Take cold weather riding to new heights in this lightweight fleece.
Our zip fleece is warm yet wicks moisture providing superior comfort and temperature control for riding on cold days or nights.
- Main fabric – 100% Polyester Fleece
- Micro-windowpane pattern channels moisture away from skin.
- 6 inch locking front zipper slides easy when it’s upright but stays put when it’s down
- ¾ inch contrast collar
- Contrast stitching and sleeve panel for added style
- Left sleeve pocket with locking zipper and internal headphone cable slit
- ZOIC screen printed sleeve pocket
- 9 inch wide center rear pocket with E-Z-grip silicone pull and stay-put tabs
- Tagless neck label eliminates itching and irritation
- Tested size medium
- Weight – 239 g (8.4 oz)
- Pit to pit – 52.8 cm (20.8 in)
- Center back – 74.6 cm (29.4 in)
- Sleeve length – 91.3 cm (35.9 in)
- Retail – $65
Zoic is a smaller clothing brand that focuses on taking performance fabrics and technical features and putting them into comfortable styles. Their cycling clothing covers all types of riding and has been since 1994. Zoic is located near the beach in sunny San Diego.
For YMMV Reviews, I previously did a review of the Zoic Black Market Convertible Pants for commuting and around town. I have liked these pants and even used them earlier this week on my commute. Zoic is not a very large brand but seems to be making some headway. This fall I decided to reach out to see if there were some other cool weather pieces that would make sense to review for the site. The Zoic Highland Fleece Jersey and Hoodoo Shorts were what was landed on, and these were reviewed together. Thank you to Zoic for getting me the jersey and shorts to review.
The Highland Jersey was tested almost exclusively with the Zoic Hoodoo Shorts. They are not integrated or anything like that, it just made sense from a reviewing standpoint. The Highland has an all-around feel to it, so I tried to get it out on the trails as much as I did the road. Rides varied from one to four hours with light rain, sun, and wind depending n the ride. Temperatures also varied from 30 to 60 degrees.
The Zoic Highland Fleece Jersey is made for cool weather riding. It has been made to layer over other jerseys, tops, or baselayers and can really be used for any type of riding. True to Zoic is made to be comfortable and relaxed in feel. The Highland is made of a 100% polyester lightweight fleece. This gives it a soft feel both on the inside and out. The fleece has a small-windowpane (grid) pattern that helps channel moisture away from the skin. This pattern also provides small spaces of air trapped near the skin to keep you warmer as well. Since fleece lets air pass freely through it the jersey is not windproof so it is not designed for truly cold weather. Depending on your riding style and personal preference you may have different temperatures where the jersey works best.
The Highland Jersey has a fairly straightforward design. There is a small ¾ inch contrasting collar around the neck with a 6 inch front zipper to allow you to further vent if needed. This front zipper is semi-auto locking in that it will glide easily when upright but stays put when the zipper pull is down. There are two pockets on the jersey. One is a small pocket on the right arm. This pocket has a locking zipper, and an internal audio out so you can route music up to your ears under the jersey. The one and only logo on the jersey has been screen printed on the outside of this pocket. The other pocket is a large horizontal pocket located on the lower back. This pocket has a 9 inch wide zipper with an E-Z-grip silicone pull so it is easier to grab without looking. It also features stay out tabs on the outside to help in the operation of the zipper.
While the Highland Jersey is made to be simple in overall design, Zoic has added some style to the jersey with contrasting stitching and panels on the arms. This is the same fabric so the functionality is not changed, but it does give it a unique look. Polyester fleece is not made of sustainable materials but sometimes can be made of recycled plastics. Unfortunately, I do not think this jersey is, as it was not mentioned (companies like to mention that.) Zoic as a company does try to be aware of the environment and the ways they can preserve it. At least, their company endorses an alternative form of transportation that is much greener. For those reasons, I gave the jersey a two for sustainability.
Arm Length (20%)
Ease of Movement (15%)
Torso Sizing (20%)
In the Highland Jersey, I ended up testing a size medium. Every brand is a little different and looking at a sizing chart I was right on the line between the small and medium. Testing the medium, I found that fit was pretty good. It was not too loose but rather had a descent amount of room underneath. I could easily layer it over a baselayer or another jersey if needed. For a relaxed style jersey, the fit was pretty solid. The torso was about right, and I really liked the longer arms that stayed in place even when reaching out on the bars. The wrist cuffs are wide and stretch to fit when putting it on or taking it off. They fit tight enough to easily fit under gloves and stretched well enough to fit over the top too. Never had any issues with extra wind coming up the sleeves. The bottom hem is not adjustable and does not have any grippers so it will just hang. Fortunately, it is tight enough that it stays in place on its own. I never missed having the gripper at the hem.
