The pun-tastically named Ewetopia Knickers are a good looking garment, made from 39% merino wool mixed with nylon and elastic. The fabric is stretchy and robust with a pleasant matt finish and the natural anti-microbial properties of merino.
Sizing is spot on (M is about a UK 12), and suitable for a variety of shapes and sizes (available in XS-XL), with plenty of give in the fabric to accommodate ‘problem areas’. The cut, however, is quite short, sitting about an inch or so below the knee for me, so taller women may find them less than ideal. Also not perfect is the shaping at the lower back, where the waistband could have done with being higher, to prevent a gap between jersey and tights. It is comfortable and unobtrusive, though. The panelling of the design is complex, with essentially 10 panels joined by flat, non-chafing seams, while the legs feature gentle leg grippers.
The female-specific pad is also made using merino wool. It offers an excellent level of cushioning and is well-shaped, but it is a little on the bulky side. The main issue with the pad, however, is that is doesn’t wick moisture or dry as quickly as is ideal, making it better suited to cooler weather wear. The fabric of the tights in general is suitable for use in all but the warmest conditions, but the pad doesn’t quite keep up.
Merino is always more expensive than its synthetic counterparts, it wears well and doesn’t acquire an odour, but for this amount of money I’d also have liked the cut to have been better, and some tweaking of the pad design and construction.
A good pair of tights, but not quite spot on.
Well made, robust and flattering 3/4 tights offering good comfort, but let down by the cut of the lumbar area and the wicking performance of the pad.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Smartwool Ewetopia Women\'s short
Size tested: M
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?
Aimed at all types of cyclist, on and off road.
'Perfect for crisp morning rides'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
45% nylon, 39% merino wool, 16% elastic
Gender-specific SmartWool lined chamois
10 panel, shaped panel construction
Really well made, with high quality fabric. Washes well.
Performs well in cooler conditions but even slightly warmer temperatures or extra high intensity activity meant the pad didn't wick effectively enough or dry fast enough.
Robust and well put together, these last well if looked after. But as with all merino, Velcro is the enemy!
Very comfortable in the cooler conditions for which they are primarily intended, although in all but the coolest temperatures, the pad doesn't wick or dry quickly enough.
Expensive considering the few niggles in the design. Worth the investment if these are tweaked in future, especially for the comfort and quality of the fabric.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed reasonably well in the chillier conditions for which they were intended, but pad needs to wick more effectively, and lumbar area of waistband needs to be higher.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality, comfort and feel of the fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The rear lumbar area waistband was too low.
The pad did not wick moisture efficiently enough.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, in future, if the cut and pad are tweaked.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not as it stands.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Didn't quite deliver on their initial promise, but well made and comfortable. Will be a cracking pair of 3/4 tights if the pad and waistband are tweaked.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.