Sunday, January 16, 2022

Gore Wear Drive Running and C5 Thermo Cycling/Running Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper Jackets, C5 Thermo Bib Tights , Gore R5 GTX Tights Reviews

Article by Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum

Gore Wear Drive Jacket ($220)

Features and Tech

Sam: The Drive Jacket is a super light, windproof, and lightly insulated running focused jacket. It features an unusual construction. Next to the body we have the totally windproof very breathable Gore-Tex Infinium membrane. Next we then have a layer of Polartec Alpha insulation covering the shoulders/upper arms, upper back and upper chest. Finally, we have a thin, soft outer wind and lightly moisture resistant shell.

The Alpha insulation is under the very thin outer shell material. Polartec Alpha was originally developed for US Special Forces as an ultra light, ultra breathable, and fast drying insulation for activities with high mobility and lots of stop and go.

The idea is to provide total wind protection, light on the go insulation, high breathability throughout and fast drying more than the water resistance which Gore-Tex is commonly known for. The uses here for high output endurance activities where total waterproofing is less needed and breathability and total wind resistance is the top priority .

The Drive includes 2 large front zip pockets within one of these we have a small inner mesh stow pocket. Given the pockets end well above the lower hem, midway between the white line above and the hem, phones and other objects placed in them tend to not bounce as much as one might expect for such a light, light jacket.  

There is a soft stretch jersey on the inner side of the wrist cuffs, around the inner neck and across the bottom of the back. Note in the picture above how translucent the jacket is.

Vertical reflective strips front and back are hidden (and protected from wear) below the outer shell. On the exterior we have some additional reflective highlights. There is no hood.  

Another similar version, the Infinium Insulated Jacket, is also available. It differs in having full front and back Alpha insulation and a hood. I also have this jacket and find it almost too warm for temperatures much above freezing on the run.

Fit & Style

Sam: The fit is regular meaning not overly slim and not baggy either. Even a thin base layer plus a moderately thick mid layer is easily accommodated underneath with no binding or stretching. The jacket is not particularly long but does include two hem draw cords.  I am 5’9 ” and 165 lbs. 

The feel is whispery light with the soft optic yellow jersey like material at the cuffs and around the neck providing a nice luxurious feel.

The styling of my white and optic yellow for sure brightens up and keeps one visible on those dark days winter runs and even night runs as there is front and back reflectivity below the translucent shell and as outer highlights.

Jeff V:  I am 5’9” / 145 lbs and wear a size medium.  For me, fit is just perfect and as Sam says, not too slim fitting, nor too baggy and fits into that “just right” range for me, where I do not feel too compressed if I am wearing it after a meal or with an extra layer underneath.  I mostly wear the Drive jacket as an outer layer, but occasionally as a mid layer as well . The fit can easily accommodate an extra layer for warmth underneath without feeling too constricting.

Style (at least in the black colorway) in my opinion is very nice and I often wear it casually because of it’s comfortable fit, light/barely there feel, good pockets, warmth to weight ratio and layers nicely under a down jacket with no bulk or bunching.  If I had the white/yellow or grey/red, I would likely only wear for running, but the black looks good for casual use too and for me adds to the versatility.

The cuffs are particularly nice and are streamlined/minimal, with just a little bit of stretch and easily fits over my GPS running watches.


Sam: The Drive shines in somewhat above to well below freezing dry conditions with wind in the mix. I have rarely been as comfortable in such temperatures and with just a light mid to base layer underneath. And the jacket being so light I often have to remind myself I have it on. There is just enough insulation to keep warm on the go and plenty of breathability to keep things from overheating and getting wet. While water resistant it is not the ideal jacket for runs in precipitation  

My only real knock on performance here is that when temperatures are warmer and a short sleeve shirt is in order,  the inner Infinium sticks to the arms. This is a function of the membrane itself (maybe it could have some more standoff texture or the underside be more of the soft jersey?) but also due to the relatively snug fit of the arms. I also wish the zipper and its pull was a bit more substantial with its backing and flap below a bit stiffer to prevent the zipper from catching near the neck.

