Note: this vest was provided by Western Rise for review.
I had been looking for a breathable, insulated vest to add to my outerwear selection, so when I noticed that Western Rise launched their AirLoft Vest, I had to give it a try. The vest uses the same Toray 3DeFX+ insulation as the AirLoft Quilted Jacket I previously reviewed, as well as the rest of their current AirLoft line.
The star of the show here is the Toray 40g 3DeFX+™ Polyester hollow-core, 4-way stretch insulation. This is a continuous fiber insulation, meaning it is long fibers tangled together into the batt, rather than many small fibers bound together or stuffed into a shell. This gives the insulation warmth and breathability, while allowing it to be quite thin and durable.
The shell material is 102gsm, 100% polyester, “self-cleaning, 4-way stretch, Primeflex® exterior fabric with a C6 DWR for dirt, stain, and weather resistance optimized for cool-weather activity”. This material looks great and doesn’t have a sheen that some technical vests do.
Fit & Style
The fit is described as a “modern cut and tailored silhouette ensure freedom of movement and a flattering fit”. I’d say it’s tailored with the idea that you will likely wear a heavier shirt underneath. What does this mean? It looks a little bulky over just a t-shirt. Looking at the product photos, this was intended, and makes sense for an insulated vest.
Length-wise, this fits more like a jacket, which is nice because I sometimes find vests to be a bit too short. The collar also looks good up or down.
Style-wise, this is as good looking as you’ll find in an insulated vest. The matte finish and lack of logos on the face fabric make it blend in well. Certainly looks better than your typical shiny-faced, logo-ed insulated vest.
The combination of warmth and breathability here makes this vest very versatile. It’s warm enough to be your outer layer on a cool-ish day, and when it gets cold, it can transition to a layer under a jacket, or something to toss on when you get a little chilly indoors. The performance here is perfect, unless you want a fleece vest for a different look, I can’t imagine a better vest.
While the hand doesn’t feel much stretch (even though the face fabric and insulation are both 4-way stretch), the vest remains comfortable and doesn’t bind around the armholes. Some vests take care of this by giving you oversized armholes, but not here. The vest stays comfortable and moves with you without being oversized.
A few other nice features include drawstrings at the bottom, an interior chest pocket (phone sized), and a side-entry outer pocket on the lower back that reaches across the whole back (not sure what to use this one for…).
The AirLoft Vest is just what I was looking for. Warm and breathable enough to see some versatile wear, while looking better than your average vest. The $189 price point is perfect when looking at what else is out there in the same league. Through Christmas, you will get a $50 gift card with your purchase ($50 for every $100 spent). Highly recommended.