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The Gore Visibility Lady Windstopper Active Shell Vest is a bit of a mouthful, but it does what its name suggests it should very well: visibility is excellent, during the day and at night, and no cold chills get through to your body. It is expensive – you can buy a gilet for a lot less – but here you are getting a very well made garment that'll appeal to safety-conscious commuters and road riders.
As visibility is its remit, the vest only comes in neon yellow, which gives you pretty much 360-degree visibility to other road users. This extends to night-time thanks to the 11 good-sized reflective Scotchlite inserts and piping.
Its other remit is to afford wind protection and to this end it is constructed from Gore's Windstopper Active Shell fabric. This is Gore's most lightweight material designed to offer total windproofing, maximum breathability and water resistance.
I found the vest very comfortable to wear, thanks to the full mesh lining that prevents clamminess, the microfibre-lined tall collar that zips up nice and snug for cool morning commutes, and the elasticated armholes.
On warmer days (there have been a few this summer!) the large mesh insert on the back goes a long way to helping the breathable fabric with extra ventilation before I've had to resort to unzipping/removing. Once removed, it fits easily into a jersey pocket.
While Gore doesn't advertise this gilet as being water-resistant, in showers the rain just beads on the surface, and a good shake when you take it off leaves it virtually dry.
Two 'stealth' zipped hand pockets are very useful – you can't actually see the zip when they're done up, it just looks like a seam. The zip pulls are quite tiddly, though, so quite a fiddle to operate with full-finger gloves. The pockets are big enough to accommodate keys, smartphone, wallet and the like.
The main zip has a storm flap behind it to keep out draughts, and its zip pull is long enough to easily use with gloves. There is reflective piping both sides of the zip for extra visibility in the dark.
The Windstopper Active Shell Vest is in Gore's most relaxed 'comfort fit' (slim and tight fit are the other two). The armholes and neck are snug, but I found it quite generous around the torso and, personally, would prefer it more tailored for a more flattering fit. Also, because it's looser around the torso than the bust, more curvaceous or bigger-bosomed women might not get on so well with the cut either.
As for length, I thought it could have been a little longer at the back to protect your derrière from road spray in inclement weather.
Finally, the price. Yes, £100 is a lot to drop on a gilet, but you are paying for German 'engineering' (Gore's description) with quality materials and excellent attention to detail. You can find significantly cheaper designs, though many sport fewer features and don't offer the same levels of visibility (check out our reviews here); if you're a fan of Gore clothing and you can afford it (and the cut suits you), you won't be disappointed.
Well-featured high-vis windproof gilet, but take note that it has a more relaxed fit than some
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Visibility Lady Windstopper Active Shell Vest
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This gilet is designed to keep cyclists highly visible day and night while protecting your body from wind chill.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Neon yellow for visibility
Reflective piping on front and back
Reflective inserts on front and back
Reflective logo on front and back
Abrasion resistant elastic binding on hem and armhole
2 side zip pockets
Zip with semi-lock slider
Zip-underflap and zip-port
Shifted seams for less chafing
Mesh insert in back for optimum ventilation
Ergonomically shaped collar
SHELL: 100% POLYESTER, WINDSTOPPER® MEMBRANE; MESH: 100% POLYAMIDE
Gore has designed it in its loosest fit, called comfort fit, which I found fairly generous through the body, especially when just worn over a thin jersey.
As above, I sized down from my norm for a better fit; I needed a 38 (size M) while in other Gore tops I take a size 40. (The photos show me in a size 40.)
Gore clothing is generally very good quality and therefore tends to be expensive. Its Element Windstopper Active Shell Vest retails for £20 less than this vest but has far less reflective material. You can also buy high-vis gilets a lot cheaper, for example from Proviz for £33.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash 40.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – it is extremely visible and windproof.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The visibility, snug-fitting neck and useful pockets.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – if on offer.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This is a quality gilet that fulfils its functions well, but the fit won't suit all.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Giant Anthem X1
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax