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Women's Mountain Biking Shorts Guide

Women's Mountain Biking Shorts Guide

Mountain biking is a thrilling and adventurous outdoor activity that has been gaining popularity among women across the globe. The sport demands not just physical strength and finesse but also requires specialized gear to enhance performance, ensure safety, and provide comfort during those challenging rides. Among these essential items, one piece of attire stands out due to its importance - the mountain biking shorts.

While it might seem like a simple wardrobe choice, the right pair of women's mountain biking shorts can significantly impact your biking experience. These shorts are designed specifically with a woman's anatomy in mind, ensuring a better fit and improved comfort over long distances. They come equipped with features such as durable, quick-drying materials, strategic padding for protection, and sometimes even pockets for practicality.

This guide aims to delve into the world of women's mountain biking shorts, helping you understand their importance, what to look for when buying, and how to care for them. Let's embark on this journey to find the perfect pair of mountain biking shorts for your next ride.

Why Women's MTB Shorts are Different

Women's MTB shorts are uniquely designed for female riders. They're tailored to a woman's anatomy for optimal comfort and performance, with a fit that allows for freedom of movement and reduced chafing.

The padding is placed wider and further forward, aligning with a woman's sit bones for better comfort during long rides. Beyond functionality, these shorts offer a range of designs and sizes, allowing for personal style expression and inclusivity for various body types.

Types of Women's Mountain Biking Shorts

Mountain biking shorts are not a one-size-fits-all affair. They come in various styles, each designed to cater to different riding conditions and preferences. Let's explore the three main types of women's mountain biking shorts.

Baggy Shorts

Baggy shorts, also known as 'loose-fit' shorts, are the go-to choice for many mountain bikers. They offer a casual style that blends in off the bike, making them a popular choice for recreational riders.

Style: Baggy shorts typically have a relaxed, loose fit that gives them a laid-back aesthetic.

Benefits: Their looser fit offers excellent freedom of movement, while their sturdy material provides good protection against scrapes and falls. Many models also come with pockets for convenient storage.

Best Use-Cases: Baggy shorts are ideal for trail riding, downhill, and enduro where comfort and protection are paramount.

Tight-Fitting (Lycra) Shorts

Tight-fitting or Lycra shorts are the preferred choice for performance-oriented riders. They hug the body closely, reducing air resistance and offering an aerodynamic advantage.

Advantages: Lycra shorts reduce chafing and provide excellent moisture-wicking properties, keeping riders dry and comfortable. The snug fit also ensures that the padding stays in place, providing consistent comfort.

Best Use-Cases: These shorts are best suited for cross-country and road cycling where speed and efficiency are key.

Convertible Shorts

Convertible shorts offer the best of both worlds. They feature a tight inner short with a loose outer layer that can be removed or added as needed.

Versatility: These shorts are adaptable to changing weather and riding conditions. The inner layer provides comfort and support, while the outer layer offers additional protection.

Best Use-Cases: Convertible shorts are ideal for variable weather conditions and for riders who switch between different types of riding. They are a versatile choice that adapts to the rider's needs.

Considerations for the Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect pair of mountain biking shorts is not just about style and type; it's also about achieving the perfect fit. Here are some key considerations to guide you in this process.

Size and Sizing Guides

The first step towards finding the perfect fit is understanding your size and how to measure it.

How to Measure: Use a tape measure to determine your waist and hip measurements. Measure around your natural waistline and the widest part of your hips. Remember, don't pull the tape too tight; it should be snug but comfortable.

Choosing the Right Size: Once you have your measurements, refer to the brand's sizing guide. Each brand may have slightly different sizing, so it's important to check their specific guide. If you fall in between sizes, it's generally recommended to go for the larger size for comfort.

Waistband Adjustments

Waistband adjustments can significantly enhance the comfort and practicality of your MTB shorts.

Importance: Adjustable waistbands allow you to customize the fit of your shorts to your body, ensuring they stay secure during your ride. This feature is particularly useful as it allows for flexibility, accommodating weight fluctuations or layered clothing.

