With winter on its way and the nights becoming darker and colder (sigh) it’s time to start thinking about wearing a few more layers to protect you from all those wintery elements.
I have a 50k ultra marathon to start training for so will really be putting these 3 jackets to the test during my gruelling long runs leading up to December the 20th.
GORE RUNNING WEAR® winter training test
Selecting your winter running wardrobe can often be somewhat of a challenge. Often the tendency to layer-up results in you getting half-way round your run and feeling overdressed, hot and bothered. Yet, wear too little and your body uses up valuable energy trying to fight the elements in an attempt to keep you warm.
Luckily for me, the experts in cold wet weather outer-wear GORE RUNNING WEAR® have provided me with 3 products to see me through my winter training.
The 3 jackets I am going to be reviewing in this blog are the following:
- Gore Running Wear Women's Sunlight 3.0 Active Shell Vest
- Gore Running Wear Women's Air WINDSTOPPER ActiveShell Jacket
Not only will these products keep the elements at bay, their GORE-TEX® and WINDSTOPPER® technologies reduce the need to wear multiple layers underneath, resulting in a more streamlined running outfit.
What is GORE-TEX® and WINDSTOPPER® technology?
GORE-TEX® is essentially a membrane that is sandwiched between an inner and outer fabric and it's the membrane-part of the jacket that keeps you dry, blocks the wind and allows water vapour (heat) to escape.
The GORE-TEX® membrane contains millions of tiny holes (9 billion per square inch of membrane to be exact!). Each hole is 20,000 times smaller than a droplet of water making it waterproof, yet each hole is also 700 times larger than a water vapour molecule so it’s breathable too.
This GORE-TEX® jackets in this test have been made with 'GORE-TEX® Active' fabric which is GORE's most breathable laminate in their product range. GORE developed this fabric to be a truly year-round waterproof for high intensity activities and has been developed to be worn minimally, simply with a short-sleeve base layer underneath. The excellent next-to-skin feel allows runners to wear minimal layers underneath during warmer weather conditions.
WINDSTOPPER® technology uses a membrane also. There are two different types of WINDSTOPPER fabric ‘Soft Shell’ and ‘Active Shell’. Soft Shell is a slightly heavier fabric that offers more insulation whereas Active Shell is lighter and more packable. Both of which are highly suitable for running and often have stretch inserts, mesh venting in parts of the garment to allow for a closer, stretch fit, or allow more air through the garment.
For those runners out and about training in the early mornings (definitely not me) later evenings (yes) and throughout autumn and winter a WINDSTOPPER® garment is a great choice as you do not need the layers underneath. Whether it's a warmer Soft Shell or lightweight, packable Active Shell, both block the wind and allow you to cut down on the layers you wear underneath.
GORE RUNNING WEAR® Women’s Sunlight 3.0 WINDSTOPPER® Active shell Vest
With the evenings starting to get a little cooler but not quite cold enough for a full jacket a vest is ideal. I use this particular vest for my later runs which I wear over a short sleeved tee. It keeps my body warm but at a comfortable temperature throughout the entire run without me overheating!
The vest contains WINDSTOPPER® Active Shell technology, a lightweight fabric that packs down to a small size so can easily be stored away should you wish to remove it mid-run. A Durable Water Repellency treatment is added to the outside of the fabric which means rain simply beads off the outer fabric ... although not waterproof you will stay comfortable during showers.
Not only is the vest built for performance it also looks rather nice on too. What I like most about the vest is the fit, like most female GORE products it’s very flattering and I particularly like the over the hip length of the waist band which dips slightly further at the back for more coverage.
The key benefit to wearing a WINDSTOPPER® Active Shell is the weight to weather protection ratio it offers during cold, wet weather runs. Many runners tend the layer-up with multiple garments during the colder winter months but this really is not necessary with a WINDSTOPPER® product, you really can cut down on what you wear underneath.
GORE RUNNING WEAR® Women's Sunlight 3.0 AS Jacket
Like the active shell vest, this jacket also contains WINDSTOPPER® Active Shell technology and is perfect for the seasonal transition into autumn and winter. This is my favourite jacket out of the three which I tend to wear over a baselayer when it’s a lot cooler.
I wore this jacket for a 21 mile road race back in March. That day there were weather warnings for gale force winds ... so the WINDSTOPPER® technology came to my rescue! It kept me warm and comfortable throughout the entire race which just shows it is the perfect jacket for mid to long distance running.
The key element to this jacket is pretty much in the title: it is completely windproof, keeping you sheltered during those tough wintery months. Not only that but it is also water resistant meaning it will keep you dry in any light showers that come your way whilst out and about - rain simply beads off the fabric
- Soft inner lining with ventilation inserts in the back for that extra bit of breathability.
- A neat little extra on this jacket are the thumb loops on the sleeve for that extra bit of coverage over the hands. As someone who is not a fan of wearing gloves while running this is a real bonus for me. Don’t worry though, if your hands get too hot simply unhook your thumbs and they comfortably sit back into the sleeve.
This jacket follows suit with all other Gore Running Wear jackets in terms of the features on the outside:
- It has the sensible pockets! You can easily store all your essentials and one of them even has a handy clip inside which you can attach your keys to.
- The waist has a drawstring so you can tighten if you need to and is slightly longer at the back like the vest for extra coverage.
- It has a high collar to add to that extra wind protection.
- 360 reflective panelling to enhance visibility when starting to lose the light.
Lastly, I love the look of this jacket, it’s not your typical bright pink high-viz jacket that is normally available for women. It has a very flattering cut keeping it feminine without hindering the practicality of it.
Cleaning tip: To maintain this garment please wash on cool, it needs to be cared for in the same manner as the active shell vest.
GORE RUNNING WEAR® Women's Air Jacket
This is the number one jacket to keep you completely protected in all weather conditions. As previously mentioned the GORE-TEX® is tested, re-tested and tested so more to ensure it will keep you dry in all weather conditions. The scientists at GORE are so confident in the product they place a guarantee on the fabric that you will stay dry! This guarantee has been in place on all GORE-TEX® products since 1989 and with 500 hours of factory testing going into every GORE-TEX® product you can be sure you will stay comfortable during your runs in all weather conditions.
As mentioned earlier, all GORE RUNNING WEAR® jackets are made of GORE-TEX® Active laminate which is GORE's most breathable fabric and specifically designed for high intensity activity which means great next-to-skin comfort and the option to wear minimal layers underneath .
I have worn this jacket a couple of times during my rainy Tuesday and Thursday night club runs and I can’t believe how dry it kept me, you can literally see the rain sitting on top of the material!
With the jacket being waterproof I automatically thought it would make me really hot but not at all. The fabric is so breathable that you can comfortably just wear a short sleeved tee underneath without over heating what so ever.
Obviously the key feature of this jacket is the Gore-Tex fabric but it also contains many of the elements found in the previous 2 jackets:
- Lock zipped pockets to keep all the contents you want to take with you protected. The hem width can also be adjusted with cord stoppers from inside the pockets (with one hand!).
- Reflective piping throughout the jacket to provide visibility and safety in low light conditions.
- Added loop and the back for fastening a separate hood if you need.
- Elastic cuffs for enhanced comfort.
- Nice pop of pink colour under the arm to give it a feminine touch.
No matter what time of year it is GORE RUNNING WEAR® has the jacket to suit any weather conditions so get out there and enjoy.