The Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket is an excellent defence on cold rides – it's warm, windproof and really well shaped. Gore makes no claim of waterproofing but it can cope with brief, light showers; while pairing successfully with a waterproof in single-digit temps, it's not quite breathable enough as a mid-layer at the upper end of its claimed range.
The softshell Infinium Thermo Jacket is very comfortable for a variety of reasons. The fleecy lining is soft against the skin should you have short sleeves, and the thick fabric holds warmth very well from the off.
Cold draughts do little to change that, thanks to excellent windproofing, a well-dropped tail that stays firmly in place on a wide, silicone-backed elastic panel, and neat inner cuffs that block winds effectively.
The neck is a highlight. It's tall and cosseting without ever feeling restrictive, and the soft lining feels plush. I found myself constantly adjusting the zip from collarbone to fully up to regulate heat – it makes a surprising difference – and the chunky plastic zip slides eagerly. No need here to bite the collar and stretch just to get the damn thing to move...
Gore says this is for 5-15°C, but I personally found it a bit too sweaty at much beyond 12 degrees, even with a single short-sleeve layer beneath. I don't particularly run hot, either. I never got so hot I wanted to take it off – which is good, as it's a bulky thing – but the build-up of moisture does get distracting.
Fill the thick, spray-resistant pockets with stuff and your lower back only gets sweatier... although as the two outer ones are rather narrow and not very stretchy, there's only so much you can fit in (a big phone fits in the outer ones fine, but my waterproof is centre-pocket only).
It has a zipped pocket too, always appreciated.
In cooler air (10°C or less), the Infinium Thermo does a great job of staying warm and a perfectly acceptable job of ditching vapour. As an outer layer, it's fantastic, and this almost violently yellow version is extremely visible on winter days. So visible, in fact, that I seemed to suffer fewer close passes whenever I was wearing it. It's not infallible – a tactical nuke wouldn't be bright enough for some (do BMW X5s have opaque windscreens? Asking for a friend) – but there really does seem to be an effect.
There's also a (slightly) less shouty red version, alongside blue and black options for the ninjas and traditionalists out there.
The sizing and fit is spot on, too, as is Gore's description of it as form fitting but not body hugging. It has room for layers and easy movement, but nothing to flap or form a sail. It's not me in the photos – that's Liam, who's 6cm shorter than me and a few kilos lighter.
Its Achilles heel is any mild, wet day when you need a waterproof on top for extended periods, and your own personal humidity spikes. Like the rest of the Infinium range, this jacket is not designed to be waterproof, and though water does bead a little – principally on the black bits – the majority sinks through. Gore makes no mention of DWR or similar at all.
It's okay in very brief or light showers, but nothing more. On cold, wet days it works as a mid-layer just fine, but once into double figures I found it eventually got uncomfortable beneath a waterproof.
At £129.99 it's hardly cheap, though the quality, fit and performance justify it – and you can spend more. The Chapeau Men's Club Windstopper Jacket is £149.99, for instance, though its windproof panels are also waterproof and the rest is more breathable. It only comes in black, though.
The Pearl Izumi Pro AmFib Softshell Jacket is even more at £199.99, though that is water resistant enough that you could avoid buying a separate waterproof altogether.
Undercutting both considerably is Lusso's 50 Shades Thermal Jacket at (hilariously) £69.99, although that's neither windproof nor waterproof. It's still very good though.
If you want fantastic warmth and comfort AND great breathability alongside low weight and good packability, the Endura Pro Primaloft Jacket II is only £10 more than the Infinium Thermo at £139.99.
Overall, the Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket is warm, comfortable and very well shaped. It's great to ride in on cold, dry days or cold, wet days with a waterproof, although reasonable rather than amazing breathability means that mild rides, whether wet or dry, are just not its forte.
Well shaped, well made, comfortable and warm – if not quite breathable enough for mild weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium Thermo Jacket
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the jacket 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 says: "Fleece lined thermal soft shell jacket provides insulation and wind protection on cold rides. Cut to be form fitting in your riding position. Use of reflective GORE® logos enhances nighttime visibility, ideal for committed winter cyclists."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
Cool 5° - 15°C
Engineered for Cycling
Weight: 468 grams
3-compartment spray resistant back pockets
Big tonal logo on sleeve
Fleece lined backer for warmth protection
Modern, aero road cycling fit: lengthened sleeves and dropped tail
Secure zip pocket on rear for keys or valuables
Zip with zip port
Elastic grip on bottom hem
Very well made.
Warm, comfortable and pretty breathable.
Stitching and fabric choices give zero concerns.
Gore doesn't put a number on it, just claims this is 'extremely breathable'. I wouldn't go quite as far as that, but while it can get a little sweaty on mild days, as an outer layer it breathes well enough to stay comfortable no matter what.
A very well judged cut that's slim and flap-free without being at all tight.
Warm, windproof and with a great high neck, this is a pleasure to wear on cold rides.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems. Can take 40 degree washes.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Comfortable, good sleeve length, excellent neck, very visible.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
Narrow rear pockets.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than several recent softshells we've reviewed, though they offer at least some waterproofing too – and the only one to beat if for price isn't wind or waterproof.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes
Would you consider buying the jacket? Yes
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very well made, very comfortable and a great barrier against chilly air. If it were a bit more breathable for use under a waterproof it could be a nine, but perhaps this level of fleece-lined warmth makes that impossible... it's hard to say. Either way, it's very good just as it is and a solid eight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,