Jeff V:  I have worn the Drive jacket on most of my runs in the Boulder foothills during the month of December and into January, in temps ranging from 25 degrees to 50 degrees with a long sleeve base layer underneath and have been comfortable throughout that range.  While wearing a long sleeve shirt and Drive jacket on a 50 degree day might be a bit more than needed for high output running, it is not prohibitively warm and perfect for moderate to lower output activity at that general temperature.  On the cooler side of that range, I find the Drive jacket to provide a very good level of breathability, warmth and wind protection.  I have not worn this jacket in truly wet conditions, but in light snow showers, it did a good job fending off light moisture.  It really is amazing how versatile this jacket is over such a range of temperature and this is especially remarkable given the light weight.  I tend to run a bit on the colder side and have been known to dress a bit more warmly than most, so any colder than 25 degrees, I’ll likely add another layer and definitely something with a hood.  

I find the zippered hand pockets to be just right for stowing a phone or a few other small essentials and they are comfortable to just put your hands in when cold, which I appreciate when not running (running errands on the way to/from the trailhead for example).

My only very minor complaint would be the zipper can feel a little finicky at times, but has not truly been an issue.  As Sam also mentioned, a hood would be nice and for my use, would make this one of the more perfect jackets given the typical winds that we encounter in the winter here in Boulder.  I counter not having a hood by wearing a Buff style neck gaiter that I pull up over my neck and head to counter drafts, which works well, but there is nothing quite like tucking into a nice hood when the wind kicks up.  As Sam mentioned earlier, Gore does offer a hooded, but more insulated R5 jacket (that is $50 more) and would probably be my first pick given a choice, but would also be nice to see a hooded version of the slightly more minimal Drive jacket.

Reflectivity is somewhat minimal at least in the black colorway and from the best I can tell, there are only a few small reflective strips under the outer shell, as well as small reflective Gore logos.  If one looks really closely, in the center of the back, there is a very subtle reflective Gore Tex logo on the inner layer, but is only visible at certain angles and difficult to capture in a photo (you can barely see in photo below).


Sam: If you need the lightest possible insulated, highly breathable and totally wind resistant jacket the Drive is an excellent choice. It will protect you and keep you comfortable on those chilly breezy winter runs and you will not even realize you have it on. By combining the wind proof highly breathable Gore-Tex Infinium technology with fast drying low moisture absorbing Polartec Alpha insulation and a light over shell GoreWear has delivered high high protection and comfort at light light weight. And fitting its darker days use the bright contrasting colors of my white and optic yellow will keep you visible and cheery too.  

Jeff V:  Sam sums it up well above.  I really enjoy wearing the Drive jacket and is for sure one of the best in my collection and if it had a hood, would be my absolute favorite.  I really appreciate the warmth to weight ratio, the wind blocking capabilities, comfortable fit, breathability and in black, the style even for everyday casual wear.  Easy to pack along in a run vest for added warmth in summer even or travel, I would highly recommend the Drive jacket.


adidas Terrex Agravic Alpha Shield Hoodie

Jeff V:  A full 5 years old now, the Alpha Shield Hoodie with Polartec Alpha insulation in the chest area is still one of my favorites.  While perhaps not as warm/windproof, or as high tech as the Gore Drive jacket, it is pretty darn close in performance and I appreciate that it has a hood. I still wear this jacket often over a midlayer on colder days when I feel like I need some added warmth and wind protection, yet I know there is no chance for precip.

Sam: I concur with Jeff on the Alpha Shield. One of the most versatile light jackets I have ever owned and a clear model for the Drive which updates the concept with the more effective Infinium wind barrier. 

Gore H5 Active Hooded Jacket

Jeff:  I guess in a different category, but the H5 complements the Drive well as a more protective outer layer to ward off heavy snow, extreme wind and light rain.  While the H5 does not have a particularly generous fit, there is plenty of room underneath for the minimal, yet effective Drive jacket.

