They say diamonds are a girls best friend, but we think a good pair of mountain bike shorts can be too. If you’re spending big hours in the saddle, good shorts can be the difference between comfort and misery. Also, we know you’re not vain–but a good pair of mountain bike shorts should look good in that summit pic.
Here’s a round-up of our favorite women’s mountain bike shorts. These picks are comfortable, durable, and look good. If you need help choosing, scroll to the bottom to view our comparison chart and for our tips on picking the best short for you.
You can read all about these shorts below (and find reviews), but if you prefer video content, we’ve made a little vid about each of these shorts too.
Our Top 5 Recommendations
|Short||What We Love||Price|
|1||Shredly MTB Short||Yoga-style waistband (option), colorful prints||$105+|
|2||Wild Rye Freel||Feminine design, beautiful fabric||$124|
|3||Zoic Navaeh||Zippered pockets, comfortable chamois||$75+|
|4||Club Ride Eden||Short shorts, cute enough to use as a regular short||$79+|
|5||Yeti Norrie 2.0||Longer, work well with knee pads||$110|
|6||PNW Shuttle Short||Sturdy, water resistant material||$99|
|7||Rapha Trail Shorts||High quality construction, super stretchy||$150|
Shredly MTB Short
Shredly is a women’s-specific company that makes beautiful cycling clothing for ladies. The Shredly MTB short (and the MTB long and MTB short) come in a huge variety of colorful designs.
We dig the adjustable, contoured waistband, and the invisible thigh vents that help keep things cool when it gets hot. They also come in a “Curvy” version with an amazing yoga pant waistband.
The only deal-breaker for some is the lack of a zippered pocket for valuables.
Read Our Review: Shredly MTB Shorts
Price (MSRP): $105+
Wild Rye Freel
Cutest shorts ever?! Quite possibly. We love every single color and pattern that Wild Rye puts out.
Fortunately, the Wild Rye Freel short is as comfortable as it is attractive. The fabric is super stretchy and does a good job of accommodating women with muscular thighs and bums.
This is an enduro-length short meaning that it’s a little bit longer than your average short. Thanks to the extra length, the Freel works well with knee pads and for anybody wanting a little extra coverage. (If you want a shorter short, we love the Wild Rye Freda as well).
The only bummer is the price, which is pretty stiff for a pair of shorts without a chamois. But you can’t really put a price on a great pair of mountain bike shorts, can you?
Read Our Review: Wild Rye Freel Short
We like the Zoic Navaeh shorts thanks to their comfortable chamois, adjustable waistband, and stretchy material. The shorts come in multiple colors and patterns and flatter nearly any figure. If you like pockets, the Naveah shorts have PLENTY–and they are all zippered.
The legs are a little narrow so if you have thicker thighs (like me!) that might be something to consider.
Read Our Review: Zoic Navaeh
Price (MSRP): $90 (with liner), $75 (without liner)
Club Ride Eden
Looking for a “shorter” short? The Club Ride Eden is just what you want. The 7″ inseam allows you to get a better suntan and has a feminine look. It works great on the trails and for the pub after your ride.
The short has a comfortable, minimalistic chamois and the back is cut a bit high so you don’t end up showing off any plumber’s crack. We also like the reflective details, so cars will see you when biking home from the aforementioned pub.
While many will dig the no-diaper feel of the liner, other ladies may want something more substantial.
Read Our Review: Club Ride Eden
Price (MSRP): $99 (with chamois), $79 (without)
Yeti Norrie 2.0
Here’s another longer short that is perfect for use with kneepads. The water-resistant fabric helps keep you dry and is stretchy enough to be comfortable on both big climbs and downhill days.
The only thing to be aware of when ordering is that they run a bit small, and the legs are narrower than most. I have a larger bum and thighs and wish I had sized up in these.
Read Our Review: Yeti Norrie 2.0
Price (MSRP): $110
PNW Shuttle Short
You might be familiar with PNW Components for bike parts, but did you know they make mountain bike apparel too? The PNW Shuttle short is not only one of our faves, it’s one of the more affordable long-length shorts on this list as well.
These are longer shorts so work well for ladies who like additional coverage or who want to use the shorts with knee pads. They are roomy but don’t look frumpy.
The Shuttle short only comes in one color (black) but the DWR coating works well for shedding dirt and mud, and will also keep you relatively dry in drizzle. The fabric feels lightweight, but is super durable.
Read Our Review: PNW Shuttle Short
Rapha Trail Shorts
Rapha is known for making gorgeous, high quality cycling clothing, and they know make mountain bike clothes as well. As you would expect from the brand, the Rapha Trail Shorts are perfectly constructed but rather spendy.
If you can stomach the price tag, the Trail Shorts are one of the best-fitting, best-constructed shorts around. The material is extremely stretchy and is so comfortable on the bike you might forget you’re wearing them.
They come in several pleasing colors, and are cut longer for use with knee pads. The fit is rather slim, but the stretchy material makes up for it.
The only thing we’re not crazy about is the lack of an adjustable waistband.
These shorts didn’t make our list of favorites, BUT they might be a great option for YOU. ‘Cause, ya know, every body is different.
