Review Details - Shola 230 Zip
Product Review (submitted on February 7, 2016):
I purchased in November 2015 the Shola 230 zip (top) and leggings in shale black colour (attractive brown). Since I'm always cold alpine skiing, I was attracted to the claim that yak wool is 40% warmer than merino wool yet keeps you dry. In my experience the claim is true.
The size "large" fits me just right at the shoulders and the waist. I’m 1.63m and normally wear size UK 12.
The top design is especially flattering. I will be comfortable taking off my outer layers when I get inside from the cold. I appreciated the neck coverage on windy days on the ski slopes. So far I don't get too hot nor too cold (unless I get tired and hungry). On warmer days the option to unzip the neck was perfect.
I need to wash the top every 9 days of wear. I get sweaty skying moguls (but I don't feel it). I would wash it less frequently if I only skied groomed slopes. The leggings are still fresh after 18 days of wear.
I once accidentally hung the top to dry and the shoulders were stretched. Not recommended! It took back its shape with the next wash.
After hand washing, I absorb extra moisture with a dry towel and lay the garments flat on another dry towel. In a 50% humidity room, they are almost dry the next morning. I just had to wear the top for 15 minutes to dry it completely. I feel confident on future trips to take these as my only base layer.
My skin is sensitive to wool in general. Yak wool is slightly scratchy until several washes. It induced sneezing after a 30 minute wear around 20 degrees Celsius (before the ski trip). I hand washed the garments with Woolite and rinsed with water and white vinegar. The fabric was noticeably softer but still induced sneezing. I rinsed it 3 more time with a quality hair conditioner increasing slightly the amount of conditioner each time (up to the size of a quarter coin, well diluted in a small amount of water). By the 3rd rinse, I could tolerate the garments on my skin with only discomfort in the sinuses.
I took the garments skiing. I wore them as mid layers for the first 2 days and after that, my body was desensitised. I have been wearing the layers directly on the skin ever since (for maximum effectiveness). With the rinse of hair conditioner, the fabric feels luxurious and comfortable as a pyjama.
I was always cold on the slopes but this year I was able to cut down the number of layers I wear which is a huge relief. Last year I wore up to 6 top layers which was very impractical. Now I only wear 3 or 4 layers under my jacket.
The sleeves were 10 cm too long and the leggings were 5 cm too long for me. After 6 hand washing, the fit is just right (just slightly long).
A note for skiers: since I now ski terrain, I wish I had bought the 3/4 leggings to avoid bulk in the ski boots. It is better to only have a pair of socks and nothing else under tight fitting boots. It is less of a concern for intermediate skiers.
In summary, I am very satisfied with this purchase and believe I got good value for money. I am warmer on the slopes but do not get too hot. The less frequent need for laundry or hand washing make these a great choice for traveling. The expensive price tag is justified. I love this product. I hope this long review will give you all the practical information you need in making your decision.