Review: Knox Leonard wax jacket, quilted layer and armoured shirt (£389.97)

Turns out Leonard’s as wet as he sounds

I GAVE this jacket a positive review some months ago, adding that I’d update you when I’d established whether or not it’s waterproof.

That time has come and the answer is: it’s not. 

By chance it wasn’t exposed to a single persistent downpour in the first few months of use. That all ended a couple of weeks ago, when it rained solidly on my 50-minute commute across London.

Taking the jacket off, indoors, I found my shirt sleeves were wet around about the inside of my elbow. The jacket lining was wet there too. There was another wet spot on my shirt near the top of my stomach. There’s no way this could have been the result of ingress from cuffs, collar or waist, unless the water was somehow able to leap to those wet patches, leaving elsewhere dry. 

This was leakage, and quite disappointing in a jacket costing £250 for the wax outer alone.

A week later, the same thing happened again. This time the rain wasn't quite so heavy and not as much water got in, but there was still an unmistakable wet patch, and in the same spot, in the middle of my arm. 

Shoulder, elbow and back armour goes in a zip-vest costing £99.99 and the quilted lining (which can be worn separately) is another £39.99.

I still think it’s a good-looking jacket, and the separate armour is an innovate idea which means it can be an everyday coat too. But this development basically rules it out for hardcore winter commuting.

For several years I did an 80-mile motorway commute, sometimes through December and January. For that, waterproof has to mean waterproof. And this just isn’t.   

Update of 29/09/15: I've just held the left sleeve under a running tap for five minutes. During the test the sleeve became partially submerged but water only made direct contact with the outside and was not allowed to reach the cuff or lining. At the end of the test I turned the sleeve inside-out. The pictures I've added to the gallery show some of the water that found its way through to the lining during the test.

Knox has said this particular jacket is faulty, asked me to return it and offered to send a replacement. I'll let you know how that performs in due course.  

Update of 30/09/15: The replacement wax jacket arrived from Knox very promptly in the post today. I've just subjected one of the sleeves to the same five-minute sink test, as shown in my picture on the right. Water also found a way through the outer of this one. The bottom picture on the right shows the wet lining of the sleeve when I turned it inside-out immediately after the test.

Tested: Knox Leonard Men's Wax Jacket (£249.99); armoured shirt (£99.99) and quilted jacket (£39.99)

Total price: £389.97

Colours: brown, black