite. The short-sleeved Slipstream jersey is one of three items that Howies has brought out this summer, their first 'serious' cycling gear.
It's made in Portugal rather than China. I have no problem with good quality Chinese gear but it's muito bom to see something that's been made a bit closer to home.
Any colour you like
As with the long-sleeved version, it feels quite different from most jerseys. It is a tight-knitted polyamide (96%) and Elastane (4%) blend which is matt not shiny. It almost looks like cotton. Completely Henry Ford except for a few small details: a subtle blue Howies logo on the bottom seam at the front; a reflective zip lining on the middle of the three rear pockets; and reflective stitching on the arms.
Howies describe it as having a "second skin" fit and that's about right. This is tight, tight, tight. It's also incredibly stretchy, so that tight fit never feels like it's constraining you. I did find the sleeves tended to ride up my skinny-ass biceps, though; I guess because it's stretchy in both directions.
The jersey has a half-zip on the front. It's one of those superfine "hidden" ones, and it was a little bit fiddly in use, particularly if you open it all the way down and then try and close it again.
As with the long-sleeved jersey, there are three pockets at the back, with a zip closure on the centre one. They're a decent size and they didn't sag when loaded up as much as I might have expected (did I mention how stretchy this thing is?). They do cling to your hands when you try and put things in and out, whether or not you're wearing gloves. This was annoying on the long-sleeved jersey and it's annoying here.
According to Howies, the variable weave is designed to allow "lighter breathable panels in sweatier areas like the underarms and back, or produce areas with more compression around hems and places where you need a tighter fit" and you can see the variation.
It is clever stuff, and clearly preferable to having lots of panels stitched together in terms of comfort. However, this is not an out-and-out summer jersey; it's a little bit warm for that. We've had some nice sunny days of late, and when it's 18-20 degrees I was too hot in the Slipstream. Everyone layers up differently on a bike. I tend to prefer being a bit cold than a bit warm.
Too warm for summer?
For a spring day that might get warmer but not hot, pairing this with some Roubaix arm warmers would be pretty much ideal for a day in the saddle. For riding in the evenings, I'd be concerned about visibility, unless I had a garish gilet or good lights. Howies have included some reflective detailing but it's kept to a minimum. To be fair, some folk will doubtless appreciate the plain black styling.
Howies say that the Slipstream jerseys are intended to be unisex. They're so stretchy they'll accommodate different shapes. There is no silicone gripper strip at the bottom of the jersey. It is held in place with a more compressive strip of the same fabric as the rest of the jersey. No issues here; it works well.
Well made, smart-looking and generally comfortable, but the grabby pockets are irritating, the sleeves creep up skinny arms and the hidden zip is fiddly.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Howies Slipstream short sleeve jersey
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The seamless circular knit technology used in this range means that these pieces are precision built to fit your body, just like your own skin. They provide a snug fit that will go virtually unnoticed as you wear it.
They are made on specialist machines capable of knitting yarn into a single continuous tube shape. This means we make body panels in one piece, minimizing the need for seams - seams that could potentially cause painful friction or chaffing on longer rides.
The circular knitting machines are also capable of varying patterns in the fabric as they knit too. This means that we can have different weaves on the same panel and precisely tailor them to match specific parts of the body. For instance, we can integrate lighter breathable panels in sweatier areas like the underarms and back, or produce areas with more compression around hems and places where you need a tighter fit. We can now do all this without the need for separate panels, seams and stitching.
This makes a truly comfortable, formfitting garment with a minimalist design. Just like us humans.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Seamless circular knit design
- Integrated breathable panels
- Fast wicking
- Two large rear cargo pockets
- Rear reflective zip storage pocket
- Invisible half zip
- Reflective arm tape- Flatlocked stitching
- 96% Polyamide / 4% Elastane
- Made in Portugal
Clever fabric engineering. The ability to combine different weaves in a single panel is unusual and works well. The addition of reflective stitching on the sleeves (unlike the long-sleeve jersey) is a plus.
I wasn't a huge fan of the zip or the rear pockets though.
Warmer than most short-sleeve jerseys.
Survived several trips through the washing machine without complaint.
I found the lack of seams and close fit to be very comfortable. I did have to keep yanking the sleeves back down around my arms, which got a bit annoying.
Given that it's made in the EU and uses some clever technology, the price isn't unreasonable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tight-fitting jerseys can be slightly restrictive - this is so stretchy that you never feel constrained. It's also a pleasingly sober design for when you don't want to go out in garish race gear.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pockets, sleeves and zip. All of them were a bit annoying to be honest.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, most of the time.
Would you consider buying the product? Doubtful.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Potentially, yes, if they were after the particular combination of a tight-fitting but very understated jersey.
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 6 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.