Finding an ideal cold-weather jacket can be challenging. Some are made too thick — limiting layering and breathability. Others are simply a shell. The all-new Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell is a shell, but it’s much more than that. It breathes, stretches and provides warmth/protection on par with the best cold-weather jackets on the market. Plus, the tested color is wowzers bright!
Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell Features:
- PRO 3-layer, 4-way stretch AmFIB® Softshell fabric is windproof, water-resistant and 50% more breathable than typical membranes
- PI Dry® water shedding technology provides all-weather performance
- Bonded neck, cuffs and hem to minimize bulk
- 2-way water resistant
- Vislon® Aquaguard zipper is easy to use with gloves for quick ventilation
- Two back pockets plus zippered center pocket balance ease of access and all-weather security
- BioViz® reflective elements for low-light visibility
- MSRP: $225
The heart of the PRO AmFIB Shell
Heading into the fall and winter months, it’s time to re-assess the wardrobe. Yeah, it’s easy to just hunker down and ride Zwift on the daily, but nothing compares to getting wind in your face and riding actual roads. In order to do that, the right gear is required. And, while I’ll ride in colder temperatures for the sake of testing gear — my real threshold is 40-degrees and sunny. At that temperature, rides are still brisk, but the warmth of the sun can be felt. Layering up is key and the new Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell is just the right jacket to have in your closet.
I’ve got thicker jackets than the PRO AmFIB Shell, but they don’t get much ride time. The ones that get used the most are midweight softshell designs that stretch and move, breathe, block the wind and still allow a variation of layers underneath. As a bonus, jersey pockets are always in style. That way, you don’t have to rely on wearing an actual jersey underneath. So, how does the new PRO AmFIB Shell stack up? Pretty darn well.
Into the cold, with love
With the Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell, you can expect to be able to layer up and get out in temperatures ranging from the upper-30’s into the 50’s. It all depends on how you layer up. For me, I’ve been mixing up the layering between the Pearl Izumi Merino Longsleeve Base Layer and the combination of a sleeveless Castelli base layer underneath the new Bontrager Velocis Thermal LS Jersey. Both are great for temperatures down to about 40-degrees and allow the PRO AmFIB Shell to provide warmth and weather protection while remaining highly-breathable.
So, in addition to the warmth the PRO AmFIB shell provides, it is also highly water-resistant. PI Dry treatment really makes the water bead right up and roll away. According to Pearl Izumi, PI Dry “coats each individual fiber” and that “the treatment will never wash off or lose its effectiveness and will last the life of the garment.” This nano treatment is along the same lines as Castelli’s Gabba, which is the industry-standard for water-resistance. It has held up great thus far with no sign of stopping.
Yes, water-resistance is superb, but the 4-way stretch AmFib Softshell fabric also blocks wind — all while remaining breathable. You can ride for hours and the jacket simply breathes without pooling sweat on the inside. It truly is a great mix of everything you would want in a cold-weather jacket.
I love that this jacket features two standard jersey pockets. They are pleated and can carry a decent amount of stuff. The center, zipped pocket is also sweat-resistant, so you can place your phone, wallet or cash in there without it getting soggy. Again, it wears like a jersey, but performs like a lightly-insulated jacket.
The sleeve cuffs are worth digging into as well. Other jackets have elastic or Velcro cuffs, but these are simple and straightforward. They feel comfortable and even work well while wearing an Apple Watch, in addition to a pair of Santini Acquazero Vega winter gloves. There’s no bunching or restricted movement due to the excess bulk of the cuff.
With an overall slender cut, the size medium fits me perfectly (5’11” – 170 lbs). I can layer under it. The sleeves are snug, but stretch enough to allow for layering. On the bike, the jacket feels incredible and stretches with every movement.
The only real gripes I can identify is that the front zipper does allow some cold air to penetrate and that the collar could be a touch stretchier. Air penetrates the zipper on cold descents and the collar can get a little snug when worn atop a jersey with a tall collar. I’ll add that the zipper is a top/down bottom/up variety, which provides access to interior pockets without unzipping the entire jacket. Just unzip from the bottom and access is granted. I will say that the zippers are a little tough to zip up/down though and haven’t gotten any easier in time.
- Excellent cut and overall fit
- Stays put and feels natural in riding positions
- Two rear jersey pockets allow access to key items
- Sleeve cuffs are simple and functional
- Breathes really well
- out are that the front zipper does allow some cold air to enter
- Top/down and bottom/up zipper allows easy interior access
- Front zipper does allow cold air to penetrate
- Zippers are difficult to pull up/down
The Bottom Line: Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell
The new Pearl Izumi PRO AmFIB Shell truly wears like a jersey, but performs like an all-season jacket. With 4-way stretch, the fabric moves with you and stays quiet. Those rear pockets come in handy and the PI Dry nano treatment will keep water beading off for its entire lifetime.
Buy Now: Available at Backcountry.com