Long, dark and cold. That pretty much sums up the Danish winters - it’s no wonder the vikings were a hardy bunch, even if they were also a bit nuts.
It also explains why the Danes know how to wrap up. When you look at it like that, it’s surprising that Pas Normal Studios didn’t launch on a winter collection. They could have quite effectively trounced the competition.
Instead they launched last spring with an inspired capsule collection that stood tall in the quality of manufacture and even taller in terms of originality. This was thanks mainly to the design experience of the people behind Pas Normal, who own the Danish WoodWood street style brand.
Pas Normal offered the standard stuff - bibs, a couple of jerseys, gilets, that sort of thing. Since then they have gone through a super lightweight summer offering before delivering what can only be described as a mark of collaborative genius in its winter collection.
The lineup includes a thick fleece-lined jersey that acts as a barrier to the worst that the weather can throw at you, from storm-force winds to torrential rain, snow, ice, you name it, and thermal bibs which do much the same for your legs and incorporate waterproof ankle zips and reflective stitching. Then there’s a lightweight “combined elements” jacket, with taped seams and three-layer construction.
The jacket and leggings proved capable in possibly the worst weather we have ridden in since we got stuck up a mountain on the 2011 Etape du Tour. Torrential driving rain and gale-force winds sent the weather slamming into us but the water just beaded away with not a drop getting through. The rain did eventually breach the tights after a prolonged onslaught akin to standing in a shower, while the top remained persistently waterproof.
The real innovation in Pas Normal’s winter kit lies under the surface - with the base layers, to be precise. They have got together with their Norse countrymen at SNS Herning, who have turned ultra-warm fisherman’s knits into a style staple, to come up with a unique line of base layers, neck warmers and beanies.
The collaboration is manufactured from a merino blend and features neat little touches such as an “anatomical fit” and muted grey, navy and green colourways with contrast horizontal pin stripes. This collection is so good looking that it feels wrong to subject it to the rigours of cycling - it would fit just as easily in an everyday wardrobe and look great with a pair of jeans.
If you can bear to employ it in the manner for which it was made, you will find PNS x SNS knits phenomenally capable at wicking away moisture, while the cotton mix seems to regulate temperature at a far more efficient level. All this, along with that fit, results in a high comfort level regardless of the effort you are putting in.
A few washes in and the PNS x SNS base layers are looking as good as ever, even given the label advice to handwash (we’ve been putting it on a 30 degree delicates cycle). Pas Normal say the stuff doesn’t even need washing after every ride, although we didn’t fancy testing out that assertion.
Summary: Pas Normal Studios are one of the more notable entrants to the cycle clothing scene over the past year, and they have come into their own with the new winter collection. While the collection is another achievement in stylish and extremely well-performing kit, the real story here is the remarkable collaboration with SNS Herning. Some of the finest base layers in production, if you can bear to wear it on the bike. Otherwise it’s perfect for everyday use.
5 / 5
Pas Normal Studios winter kit from €215
PNS x SNS from €69