The Gore C5 shorts are made from durable, water-resistant fabric. As far as wet-weather protection on the trails go, they are right up there with the best MTB shorts for women. They're also great for casual use boasting an excellent, adjustable waistband.
Gore Women's C5 shorts - Technical details
The Gore C5 shorts are trail shorts made of durable water-repellent fabric for wet-weather protection on the trail. With an inseam length of 29cm, these are thigh-length shorts, and slightly shorter than for example, the Gore Fernflow shorts.
Storage-wise, these come with one zipped side pocket and two regular waist pockets. The Gore logo, placed on the thigh and near the hem is both reflective, adding increased visbility and safety for riding in the dark.
The waistband has a fly that closes with a zip and two poppers and is adjustable with velcro tabs. The shorts come in six sizes ranging from XXS to XL and there are three colours to choose from: black (tested), orbit blue and utility green.
Gore Women's C5 shorts - Performance
I mostly ride gravel and feel most comfortable in a more tight-fitting pair of shorts, but the C5 were a perfect introduction to MTB baggies. I also found myself reaching for them for some runs and casual walks. They represent the quality that Gore is known for but offer versatility for use off the bike, too.
This pair is slightly shorter than the premium-level Gore Fernflow shorts, which I quite liked on the gravel rides where kneepads aren’t a thing. That said, to those more performance-orientated versions, the C5 is not necessarily the best choice if you often wear bulky kneepads, as they have a narrower leg than some others, such as the Fernflow.
The shorts have a water-repellent DWR coating on them, so any splash beads nicely off the surface - but these are not to be mistaken for a pair of the best waterproof MTB shorts - as they will get soaked in a heavy downpour.
The overall design and colourways of these shorts are very subtle, making these a versatile pair for bikepacking adventures and more casual riding. Adding to the more casual feel of the shorts are the waist pockets that don’t have any zips on them. I found it hard to find the use for these pockets when riding, as they're not so deep that I would trust them with my phone or keys. You're left with the zipped side pocket, which isn't big enough for most smartphones either owing to the narrow zip opening.
The waistband of these shorts impressed me from the first try, as the soft velcro tabs offer very precise - and flexible - adjustment. I really like this system because it’s made to fit the shorts around different undershorts and baselayers. In XS trim, they fitted perfectly thanks to generous adjustability - even with a pair of bibs underneath.
Gore Women's C5 shorts - Verdict
The Gore C5 shorts set you back £100 placing them up there among the pricier options. In terms of the not-too-baggy design, I would compare the C5 to the Assos Trail Cargo Shorts that I tested (£110). The C5 is a lot more versatile pair, and the adjustability makes them fit better, too. Rhian tested the PNW Components Shuttle W Shorts that cost less (£75) and I think the C5 loses out in terms of pocket functionality to them.
Overall, this is a pair of shorts that won't jump at you with its looks but I think that's a good thing. They're a very comfortable, fairly slim-fitting for a baggy short, light and well-made, too - all of which add to their versatility across disciplines and ride styles.