The Showers Pass Bamboo-Merino LS Henley Shirt is an ideal mid-layer for pedalling around town, and a comfortable and stylish piece when you're off the bike too.
Marketed as an active wear top, the Henley features a mix of bamboo and merino wool fabrics which help provide its technical properties. Showers Pass says the bamboo provides a fresh, cool and soft feel next to the skin, while merino's much-vaunted wicking and anti-odour properties probably need no further explanation here.
The result is a shirt that performs well when you're doing light exercise – riding your bike around town on errands, cycling to a cafe, or indeed going for a walk. Body temperature is regulated superbly, so as your heart rate gets up it keeps you relatively cool, while post-ride – when I tend to get the chills – it has great thermal properties too.
The cuffs have thumb holes and are elongated, resulting in long sleeves that keep draughts out, and the Henley-style collar is comfortable and naturally adjustable thanks to the buttons. My test piece came in a medium, which fitted well even though I tend to straddle medium and large sizes for T-shirts.
I have quite long arms, which meant that the band that fits between your thumb and forefinger occasionally felt slightly tight, especially when leaning forward on the handlebar – although once I'd worn the shirt a few times I got used to this and stopped noticing it. If you know you have much longer than standard arms, consider going a size up.
You can get away with this because the cut comes up slim, as you might expect from a technical outdoors shirt, with a back that runs slight longer than the front. This lends it a performance-orientated and comfortable feel, and makes it ideal for occasional city cycling, as well as doubling as a stylish option elsewhere too.
Quality is also undeniable – you only need to look at the tidiness of the seams for an example of this – although you need to take care with the natural fibres not to wash it on too hot a setting. A delicate wash is adequate, ideally using silk and wool detergent. That way you maintain the quality of the merino, and the shape and size of the garment.
All this quality, comfort, style and good design comes at a cost – £69.95. That's a lot of money for a top that, frankly, I wouldn't use as a baselayer for training – it's too thick for that – and isn't tight enough in my view to work comfortably on a high intensity ride.
It's not really designed for such uses, though. Stick to city riding, or general active use alongside some casual wearing, and you should get some good life out this high quality Henley Shirt.
Stick to city riding, general active use or casual wearing and this high quality Henley shirt does a very good job
road.cc test report
Make and model: Showers Pass Bamboo-Merino LS Henley Shirt
Size tested: Medium, Navy
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?
Showers Pass says: "Fall in love with our new long sleeve super soft Bamboo-Merino Henley shirt. We have combined the benefits of two natural fibers in a stylish long sleeve button up shirt perfect for bike commuting, and active lifestyles on or off the bike. Fine Bamboo fibers offer a soft and cool next-to-skin feel while Merino-wool fibers on the face of the shirt provide warmth and prevent stink through high output outdoor activities. The two natural fibers are knit together creating a lightweight mid-layer with the performance benefits of Merino-wool and the soft feel of a synthetic but without the smell. Designed with a long torso and long sleeves with thumb loops, this comfortable trim fit won't ride up. Flat-lock stitching and seamless underarm panels prevent chafing."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- 50/50 Bamboo-Merino Wool Blend
- Raglan sleeves
- Flat lock stitching
- Longer sleeves with thumb loops
- Slim fit
- SPF 50+ sun protection
- Fantastic soft feel
- Stylish and sporty, brilliant on and off the bike
- High wicking
- Long sleeves with thumb loops
It's a really high quality finish on this top - and looks capable of dealing with leisure time frolics.
Keeps you cool in warm temperatures, and warm in the cool. Moisture wicking is good, although it's not ideal as a pure baselayer in my view.
The quality of construction suggests the Henley will go on and on if looked after properly.
Lovely slim cut, ideal for cyclists.
Sleeves come up slightly short on me, but I do have slightly longer than usual arms, so this probably explains that.
It's not a lightweight piece, but it's not really designed for high tempo cycling. Good for gentle or city riding.
I love wearing mine post-ride when I want to feel comfortable after a tough time in the saddle.
£69.95 is an awful lot of money for a top that I don't think works particularly well as a cycling baselayer – but it has other uses so all is not lost here.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You have to take care of the natural fibres – I relied on silk and wool delicate washing for best results.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lovely cut, great natural fibres that make it breathable and warm – and above all luxuriously comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sleeves could be a cm or two longer, and it's too heavy to use as a performance baselayer (though it's not really designed for that).
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe – not as a baselayer, but very useful for city riding.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding