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The mark of a good baselayer is that you forget it's there until afterwards, when you reflect that you didn't feel too hot/cold/damp throughout the ride. In that regard the oddly-named Warm Wind Walter, or warm.wind.walter as Adidas (or adidas) writes it (Walter, hereon), more or less hits the mark – apart from the odd cut around the neck.
The polyester/polypropylene fabric of the Walter is treated with '37.5' – a micro-particle that seeks to make you master of your own microclimate. It apparently increases the surface area of the fibre by 800 per cent, speeding evaporation.
The marketing blurb spins it thus: "You are most comfortable when the microclimate next to your skin has a relative humidity close to 37.5%. When you are in this ideal 37.5 comfort zone, you are also in your ideal performance zone. Cocona technology helps your body manage the moisture in your microclimate to keep you in this '37.5 zone' of comfort and performance.'
As part of the package here, the 37.5 tech works very well. I never recalled feeling overly sweaty front or back, even during hard efforts across a range of autumn temperatures and sunny/cloudy skies.
For outings that required extra insulation the Walter's fitted arms worked well under Castelli Nanoflex warmers. Sartorially you could get away with the arms of the baselayer exposed – they don't scream 'undressed'.
As for fit, it's definitely snug – with a 94cm chest and 84cm waist, the Medium fitted perfectly. The standout sizing win for me was the arms – finally, a product long enough in the cuff to fit when stretched out on the bike. Around the front of the shoulders the Walter pulls tight when standing, but when bent over, with arms forward, it sits flat against the skin.
The windproof fabric extends from mid-bicep up around the rear of the shoulder, so when worn underneath a short-sleeved jersey and paired with arm warmers you have a continuous windproof layer.
The drop tail came down mid-buttock at the back, the front ending top of thigh – in other words, just right, flaring to accommodate a 94cm hip with a perfect fit.
The only area I can fault the Walter is the neck fit. The trouble is, I reckon it's a deal-breaker. For a garment whose stated aim is to block wind chill, the fit of the neck is disappointingly loose.
My neck measures 36cm, and the Walter would only be snug on someone with a whopping extra 8-10cm or so under the collar. I could easily get four fingers down the neck with it done up, and when worn under a jersey the neck just looks weird – too loose on a race-fit V-neck, and bunched up/spilling out under a high-neck jersey. It's a real shame as the rest of the garment is spot on.
A baselayer that keeps the wind off and wicks sweat very well, but the neck disappoints
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Adidas Warm Wind Walter Long
Size tested: Medium
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?
Adidas says: "With a high neck for cosy warmth and a windproof front panel, this layer lets you put your wind shell inside rather than out. Cut for next-to-skin comfort, this men's cycling top is made from lightweight sweat-wicking Cocona fabric that resists odour and has flatlock seams for added comfort. Zip up the mock neck when conditions get cold, or vent it when temperatures rise. The windproof front adds protection without bulk, and the droptail hem keeps it in place under your layers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Benefit: Dries Fast
What it is: Super light fabric
How it works: Climalite pulls sweat away from skin and moves it to the outside of the fabric, where it can evaporate quickly.
Half zip with mock turtleneck collar
Flatlock seams reduce chafing and skin irritation
Windproof front layer; Droptail hem
Cocona fabric technology uses activated carbon for moisture-releasing cooling, odour resistance and SPF 50+ UV protection
Lightweight moisture-wicking fabric for ideal body climate; Reflective details; Fitted fit
Main fabric: 71% polyester / 29% polypropylene doubleknit; Front body overlay: 100% polyester interlock
Flatlock seams throughout make for solid construction.
It keeps the wind off, whist adding another layer elsewhere to bump you up a warmth rating. But the bunched-up/loose neck will either let in too much air or not enough.
After a month it's looking fine.
At 161g in Medium it's pretty light.
It's a snug fit, but it's let down by the neck being too loose. The neck fit really is the deal-breaker here – if you have a layer on top with a high, close-fitting collar, it's not right, and if you have a low-neck layer, apart from looking naff, you can't get a windproof seal.
£55 is a lot of money for a baselayer with a fundamentally flawed neck design.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I wasn't displeased with it, but for £55 the neck should be tighter.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The arms and the fit around the shoulder.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The neck – it should be snug, not loose.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes. But not at RRP, maybe half. If the neck got fixed, maybe.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not, unless they accepted the neck fit.
Use this box to explain your score
For £55 I'd expect the neck to be perfect, but it's not. If the neck was snug I'd be inclined towards 4 stars. It really is that much of a deal-breaker.
About the tester
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 72kg
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, and Dutch bike pootling