GoreWear X7 Infinium Soft Lined Jacket

Jeff V:  The X7 is a bit thicker and warmer with more body mapped distinctive panels than the Drive, but I found it to be less enjoyable to wear for the most part given its very form fitting cycling clothing sort of fit, but it does serve its purpose well as a warm and breathable mid layer.

Backcountry Tabernash Hoodie

Sam: A warmer softshell Infinium hoodie the Tabernash is more focused on hiking and nordic/touring skiing uses but for sure can be used for running. I have been amazed how breathable this thicker jacket is. It has a full hood, long dual zipper, a giant kangaroo pocket and adequate reflective highlights. Almost as equally breathable and warmer yet than the Drive it won’t pack away as easily as the Drive but for all sports uses and casual wear it is very versatile.

Tracksmith NDO and Nor’Easter Jackets

Sam: While the Drive is whisper light, the Tracksmith Jackets are winter and foul weather armor.  A highly water repellent outer softshell has a light layer of merino bonded to the inside. Not quite as windproof, but equally as breathable, their heavier construction makes up for it with better water resistance, as much insulation and go anywhere do anything styling.

Gore Wear C5 GORE-TEX INFINIUM Thermo Jacket ($220)

Features and Tech: 

Jeff V:  The C5 Thermo jacket is a fleece lined Infinium / WINDSTOPPER soft shell that is totally windproof, breathable and water resistant.  The brushed fleece lining is exceptionally comfortable and the stretch panels allow for good freedom of movement.  This is a dedicated cycling jacket and there are some very specific features that deem it cycling specific, such as lengthened sleeves, a long tail, a slim/aero fit and elastic cuffs.  But other features transcend, such as a close fit high collar, reflective black out details including on the sleeves, cuffs, and hems. One of my favorite features, designed for cycling, is the rear pocket arrangement which also works great for running, are the 3 large bike jersey style pockets, as well as a doubled up overlay zippered pocket.

Fit, Style: 

As mentioned above, the C5 Thermo has a slim and athletic fit, which is suited for riding and has long arms for being more outstretched on the bike and a longer tail to keep out drafts and guard from minor rear wheel spray.  

While designed for cycling, I don’t mind these refinements for running as well to have that little bit of extra protection.  For running, the slim fit prohibits layering underneath, but one can easily accommodate a long sleeve baselayer.  Style is cycling centric, but I think somewhat depends on which color you choose.  I have the black, which looks like it could be either a cycling or running jacket, which for me helps a bit going back/forth between the two sports, where the yellow and orange may tempt one to only use for cycling (though given the choice, I likely would have picked a brighter color for daytime visibility on the road).


The C5 is a very warm jacket and for running, I’ll only wear it when temperatures are below freezing.  It is reasonably breathable, but the brushed fleece lining and WINDSTOPPER materials are burly and thick, such that it offers amazing warmth and wind protection, but is easy to overheat when pushing hard even in temps in the 20’s.  For cycling, I really do not ride when it is all that cold anymore, but have tested on some mornings that are around freezing and is plenty toasty.  As I mentioned under features and tech, I really appreciate the secure storage of the 3 deep back pockets, plus the 4th zippered key pocket which can easily accommodate my wallet and car/house key.


A top of the line Gore WINDSTOPPER/Infinium jacket, the C5 is ideal for cold weather cycling with an amazing level of warmth, comfort, wind protection, breathability and versatile functionality that can easily cross over as an even colder weather running jacket.  If I could improve this jacket, I would relax the fit just a little and add a hood, but neither of those wishes are common in a cycling jacket.


Gore Drive:  The Drive is much much lighter and compressible and certainly not as warm or as wind resistant as the C5, with a more relaxed fit that is better suited to running vs. cycling.

