Blending performance with comfort: Castelli's Espresso collection

The Italian brand's latest collection celebrates the nation's roasty shot

This article was produced in association with Castelli

In Italy, espresso is said to be the second most consumed drink after water – and it’s easy to see why. The thick, dark, roasty shot of caffè served al banco in a tiny cup is an essential part of the country’s culture and heritage. Italy practically runs on espresso and Italians invented it too: Angelo Moriondo came up with the concept of water and steam being pressed through fine-ground coffee beans at high pressure and patented the first espresso machine in 1884. Which is, incidentally, eight years after Milanese tailor Vittore Gianni founded the company that would become Castelli.

To drink caffè in the authentic Italian style, you might have a cappuccino or two in the morning with colazione (breakfast), but for the rest of the day milk is off the menu. Castelli’s Espresso range not only celebrates and honours Italy’s national drink, but it observes espresso tradition: it is designed to be the best choice for most of your rides.

Just as the beverage combines a smooth, velvety texture with a powerful punch of energy any time you need it, Castelli’s Espresso jersey and shorts are engineered for both comfort and performance to keep you going all day. When Castelli set out to make the Espresso jersey, the aim was for it to be the one that riders would reach for regardless of whether an aero race-fit jersey or a more regular cut jersey was the previous go-to.

The initial focus was on the fit and material. Castelli developed a fabric called Air_O, which would allow a close, aerodynamic fit without it being constrictive or feeling tight. Raw-cut cuffs are both comfortable and drag-reducing, and in wind tunnel testing the Espresso jersey’s aero credentials were proven. Air_O fabric also offers excellent breathability and moisture management for lower speeds on climbs when the temperature starts to rise.

A versatile jersey that’s intended to perform in all cycling scenarios also has to be able to carry all your essentials, and the Espresso’s three rear pockets can be loaded up for a long day in the saddle. Strategic reinforcements ensure your cargo doesn’t move around, and there’s elastic at the waist with silicone backing to keep the jersey in place and in shape. A fourth zippered security pocket keeps valuables safe. Castelli uses a high-quality, full-length YKK Vislon zipper with an easy-to-grab puller for those hot climbs when extra airflow is required.

There’s a wide range of sizes from XS to 3XL in men and XS to XL in women, and with a broad choice of colours it’s easy to build your perfect outfit. The Espresso bib shorts were designed with a similar brief to the jersey: to be the first shorts you reach for no matter what sort of ride is on the schedule and no matter what sort of shorts you wore previously.

For the shorts, Castelli developed Espresso Doppio – a soft, stretchy fabric that feels comfortable next to the skin, which conforms to and moves with the body without being tight or constrictive, with silicone grippers at the raw-cut leg endings to ensure crisp tan lines are maintained. Espresso Doppio fabric and an engineered fit with 12 sizes across men’s and women’s versions all add up to ultimate comfort, while stretchy mesh bib straps allow extra ventilation.

Castelli’s Progetto X2 Air and X2 Donna (women’s) seat pads are tried and tested for ultimate all-day comfort. And finally, there are small but useful details such as a rear pocket for storage and reflective tabs for increased visibility in low light.

The Espresso socks round out the range. Made from Q Skin yarns with antimicrobial silver ions to combat odour, these feature extra cushioning on the footbed for increased comfort on long rides while the mid-calf-length cuff has a compressive mesh that is breathable and that will stay perfectly in place. Coming in colours that can be matched or contrasted with the Espresso jersey, the Espresso socks are available in S/M to L/X for women and S/M to XXL for men.

As Castelli – and all Italians for that matter – say, Espresso is always a good idea.

More information on castelli-cycling.com

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