For riding in the rain, the holy grail is a waterproof cycling jacket that’s lightweight, comfortable, highly waterproof but still very breathable, and when the sun comes out, you want to be able to stash it away into nothing.
Those are properties consistently cited in reviews of jackets made from Gore-Tex Shakedry. Its unique construction means that water beads off it, so unlike the majority of waterproof materials it never wets out and needs just a surface wipe down if it gets dirty – we tell you below how it works.
The downside of Shakedry jackets is their elevated prices though – jackets made from Gore-Tex’s wonder-material are frequently among the most expensive we review. But if you ride frequently in wet conditions, maybe you can regard buying one as an investment in your comfort.
We’ve reviewed a fair few Shakedry jackets here at BikeRadar and they’ve consistently scored highly. Here’s our cream of the crop.
Best Shakedry jackets, as rated by our expert testers
- Gore Shakedry 1985 Viz: £250 / $350 / €TBC / AU$TBC
- Castelli Idro Pro 2: £340 / $400 / €350 / AU$640
- Gore Cancellara C7 Shakedry: £320 / $390 / €350 / AU£TBC
- Rapha Pro Team Lightweight: £220 / $295 / €260 / AU$385
- Castelli Idro 2: £260 / $300 / €TBC / AU$479
- 7Mesh Oro: £250 / $300 / €330 / AU$TBC
Gore Shakedry 1985 Viz
- £250 / $350 / €TBC / AU$TBC
- Bright contrasting panels and reflectives
- Easily pocketable
With hi-vis accents and reflective details, the Gore Shakedry 1985 Viz jacket ups your road presence when riding in the rain. There’s enough give for comfort and a two-way front zip so you can get at your jersey pockets. A soft-touch collar adds comfort and the elasticated cuffs stay in place well.
The Shakedry 1985 Viz packs into its own rear pocket for a package that fits easily into a jersey when not worn. We weighed a size large at 134g.
Castelli Idro Pro 2
- £340 / $400 / €350 / AU$640
- Rear pockets
- Mix of Gore fabrics for skin-tight fit
Hitting five stars in a face-off of ten waterproof shell jackets, the Idro Pro 2 has a racer’s cut tempered by panels of equally waterproof Gore Topo fabric to add stretch at the sides, shoulders, elbows and wrists, for a skin-tight fit.
Unlike many Shakedry jackets, the Idro Pro has a decent run of pockets, complete with drainage holes. And that, along with its fit, great waterproofing and other quality features, makes it a winner as far as we’re concerned.
Gore Cancellara C7 Shakedry
- £320 / $390 / €350 / AU£TBC
- Brilliant performance
- Race fit without windflap
Gore’s race-fit C7 Shakedry jacket, developed with input from Fabian Cancellara, has great stretch and, as with all Shakedry kit, packs down to fit in a pocket. Breathability is second to none, so it’s great if you’re working up a sweat.
You get a single zipped rear pocket and two long reflective rear strips. Complete with an FC monogram on the rear, the jacket looks good too.
Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry jacket
- £220 / $295 / €260 / AU$385
- Enough room to layer up
- Packs into its own pocket
- Eschews Rapha’s usual premium pricing
With Rapha’s usual details like a contrasting white armband, the Pro Team Lightweight jacket is snug but not restrictive, so you can layer up underneath. The storm flap behind the zip helps keep out rain even in the worst conditions.
The two-way zip can be used effectively when wearing gloves and the jacket packs away into an integrated mesh pocket when not in use. It’s reasonably priced for a Shakedry jacket too, going against Rapha’s usual premium pricing.
- Read our full review of the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry jacket
- Buy the Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Shakedry jacket direct from Rapha
Castelli Idro 2
- £260 / $300 / €TBC / AU$479
- Minimalist design without pockets
- Very light and packable
- May need to size up
The Idro 2 is a racer’s jacket with a pared-back design that omits pockets, wrist adjusters or zip flaps. That makes it super-light at 105g for a small size and it packs easily into a jersey pocket.
Another race feature: the Idro 2 is fitted, so it’s flap-free, but means those of a more average build might need to size up.
