Sportful is one of three subsidiary companies owned by Manifattura Valcismon and operated out of an industrial complex in the town of Fonzaso, Italy. The other two? Castelli (acquired in the early 90s) and Karpos, a producer of outdoor adventure gear. Similar to Castelli, Manifattura Valcismon was always a family business, founded by Olindo and Irma Cremonese in the 1960s and maintaining operations, to this day, through their grandchildren in the same region of Italy.
The Sportful (intended for sport) brand came to life in the early 1970s when Giordano Cremonese, son of Olindo and Irma, became fascinated with designing clothes for a cross-country ski race near his home. There was immediate demand and the brand grew to establish a strong presence in cross-country skiing, with a reputation for being highly adaptable to changing conditions.
In 1985, Giordano expanded the brand to his other passion - you guessed it - cycling. Pro team sponsorships quickly followed and Sportful has adorned some of the all time greats, such as team Mapei and riders like Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan.
At NOMAD, we love the brand because, in our opinion, it's the unsung hero of the Manifattura Valcismon group of companies. Not as well known as Castelli, but every bit as dedicated to producing the best cycling products on the market. We find the lineup to be full of rich technical features that provide additional comfort on the bike. And let's face it, we could all use some additional comfort on some of those long rides. They clearly spend less time marketing to Canadians than their sister company Castelli does, but perhaps that time was spent honing their craft and perfecting their mens and womens cycling jerseys and bib shorts.
Their Total Comfort Bibshorts are so great they may just be our favourite bibs ever - for men and women. And that's saying something because we've tried just about everything the Canadian market has to offer when it comes to bike clothing.
If you're looking for cooler weather gear, or perhaps gear that will survive a winter in Canada, why not consider a brand that has its roots in epic cross-country ski races. Maybe you even do some skiing yourself - cross-training anyone? Simply put, we ride Sportful extensively and we trust it with some of our biggest cycling moments.
Sportful has something for everyone and they'll keep you riding all year round with cycling apparel equally at home in cold winter temperatures (even Canadian winter) as in the hot and humid summer heat. As a decades long sponsor of world-tour pro cycling teams, they know something about maintaining comfort on the bike, while not giving an inch on performance. We know, they sponsor the team, so the pros have to ride the gear, right? Well... if you've ever seen pro teams sporting gear or equipment with the labels covered, you know they won't tolerate a product that doesn't perform - sponsor or not.
We are strong advocates of riding through much of the winter in Canada. With COVID-19 putting a damper on opportunities to leave the house and, with respect to our group ride friends, cycling can be a great solo winter activity. Believe it or not, it is possible to stay warm with the right winter riding gear. Layer up with base layers and thermal jerseys under a mid-weight cycling jacket, throw in some gloves and shoe covers, and you're on your way. Oh... don't forget the hat under your helmet!