We love wool for its warmth, sweat-wicking, and natural no-stink properties, but even the tightest weaves of the finest fibers fail to keep us dry and warm under windy and wet conditions. The Dale of Norway Telemark Knitshell, however, changes that: It combines treated wool yarns with a wind-blocking membrane to yield a weather-resistant jacket in the style of a traditional Norwegian sweater. It's après-ski style with all-weather cred.
The treated wool shrugs off showers and resists dirt and stains. It's not waterproof, since it will eventually get wet after a long time in the rain or snow, but it stands up admirably. Beneath that wool is a windproof membrane; beneath that is a thin fleecelike fabric. (Although the fabric feels soft against skin, it's best to wear long sleeves underneath, because the Knitshell's numerous seams are thick and itchy.) Strips of soft shell run up the sides and under the arms to boost breathability and stretch; thumb-looped sleeves ensured our wrists always stayed covered.
Despite its many features, the Knitshell is no technical piece. It possesses the comforting bulk of a thick wool sweater with timeless Nordic fireside style. This is a great piece for warmth and protection on blustery fall days in the city, and it's even a smart piece to wear on the slopes on days when the weather is mild. [$500; dale.no/us/]