Gore has designed the Fernflow shorts as a pair of premium trail shorts, able to handle nearly all conditions and technical terrain. The stretch and adjustability make them very comfortable and high-performing, placing them firmly in our recommended list of the best MTB shorts for women.
Gore Fernflow women's shorts - Technical details
The Gore Fernflow shorts are trail shorts constructed from four-way stretch Cordura fabric, with the rear of the shorts having an extra interior panel to up the durability for the technical demands of trail riding - and a stretchy panel for perfecting a comfortable riding position.
With an inseam length of 34cm, these are lower thigh-length shorts and longer than the Gore C5 shorts that I have been testing alongside. The front of the leg is also longer than the rear.
They come with laser-cut air vents on the inner thighs for temperature control, two zipped waist pockets, and a small back pocket on the waistband. The shorts have a fly with two buttons and a backup security hoop.
The waistband has soft loop velcro adjustment for perfecting the fit- and the shorts come in five sizes ranging from XXS to L - and in blue and black colour.
Gore Fernflow Women’s shorts - Performance
They look and feel like performance trail shorts. Packed with plenty of neat details, these shorts really impressed me with their quality and performance. The stretchy-yet-water-repellent Cordura fabric feels comfortable, both in terms of tactility and fit.
The stretchy waistband offers great additional adjustability with the soft velcro tab - something that I reckon all baggies should have. A fly on women’s shorts doesn't make much sense - especially stretchy shorts like these - but at the same time it doesn't affect the performance. On these shorts, the fly is secured and stays in place thanks to the little metal hoop and two buttons.
The two waist pockets held my phone and keys easily, and they have a good quality zip and a garage for it. The small back pocket basically blends into the waistband and holds keys perfectly - it has enough padding so I didn't feel the keys digging into my back. Inside the waist, the band has small silicone dots to help the shorts stay up - and with the velcro adjustability, it’s easy to perfect the fit.
I tested these shorts in size XS (36) and they had plenty of room for wearing liners/bibs underneath and yet, I never felt they were too loose because the waist kept them in the right place without any restriction.
The well-designed, off-road-specific details continue around the rear/saddle area where the material is different. The extra panel has a taped seam, allowing for good protection from any spray from the trails.
Gore doesn't specify whether these shorts have a DWR or similar water-repellant coating, but the material still feels great when things get a little wet and muddy, too. The few times I rode these in constant rain, the front was soaked through in about 25 minutes - which leads me to think they are best suited for dry summer/early autumn days. The vents on the inner thigh area back up thi notion - the impressive ventilation makes these shorts ideal for those hotter days.
Gore Fernflow Women’s shorts - Verdict
The Gore Fernflow women’s shorts are a great, quality pair of baggies for those that want high performance and comfort in a lightweight package. The details have been carefully thought through, with the extra panel at the rear for trail spray, taped seams, zip garages and the comfy, adjustable waist.
However, at £130 these shorts come with a hefty price tag to match the performance. They don’t have a liner, making them a significantly bigger investment than for example, the dhb MTB Women’s Trail Baggy Short (£50) and slightly more than the Rapha women's trail shorts (£110) that Jessica really liked.
Then again, in the less baggy trail short category, we have Assos Trail Women’s Cargo Shorts, which retail for £105 and offer less functionality and comfort than the Gore Fernflow.