GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket review – the last of the great waterproof jackets?

Gore Shakedry is having its environmental swan song this year, but should you invest in one before they are gone forever?

Man wearig a GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket with a Bike Perfect recommends badge
(Image: © Ruby Boyce)

BikePerfect Verdict

Gore’s Shakedry is by far the most waterproof and breathable jacket material I have ever used, nothing even comes close to the performance of the Shakedry material. It's not without its disadvantages, namely robustness and limitations of fit, but if staying dry is your top priority you had better get your wallet out before they are all gone.

Pros

  • +

    Unmatched waterproofness

  • +

    Next level breathability

  • +

    Super light and packable

  • +

    Two-way zip

Cons

  • -

    Bad for the environment

  • -

    Delicate material is at risk of damage

  • -

    Fit is limited due to zero stretch material

  • -

    High cost

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

This is the beginning of the end for Shakedry, with the impending forever chemicals ban there will be no more Shakedry in production. That's potentially a big step back for those in search of the best waterproof jackets as Shakedry had built a reputation as being the pinnacle of waterproof.

Without diving too deep into chemistry I quite honestly don’t understand, Shakedry falls under the the PFC (per and poly-fluorinated chemicals) and PFAS (per and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) ban that will take effect in 2025 as it contains PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) chemical. Gore itself has already ceased production of the Shakedry material and released its first fluorocarbon-free cycling jacket, the GoreWear Spinshift GTX. So when the Shakedry jackets are gone, they are truly gone. 

Gorewear C5 Shakedry 1985 was the first Shakedry jacket on the market and now it's one of the last. As the curtain closes on potentially the pinnacle of waterproofness, it’s now or never if you are thinking of getting a Shakedry jacket. 

Man wearig a GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket

The exposed membrane of the Shakedry material gives the jacket its remarkable water shedding ability and unusual shiny finish (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Design and specification

Shakedry was revolutionary when it was first launched promising unmatched waterproofing, breathability, and packability compared to existing jackets. Most waterproof jacket fabrics feature several layers, a waterproof membrane layer is sandwiched between a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treated outer face fabric for durability and an inner layer to lift the material from the skin. This setup works well, however, it has a fundamental flaw. When the face fabric becomes sodden due to either heavy rain or worn-off DWR, the absorbed water limits breathability and you will start to get wet from the inside as sweat can’t escape. 

What makes Shakedry different is that Gore removed the outer face fabric to expose the hydrophobic membrane for persistent water repellency and eliminate extra layers to improve breathability. 

GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket packed away in its pocket

The jacket packs away super small (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Removing the outer layer also dramatically cuts down bulk and weight and compared to a lightweight multi-layered jacket, the C5 Shakedry 1985 packs down spectacularly small. When folded away onto its own rear pocket, it measures roughly 140mm x 80mm x 60mm and my medium-sized review jacket weighs just 119g. For a comparison, you can expect a jacket made from Gore-Tex Infinium to weigh around 300g.

The impressively low weight doesn’t come at the expense of features either, GoreWear has specced a small zipped rear pocket with a storm flap, a double-ended zip with a wind-resistant backing, and an adjustable velcro collar. Elasticated panels help keep the cuffs close to the wrists too.

GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket cuff detail

Elasticated panels keep the cuffs tight around the wrists (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Performance

Shakedry’s waterproofness is better than anything that I have ever used with water continuously beading up and rolling off, unlike jackets with face materials, Shakedry never suffers from saturation. Once the rain stops, it’s truly a case of just shaking the water off the surface before packing it away.

The breathability is also next level and I didn't experience any moisture build-up inside, even during high-intensity efforts. Moisture expulsion is so impressive that if worn over already wet layers, they can completely dry underneath the jacket while riding.

The impermeable barrier from incoming rain and wind combined with the swift evacuation of any moisture keeping you bone dry inside means Shakedry is considerably better than you would expect in cold weather. Although there is no insulation, Shakedry allows the body to regulate temperature naturally and technical layers worn underneath to work better. If you need cold weather performance, Gorewear does an insulated version lined with Polartec Alpha insulation for warmth..

GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket collar detail

The high collar is adjustable and secured using Velcro (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

While weatherproofing is about as good as we are likely to get for the foreseeable future, the C5 Shakedry 1985 material isn’t perfect as the inherent lack of stretch could be a limiting factor when it comes to tailoring. Gorewear describes the C5 Shakedry 1985 as a slim fit but, despite being in the upper chest measurements of a size medium, I still felt that the jacket could be a little neater, particularly around the arms and waist. I don’t think downsizing would be an option for me, although the fit may work better for other riders.

In the grand scheme of things I’m just being picky with the tailoring, on the bike I found it to be very comfortably shaped, has minimal flapping at speed, and enough space for an additional layer underneath. Initially, I was unsure of the high Velcro collar but it sits really well around the throat and stops any leaks or draughts, as do the elasticated cuffs.

It's worth mentioning the biggest weakness of the Shakedry material, without a face material the Shakedry is more delicate than other waterproof jackets. The fact GoreWear recommends that you don’t wear a backpack with this jacket hints that it wouldn’t fare well in a crash – although I haven’t put that to the test. If I had stumped up the high asking price, crashing while wearing this jacket would weigh heavily on my mind when riding.

GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket rear pocket detail

The jacket packs away into the small rear pocket to help protect it when its not being worn (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Verdict

GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 to 2025, has the pinnacle of waterproofness passed? Hopefully not but until Gore-Tex, or another brand, cooks up the next wonder material nothing compares to the Shakedry legacy. With third-party options from 7Mesh, Rapha, and Castelli already essentially sold out, Gorewear’s own C5 Shakedry 1985 is your last chance to experience this waterproof wonder material.

The Shakedry material lives up to its hype and is unmatched in waterproofness. Unlike other jackets where water eventually sneaks in or fails to escape, Shakedry can outlast offering unfaltering protection even in the worst of weather. The Gorewear C5 Shakedry 1985 is a solid option. Although the fit isn’t quite as slim as I hoped, I wasn’t bothered by any excess material and maneuverability when it’s pouring rain. I'm a recent convert to Shakedry but I am glad I invested having put it to good use this very wet winter. If you’re looking for the uttermost waterproofness or lightness then I urge you to act fast before it's too late.

Rich Owen is still testing the new GoreWear Spinshift GTX jacket, so stay tuned as we will have a full test of the Spinshift GTX jacket on Bike Perfect.

Tech specs: GoreWear C5 Shakedry 1985 jacket

  • Price: $300.00 / £299.99 / €299.95
  • Weight: 119g (M)
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colors: Black
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road, based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg