Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Gore Wear Contest Singlet and Split Shorts Review

Article by Derek Li 

Derek tests and reviews the Gore Wear Contest Singlet and Split Shorts in always tropical conditions Singapore.


Gore as a technical apparel and gear brand has been around for years, though my general impression is that they have a much bigger presence in Europe than in the US or Asia. The first piece of Gore running wear I owned was a running singlet from a small specialty running store in Lucerne, Switzerland of all places back in 2015, so it’s been a while.  I am a heavy sweater and regularly lose 2-3lb of sweat over a 6 mile run, and I am always on the lookout for great technical wear for my runs here in Singapore. 

The weather here typically sits in the 80-90degF range in the mornings and evenings when I run, and humidity never drops below 70%, so it’s challenging to matter what you wear. I have been testing Gore’s latest Contest Singlet and Split Shorts for the past few weeks. How do they stack up in Singapore’s heat and humidity? Read on to find out. 

Contest Singlet ($55)

The singlet has what I consider a semi-relaxed fit. I normally wear an American cut US Small for most brands e.g. Nike Aeroswift, Adidas Adizero. This Gore singlet I tested is a US Medium, and EU Large, and fits only marginally looser in the armpit area. 

It has a semi-racerback design at the back, with fairly wide shoulder coverage of ~2 inches. The singlet fits very comfortably, and does not feel restrictive in any way when running.

The material is very thin and light. The internal fabric stitching is horizontal, so while it is inherently a little stretchy, it seems to stretch more vertically than horizontally.

As with many top shelf running singlets these days, the seams are glue bonded to reduce chafing. The good news is this material is very breathable, even when soaked with sweat, and it does not cling too badly to the skin even when wet. It does however, seem to absorb water easily and can feel a little heavy when fully soaked. This seems to be the case for many super-thin materials these days. 

Split Shorts ($60)

The shorts have a relaxed fit for me. I normally wear an American cut US Small for most brands. This pair of split shorts is a US Medium, and EU Large. I can normally get away with a slightly larger size shorts, and indeed, the waistband and overall length of the shorts is absolutely fine. The inseam is 2 inches long which is great for running in warm weather. 

The inner mesh liner does feel pretty loose, even for a size M so bear that in mind. It doesn’t get in the way of running and there is absolutely zero chafing, but be prepared for a sort of “naked” feeling down there.

The seams are stitched here, and the bulk of the material is a 4-way stretch fabric. 

At the back, the upper sections use a perforated mesh material that presumably aids breathability somewhat. Finally you have a 2 inch wide elastic waistband with a drawstring. 

There is a generous back zip pocket. I want to focus on the rear pocket for a bit because it’s really quite special.

 I often carry gear with me on my runs, whether it’s car keys, a collapsible silicone cup, gels, or just a GoPro, so I’m always on the lookout for shorts with good storage options. This rear pock is about to fit my iPhone X in the rear, and should just about fit the newer 11 and 12 versions. I do not think it will fit anything larger. What I think is particularly unique about this pocket is that the zip is at the level of the waistband. Many shorts come with pockets below the waistband. I presume it is simply easier from a manufacturing perspective. Having the zip at the level of the waistband elevates the position of the entire pocket. I think it’s important because the waistband has tension and does not budge when you are running. 

Having the pocket attached to the fabric below allows the weight of whatever is in the pocket to tug on the short’s fabric, and if there is even a little bit of stretch in the material, it’s going to be amplified in the form of excess vertical movement of the cargo with every step. 

When it is attached to the waistband, you eliminate the stretch and there is noticeably less movement of the contents. I often run with just a GoPro, which is a small and heavy object compared to gels. It will rock the heck out of your good old 2013/14 Nike Race day shorts. And don’t even try running with it in a 5” Aeroswift shorts with the vertical pocket at the right buttock cheek. (The GoPro literally tore through the bottom of the pocket and dropped to the ground on one run, but that’s another story) Long story short, excellent rear pocket placement, rock solid bounce-free experience. Absolutely fabulous. 

The rear pocket is unfortunately the only pocket in the shorts, and there is no small key pocket at the front, which I would have liked to have. The shorts otherwise work very well for training. I think the overall construct and weight of the materials is a little on the heavy side from a pure racing (5-21k) perspective, but as a daily training short, it works great. I would recommend sizing down to get a snugger internal liner fit, if you are going to buy it sight unseen.


I think this combination is good for warm but not too humid conditions. When it’s really humid, I would prefer a singlet that retains a little less water, even if it’s not necessarily as breathable. I like the top best for sunny conditions with relatively lower humidity in the low 70% range (this is as low as the humidity gets for me year round). The shorts work great for me and would be excellent for training in all conditions here. 

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content
The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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Unknown said...

Thanks for your review. Is there any singlet you can recommend for running in both hot and humid environment? I'm a heavy sweater too, and haven't found a singlet yet to make me feel happy running in Hong Kong, where not sure be as hot as in Singapore, but is as humid certainly.

Derek Li said...

There isn’t anything perfect yet. I like the Tracksmith strata tank best. Also, if you are based in HK, try looking for Uglow or URG branded singlet with laser cut holes. I got some from Taobao mall at 优选跑者装备直销店 and it’s quite good.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your advice.

christopher hale said...

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