EDZ Microfleece Midlayers Review
We were recently sent a couple of fleece garments to review from Lakeland company EDZ. This may be a name unfamiliar to many and yet I think they are just the type of company it is great to support - while I am a very big supporter of our large outdoor manufacturers there is still plenty of space in the crowded market for smaller brands producing high quality products and it is also great, as a consumer, to have plenty of choice.
As I delved into the company background it was also interesting to read about their history. EDZ are an independent clothing brand and they have been making clothing since 1995 - any independent that has thrived in the hustle and bustle of the rag trade for all that time must be doing something right and I know they have a very loyal following (several of my friends and instructor colleagues have raved about their products for years).
The EDZ clothing range features a selection of fleece products, merino wool garments, some windproof layers and various accessories. The items sent for test were male and female midlayer micro fleece tops with the male one being a pullover and the female a hooded full length zip jacket. Cal and I put them to work....
Of course EDZ aren’t the only company using microfleece and they don’t claim to be. This synthetic fabric has, with very good reason, been a staple of many outdoor goers wardrobes for decades. It is durable, easy to care for, good value and insulates particularly well when dry and still insulates to a very good standard when damp or wet. It is ideal for layering over baselayers and under shells or windproof layers or, in less challenging conditions, it can make a good warming layer on its own.
There is, though, microfleece and microfleece. I’m sure every reader of this review has known that cosy welcoming fleece just as they have felt that fleece that feels more rough and coarse. Similarly, there is that fleece that feels fine when new but which then some loses its performance after a few wears and washes. Some fleece just feels, performs and lasts far better than other fleece and all I can say is that the EDZ garments certainly seem at the high quality end of that spectrum - it certainly has a cosy and luxurious feel and they are still going strong after several months of regular use.
The male pullover we received is a simple long sleeved, mid length zipped, collared fleece. There are no pockets and just some small and simple details like zipper pull tabs and a small EDZ logo on the sleeve and lower hem. EDZ offer these in a selection of colours and we tested one in black.
The women’s hooded jacket has a full length zip and 2 lower pockets. The hood is lined in a contrasting fabric and there is a hood drawcord and sleeve thumb loops. There is an EDZ zip pull and an EDZ embroidered logo near the bottom hem.
The fleeces have been used a lot in the short time we’ve been testing them, The simple pullover style of the men’s garment seems to lend itself to so many situations. It works as a cosy layer under a windproof for cold weather biking or running just as it is ideal at a chilly climbing wall or crag or indeed for simply lounging around at home or for evenings at the pub. It is functional and yet also smart enough for a variety of social settings. The female test garment has been used as a mid layer for skiing and has made a great pull on layer after cold water swims. It is also in regular use as a social use top. It again nicely crosses the boundary between fashion and function.
As mentioned, the EDZ range is fairly small and yet they have ticked some key boxes for active people. The microfleece offerings are a key part of their product range and they have tried hard to make them stand up against the competition in a crowded marketplace - everyone from Primark to Patagonia sells microfleece products and you have to make an effort to stand out.
The men’s pullover I tested is, as mentioned, a simple garment with a short zip and collar. However, it’s winning features are the nice details like the EDZ pull tabs and hem logo and, more importantly, the excellent fit. I am 5’8” tall and usually wear around a 38” chest garment and the medium fitted perfectly. The length of the main body and arms are perfect and it just has a really good cut that means it can be worn socially but is also tight fitting enough to be layered under a shell. Of course, everyone’s body shape is different but I can only talk for my own experience, which has been great.
Caroline’s female garment also fits well although, as a full zipped hoody style, it is a looser fit and I am sure EDZ planned it that way. This makes it less suited to layering but it then gains as a more leisure orientated top. She choose a size 12 and again, for her 5’4” height, it fits extremely well in the length too.
The female garment is also very nicely styled. Caroline chose a grey colour and it has a contrasting orange hood lining and orange contrasting zips and drawcord. It nicely strikes the balance between fashion and function and has become quite a favourite in her wardrobe.
Both garments are standing up extremely well to some fairly hard use. They have been washed several times and the fleece bounces back each time (I have always considered this a good marker of fleece quality). There is also absolutely no signs of pilling (that annoying problem where little bobbles appear on the top fabric layer) or, indeed, any signs of wear at all.
It is hard to say these garments perform better than other microfleece products because the same fabric inevitably means they are all quite similar, but they certainly perform at least as well. As mentioned, the material has a quality feel and all other aspects of the products feel top notch. They are certainly a great alternative to some of the other market big players.
Any smaller independent business that can thrive in a challenging market sector for well over 20 years producing great products deserves praise and support. The midweight fleeces we have tested look good and perform superbly and, at £39.99 for the pullover and £39.99 for the zipped fleece, offer great value for money. The only thing I would love is for these fleeces to be produced from recycled material but, with that aside, please do check out the full range of EDZ products via their website here.
Posted by Paul