Gorewear C5 Thermo Bib Tights+ ($170)

Features and Tech:  

The C5 Thermo Bib Tights feature DWR and WINDSTOPPER, thermo stretch functional fabric to protect from road spray, while insulating and supporting your muscles.  The stretch material allows for freedom of movement through the pedaling cycle and the bib backing material and “suspenders” are thin and breathable.  Additionally, the C5 Thermo tights have a Gore WINDSTOPPER preformed windproof front cup for optimum comfort and wind protection.  There are also reflective dotted panels, reflective logos and striping for added night visibility, as well as neon yellow panels on the lower leg for a little bit of daytime visibility.

Fit, Style:  

I ended up with a size medium, which just barely work for me, but are a bit short and tight given my 34+” inseam and 33” waist (yes, I am just 5’9”, but have disproportionately long legs).  Style is exactly what you would expect from a bike tight, sleek, fast and aero when astride your carbon fiber rig and even tolerable walking around a Boulder Whole Foods, but super awkward walking around the gas station way off in rural America.


These tights are top quality and very warm for riding in cold temperatures and the preformed, windproof cup is a huge plus to allow for a little breathing room/circulation for one’s bits, thus keeping the nether region more warm and comfortable.  While wearing underwear under bike shorts/bib tights is a major faux pas in the cycling world, I have several pairs of Pearlizumi briefs with a windproof panel in the front that essentially do the same thing, but with the C5 Thermo tight, they are definitely not needed any longer.  The padded “chamois”, is streamlined and very ergonomic and comfortable for at least several hours (if cold enough for tights, I am personally not riding for more than a few hours anyways). 


The C5 Thermo Bib Tights are a perfect complement to the C5 Thermo Jacket and create a very stylish and effectively warm, breathable and comfortable winter kit to battle chilly winds on the bike.  While the C5 Thermo Jacket can easily go back and forth between running and cycling, that is not the case with the tights, as running in bibs with a padded under carriage would be (at least for me) a bit awkward and distracting.

Gore R5 GTX Tights

Features and Tech:  

Made of Gore Infinium and WINDSTOPPER materials, the R5 GTX Tight is water resistant, windproof and breathable.  With stretch panels, a stretch drawstring waist band, brushed fleece around the waist, zippered ankle cuffs and two pockets, one zippered at the back and one on the upper left leg.

Fit, Style:  

Again, I ended up with a size medium which are exceptionally snug for my 34+” inseam and 33” waist. I think a large would fit me very well.  Style is modern and technical and snazzed up by the Gore logo and a few reflective strips, but otherwise look like what one would expect for a running tight.

Performance:  I have run in the R5 GTX Tight in temps down as low as the teens and they were plenty warm and cut the wind quite well.  Even when snowy, I stayed relatively dry and still very warm.  Because my test pair is a size too small, they felt a bit constricting on me, especially running up my typical steep trails, where big leg lifts made the smaller size even more noticeable.  

However, as it turns out, my wife who is a women’s size 0 with 32” inseam needed pants and I gladly passed these along to her and they actually fit her very well (not quite the flattering women’s fit she would expect, but still very functional for winter outdoor running and use).  She had no such issues with constriction and they have become one of her favorite pairs of winter tights because of the warmth, breathability, windproofing and water resistance for those snowy runs.  

One resounding complaint that we both have is that the pockets are not very well thought out.  In a pinch, I can just barely jam my iPhone 12 mini into the leg pocket, but the rear zippered pocket is a complete no go.  While you can more practically use these pockets for chap stick, a car key or a few gels, I am surprised that nobody at Gore even thought about sizing either of these pockets to at least accommodate a small to mid sized phone (which I can easily fit my phone in the rear zip pocket of my R5 Gore Tex Infinium Pants, so the logic befuddles me).


The R5 GTX is ideal for cold weather running and can easily ward off light rain, and stay reasonably dry and cozy on snowy runs, while fending off wind and staying quite warm.  If not for my sizing issue (and the pocket oversight) these would be a favorite for my colder pre dawn runs.

Shop for Gore Wear Infinium

Gore Wear HERE

Backcountry 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 in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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