Winter Gear Review: Gore Wear
Let’s face it, I’m a bit of a gear snob. I like things that are fancy, flashy, unique and have a fun Instagram presence. For that reason, Gore has largely eluded me. That’s not to say the well-known cycling brand isn’t high quality, trusted, and stylish, but it just didn’t fit my typical buy.
So, when I was asked to test out some gear, I thought… Gore? And I went downstairs (where my cycling gear lives) and rummaged around to see if I even owned anything Gore. I did. Not one of my flashy favorites, but a piece of gear that has been absolutely crucial on so many rides: a grey and black pair of Windstopper insulated overshoes. Completely under glorified, but a sturdy, reliable piece of gear that is 100% appreciated when worn. I went back upstairs with a spark of appreciation for Gore and responded that I would love the opportunity to try out some new Gore Wear.
It was one of those days where the weather is iffy and things could either feel comfortably warm or freezing cold. The sun was out, temperature in the mid-40s, and winds were howling (as they often do in Minnesota) around 20mph. These are the days that getting dressed to ride feels like a total conundrum and you just end up staring at your options for way too long. I decided why not be risky and try out the Gore Wear Windstopper base layer tank, check. Gore-Tex Active Jacket, check. Windstopper booties, check. I was ready to ride.
The ride was surprisingly pleasant. More pleasant than I expected as I dislike (read: disdain) windy conditions, especially when riding solo. But I was nicely protected. The two hour ride went by quickly and without discomfort which is all you can really hope for when testing out new gear on a questionable weather condition day in the middle of November. A good day in the saddle. I’ve since used these pieces of Gore Wear kit for other activities, including xc skiing, running, and daily wear around town.
Here are my specific thoughts on the gear.
· Gore-Tex Active Jacket $209.99 - It fits a little loose (most likely to allow layering underneath), so if you like a snug fit, go a size smaller than you’re used to. The bright neon orange –pink hue might be too much for some (it does come in 5 colors), but I tend to like bright; the brighter the better! Also, when days are shorter and greyer, having hi-viz on is a smart choice. It does a great job of blocking out wind and wet, and is longer in the back to cover you when in an aero position. The only thing I didn’t love about this jacket was the back pocket. There is only one zipped pocket that makes accessing anything mid ride pretty difficult.
· Gore Partial Windstopper Overshoe Covers $59.99 - Putting these on felt like squeezing into skinny jeans after eating Chinese take-out. I was seriously on the ground tugging them over my cycling shoes. It would have made an entertaining video. Sure that was a bit of a process, but it was worth it. The covers were so comfortable and my feet stayed completely warm during the ride. So much so that I didn’t even think about the covers again (until I had to take them off…).
· Windstopper Base Layer Tank $65.99– Before you put this on, it seems a bit stiff and awkward. However, it fits perfectly snug and feels light and flexible on. This layer was crucial to keeping my core temp comfortable on this ride. I’ve also slipped this on for cross country ski outings with the same great function of buffering the chill.
Overall, this gear might not be sleek and stylish (in my opinion), but it trumps most of my other gear when it comes to form and function. Let’s face it, when weather conditions get gritty, I’ll definitely reach for these key Gore items before anything else.