When the Cascada package arrived at my door, I was extremely excited to see how it all looked in the flesh. Across multiple platforms, my adverts had been inundated by the Earth Tone Land Wool shirt since my initial communications with the brand, and I was very intrigued to see how both the look and the performance would match up with my expectations.
From the get-go, it was clear that the Cascada kit is all of a high quality; with soft-touch, thick materials; and neat stitching throughout. The colours of the Earth Tone aren’t too in-your-face, helping to maintain a classy aire to the crazy Aztec-style pattern. Both the socks and baselayer have a tight fit for their size without being in any way restrictive thanks to their inbuilt stretch, which keeps them firmly in place to do their job out on the trail. I was thankful for the true-to-size fit of the Land Wool shirt, allowing for a thin layer or two to be worn beneath to boost the cold-weather capabilities. I’ve got very long arms, so it was a surprise for the shirt to sit in a comfortable position without the dreaded gap above my gloves. In a seated position on the mountain bike, the subtly dropped tail sits nicely, however a more aggressively stretched seated position such as a gravel or road bike may lead to a bit of lifting – a good compromise for us mountain bikers looking for a casual aura to our attire when away from the bike. I’d very happily wear the shirt when going for a drink or two in a pub, or doing the weekly groceries, and it even went down well with my colleagues in the office.
Pushing the Cascada apparel to the limits in the UK winter, it’s clear that they should not be relied upon for the sole source of insulation on the colder days, however for their low bulk they do offer a good amount of warmth without feeling in any way restrictive. A windproof shell over the base layer and shirt combination was suitable down to around 5 degrees celsius (40F), with the pairing alone being better suited to the 8-13 degree range (45-55F). In these conditions, the standout feature was comfort – they blended into the background, allowing for unrestricted movement and good sweat management to let you focus on the adventure. I put the Merino wool to the ultimate test of multiple rides without a wash and was pleasantly surprised to find the lack of sweat smell. There was however a subtle “sheepy” smell when the wool got hot, even after a few washes, but it wasn’t strong enough to be a problem. The Merino Cross socks follow suit with the under-the-radar performance with stellar comfort, sweat management; and suitable warmth down to 5 degrees. After numerous muddy rides and a few times through the washing machine, the Cascada apparel all still looks as new, with a durable enough finish that should stand the test of time. I’d deliberately kept the shirt away from the most punishing brambles or grittiest mud since it’s an item I’d like to keep for as long as possible – it looks that good in the flesh – however it did shrug off the occasional encounter with a bush or branch.
There’s no getting away from that relatively high price-tag, with alternatives available for less money, but the quality and longevity of the Cascada apparel range thankfully delivers in equally high amounts. Giving fashion-conscious riders oodles of comfort and great sweat control for ride after ride, with adequate warmth down to the low 40’s, Cascada’s clothing is a great offering for those with pockets deep enough.
Merino Cross Socks – €25/$30
Merino Baselayer Long Sleeve – €85/$100
Land Wool Shirt – €110/$130