It can be tough to find women’s mountain bike shorts that are intended for more aggressive riding. Fortunately, the Yeti Norrie is a great pick for downhill and technical riding.
The legs are long enough to wear with knee pads, the fabric is durable and provides plenty of protection, and there are large zippered pockets to hold your lift ticket and cell phone. The shorts are also comfortable thanks to the easy-to-adjust waistband and stretchy fabric.
The only bummer about these shorts is that they run a little small and have narrower legs, so aren’t a great pick for curvier or more muscular ladies.
Review In A Nutshell
- Easy-to-adjust, comfortable waistband
- Long enough to wear with knee pads
- Stretchy fabric
- Big side zippered pockets
- Durable construction
- Run a little smaller, narrower legs
- Limited color options
Price & Where To Buy:
I’m of the firm opinion that all mountain bike shorts should have an adjustable waistband. I have large hips and bums and a small waist, so it’s always important for me to have a pair of shorts that can cinch down and not leave a big gap.
On the flip side, for women with a larger mid-section proportionally, it’s also important to be able to let out the waistband so you don’t end up with any rubbing.
That said, adjustable waistbands can vary in how useful they actually are. We’ve tried drawstring shorts where the drawstring falls out, and velcro waistbands that rub and/or pop loose.
Fortunately, the waistband on the Yeti Norrie is one of the best ones I’ve tried. It adjusts via a webbed strap on either side of the waist that can be easily cinched down or released.
This makes it easy to adjust on the fly and keeps the adjustment away from the skin, which is nice for those of us with sensitive skin.
There are also silicone grippies on the inside of the waist, that stop the shorts from riding up (or down) and help keep them in place without worrying about any plumbers crack. The waist closes via zipper and two snaps.
Stretchy (Water Repellant) Fabric and Gusseted Crotch
The (polyester) fabric on the Yeti Norrie is nice and stretchy which allows for a good range of motion on the bike, and helps make up for some of the fit issues I’ll mention here in a moment. The crotch is gusseted (i.e. there’s a seperate fabric panel that runs down the center of the short) to allow for increased mobility.
The fabric has a DWR finish that is water repellant (not water proof) that will keep you a little more comfortable on damp days. The DWR finish also does a good job of repelling dirt, making them easy to brush off after a break sitting in the dirt.
Getting The Right Fit Can Be Tricky
Trying to get the right size is always the hardest part of buying a pair of bike shorts. Unfortunately, this is doubly true with the Yeti Norrie short.
I’m 5’5″ and between 125 and 130 pounds depending on the day. On the Yeti size chart this put me at a size small.
The shorts fit, but not perfectly. They are a big snugger than I would like in the butt and thighs. If I had to do it again, I would have ordered up a size.
Based on what other women have told me, this has been a problem for them too. If you can get the right fit, these shorts can’t be beat, but getting the right fit is a challenge…..
As far as length goes, I the Yet Norrie short was perfect for most rides. It has a 12″ inseam which means that they are long enough for use with knee pads (no weird gap!), but not so long or baggy to feel intrusive on rides without.
Big Side Zippered Pockets
One of the biggest complaints we hear from women about mountain bike shorts is that most come without good sized zippered pockets. Many companies reserve these pockets for mens shorts….which is just weird.
The Yeti Norrie has nice large zippered pockets on both legs that are actually big enough to fit a cell phone. Just be aware that if you do plan to use these pockets for gear to make sure to order up a size especially if you have larger thighs.
In addition to the two zippered pockets, there are also two hand pockets.
This shouldn’t even have to be mentioned (you would expect all mountain bike shorts to be durable), but I’ve tested enough bike shorts of questionable durability to recognize that it’s noteworthy not to have any seems coming loose or fabric snags. The Yeti Nori is well constructed and can be beat up (as mountain bike shorts will be) and still last a long time.
The fabric is a bit heavier-duty and thicker than many mountain bike shorts, which makes it a great pick for downhill riding or any time you want a little extra protection. The downside to that heavier material is that the shorts are also a bit warmer than other shorts.
I took these shorts with me on a month-long trip to Arizona this spring and was very comfortable on 60 and 70 degree days, but on the few 80 degree days we had, I felt a bit swampy in these shorts. They probably aren’t the right pick for the hottest summer days, but great for all the other days.
Limited Color Options
The Yeti Norrie shorts come in black, grey, or Yeti’s signature Turquoise. Compared to many of the women’s-specific mountain bike clothing companies (like Shredly and WIld Rye), this feels like a pretty limited option.
If you like simple classics, you won’t mind; but if you’re looking for something a little more flashy or feminine, then look elsewhere.
Bottom-Line: Amazing Short….If You Can Get The Fit Right
I loved everything about the Yeti Norrie–the easy-to-adjust waist, the zippered pockets, the stretchy fabric–except the sort of wonky fit. If you have thinner thighs this might not be an issue at all, but if you do, definitely order up a size.
More Stuff You Might Like
- Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts
- 9 Best Women’s Bike Saddles & How To Choose!
- How to Heal (and Prevent) Saddle Sores
About The Reviewer
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.