Local San Diego clothing company that does it right!
DE SOTO SPORT was founded in 1990 by two San Diego triathletes Emilio De Soto and Dan Neyenhuis. With their combined 30 years of triathlon experience, they created many of the original concepts that are the basis for many clothing designs used in the industry today. From the transition pack, to the trisuit, tri shorts made with thin cycling pads, tri jerseys with zippers, running shorts with pockets, even the mesh running cap, all were developed first by De Soto. And, what’s even better is that 95%+ of De Soto products are made here in the USA.
The De Soto product line is now comprised of approximately 75 different clothing items all designed with original and unique features including innovative fit, functionality, fabric, colors, and manufacturing technology. These include both mens and womens tri suits, tri bibs, tri shorts, tri jerseys, cycling bibs, shorts, jerseys, running apparel, compression wear, warmers, hats, socks, vests, fleece wear, and more.
“De Soto goes out of their way to ensure their apparel uses only the best materials and craftsmanship.”
Since De Soto is a small manufacturer, who are their customers? In contrast to the ‘BIG NAMES” in cycling clothing, De Soto’s customers are comprised of a small, sophisticated group of people who are athletic, professionally driven and put a big emphasis on value and quality. This group of people do their research before buying and form emotional relationships with the products they use, thus brand loyalty is strong toward a company like De Soto.
“De Soto’s mission is to offer the best product with the best possible customer service in any market.”
As stated before, De Soto uses the best of the best, sourcing different materials from all over Europe to ensure the highest quality products. Each product utilizes a different type of fabric, custom chosen to make sure that it is the best choice for the intended use. The array of fabric technologies are too vast to list in this article so please visit desotosport.comfor a full list of De Soto’s fabric technologies.
TESTED: JERSEY, BIBS & PAD
A. SKIN COOLER BIKE JERSEY:
This high quality jersey has a Skin Cooler™ Piqué body for ultimate coolness and sun protection.
- What is Piqué? Rather than knitting a “flat” looking fabric with no texture (like your basic bike jerseys have) De Soto’s Piqué, if you look closely, has channels in two directions that function as cooling channels by allowing air in, while allowing for moisture to spread throughout the fabric so that when that air hits it, the fabric offers a cooling sensation. This offers Ultimate Coolness. So while the rest of the world tries to keep you cool by wicking moisture away, Skin Cooler™ is designed completely opposite in that it tries to keep you wet. De Soto’s thoughts are that if you keep the moisture near the skin, normal evaporation can occur which will keep you overall cooler than if you wick away the moisture prior to letting it evaporate away. Makes sense to me!
- Skin Cooler™ blocks 75% of UVB rays, but, as a precaution, I still recommend you use sunscreen.
The jersey has 3 fairly-deep back pockets, a sewn-in loop to house your sunglasses and a stretchable (silicone over elastic) gripper around the waist that securely holds it in place. Sleeves are non-elasticized (i.e., non-binding) double-layered material. This jersey also uses a high-quality/full length non-corrosive plastic YKK® zipper.
The Skin Cooler™ material is summer weight, very lightweight and very comfortable. If riding in any other cooler season, there is room enough to wear base layers and arm warmers under the jersey.
B. 400-MILE BIB SHORT:
The Ceramico™ pad is what makes this bibshort so comfortable — but, for now, here are some other unique things that set this bibshort apart from the others:
- SHORTER LEG/INSEAM LENGTH than other brands: Roughly the same length as the Pro-Tour riders have been wearing in Europe lately. Most brands that are sold in the US have leg lengths 0.5”-1” longer. The 400-Mile Bibshorts are extremely comfortable nonetheless. And even though the legs contain no gripper elastic, they do stay in place and do not bind the legs.
- COMPRESSION IN THE LEGS: Studies have shown that using compression fabrics can reduce the onset of fatigue up to 12%. This bibshort utilizes Forza Compressor™ legs with new 3-inch double-legband which gives support to the muscles as the miles pile on.
