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The Howies Men's Doull Short Sleeve Cycle Jersey is well made, from a blend of merino and polyester, and does a good job of wicking away sweat and regulating body temperature, but I didn't find it as comfortable against the skin as some, and the fit around the arms didn't really work for me either.
Read our guide to the best summer cycling jerseys for more options.
Howies says the Doull is designed for all-season riding; it's obviously not a skintight, racy, aero top, it's best suited to recreational outings. It fitted me fine, mostly – on the baggier side of the scale but not to the point where it's flappy.
The only questionable area of the fit was the sleeves, which feel tighter and more restrictive than the rest of the jersey, and left my armpits feeling slightly 'suffocated' – you can see the fit on the model on Howies' website. If you have quite large arms then it's something to bear in mind. The sleeves are also quite short, and had a tendency to ride up.
Being made from a blend of 35 per cent merino wool and 65 per cent polyester – what Howies calls its PolyTecKnit Merino blend – the jersey is good at wicking sweat away, keeping you comfortable when other materials might get cold with sweat, but I did find I started to overheat on warmer days; it has mesh panels to help, but doesn't feel as breathable as my usual Lycra jerseys.
Howies says it's 'light enough for summer, but warm enough to wear as part of a layering system during the colder months'. We haven't got to the cold days yet, but with a quarter-length zip the jersey obviously has to be pulled on over the head, which is okay but does mean you can't fully unzip and let the jersey flap if the weather is really warm. I found it comfortable for rides up to around 15-20°C, but not ideal for anything above 25°C.
The material – which is Oeko-Tex certified, meaning it's been tested for harmful substances – also felt quite scratchy for the first few wears, although after a number of washes it became more comfortable.
Another thing that won't please everyone is that Howies has designed the rear pockets slightly differently to the norm.
At first glance it looks like the usual trio, but the 'left' pocket is actually divided into two, so you get, as Howies puts it, 'a four-section rear pocket for securely carrying a pump, snacks, phone, keys etc.' I was able to fit a multi-tool in one of these narrower pockets and a mini-pump in the other, so if you like carrying these on your person rather than in a seatpack, this is a good way to do that securely.
A slight drawback of the design is that the bottom edges of the pockets are rounded off, so you lose some potential pocket space. Not ideal if you plan on doing long rides and need all the storage possible.
There is a little zip pocket on the chest, which I liked and found useful for holding things like keys. It's just about big enough to carry a smaller phone, but I kept it for small things I wanted to keep safe.
The jersey comes in five sizes, S-XXL (from a 34-36in chest to 43-45), but just the one colour scheme; if you don't like the colours here you're out of luck as there aren't any other choices.
If you get on with the fit, and the pocket layout, and the slightly scratchy – initially anyway – fabric, and you like the colour scheme... then £69 is a reasonable price for a merino-mix jersey.
dhb's Merino Short Sleeve Jersey 2.0, for example, costs £80, while Vulpine's Alpine Merino SS, which Simon reviewed in 2020, is £100, though he did find it very comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. And Rapha's Classic Jersey has gone up from £110 to £140 since Stu reviewed it – and loved it – in 2021.
That's quite a few provisos for this jersey, though. Happily, Howies does offer a free returns services (for full price items) and free p&p for items over £50, so you can try it for size, shape and scratchiness without it costing you.
Overall, I found it an interesting choice. It has a few quirks, like the pocket design and the quarter zip, but if those things appeal – or at least don't put you off – then it's worth a look. Just bear in mind the sleeves being slightly on the tighter side when looking at sizing.
Well-made merino mix jersey, with some quirks but a reasonable price tag
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Howies Men's Doull Short Sleeve Cycle Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Howies says: "High performance short sleeve cycle jersey cut from PolyTecKnit™; a durable blend of Merino wool and strong polyester fibres. Soft, warm and naturally breathable; this lightweight jersey is designed to help you keep riding for longer. It has a sleek, slim fit to increase airflow and mesh panels to help wick sweat.
Features a four-section rear pocket for securely carrying a pump, snacks, phone, keys etc, as well as silicone gripper tape on the hem for a stable fit.
A premium jersey optimised for comfortable all-season riding."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* PolyTecKnit™ - 65% polyester, 35% Merino wool
* Slim fit
* Warm, lightweight and breathable
* Increased durability
* Quick drying
* Insulates even when wet
* Contrast panels
* Half zip front with reflective tape
* Lockable zip
* Reflective accents
* Curved hem with silicone grip
* Zipped chest pocket
* Rear pocket with four sections
* Oeko-Tex certified fabric
* Easy washcare
* Made in India
Does a good job of wicking sweat and regulating body temperature – as long as it's not too hot – but aspects of the fit and design affect comfort and performance.
The blend of merino and polyester appears to deal well with use.
The fit is okay for casual cycling – but watch out for the sleeves being tighter than the rest of the jersey. I also found it a bit tight under the armpits, but wouldn't have wanted to go up a size.
Generally, the medium sized up as expected, but those tight sleeves are going to be a drawback for some.
It's not a lightweight Lycra top, but for a merino mix it's fine (it's lighter than Rapha's Classic merino mix jersey – though that does have a full-length zip).
After a few wears and washes the material became more comfortable, but the fit remained slightly uncomfortable around my armpits.
It's at the cheaper end for merino jerseys – Rapha's Classic merino/polyester mix jersey is £140 – but it doesn't offer the same level of performance and comfort.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No issues at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed reasonably, keeping me quite comfortable as long as the temperatures didn't get too high.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked the zip pocket on the chest, and the performance of the merino fabric on days that weren't super hot.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I wasn't a fan of the small pockets for longer rides, or the fit around the arms and the way it cut in at the armpits.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's at the cheaper end for merino jerseys, but has a few quirks that others don't.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was okay for certain uses.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they aren't after performance kit then maybe.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, I'd say this jersey is a 6; it's quite good. It does what it aims to do reasonably well, but with a few features that, personally, I would change, such as the quarter-length zip and pocket layout. The fit wasn't great for me either (overall, for me, it's more average/5 than a 6 – but that's quite personal). It's decent value compared with other merino jerseys, so if the style appeals and it fits fine then it's certainly one to try.
About the tester
I usually ride: Storck Aerfast My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Semi pro
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,