Neck Gaiters – Cutaway USA Black Speckled link Winter Sky link also available at thebeautyofcycling.com
Socks – Swiftwick Pursuit Sevens Black
Thanks to Swift Sports Aus and Cutaway USA.
Photography – Blake Norrish
I do love having a good neck warmer, or gaiter as it were. They’re a great winter accessory that keeps the morning chill off your chin and neck, and you can even sort of wrap them over the back of your head and over your ears for some extra warmth in the early, extra cold parts of a ride. Personally I like the option of having something light and stashable that I can roll down easily and won’t overheat in. Yes there are jackets and gilets with extra neck height, and winter caps with ear covers – but personally I find a gaiter more versatile. It’s much easier to take off than a cap under your helmet and I’m not in love with the look of a big neck on jackets and gilets. On top of that a high neck is not a very common design choice – so a neck warmer just adds that little bit of extra protection.
It’s not a deep winter, protect you from everything kind of accessory but it does do well as an extra deep winter addition and a cover from early winter temperatures.
One thing that’s missing in neck warmer production is variation and design. This was the main draw for me to the Cutaway USA neck gaiters. They’ve got some great patterns that add a bit of spice and extra bling to your kit. There’s the ‘Winter Sky’ which adds a bit of colour and a sunset style fade (which goes all to well with my Stinner Frameworks bike, pictured above) and works great as a bit of pop against a black or navy kit. There’s also their ‘Black Speckled’ gaiter, which is a little more subtle and pair-able whilst still being a bit fun.
They’re a thin polyester micro-fibre material, which although it might not sound like much is really all you want from a neck warmer. At least in temperatures generally above ~2º celsius. You just need something to take the chill off your neck. Being a thin material also allows you to pull it over your mouth and nose and then breathe through it relatively easily. The material is quite long so you can either bunch it up, or pull it right over the back of your head and still have it cover your neck.
There’s not really a whole lot to say about these, they’re a simple item but Cutaway USA have gone and made them a lot more fun, and I’m all for it!
The other item I have given a look into is the new Swiftwick ‘Pursuit Seven’ Merino socks. I’ve already talked about how great I think Swiftwick socks are in another review, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But what I will say is that I’m super happy that they’ve provided a sock with the same level of style, sock length/height and performance in a warmer sock made of natural fibres.
They’ve gone with Merino, a much revered and talked about natural fibre of the past few years in performance wear, due to it’s odour-resistant and sweat wicking qualities and fine, soft feel. They’ve still kept the sock nice and thin, relying rather on the natural warmth of merino as opposed to making a heavy sock, which works for me. A thin sock isn’t going to completely protect you from a freezing cold day, or a cold ride with a lot of descending, but that’s what overshoes are for. I’m not much of a fan of going something too heavy and thick in performance socks, (perhaps because I rarely ride in sub zero temps) so appreciate the balance in the Pursuit Sevens.
The sock is a 200 needle count, which I don’t really know a lot about, other than it makes super fine and thin sock that still holds together really well, but apparently it’s the first in the field of natural fibre socks. There’s also the trademark Swiftwick compression that supports all 3 arches of the foot. Overall I’m super happy with the quality, and can definitely recommend these as a great performance sock. They’re also available in a bunch of new and great subtle colours with extra matching possibilities.
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