Tested | Acre Faroe Merino Hoody review
The guys from Acre came over earlier this year, the one product we have worn than any other is this Faroe top, and to be honest we weren’t expecting to. It’s a bit of an odd ball and we thought the cool vibe of San Franciscan Acre had got the better of practicality. For starters it’s got a hood, not something we would initially look for in a riding top and even though it hasn’t been used it’s no deal breaker.
Acre are born from the Mission Workshop brand and they are pitching their product well away from what we might be used to paying for bike gear, it’s pretty much double the price of a good Merino stalwart like Howies. So the price is going to put some people off but like anything from these guys, it feels built to last. The one we’ve been wearing for the last 5 months has taken a beating and still looks pretty much new. It also maintains the ability to be worn repeatedly, sweated into and dried and not stink like a pair of damp socks.
The Faroe is built from some pretty heavy looking Merino and the weight of the fabric made us think we would be sweating faster than any fabric could wick away. The beauty of Merino is all natural, as the sheep it comes from have to deal with some pretty wide temperature ranges it happens to be pretty good at regulating a human too. This hooded top is a blend of Merino and nylon designed to add strength to the finished fabric.
Constructed from panels all held together with flat stitched seams designed to minimise chafing, important if you are wearing this on it’s own and especially with a pack on. It’s bloody comfy, soft enough to wear next to the skin but solid enough to take a crash without being torn to shreds.
The sum of the panelled parts give a loose fit, it’s not baggy but Merino is more often used in close fitting base layers so it’s a departure from the norm, a loose fit but not overly so. The Acre website states 290g and a medium wasn’t too far off that at 325g. It’s not a heavy bit of kit but it’s heavier than other Merino layers and worth noting. There’s a good amount of stretch in the fabric and combined with the loose fit there’s enough give when riding and plenty to cope with wild shapes being thrown on the trails too.
We’ve been wearing the Faroe since summer and in a variety of conditions, the feel is good and it’s a riding top worthy of the pub post ride. If the sun is out then it might be a bit thick for use in the UK but then again testing mainly in Wales this is rarely a problem. We’ve worn this on a hot day in the alps and it does a great job, high up where the sun is out but the air is cold it works well. The nylon addition doesn’t inhibit the natural qualities of the wool and if anything it performs better than other products of a similar weighted weave in pure wool. The small back pocket is on the left and I would naturally use my right hand for something like that but it’s a minor detail. The pocket itself zips bottom to top and is big enough to house a multitool and Mars bar etc but small enough not to feel like whatever is inside is being thrown around behind you.
The sleeves are a good length and with the fabric across the back having so much stretch in it they don’t ride up. With a relaxed fit there’s no chance of feeling restricted, and for us that worked. Overall the relaxed feel and a different style of garment for Merino is a success, it’s not a top we reach for a long ride or to go racing but it is one that is perfect for belting round the woods in when relaxed and loose riding needs clothing to match.
Under another layer it still works well too although some manmade fabrics deny the Merino it’s full capacity. Any waterproof with decent pit vents are fine as they take away the bulk of the moisture but stick a waterproof on with no extra escape for sweat and you could stay damp for longer.
It’s a lot of dollar but you are getting a nice bit of kit that will likely outlast many others. The fit is great and the fabric works well in a garment we’re not used to seeing made from Merino. The hood isn’t really for me but each to their own, one thing I do know is that I’ll be ragging round the woods in this more a long time to come.
UK Dealers here