La Sportiva’s apparel line for fall 2019 is completely new and redesigned to seamlessly integrate together in one of three active categories. In addition to this La Sportiva has unified the colour palette used into three categories of blue, red and lime so that they work seamlessly together and complement each other. Gone are the mishmash of colours and styles which, in the past have been a little too Euro for some. Now each piece builds upon each other and works together to build an integrated system to keep you warm, dry and focussed on your adventure no matter if you subscribe to the ‘light and fast’ mantra or move at a more leisurely pace. In this review, we’ll be looking at the La Sportiva Zeal Jacket, Phase Down Jacket and Axiom Pants.
La Sportiva's subdued colours and coordinated apparel design is evident on the Zeal and Phase Down Jackets.
La Sportiva has taken their responsibility for both social and environmental issues very seriously for the past 80 years and always strived to use low environmental impact technologies and production methods. In January 2012, La Sportiva officially became a Bluesign member which stipulates that their textile supply chain complies with the internationally recognized environmental and social criteria set out by Bluesign. In addition to this La Sportiva has introduced a new 100% Recycled Polyester fabric and insulation system called RePET. This means that their recycled labelled products such as the Zeal and Phase Down Jacket us Polyester materials made from recycled, post-consumer PET bottles which contribute to a reduction of environmental impact and the protection of natural resources. It also means that there is a reduced CO2 emission while performance, durability and quality do not diminish.
For their down apparel, La Sportiva uses European Goose Down which follows the strict Traceability Standards to ensure that it’s ethical and sustainable. This down is guaranteed to have a 95% feather composition which provides a soft feel with a higher loft, and warmer performance. Where down is not used, La Sportiva chose to use Primaloft Silver Active ECO. This synthetic insulation uses post-consumer recycled content to create a high performing yet eco-friendly insulation which is soft, breathable and lightweight.
Main Front: 88% Nylon, 12% Polyester
Main Back: 100% Nylon
Lining: 100% Polyester
Fill: Primaloft Silver Active ECO (40gr)
Main: 100% Nylon • Insert: 100% Recycled Polyester • Lining: 94% Recycled Polyester, 6% Polyester
Fill: Body - 90/10 European Goose Down (700-fillpower-EU standard), 80gr, Insert - Primaloft Silver Active ECO, 60gr
Main: 93% Nylon, 7% Spandex
Lower Leg/Knee: 84% Nylon, 16% Spandex
Gaitor: 85% Nylon, 15% Spandex
Hem Reinforcement: 100% Nylon
While I’ve always been a fan of La Sportiva’s AT boots such as the Spectre 2.0 and Synchro I’ve found that their clothing in the past was a little too Euro style for me. Our past review of the Roy and Prospector Soft-shell Pants and Adjuster Jacket was conservative in colour but a little tighter fitting than I would have liked. With La Sportiva’s new 2019 line of apparel, they now offer options in a fresh colour palette which is still conservative enough for the North American market. The three La Sportiva pieces reviewed here all compliment one another in colour and work well as a top to bottom system. While the Axiom Pants came up short without a transceiver pocket or built-in belt/suspenders, both the Zeal and Phase Down Jacket hit it out of the park.
The La Sportiva Zeal Jacket was by far my favourite piece out of the three I reviewed since it was far lighter and compact than traditional soft-shell jackets. The fabric was so sheer that it easily dissipated excess heat and yet still provided shelter from the wind. The environmentally conscious insulation was ideally located only on the front of the jacket and around the shoulders so that my back could breath more effectively given that it was always too warm due to wearing a backpack. The Zeal fabric not only outperformed on the skin track but was unique and appealing in appearance.
Not to be outdone the La Sportiva Phase Down Jacket provided a high level of warmth in a very thin and packable layer. I use this jacket exclusively for ski touring given how warm it is and how small it packs down—two very important features of an insulation layer. I also wear it around town in winter since it also looks good. Aside from the Napoleon pocket which is missing, everything else on the Phase is spot on, from the sleeve cuff gaiters all the way up to the hood’s neoprene visor.
I applaud La Sportiva’s continued innovations in recycled and environmentally conscious fabrics and feel that this is the path that every brand needs to be following. I am also a fan of their simplified design approach which is less Euro looking than in the past. Being able to mix and match layering systems and being confident that they’ll work well together and still look good is also a big plus.
See above in review.
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