This year is a big year for the folks at Gore Wear, with lots of new and revised products hitting the market. On the MTB side, the Gore Wear Fernflow baggy shorts are built tough, yet still lightweight enough for regular use. I gave them a go on the local trails and it’s good to be baggy.
Gore Wear Fernflow Shorts Features:
- Utilizes CORDURA fabric for the ultimate durability and protection
- DWR treatment and taped seams on backside for splash resistance
- Adjustable waistband with silicone grips
- Stretchy back panel for added in-saddle comfort
- Spacious front pockets with dedicated sections for phones
- Laser-cut air vents
- Fly zip with double snap closure
- 13.4″ inseam
- MSRP: $130
L-shaped pockets stole my heart
Rarely do I opt for a set of baggy MTB shorts, unless I’m doing lift-serviced or otherwise technical terrain. That said, I always seem to find something to be grateful for when I do wear baggies. On my inaugural ride in the new Gore Wear Fernflow Shorts aboard the Alchemy Argos, I hit the deck heading into a loose, rocky corner. I was flying along just after a rock garden section when I let my guard down and lost my front wheel while thinking several turns ahead.
As I was hip-checking and sliding on the trail, I was thinking how grateful I was to be wearing the Fernflow Shorts. When I stood up, I could tell I had some bruising and light abrasions, but nothing was bleeding and the shorts were dusty, but completely intact. While I don’t always feel the need to do first-hand crash testing, you can thank me for taking one for the team. You’re welcome.
Before that first ride even happened, I was searching for my set of Pearl Izumi Expedition PRO Bib Shorts to wear underneath them. Instead, I went for the cheapest bib shorts I own, the Neopro Onyx Bib Shorts. I slipped on the bibs, then pulled the Fernflow Shorts on top. Right then, I put my hand in the right pocket and discovered the ingenious L-shaped pocket design. “Whoa… that’s really cool,” I thought. I’ve seen perfectly-placed side pockets, but never have I seen front pockets that could comfortably carry a phone or a gel pocket — until now.
Walking around the house, my iPhone 13 Mini sits so comfortably in the deep section of the pockets that it disappears. And, on the bike, it feels the same way. Many times I would have to reach down and feel my leg to be sure I hadn’t left my phone somewhere. Yes, it’s surprising to be writing that, but it’s been absolutely true. I’ve been riding with a SIS gel in one pocket and my phone in the other, in perfect, unobtrusive comfort.
With a 13.4″ inseam, these land below the knee, but never get in the way of pedaling. Even as a bib short fan, I’m not minding how these feel while pedaling hard uphill or on rolling terrain. At speed, you do notice the ventilation for added temperature regulation, which is a nice touch as temperatures rise.
It’s easy to find your perfect fit with the Fernflow Shorts. Two velcro tabs allow fine-tuning the waistband. Once set, the hook and snap front closure keeps everything snug and secure. Nothing sags at all and these sit perfectly both on and off the bike. Never has the backside or inseam area snagged on the saddle when going from seated to standing and vice-versa.
Gore Wear decided to add large-toothed zippers on the two hand pockets. While this makes for easy zipping/unzipping, those teeth sit just at a spot where the hem of your jersey can snag. I’ve been wearing the Gore TrailKPR Daily Shirt with it and the stitching is getting pulled by those big teeth. My jerseys and my hands would appreciate a little less toothy zipper. But, the solution to this (at least with the jersey hem), is to zip up the pockets when not in use. I try to remember that but do forget during pre or post-ride activities.
As mentioned, I don’t typically wear baggies, but these have won me over as my go-to shorts for group rides, aggressive terrain or when I want to look more all-mountain than XC on the trails. The stretchy backside panel and slight stretch of the CORDURA fabrics allows for uninhibited motion.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and 175 lbs with a 33″ waist and am comfortably wearing the size medium.
- Very pedal-friendly as they stay out of the way
- L-shaped front pockets allow comfortable phone or multi-tool carry
- Vents allow extra airflow
- Waistband is easily-adjusted
- Sit well and don’t droop in use (don’t snag on repeated sit/stand efforts)
- CORDURA is super-durable
- Stretches comfortably in the saddle (fabric and stretchy back panel)
- Added DWR for weather protection
- Large-toothed zippers do snag things when open (and are kind of uncomfortable on your hands)
The Bottom Line: Gore Wear Fernflow Shorts
Nobody asks me to crash-test gear, but I happened to crash test the Gore Wear Fernflow shorts and they came out without a scratch. Most importantly, my body was well-protected as well. These shorts pedal well and stay out of your way for comfortable riding on all terrain. As a huge bonus, those L-shaped pockets are awesome for unobtrusively carrying phones or other items.
Buy Now: Available from GoreWear.com
Are the two front zipped pockets suitable for storing things such as an iPhone 11 and a key wallet (the size of the old iPhone 5)
The iPhone 11 is a little larger than my iPhone 13 Mini, but it should fit in there just fine. I dropped my wife’s iPhone 13 into the pocket and it slips right into the notch and should stay put for you no problem.
Thanks for this update