craft essence jersey

When it comes to jerseys, it's down to personal choice. Apply that to fit, feel and look, it's one of the things we enjoy about cycling is that the choice in the wardrobe can rival a fashion show. Our good pal Chris is a fan of the Craft wear so if it's good enough for the men, we need to know what Craft is like for the ladies? Sarah Whitehead, our rider of the day from The One v4.0, was up to the job and sent us this report...

I am well known amongst my friends for having a slight lycra addiction. At home, I even have a chest of drawers dedicated to the tight fitting, sparking spandex. I mean, you have got to be prepared for all weather conditions, right?


When I first started cycling, I was slightly underwhelmed with the range of jerseys available for women. I felt that some brands tried to attract female cyclists by making the designs overtly feminine. I even brought a man’s “La Passione” X Small lightweight jersey as I preferred the range of colours and styles. Forget MAMIL’s, more and more women are hitting the roads and we want to look good in lycra.


I read a statistic that 70% of women do not leave the house without wearing make-up, so you can imagine how much confidence is needed to put on a pair of tight-fitting padded shorts and a figure-hugging jersey. Half the battle is even getting on a bike, so you might as well start by dressing the part.


Following an injury, I have just started to cycle again and whilst I feel I am more style over substance now, I still want a comfortable, stylish and functional performance jersey. I was delighted to get the opportunity to get out on the bike to try out the Craft Essence jersey, courtesy of NITP and Sponge Marketing.


The jersey I tried was a small which I feel is more reflective of European sizing. I compared it against a small Rapha jersey and there is a difference in the length and width, so if you are between a 10-12 and not keen on a tighter fit I would go for a Medium. I did like the shorter front as there was no bunching of material. However, if you have a longer frame like me, you would need to wear bibs instead of regular shorts/tights otherwise you might feel a draft.


The jersey feels soft and lightweight and I like that it has a zippable pocket, which is big enough to fit house keys and a debit card. I am a big fan of black (on visible days) and like the sleek and simplistic logo at the front and the back of the jersey.


 I first took this jersey out on an early morning ride paired with gilet and leggings and didn’t over heat. It regulated my body temperature well as I didn’t feel a drop-in temperature on the warm down after an arduous work out.

The second ride was on a much warmer day (higher than average temperatures for the time of year) and despite wearing a base layer to draw sweat away I did feel warm in the jersey and over-heated slightly. Black probably drew the heat in, but I do feel the jersey would be better suited for spring riding paired with arm warmers. My only niggle with the jersey and it could have something to do with the extra cinnamon bun at “Cinnamon Café” in Windsor but the silicone did ride up at the back.


Overall, the jersey was comfy, but I am not sure the fit was quite right for me. I wear a size 10 and all my jerseys are small, but this was on the petite scale. I do prefer a full zip down jersey, so this would be the style I go for. Having a look on line, the Hale Glow might have been more comfortable as it is blended with elastane as opposed to 100% polyester like the Craft Essence. I do prefer the colour scheme available with the jersey though, so I would probably buy this again in a different colour. Overall though, it was a joy to wear and I look forward to taking it out on the road soon.