The jersey itself is very comfortable. As a lightweight fleece it is soft to the touch, especially on the inside. The outside of the fleece is a lofted grid structure while the inside is smoother and has a softer feel to it. Since fleece has a stretch to it, there is no loss of movement while riding. I generally do not find that I need to move my upper body much any ways, but when I did, I never felt like the jersey was restrictive.
Drying Speed (15%)
Moisture Transport (15%)
The Zoic Highland Jersey was exactly what I expected. For example, when I normally wear a light fleece, I know that it will take the chill off, but it will not keep me warm when it gets really cold out. The Highland Jersey is like this except of course you are wearing it when you are active, and thus it just needs to keep you warm rather than make you warm. Of course, I am assuming you are riding hard enough to generate some heat. With these expectations in mind, I liked the jersey, especially for days that were in the mid 40s up to around 60. This would depend a little on the wind and how sunny it was but this temperature range worked best here in Bend. The jersey is warmer than I would have expected for its thin width.
I wore the jersey both on some commutes and mtb rides. Here in the fall we generally have a cold wind but the sun is always out. Having a light fleece turned out to be about perfect. I would be warm from the sun, but the jersey breathed well enough to keep me from overheating. Only on some extended climbs did I unzip the front zip to try and not sweat too much. The zipper is fairly short so it does not make much of a difference, so I did still get sweaty. After a minute or two of being stopped or coasting, I would be dry as the fleece helped pull the moisture away, and it evaporates off so quickly. I did not wear this jersey by itself but layered it over the top of a baselayer or other lightweight jersey. This does help it insulate a little better than it would on its own.
The Highland is not water proof or wind resistant in any way. Air can pass through the material easily, and it can handle a light rain, but longer or harder rain showers will penetrate easily. Fortunately, it still insulates even when wet. One thing that is a surprisingly missing is reflective elements. I would expect a cold-weather jersey to have these built in as the light is normally less in the winter from poor weather and shorter days. This seems to be something that would be easy to add so I am a bit surprised that there was nothing of note on the jersey.
The Highland Jersey has held up well over a bunch of rides. For the most part, I have been pretty easy on the jersey with no epic wipeouts that I can remember. I have brushed through some trees and caught some branches along the trails, and the jersey has not had any adverse effects from these run ins. Fleece tends to be a very durable material unless it meets something sharp or possibly a crash. As long as you avoid these, the jersey will last a long time. All the zippers were smooth and worked well. Essentially if you do not have to think about them, then they are working well, and that is the case here.
The arm pocket is on the left side which seems to be standard. They are always on the left. This is funny because all the Bluetooth headphones I have tested has had their receivers on the right. They obviously did not talk to each other. The reason why I mention this is the pocket is big enough to fit my iPhone. It just barely slides in so if you have a larger smart phone it will be tight. There is an audio port inside the pocket so you can route your cables under the jersey. I really like this as loose cables are annoying. The bag pocket is huge. You can stuff all kinds of things in there. It is a single pocket so if it is a small item it can migrate all over the place. I found it best for a shell layer and pump. I wear a hydration pack about 75% of my rides, so I only actually used the pocket a couple of times. When it was under a pack, it was completely comfortable. I do like the gripper zipper pulls and pull tabs to make the pocket very easy to zip open and closed. This is a nice extra to make it much more usable.
Overall, I have liked to wear the Highland Jersey on my commutes and mountain-bike rides. I am not a racer when I do either of these so the looser fit and more relaxed feel is excellent. Unless the weather is going to be really bad, this jersey is a great grab as it has warmth and breathability. I often find true jackets to be too warm for all but the coldest conditions. I do generally layer this over a baselayer and can adjust the temperature of my layering system by changing baselayers. If you are looking for a cool weather jersey that does not break the bank, the Zoic Highland is a great option. It takes the chill off, looks decent, and can take you to get some grub afterward without looking out of place. The Zoic Highland Fleece Jersey retails for $65, which is a good value. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Good warmth for the thin fleece
- Casual fit
- Good value
- Breathes well
- Large back pocket with grippy zipper pulls
- No reflectivity
- Not much weather resistance
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