In white, the Gore Xenon SO winter jacket threatens to out-boutique many Italian softshells. Featuring Gore's own Windstopper fabric, the fit is tight, with pre-shaped elbows and a long back.
Gore sell this breathable, rain resistant fabric to many of their rivals, but they've trumped them by improving waterproofing of the shoulder seams. By taping them from the outside, this moves the softshell into rain-jacket-rivalling territory. Other smart features include two long hidden zips, meshed side vents, meshed cuff zips, excellent reflectives and four rear pockets.
How we tested the latest jackets
As well as cycling for hours in the coldest, wettest conditions we could find (and sitting on a turbo under a hose), we took all the jackets to the waterproof clothing experts at Foxwear to test the seams and material – specifically the chest area and shoulder seams, which bear the brunt of downpours.
Foxwear’s testing machine isolates a 10cm section of the jacket and subjects it to increasing water pressure. We continued until either the jacket leaked or the pressure reached 0.6 bar which, according to Foxwear, is ‘not far short of a tropical storm’. Foxwear should know: they've been making hi-vis, high performance rain jackets for professionals such as the police for years, and will soon be bringing out a bike jacket.