Length and Coverage

The length of your shorts can impact both your protection and freedom of movement.

Balancing Protection and Freedom of Movement: Longer shorts provide more coverage, offering added protection against scrapes and abrasions from falls or vegetation. However, they can also restrict movement somewhat. Shorter shorts offer greater freedom of movement but less protection. The best length for you will depend on your riding style and personal preference.

Brands and Options in Women's Mountain Biking Shorts

Fox Racing: A leading name in the MTB world, Fox Racing is renowned for its high-performance gear. Their women's mountain biking shorts are known for their durable construction, advanced moisture-wicking properties, and strategically placed vents for optimum airflow.

Pearl Izumi: Pearl Izumi offers a range of women's MTB shorts featuring comfortable padding, exceptional fit, and removable liners for versatility in different riding conditions. Their advanced fabric technology ensures excellent breathability and moisture management.

Troy Lee Designs: Combining style with functionality, Troy Lee Designs offer women's MTB shorts with adjustable waistbands for a custom fit and ample pocket storage for essentials. Their shorts are praised for their comfort and durability.

Comparison of High-End vs. Budget-Friendly Options

High-end MTB shorts such as those from Patagonia or Yeti Cycles often come with premium features like water resistance, advanced ventilation systems, and superior materials for enhanced durability and comfort. These shorts are designed for serious riders who demand the best in performance and comfort.

Budget-friendly alternatives like Zoic or REI Co-op, while not as feature-rich as their high-end counterparts, still offer excellent value for money. They provide essential comfort and functionality, making them a great choice for casual or beginner riders.


In conclusion, this guide has provided a comprehensive overview of women's mountain biking shorts. We've dissected the elements that make a pair of shorts ideal for mountain biking, from material and fit to added features like padding and pockets. The aim has been to equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed purchase that will enhance your biking experience.

Whether you're a seasoned mountain biker or just starting out, choosing the right gear is crucial to your comfort and performance on the trails. Women's mountain biking shorts are no exception. By considering the factors we've discussed and choosing a pair of shorts that best fits your needs, you'll be well on your way to a more enjoyable ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are women's MTB shorts long?

Women's mountain biking (MTB) shorts are typically longer to provide more coverage and protection. The length helps shield the rider's legs from brush, branches, and the sun, and offers added protection in case of falls. The longer cut also helps in fitting knee pads comfortably, which are often used in mountain biking.

What shorts should I wear for mountain biking?

For mountain biking, it's best to wear shorts specifically designed for the sport. These shorts are typically made of durable, stretchy, and moisture-wicking fabrics to withstand the rough terrain and active movement. Many come with padding for comfort during long rides. Look for shorts with a good fit, adjustable waistband, and pockets for convenience.

What do girls wear under biker shorts?

Girls typically wear padded liners or cycling-specific underwear under biker shorts. These liners are designed to provide cushioning and reduce friction, enhancing comfort during long rides. They are usually made of moisture-wicking materials to keep the rider dry and comfortable.

Are mountain biking shorts worth it?

Yes, mountain biking shorts are worth the investment for anyone serious about the sport. They offer specific features like durability, flexibility, and protection that regular shorts don't provide. Additionally, many MTB shorts include padded liners for comfort on long rides, making them a practical and beneficial piece of gear for mountain bikers.

Why are girls wearing cycling shorts?

Girls are wearing cycling shorts not just for biking but also as a fashion trend. In sports, these shorts offer comfort, flexibility, and breathability, making them ideal for cycling. In fashion, they've become popular for their comfort and versatility, easily paired with various tops for a casual, sporty look.

What is the difference between male and female cycling shorts?

The main difference between male and female cycling shorts is the fit and design tailored to accommodate different body shapes. Women's cycling shorts typically have a shorter inseam, a smaller waist, and a wider hip area. The padding (chamois) is also shaped differently to provide support and comfort for the female anatomy.