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Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip Review

Smartwool Men’s Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip Review

I just got back from the TRE (The Running Event) Expo held here in Austin and was given the Smartwool men’s Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip to test out.

OUR VERDICT

Smartwool has created a fantasic piece of kit with its Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip. The windproof front provides a fantastic barrier against the cold while other aspects of the garment allow heat dispersion.

POSITIVES

  • Comfortable
  • Great For Cold Weather
  • YKK Zipper With Flatlock
  • Thumbholes In The Sleeves
  • Wool Fabric

NEGATIVES

  • No Pockets
  • Not A Full Zip

Buy From Amazon

Product-Review-Section-3

As one who loves merino wool products, I have to say Smartwool did a fantastic job with the Sport 250.

Key Features

  • Body Mapped Mesh Venting For Men – Smartwool places mesh in key areas to increase breathability and comfort
  • Windproof Front Panel – A windproof panel was added to the front to provide extra warmth and protection in windy conditions.
  • Reflectivity – Reflective material was added to help improve visibility in low light conditions.
Reflective Logo
Reflective logo on the side of the arm
Smartwool Men's Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip Review Reflective Piping
Reflective Piping on the back near the collar

Body Mapping

At TRE I got a chance to check out apparel from various companies and one technique that a lot of companies are now using when designing their apparel is Body Mapping.

Smartwool Men's Merino Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip Review Body Mapping
Thinner materials used under the arms and on the back.

The body mapping concept has been around in various forms, but companies like Smartwool seem to be getting better at manufacturing their products to take factors like sweat and heat buildup into account. Rather than using the same thickness in materials, different parts of the apparel will have different thicknesses to provide better breathability when worn.

Smartwool is using what they call Minimal Merrow seam construction in the Sport 250. It is designed to provide superior durability while keeping material soft against the skin. The seams are a super tight weave that from my perspective looks legit.

Windproof Front Panel

During the cold days of the year, wind can be really annoying and certainly make you feel uncomfortable. Anything that prevents a windy bite is always welcome. The thing is though if you have too much wind protection you often get overheated.

The Smartwool Smart 250 is a great compromise between wind protection and heat management. The front panel certainly does its job at keeping your chest warm and providing a barrier of wind protection while other parts of the garment allow your body heat to disperse.

When you do heat up, the 1/2 zipped front allows you to control temperature a bit by zipping up or down depending on your needs.

The other day I was clipping along at 6:15 pace on a pretty breezy day and with the zipper down I did feel the wind coming through. That certainly helped with heat management quite a bit.

I found that rolling up the sleeves also helps cool things down. Worst case senario is you simply remove it and wrap it aound your waist. That’s the beauty of layering cloths, you can always take the top layers off.

Merino | Poly Blend 

Knitted in Vietnam, Smartwool uses a blend of 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester. This blend of materials in the Sport 250 Wind 1/2 Zip helps the fabric move moisture, dry quickly, and hold its shape during high-sweat activities in colder weather.

I do like the fact that the garment is made in Vietnam rather than China.

Technical Specifications

Product-Tech-Specs-Section
  • Athletic Fit
  • Warmer Merino/polyester blend helps fabric move moisture, dry quickly, and hold its shape during high-sweat activities in colder weather
  • Windproof front panel for increased protection from the elements (1CFM Rating)
  • Minimal Merrow seam construction provides superior durability while keeping material soft against the skin
  • Gender-specific, body-mapped panels of lighter fabric for additional breathability and moisture management
  • Integrated thumbhole openings for additional coverage
  • Knit in Vietnam: 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester
  • Style: SW019029
  • Retail: $120

Care

  • Machine Wash Cold Gentle Cycle.
  • Do Not Bleach.
  • Tumble Dry Low.
  • Do Not Iron.
  • Do Not Dry Clean.
  • Wash With Like Colors.
Nice thumbhole openings for added warmth

VERDICT

Product-Verdict-Section

I tested the Merino Sport 250 in some pretty cold windy conditions and it worked great. The front panel really helped to block the wind and take the bite out of the cold. With its double-layer, you simply don’t feel the wind like you would if it was single-layered.

If I were to add anything, it might be a small pocket in the rear or on the side to carry car keys. Other than that it’s a great piece of kit that any runner or cyclist should consider.

Buy From Amazon

Check out Smartwool Sport 250 on their website for more information.

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of GearMashers.com, 10KstepsDaily.com, EndTheTrendNow.com, AntiqueOutings.com, MiniatureReview.blogspot.com and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.

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