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It's not often that an all-in-one body suit catches my eye, but with the stripey design of the Soul from Odlo, it's no surprise that this one did. In a world where solid black reigns supreme for cycling shorts, it's a real novelty to see something colorful and with a bit of graphic appeal. It's also actually a novelty to see a body suit for women at all- they are thin on the ground and it's not really surprising, since you have to be feeling pretty confident to dress head to toe in lycra. But there are advantages.
The Soul is designed to be a warm weather alternative to both shorts and jersey, providing all over lycra, with padded seat and leg grippers at the bottom and a highly wicking sleeveless top half. The fabric is a light stretchy powerstretch fabric, with UPF 50+ sun protection built in, with a highly breathable mesh section in the middle of the upper back. All the seams are flat to avoid chafing, and the synthetic chamois pad uses Odlo's highest level of padding, the Pro Support. There's a small zipped pocket in the lumbar area and reflective bits and bobs throughout.It also comes with its own mesh storage/laundry bag to preserve it from velcro attacks.
Once I'd taken a big gulp and braved the idea of wearing an all-in-one, I was genuinely amazed at how comfortable the Soul was. I'd go so far as to say it's one of the most comfortable cycling garments I've ever ridden in.
It takes a certain amount of gumption and confidence to go for this design, especially in the eye-catching white with stripes (I went for the black with stripes) but if you're game then it's worth the effort. It doesn't actually look unflattering on, with contouring colouring, and with the decent lycra fabric ironing out the worst of lumps and bumps, it makes for a nice smooth silhouette.
The front is zipped, and high enough to be very respectable. The sleeveless design is great for airflow in hot weather, and the excellent moisture wicking qualities of the main lycra fabric, coupled with the mesh panels, made it seem very light and pleasant to wear.
The fit was spot on, with a size medium being about a UK12 and not too tight (but not too loose either) in the leg openings. With the all-in-one design, there was no waistband to dig in when moving around on the bike, and no issues with jersey and shorts parting company at the back. The effect of the whole thing was what I imagine riding naked to be like, only far more comfortable, I suspect!
The comfort of the Soul comes from the pad. Pliable from the word go, it was extremely good, with just the right amount of cushioning without ever feeling intrusive or bulky. Definitely one of the most comfortable pads I've ever ridden on.
It's available in XS-XXL, and ultimately, it's quite feasible to wear it with a light jersey over the top if you're not confident with the full lycra look- the stripey shorts work well as a feature. I've tried it both ways and each was comfortable, although without a jersey it definitely breathes better for truly hot weather.
As an all-in-one, and a stripey one at that, it's going to be a Marmite sort of piece of kit, where you either love it or hate it. Personally, I loved it, and may well be seen out in public at sportives this summer wearing it. It was comfortable in the extreme and just that little bit different. In comparison with the few other women's body suits I could find, it compares favourably in price too, especially when you consider the quality of that pad.
Incredible levels of comfort, in a funky and unusual package. Great for hot weather.
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Make and model: Odlo Soul Body
Size tested: Medium Black/Stripe
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 demanding female cyclists for hot weather use.
Absolutely spot on.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tricot Powerstretch Performer fabric
Pro Support synthetic chamois pad
Small zipped lumbar pocket
Very well made indeed, with excellent construction and materials.
Outstanding comfort, moisture wicking and breathability.
With the high quality fabric and the addition of the mesh storage/laundry bag to protect it from velcro and pulling, it should last years.
Superb levels of comfort, both in the garment and in the pad.
Expensive but considerably less than other all-in-one designs available from premium brands. A worthwhile investment for prolonged hot weather riding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed incredibly well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Colour, style, comfort, fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, a lot.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely. But only a good one and if we never ride together!
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you like the style, it's hard to find fault. Flawless comfort and hot weather performance.
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.