- £250 / $300 / €330 / AU$TBC
- Extremly light weight
- Flaps for pocket access
- Fiddly zipper
At just 93g for a size large, the Oro is lightweight even for a Shakedry piece. It has welded raw-edged hems and a laminated zipper to help keep the weight down, while large flaps at the rear means you can access pockets as you ride.
To achieve that weight, the collar is a bit low though and the small zipper is a bit fiddly.
Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex
- £320 / $430 / €375 / AU$540
- Effective, low bulk insulation
- Limited opportunities to wear
- Very expensive
The Pro Team Insulated jacket is well made and adds a layer of Polartec Alpha insulation inside the Shakedry shell. It’s effective at keeping you warm, despite its low bulk, although the small zip pullers can be fiddly when wearing gloves.
But we reckon that Rapha’s jacket is going to spend a long time in the cupboard waiting for a suitably wet and cold day to take it out for a spin. You’d be better off spending your cash on something more versatile.
- Read our full review of the Rapha Pro Team Insulated Gore-Tex jacket
- Buy the Pro Team Insulated Gore-Rex jacket direct from Rapha
Guide to waterproof Gore-Tex Shakedry cycling jackets
How do breathable waterproofs work?
Gore-Tex was the original vapour-permeable water-impermeable fabric, invented way back in 1969. It paved the way for a wide range of fabrics all based on sandwiching a PTFE membrane with microscopic holes in it between two layers of fabric.
The holes are large enough to let out water vapour, i.e. your evaporating sweat, but too small to let in droplets of liquid water. That keeps you more comfortable when you’re exercising in the rain.
The outer surface of the fabric needs to be coated with a DWR (durable water-resistant) treatment though, to stop it wetting out, as a wet outer face stops the transfer of water vapour from working and makes the garment heavier and colder.
Over time, dirt and abrasion tend to wear off the DWR layer, so your jacket will wet out more easily. So you need to clean and reproof it periodically – see our post on how to care for waterproofs.
Why is Shakedry different?
With Shakedry, Gore turned the structure of membrane-based waterproofs inside out. Instead of sandwiching the membrane in the middle of a laminate, the membrane in Shakedry fabrics forms the outermost layer of the garment, supported by a single fabric layer.
With one less layer, Shakedry jackets are thinner and lighter than a three-layer laminate. That means they are more packable and water-vapour transfer through the fabric is faster, keeping you drier.
The membrane on the outside also repels water, without needing a DWR coating. So it’s permanently water-resistant, water beads off and – as its name says – it shakes dry when the rain stops.
Originally launched in 2016 as a non-stretch fabric, Shakedry fabrics now include stretch for a more comfortable fit and there are lined jackets available to add warmth too.
Who makes Shakedry jackets?
When Shakedry was introduced, it was only available in Gore’s own line of clothing. That’s since changed and Shakedry jackets are now available from an increasing number of other top-tier cycling brands.
So you can find Shakedry cycling jackets from the likes of Castelli, 7Mesh and Rapha. Harry Osborn, product designer at Rapha attests to Shakedry’s qualities, telling us: “Rapha’s most advanced hardshell fabric is Gore-Tex Shakedry. Super lightweight, fully waterproof and the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market”.
Shakedry jackets from a number of brands can be found for running, hiking and other outdoor sports too.
What features can I expect in a Shakedry jacket?
Shakedry’s selling points are its light weight, breathability and wet-weather performance. So don’t expect bells and whistles – many Shakedry jackets don’t even feature pockets, to help keep the weight low.
The jackets make up for that with great packability, so they’re items you can take with you ‘just in case’ without bulging out your pockets. With their high breathability and windproofing, you’ll often be comfortable wearing a Shakedry jacket for your entire ride, even if it isn’t raining.
The predominant colour is grey-black, but some Shakedry jackets leaven that with brighter panels and most will include reflectives.
Full zips, often two-way, help with access to jersey pockets and heat modulation, while a high collar and stretchy cuffs help keep out rain and wind. And seams will be taped on the inside to stop rain from finding its way in there.