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Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket + arm warmers



A short-sleeve jacket that does the fundamentals so well you can look past its quirks
Impressive weatherproofing
Good comfort
Excellent breathability
Only one pocket has drainage
Hi-vis elements are not designed for British roads
Only available in black
Fit on the arm warmers is awful

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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At the heart of the Santini Adapt Shell – Short Sleeve Jacket + arm warmers is an excellent short-sleeve jacket to rival the likes of the Castelli Gabba, but the arm warmers have a disappointing fit and the £230 price might put some riders off.

> Buy now: Santini Adapt Shell – Short Sleeve Jacket + arm warmers for €250 from Santini

Looking for a new top? Our best winter cycling jackets buyer's guide covers numerous top-notch tops from £60 to £300.

The Castelli Gabba has long been the go-to short-sleeve jersey for cyclists looking for the greatest protection from the elements during the shoulder seasons – and the Adapt from fellow Italian brand Santini looks to be setting its sights on the same market.

The main selling point of the Adapt Shell is its weather resistance, with the Polartec NeoShell fabric used throughout proving both windproof and waterproof. I wore this for some wet and windy winter rides and found it worked really well in both respects, keeping out everything that the British weather could throw at me.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - shoulders.jpg

Waterproofing is a claimed 10,000 mm, which I couldn't test as the science lab is currently being used to test the next phase of L-shaped cranks. However, I have no reason to believe this is inaccurate, as the waterproofing proved consistently impressive. This is further bolstered by taped seams, which also kept the elements firmly at bay, as did the waterproof full-length two-way zip.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - zip detail.jpg

It's not just the waterproofing either, as the windproofing proved equally impressive, with the material letting through no cold air whatsoever, thanks to the material combining with those taped seams and zip.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - collar back.jpg

This is just as well, as there isn't much insulation to speak of beyond the material being slightly thicker than you'll find on other shells. But this level of wind protection means you can wear just a short-sleeve base layer underneath it to increase your comfort on colder days.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - back.jpg

Despite being designed to keep out the wind and rain, the Adapt was also very breathable. I found I could comfortably wear this for climbing or other intense efforts without any accompanying boil-in-the-bag sensation. The zip's large ring pull helps here, allowing you to adjust it even when you're wearing full-finger gloves.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - collar.jpg

Santini refers to the fit of the jacket as 'slim', which isn't quite figure-hugging, and the material itself has a bit of give to adjust to your body shape.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - drop.jpg

The elasticated hem, long arms and high neck all help to keep out the wind and rain.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - gripper.jpg

The jacket has three good-sized rear pockets, with a zipped rear pocket on the left.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - pockets.jpg

These work well, though while the central pocket has a drainage hole, the others don't.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - zipped pocket.jpg

Santini rates this jacket's night-time visibility as 4/5, which is down to the large reflective patch on the front of the left shoulder and a large hi-vis logo down the left side of your rib cage.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - shoulder logo.jpg

This would work rather better in Italy – in the UK these are effectively facing away both from cars passing you from behind and those approaching you. They're not going to be entirely without effect, but they're less useful than if they'd been on the right.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - back graphic.jpg

The jacket is only available in black, which doesn't exactly help matters either.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - hem.jpg

The jacket also comes with a set of arm warmers that are made of the same material, but with what feels like a faux-leather material running down the elbows.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - arm warmer inner panel.jpg

The arm warmers work well at keeping out the elements, but I think the material is all wrong, as they don't sit properly on your arms.

2023 Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket - arm warmers.jpg


The £230 price is expensive, though is comparable to others on the market.

The Castelli Gabba, which is the original short-sleeve jacket, actually comes in slightly less expensive than the Santini at £210 in its newest Rosso Corsa incarnation.

You can also pick up the Sportful Fiandre Pro Jacket, which has similar qualities in terms of weather protection and at £245 the price is pretty similar too. Stu rated it highly for its performance in rubbish weather.


I like the bones of this jacket, which sounds like a little odd to say about an item of clothing – but the basics of the jacket and the performance are excellent. Breathability, waterproofing and weatherproofing are all superb – and these are the things that you're looking for when you're buying a cycling jacket.

Some of the other things that are less successful don't prevent this from being a good jacket – reflectives on the wrong side don't mean you're invisible; the arm warmers aren't as well considered as the jacket; and the pockets' lack of drainage holes isn't going to drown you.

Overall, this is a fundamentally solid piece of cycling kit that did what I wanted it to when I needed it.


A short-sleeve jacket that does the fundamentals so well you can look past its quirks test report

Make and model: Santini Adapt Shell - Short Sleeve Jacket + arm warmers

Size tested: Large

Tell us what the jacket 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?

High performance, short-sleeve foul weather jacket made of POLARTEC's Neoshell highly stretchable knitted fabric. Providing superb wet weather protection, while offering class leading aerodynamics, breathability and comfort.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?


Made of POLARTEC Neoshell highly stretchable knitted fabric with 10,000 mm water column providing the optimal level of water protection for a performance road bike garment. All internal seams fully taped. Waterproof double zip with ring-pull zipper pull.


Ergonomically-cut with an aero fit. Sleeve cuffs created using an updated raw cut thermofleece fabric faced with a layer of water resistant polyurethane. Shaped rear splash guard, utilizing the same thermofleece-polyurethane fabric with additional high reflex Santini thermoplastic transfer.


Three rear pockets, centre pocket incorporating metal eyelet for excess water release. Plus additional fourth pocket with waterproof zip.


Reflective shoulder band, back insert and reflective Santini logo on the back tail to ensure maximum safety in the darkest hours.

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:

Well made with strong stitching and well-taped seams throughout.

Rate the jacket for performance:

Kept out everything a particularly foul-but-mild UK winter could throw at it.

Rate the jacket for durability:

No reason to think this wouldn't last well, it took several washes and intense weather rides in its stride.

Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:

Claimed at 10,000mm  – and I have no reason to doubt that from my use of it.

Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:

Impressive, I used this in a mixture of temperatures and I never felt like I was boiling in a bag.

It was close enough that it wasn't like I was wearing a parachute, but forgiving enough that I didn't need stretchy material to be comfortable.

Rate the jacket for sizing:

The large size I tested had the fit I'd expect from an Italian brand.

Rate the jacket for weight:
Rate the jacket for comfort:

Breathable, semi-relaxed fit, and keeps out the elements.

Rate the jacket for value:

You can get others for less, but the price is about where I'd expect it to be.

How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Easy – chucked in a 30 degree wash and dried it on the line.

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well – it does the important things right and its flaws come only from the unnecessary extras.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

The weatherproofing.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

The fit of the arm warmers.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on

The Castelli Gabba is the original short-sleeve winter jacket and the latest Rosso Corsa version comes in a little cheaper than the Santini at £210. You can also pick up the Sportful Fiandre Pro Jacket for £250, which has similar qualities in terms of weather protection.

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes

Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It has some weird little extras that don't quite work, but it is fundamentally a high-quality jacket that keeps out everything you need it to. The material and fit make it an excellent choice for shoulder seasons or warmer winter rides. However, it loses a mark for those arm warmers and the positioning of the reflective materials.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George is the host of the podcast and has been writing for since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

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Bigtwin | 4 months ago

230 nickker for a short sleve jersey described as a "foul weather jacket"?  Someone's having a laugh...


philhubbard replied to Bigtwin | 4 months ago

Agreed. It looks like a worse version of the Endura Pro SL Classic jersey (but 40% more expensive). I didn't particularly like the armwarmers in that jersey either but at least they had elastic to keep them up

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