I’m channelling my inner Miranda Hart with a quick gallop around a soggy field. My claim to fame is that I share a birthday with the goddess of glee (I admit it’s not a great claim, as far as claims go) and I’m one of the millions instantly cheered on a sad day by her silliness. So when I get the chance to test a Miranda jacket, I leap at it quicker than you can say Gary-in-a-Navy-uniform. Unfortunately, my eyesight these days seems to be as selective as Penny’s hearing, and Páramo’s stylish waterproof actually turns out to be called Mirada. No matter. It’s what-I-call gorgeous.
The Mirada is described as a lightweight and versatile jacket designed for women who ride a bike and enjoy strenuous walking and mountain running. “Oo, that’s me!” I think excitedly, although admittedly I do the first one wobbily, being a lockdown-newbie, Driving Miss Daisy kind of cyclist. And currently the mountain running is somewhat lacking in mountains in this stay-at-home, groundhog grind. But I’m still out every day, newly converted to Strava and bidding to complete the 1,000-mile challenge by my – and, of course, Ms Hart’s – birthday.
To be honest, I’ve struggled to find a good winter running jacket. I clung for years to a flimsy fluorescent number that sure alerts drivers in the dark to looming danger, but is as effective in a deluge as a teabag. Last year I struck gold with the Páramo Alize windproof, which combines its waterproof and windproof credentials with reflective flashes on sleeves, shoulders and hood to boost visibility. However, February is now really biting and I need something warmer, but in which I won’t overheat.
The Mirada is more substantial than my Alize, yet surprisingly without heaviness. It comprises two layers of fabric for warmth whilst remaining lightweight, soft and pliable. It has excellent ventilation, including underarm zips, as well as front-arm ventilation (this particularly pleases me as I find myself pushing up long sleeves even in the depths of February and despite still sporting man-sized gloves).
I love the adjustable, draw-string hood, which has a rigid peak to deter the rain, whilst the coat also features a number of reflective strips for safety. With deep hip pockets and a small, zipped inside compartment for keys, it also has Páramo’s trademark Nikwax Analogy Waterproof directional fabric, designed to move water away from the body. Oh, and the colours are delicious, with the choice of Adriatic (shown here) and Carmine / Hot Coral.
The Mirada is made by the Miquelina Foundation, Páramo’s ethical manufacturing partnership in Colombia, which has offered vulnerable women training and employment since 1992. The foundation helps employees to build homes, as well as providing a kindergarten and canteen for their children, and also has Fair Trade status from the World Fair Trade Organisation. In addition, all Páramo garments are covered by its recycling scheme, to prevent them from ending up in landfill. This means that, for every item of Páramo clothing you recycle via the website, you’ll receive a voucher of up to £50 to redeem against your next purchase!
So, with the ethics checked and as a running coat for current Baltic conditions, the Mirada ticks every box. I can move freely and I stay cosy without overboiling. It’s the same when performing as a cycling jacket and, as I suspect I might actually ride more slowly than I run, it’s loose enough to allow me another warm layer underneath. For hiking, it really comes into its own as a second skin under my main waterproof on those proper cold, proper raining days; I like the reassurance of an extra layer of water repellant, while it traps the warmth nicely over a thermal base layer and fleecy mid layer.
All the running, cycling and hiking is, however, a mere prelude to the main event – a hearty gallop across a field. And I can confirm that, in extreme galloping conditions, the Mirada is – what else? – such fun!
Don’t forget to stock up on your Nikwax® cleaning and waterproofing products while this awful weather persists! You can treat your kit with Nikwax® in your washing machine or by hand; they are environmentally safe to use and to prolong the life and performance of your lovely new jacket.