Since these Gore Power Trail Lady Shorts arrived for testing, I've barely worn any others this summer – either on or off the bike – because I love the look and feel so much. They are supremely comfortable thanks to the luxurious, super-stretchy fabric, while their casual styling – such as the two jeans-type back pockets – means they don't obviously appear to be cycle shorts.
As for performance, the featherweight polyester/spandex material with four-way stretch keeps you cool and comfy. At risk of sounding all Mills & Boon, the silky fabric caresses your thighs in an almost sensuous fashion as you pedal. It is also breathable and very quick drying so it's no drama to be caught in a shower.
Yes, the Power Trail shorts are expensive, but I feel they represent fairly decent value considering their exceptional comfort, design and features. You might find them cheaper as well (for example, they're currently on offer at Wiggle for £71.99).
The shorts are designed in Gore's loosest 'comfort fit' so they don't cling anywhere, which makes them a figure-flattering choice. If anything, they are possibly cut a little too loose as the material has so much give and the waist adjustment is minimal – I could have done with the Velcro pieces sewn onto the waistband being longer. However, this was a minor niggle and the leg length is spot-on if you don't like them too short when pedalling. (I tested a size smaller than the size 40 pair modelled in the photos – definitely size down for these.)
I like the low-cut waist at the front, below the belly button – not that the waistband could dig in at all, being so soft and elastic. The shorts are cut high at the back so there's no danger of any unsightly gap between them and your jersey. There is a yoke insert at the rear that reaches around over the hips; it's made from a finer fabric than the main body and prevents the waist pulling down when you're leant forward in the saddle.
The inner thigh panels that extend to the seat are made from a more robust nylon/spandex mix for improved durability but are also thin, soft and stretchy. The Power Trails don't have a chamois pad, so if you're riding any distance you'd be wise to slip on some padded briefs or shorts underneath.
The Power Trails feature a rather unusual design: side 'flaps' that you undo to pull the shorts on and off, with Velcro to attach at the side of your waist. This helps make your tummy look flatter as there's no zip or excess fabric at the front, but I found that sometimes the Velcro tabs snagged on my jersey or the shorts themselves if I wasn't careful. (Luckily, the material doesn't snag badly – if you look closely you can just see tiny bobbles.) The waist is stretchy enough that you can pull the shorts down/up without undoing the flaps if you're in a desperate hurry, but doing this repeatedly might over-stretch the fabric.
Attention to detail is excellent. Subtle touches like the scalloping at the sides of the hem and the stitched star on the leg add to the high-quality appearance. There's also a diagonal zip pocket on the right thigh that's perfect for cash or credit cards, and a smaller zipped pocket hidden on the inside of the left hip.
As a nod to night-time visibility there are reflective logos on the side and front of the left leg, and they come in black as well as this bright 'jazzy' pink.
Wonderfully comfy and stylish summer shorts with great attention to detail
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Power Trail Lady Shorts
Size tested: M/38 (weight is for L/40)
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?
Gore marks these summer shorts as an 'Athlete's pick' on its website, but seeing as they're cut in Gore's 'comfort fit' they would suit any female cyclist from tourer to mountain biker, commuter to road rider averse to the Lycra look.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wear-resistant seat reinforcement
Front zip pocket
Side zip pocket
2 back pockets
Elastic, width-adjustable waistband
Inseam length 30cm / 12in
MAIN FABRIC: 88% POLYESTER, 12% ELASTANE
INSERT: 94% POLYAMIDE, 6% ELASTANE
STRETCH FABRIC: 91% POLYAMIDE, 9% ELASTANE
More waist adjustment would help.
I needed a size smaller than the waist measurement on Gore's size chart indicated, so I'd advise sizing down. They are cut in Gore's loosest 'comfort fit'.
The most comfortable shorts I've ever worn by a country mile!
Expensive, but you get what you pay for here.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash 40 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Wonderful – super-comfy, lightweight shorts that keep you cool.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The style and soft, stretchy fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – even with the high price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
These shorts are very nearly a 9 – the fabric and cut make them unbelievably comfortable, they're stylish and flattering, and the attention to detail is excellent. Just the high price and minimal waist adjustment keeps them at an 8.
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