Club Ride Savvy
If comfort, is your number one priority, consider the Club Ride Savvy. These are pretty much the most comfortable pair of shorts we’ve tested–but they look a little frumpy (in my opinion).
They are also incredibly lightweight and work very well in HOT weather. The fabric designs are cute and the cut works well with knee pads.
The only thing I’m not crazy about on these shorts are the waistband. The drawstring cord is awkward and has a tendency of coming undone.
Read Our Review: Club Ride
Showers Pass Women’s Apex DWR Short
The Showers Pass Apex short is your traditional black mountain bike short–with a DWR finish added. This makes it both water and dirt resistant, and ideal for wet or dusty riding conditions.
The short is slim-fitting but not tight, and is stretchy without clinging anywhere. While the shorts are long-ish (11″), they were quite baggy enough to fit well with pads. That said, they are perfect for trail riding.
The unique thing about these shorts are the reflective accents. If you are riding gravel roads are headed home from the trailhead, this can be a nice feature not found on many mountain bike shorts.
Read Our Review: Women’s Apex DWR Shorts
POC Essential Short
The POC Essential short is designed specifically for riding with knee pads so you won’t get that weird gap between your pads and your shorts. There’s also room for a chamois if you like riding with one.
The waist is adjustable, and there is plenty of room for ladies with fuller hips and bottoms. As with all our favorite bike shorts, the waste is highly adjustable and can fit a wide range of body shapes.
They do NOT come with a chamois, so make sure to buy one separately if needed.
Price (MSRP): $100
Fox Ranger Short
We like the Fox Ranger short because it’s reasonably priced and comes with (or without) a comfortable, removable liner. We also appreciate that they are cut to accommodate more muscular, athletic ladies.
The waist is adjustable, they come in several colors, and the front pockets are roomy. Finally, the price is pretty darn attractive, especially for a short with a chamois.
Price: $89.95 (with chamois liner)
Patagonia Dirt Craft MTB Shorts
Patagonia makes mountain bike shorts? Yup, we were surprised at first too. But also really, really happy because Patagonia stuff is the best. Not only are there clothes ethically sourced, but they’ll also help repair your clothing item if it is ever damaged or torn.
As for the Patagonia Dirt Craft shorts, they come with an amazingly comfortable chamois–like THE most comfortable chamois. The shorts themselves are comfortable as well, but they look a little frumpy compared to shorts like the ones from Shredly.
How to Pick a Pair of Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts
Not sure what you should consider when weighing your options? Here are a few things you should think about (and what we looked for when testing and reviewing the shorts on this list).
The perfect length is largely a personal preference. Most women prefer a mid-length short, but there are reasons for picking a longer or shorter short.
Longer shorts are best for enduro or downhill days since they fit over knee pads and won’t create a weird gap. They also provide extra protection in case you have a crash.
Shorter shorts can help keep you cool on hot days and keep you from getting the dreaded bike short tan lines.
Chamois or No Chamois
Before buying a pair of shorts, make note of whether or not it comes with a chamois. Some shorts have a built-in liner, others have a removable liner, and some come without a liner at all.
Which you prefer is totally personal, just keep in mind the cost of buying a separate liner if you like having a chamois.
Look for a waistband that is ADJUSTABLE. There is nothing worse than having either a waist band that is cutting into your belly or that is hanging loosely around your middle. Women come in all different shapes and we need bike shorts that are built to accommodate them.
Some waistbands adjust via a velcro strap, others use a drawstring or buttons. We’re also really digging the yoga style waistband on the Shredly Curvy shorts.
Do you like to carry things in your shorts while riding? If so, look for a short with plenty of pockets. The Zoic Navaeh, for instance, has a BUNCH of pockets and they all have zippers which is nice.
On the other hand, you might ride with a hydration pack and not have much need for pockets. In that case, you might prefer the Yeti Enduro shorts which have a single rear zipper pocket.
Price & Quality of Construction
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to mountain bike shorts. A good quality short will be durable and last for years, so I think it makes sense to pay a bit more.
To get a good quality short, you should expect to pay around $100. Shorts that cost less than this are more likely to lack things like an adjustable waistband and water-resistant fabric.
Made In The USA & Sustainability
Most bike shorts are made overseas. If a “Made In The USA” label is important to you, we recommend Shredly.
Similarly, we like to look for shorts that have a strong commitment to sustainability. Patagonia has done a good job in this regard.
Bike short sizing can be all over the place and many of the bigger brands have made shorts that are not all that forgiving to women who aren’t a size 6 or who have hips or more muscular thighs. The better women’s bike short brands (Shredly, Wild Rye) have done a really good job of creating shorts that fit a wide range of sizes and shapes.
Personally, I prefer to buy shorts than come in regular pant sizes (2,4,6,etc) than in subjective sizes like S, M, L. If you do pick a short that measures in S,M,L, do yourself a favor and get out a measuring tape and actually compare your measurements to their size chart.
More Help For Your Butt
Don’t let your journey to a comfy bum end with your shorts. Here are some more articles to help you dial in the perfect recipe for your backside.