- THREE POCKETS: This is a unique concept. Many high-end pro-level bibshorts come with a pocket in the back – I am assuming this is where you can carry your radio so you can talk with the team car? But, the 400-mile bibshorts go one step further and include 2 additional small pockets, one on each leg. These actually come in quite handy for storing items such as gels.
- MID-SECTION SUPPORT: Compared to other bibshorts, these bibs come up a little higher on the sides than most, which will cover and better support the obliques and abdomen. You get a little compression fit that actually makes these bibshorts even more comfortable.
- FLAT STITCHING throughout the bibs.
C. 400-MILE CERAMICO™ 14MM PAD
When developing these bibshorts, De Soto’s owner, Emilio tested the bibs 100 miles a day for 4 days and came up with the ‘400-mile’ moniker. He stated, “Since many shorts might feel fine for a one-time 100+ mile ride, the real question is how does that saddle feel when you get on the bike the next morning for another 100 miles…and the next morning…and the next?” “This”, he continued, “was the inspiration for the design, the pad, and the name.”
What makes this pad UNIQUE?
1. NO SEAMS – the pad is sewn onto, not into the surrounding panels, meaning no fabric, / no seams are covering the pad. This is one of the main reasons why this pad is so comfortable.
2. STRETCHES with the bibshort to conform better between your body and the saddle. This stretching helps to eliminate friction that can cause irritation and rashes.
3. SOFT PLUSH FIBER on the inside of the pad adds additional comfort.
4. CERAMIC BEADS embedded into a polyurethane based coating which makes up the outside of the pad. This adds many miles of additional life to the seat area of the bibs. See photo above.
The Skin Cooler Bike Jersey. The cut of the jersey is half-way between a club cut and a race cut. Tight, but not too tight, loose, but not too loose. In other words, PERFECT. Add to that USA sizing and you are sure to get a perfect fit.
The jersey is what I would call summer-weight. Very lightweight and very cool. 3 deep rear pockets will ensure that your stuff keeps from falling out and the sunglasses loop on the front left shoulder is a great idea. Seems that every time I place my sunglasses through the front vents of my helmet, the sunglasses tend to slip around and I am always afraid that I’m going to loose them. This loop keeps the glasses in place.
The silicone over elastic waistband keeps the jersey from riding up. Again, its just the right size around the waist. Not too tight, not too loose. The only nit-pick was the length of the sleeves. They are ‘European’ cut and, in my opinion, a little short. Just a personal preference that, for me, I would rather have them another 1-3/4” (45mm) longer, but, others will find this the perfect length for them, especially in summertime weather.
All-in-all, this is a great fitting jersey with some unique features and high quality materials and construction and a GREAT fit. This jersey gets a 5 star rating from me!
The 400-Mile Bib Shorts are made with compression material that makes for a much nicer ride. These really help reduce the fatigue that sets in after many miles in the saddle. The 400-pad is the most comfortable pad I have ever used! It’s firm enough so that it doesn’t squish or slide around yet with enough padding to make any ride an enjoyment. One reason is that the pad is sewn onto the bibs, not into them. So you are actually sitting on the pad instead of sitting on big seams. This way of manufacturing bibshorts really makes a HUGE difference in comfort compared to other shorts. Again, these bibshorts get a 5 star rating from me!
On the desotosport.com website, they have a RETAIL LOCATOR under the COMPANY tab. Most states have bike shops that carry the De Soto Sport line of clothing, so next time you stop by your favorite LBS, tell them you want to check out the De Soto line of clothing. Yes, they are really that good and really that comfortable, plus they are made in USA!
Image to the right shows 3 pockets for the bib shorts
I have always enjoyed bicycling and, through a series of coincidences, became a Bicycle Industry Consultant and Product Tester. I continue to test prototype products for companies and publish only off the shelf production products on biketestreviews.com.