Winter is over and this is a great time to buy winter clothes and shoes because they are on sale. So I think this is the best time to tell you a little bit about my experience with the Gore Windstopper C3 jacket and Shimano SH-MW501 shoes. They are sensible choices price-wise but are they good enough or you should invest more to get the best experience?
I sweat a lot. Yes, not the nicest start to the review but I think this is very important to know before I get into my experience with those products. I sweat a lot and because of that I really look for clothes that can alleviate this condition. But at the same time, I don’t like feeling cold. I think you are getting what I am after… It is not easy to find clothes for biking when you want to feel warm and at the same time, not sweat too much. And especially, if you want to achieve those things without spending a lot of money. So, keeping this in mind, let’s start with the Gore Windstopper C3 jacket.
Gore Windstopper C3
It is the entry-level, or the most sensible choice when you want something from the Gore brand. But for sure, even basic Gore still costs a lot so you expect a lot. And yes, this jacket delivers. But you have to use it properly. It is designed to work best within the 5 to 15 degrees Celsius range and I generally found it to be true. But, it really depends on what you wear underneath it. From my experience, in the 5 to 15 degree range the best effect is to wear just the jersey or, and this is even better a merino t-shirt. Everything with long sleeves is too much because you start to sweat a lot.
Windstopper C3 is advertised as a totally windproof, extremely breathable and durably water-resistant jacket and the first I can totally attest. No matter the wind, you will feel comfortable underneath this jacket. But the second claim is much harder to agree with. C3 jacket has a nice, plush inner layer that makes you feel warm but at the same time the breathability of this surface is not that great. At least in my experience so that is why I settled with a short sleeves jersey or merino t-shirt to minimize sweating of my arms. I also found that I can totally use this jacket even around 0 Celsius degrees without long sleeves when I was doing a proper workout. It is that warm. And finally, the last claim regarding water resistance. This jacket is good for slight to medium rain. I have tested that. But heavy rain is too much for the surface of this jacket. This is the same reason you should very carefully wash it. C3 Windstopper has a special outer layer that provides water resistance that can be damaged if you do not treat it with real care.
And how about the fit and practicality you may ask? Practicality is OK. You have one front pocket, very useful to carry your mobile phone, and two pockets at the back (for keas or a small bottle of water). The problem with those pockets is that they are shallow and the inner layer is very slick so you have to be careful when, for example, putting there a credit card because it can easily slip from the pocket. And the fit is very good. This jacket is on the larger side of the scale jacket but at the same time the fabric is quite elastic and everything seems to be in the right shape. Even the length at the back is good enough to make your back protected from the cold and the wind. Last but not least, this jacket looks cool. It is a simple, black, sporty yet elegant design. I really like it and I found myself using this jacket in many, not bicycle-oriented situations as well.
Shimano SH-MW501 shoes
These Shimano winter shoes are quite affordable, not only in terms of Shimano offerings but in general. But they are really good, not only for the money you pay for them. Apart from one thing (you will soon find out what I am talking about), they are great!
Let’s start with the DRYSHIELD membrane that really works making these shoes very water and wind-resistant. You feel very warm in it, but, at the same time, your feet will sweat because there is very little breathability from those ventilation holes that Shimano put all over the shoe. Yes, it may moderately work around your toes but there was not even one situation where after a long ride, my socks around my ankle were dry. But you don’t feel it when riding so I don’t think that this is a really big issue.
Apart from the warm feeling, there is also a great walking feeling in those shoes. They strike the right balance between efficient pedaling and comfortable walking. They are also very easy to put on and in general, I think that comfort of using them is very good. The only issue that I had with them is with the quality of the lace flap because you have to be really careful when opening it. On one occasion I was not that careful and as the result, I tore it quite badly (see the picture). Maybe using it all winter made the material more vulnerable to tear but the truth is that I even did not pull that hard to tear it.
To sum up
I have really enjoyed both the Gore Windstopper C3 jacket and Shimano SH-MW501 shoes. I have been using them all the winter, on daily basis and they made my riding in cold, snowy weather quite enjoyable. For sure I would wish they both to be more breathable but at the same time, I know that you can’t expect miracles from entry-level products. So, if you find a good promo for any of those, don’t hesitate and buy them. Just remember to be careful when putting on and off those Shimano shoes…