Finisterre Biosmock Insulated Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Finisterre Biosmock Insulated Jacket | Review

Award-winning eco-friendly pullover that combines classic outdoor style with impeccable sustainability credentials

Why We Chose It: Stylish, natural wool fill, biodegradable fabrics, climate positive production

Sustainability and the sea sometimes seem to go hand in hand. There’s clearly something about being close to the ocean that fosters a sense of environmental responsibility. Maybe it’s harder to ignore problems like plastic pollution when you see so many discarded bottles and other detritus washed up on the shoreline every day.

Perhaps that’s why Cornwall-based brand Finisterre is such an industry leader when it comes to eco-friendly apparel. And one of the most outstanding examples of their sustainable ethos in action is the new Biosmock – a puffy pullover that managed to nab a Gold Award in the Insulation Apparel Category at this year’s ISPO event, the outdoor industry’s largest international trade show.

What Is The Biosmock Best Suited To?

This is a classic insulated smock with a four-button placket that, style-wise, is a little redolent of Patagonia’s iconic fleece Synchilla Pullover. But unlike a fleece, the Biosmock is both warm and windproof. That makes it a great outer layer for breezy coastal days – ideal for long beach walks and post-surf sessions.    

Eco Credentials

Where to start? Maybe with the gushing ISPO jury citation for the product, which reads, “The Finisterre BioSmock is the leading example of the Circular Economy in performance apparel. It’s a practical insulation layer that uses the most advanced fabric technology combined with HD Wool Active Insulation to create comfort in almost every condition. Champions the end-of-life: woven compostable shell & thermoregulating insulation. When all other items are trying to reduce their environmental footprint, this garment has the potential to be climate positive through using regenerative practices.

Hamid Mehmood of UK-based active inclusion group, Muslim Hikers. Photos: Chris Johnson

Sounds impressive, but if you’re a little unsure what all that eco-jargon actually means, let us explain. The smock’s outer shell is made from an innovative new fabric called PrimaLoft BIO, a PFC-free synthetic material that is biodegradable on land and in the sea. That means that when discarded, the fabric will break down in landfill or in the ocean, without leaving microplastics in the soil or the marine environment. It’s a marked contrast to a fibre like polyester, which never degrades.

“In terms of true design this product is specific & damn good.”

Let’s move on. Inside that fabric shell is a layer of insulation made from HD wool, a compound of natural sheep’s wool and PLA (polylactic acid, a plastic made from corn starch or sugar cane). It’s also fully biodegradable, while the wool itself is renewable, fully traceable, ethically produced and sourced from farmers who have signed up to eco schemes to improve biodiversity, soil health, natural irrigation systems and carbon sequestering.

Unlike most outdoor garments, the BioSmock also has no components such as zippers – since Finisterre believes there are no satisfactory eco-friendly biodegradable zippers in existence (or at least, none that would break down as quickly as the rest of the smock). That’s why the placket and kangaroo front pocket use press studs, again made from that nifty PLA stuff.

The product will also be protected in transit and storage by Finisterre + Aquapak’s ‘Leave No Trace’ water soluble, compostable and recyclable packaging. The swing tags attached to the Biosmock will also be FSC certified and tied by cotton thread instead of plastic.

Construction and Performance

This is a top that works as a midlayer or shell in cold and windy weather, and it will also fend off light drizzle. Given Finisterre’s surf background, we can see this becoming a favourite among surfers, swimmers and other water babies, but conceivably you could also take it hiking, climbing and camping too. The minimalist style also makes it an attractive bit of apparel for daily wear too. Expect to see it on the streets of Shoreditch…


This jacket is a remarkable example of what is possible if brands decide to create genuinely sustainable products right from the get-go. But more than that, it also shows a brand thinking about what happens to their products after the consumer is finished with them. That end-of-life thinking is perhaps the real innovation here, and the result is a warm and functional smock that is not only windproof and water-repellent, but will also break down when discarded (hopefully, years into the future) to leave virtually zero trace in the natural environment. We’re not suggesting you chuck it in the sea, but the point is, you could.

“If Haglöfs’ Nordic Expedition jacket had not been developed this year this top might well have won the big prize from ISPO. The only British designed garment to win a Gold Outstanding Award is part of the range from the Cornish brand best known for their cold weather surfing roots. In terms of true design this product is specific & damn good. Having wool wadding means an insulation that is best recognised for being very permeable & never smelling. Being an over-the-head design demonstrates how it will adapt to almost every condition so that (like a jumper) you put it on at the start of the day & don’t need to take it off. By not having a full length front zip there is greater air-circulation, plus a large kangaroo front pouch.

“You can never write too much positive about this brand…”

“Finisterre are well known for their attention to the challenges of the sea, so this has been created from fabrics to best avoid adding to the problem of textile laundry wash-offs. The woven shell is the first outing of PrimaLoft BIO yarn which will compost down relatively quickly if left in the right damp, dark & muddy conditions (which includes the ocean) – but it’s also woven so tightly that it offers a windproof shell that sheds most rainfall. The lining is a wool compound which extends the range of the shell’s performance. It is easy to over-design an active insulation layer with too many features, but it takes a clear vision to not have too many extra options that just add bulk when used as part of a layering system: imagine your favourite mid-layer, but done excellently. Remember wool was what Mallory & Irvine wore on the 1924 Everest attempt, it was specified on the kit list of Shackleton, & it’s anti-bacterial qualities are credited as keeping more people alive during the muddy trench fighting of WW1 than any other factor.

“The industry shunned it when fleece became popular, but has completely reassessed it once the comfort of Merino became obvious two decades ago – this wadding is an updated form of the keratin product, with PLA added to improve the product durability.

“You can never write too much positive about this brand – they (like Patagonia) are one of the few B Corps companies.”

Finisterre Biosmock Insulated Jacket

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