For years, I struggled finding women’s specific mountain bike shorts that were comfortable, durable, fit well, and had good coverage. Now there are more options than ever, and I’ve found some that I really love. I’ve rounded up and reviewed some of my favorites below.
Sizing Note: I’ve found that women’s mountain bike shorts don’t tend to be “vanity sized” and I wear about a size up from my day to day shorts and pants. I also prefer my baggies (not chamois!) to be a little on the loose side, for comfort during a long ride. I’m 5’11”, 31.5″ waist, 38″ hips for size reference.
Best Overall Shorts
Patagonia Women’s Dirt Craft Bike Shorts ($149)
Patagonia hasn’t been in the mountain biking world for very long, but they got so much right with these shorts! I got them earlier in the summer, and I’ve worn them a bunch. They’re an awesome mix of great fit, comfort while riding, and durability. The legs are fitted enough not to snag, but not overly tight, and they are stretchy enough to have a good range of motion for pedaling, but they don’t stretch out very much over the course of the ride. The waist band goes up in the back, so I don’t have to worry about a gap of skin between the shorts and my jersey and is adjustable. They also come with a very high quality chamois which feels bulky while off the bike, but I don’t even notice once I start riding. Basically, the only downside is the high price, though I think the shorts are totally worth it!
Perfect For: Pretty much any ride you want to do – I recently loved wearing them on the Royal Gorge Rim Trail.
Size: 12, fits great
Most Comfortable Shorts
Shredly MTB Curvy ($105)
The MTB Curvy from Shredly are the first and only thing I’ve ever bought from an Instagram ad, and I’m so glad I did. The idea of putting a comfortable, yoga style waistband on mountain bike shorts is genius! Shredly was founded by a woman, and that show’s in the design of these shorts. They have a bunch of functional, accessible pockets AND come in a variety of colors and pattens from bright and whimsical (the Tina) to more muted (the Denim C). The shorts are long for a lot of coverage and are made of a tough, durable material. While this means they’ll be good in a crash, they’re also pretty hot on warmer days or long climbs. They do have zipper vents on the thighs which help, but aren’t enough for really hot and sweaty rides. The $105 price tag is fairly high, especially since the chamois is sold separately, but the quality is very high and they’re made in the US.
Perfect For: A day in the Mammoth Bike Park or a fall ride in Downieville
Size: 12, could size down
Great Value Shorts
Fox Racing Women’s Ripley ($80, on sale for $33-$62)
These shorts are a great value for bike shorts! Even full priced, they’re on the lower end price-wise for good quality women’s bike shorts. Plus, Fox releases these year after year, so you can frequently find older models on sale for a great price. They’re pretty basic and no frills, and only have one small, rear, zippered pocket. They’re very durable – I’ve crashed in mine and they’ve held up to wear and tear really well. The material is a little stiff and rough, especially compared to the higher priced versions. They’re not very stretchy, which helps them hold up, but also means the range of motion isn’t as good. They’re a tighter fit than, which is nice for not snagging on things, but also affects the range of motion. They also come with a chamois which I really like the fit of.
Perfect For: Riding the Donner Lake Rim Trail & Wendin Way Trail
Size: Large, fits great
These Don’t Look Like Bike Shorts
Club Ride Eden ($100)
While bulky, knee length bike shorts are great for protection from the branches, rocks, and bugs I encounter on the trail, they’re not really my style for wearing to the brewery after my ride. If I want a pair of shorts that goes a little more smoothly from trail to beer, I like the Eden. They’re definitely shorter than the other shorts and don’t scream “bike shorts” quite as hard. The short length makes them lighter for hot days, which is nice, but they lack coverage in the case of a crash. I’ve gotten some gnarly leg scrapes from wearing them on the wrong trails. The material they’re made from is very stretchy, so they’re super comfortable. However, they do tend to stretch out in the waist by the end of the ride due to this fact. They do come with a chamois, but I didn’t like how it fit. These shorts are great for casual rides, and I’m fine with slipping them back on after I change out of my chamois.
Perfect For: Mellow cross country rides like Elizabethtown Meadow Trail or Emmigrant Trail
Size: Large, could probably size down
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small percentage of the sale as compensation – at no additional cost to you. I promise to only recommend products that I use and enjoy!