The Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2024 (2024)

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Hit the trails with the best women's mountain bike shorts. From ultra-comfy chamois to ride-ready bike shorts, these picks will get you ready to ride.

Written by Morgan Tilton and Mary Murphy

The Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2024 (1)Senior Editor Morgan Tilton testing mountain bike shorts; (photo/Eric Phillips)

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There’s nothing more annoying than a pair of ill-fitting bike shorts. You want to be able to focus on the ride, not fight with your shorts. Lady shredders used to have to make do with a pair of shrunken men’s shorts, but those days are long gone.

We’re happy to report that there is now a wide variety of mountain bike shorts made specifically for women. We’ve been riding trails across the U.S., including lots of miles in Oregon and Colorado, with test notes from skilled riders, newbies, and professional mountain bikers.

And while there isn’t a single pair of shorts that works for every body and riding style, we’ve included a variety of options. Below, you’ll find the best shorts and chamois that will make hitting the trails that much more fun. Get ready to suit up and ride out.

For more information about women’s mountain bike shorts and the various design features to consider, check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ. Also, have a look at our comparison chart to steer your decision-making. Otherwise, we divided this list into useful categories so you can easily find the best women’s mountain bike shorts for your needs.

Editor’s Note: We updated our Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts guide on June 25, 2024, with the addition of several new models, including the Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble and Marilyn Shorts, as well as the affordable Flylow Lola Shorts.

The Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts of 2024

Best Overall Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Shredly Limitless 11″ – Stretch Waistband High-Rise Short

Specs

  • InseamVaries by size, falls above knee (size 4 is 10.5″, for example.)
  • Pockets2 front pockets, 1 zippered pocket, 1 snap-closure pocket
  • LinerNot included
  • MaterialRecycled polyester-spandex blend
  • WaistbandElasticized with mid-rise zipper and double-snap closure
  • Size rangeXS-3XL (00-24)

Pros

  • Unique, eye-catching patterns
  • Waistband moves with you and doesn’t bunch or open on-the-go
  • Large size range with tailored inseam lengths

Cons

  • Not the warmest or longest short if you need more protection from cold weather, the elements, or brush

Morgan Tilton

The recently overhauledShredly Limitless 11″ – Stretch Waistband High-Rise Short ($108) from Shredly, a pioneer of women’s mountain bike shorts, features an innovative broad waistband — similar to a yoga pant — and the fit is more streamlined by removing the front leg seams and vents.

We loved pulling on this pair of ride shorts to start, and they keep on delivering. The design excels in all conditions, on short and long alpine rides alike. What stuck out most is how soft, malleable, and lightweight they feel — how can durable mountain bike shorts actually be this smooth?

Secondly, the fabric is extremely tenacious. On a recent super steep, rocky, rowdy descent, our foot popped off the pedal when we bottomed out. While riding out the technical landing, our backside skid over the back tire — but the fabric held — and there were zero signs of tire friction. What?!

Based on rider requests, the shorts were also updated with a zippered pocket. The pocket is smartly placed higher on the thigh to help remove the shake-and-shimmy of a heavy phone while you pedal, which we found works well and is comfortable.

Whether we were crawling up a steep ascent or rocketing down berms, there were no noticeable seam snags, rub points, or tight areas in theShredly Limitless 11″or gusset. It was like we weren’t wearing shorts at all.

If you’re looking for a pair with a shorter inseam, Shredly has you covered there too. TheShredly Limitless 7″($98) has the same incredible features as the 11-inch version but with 4 inches less length for those who prefer a shorter inseam. And for those seeking increased leg coverage, the Shredly Limitless 14″ ($115) is for you.

Read our fullreviewfor the complete list of inseam lengths

Best Budget Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Flylow Lola Short

Specs

  • Inseam11”
  • Pockets2 hand pockets, 1 side pocket (all zippered)
  • LinerNot included
  • MaterialIntuitive IQ MTB Stretch fabric
  • WaistbandCustomizable velcro cinch on each side, interior silicone grip, plus belt loops and a zippered, single-snap closure
  • Size rangeXS-L (0-12)

Pros

  • Three roomy pockets
  • Super comfortable, pliable, breathable fabric
  • Rather stain resistant, even the light colors
  • Baggy design hits the mark for style and freedom of movement

Cons

  • XL or plus-sizes not available
  • Some riders might prefer a more feminine or athletic fit

Morgan Tilton

With a baggier look and feel, the Flylow Gear Lola Short ($95) delivers a Tomboy take on women’s mountain shorts, but we can’t get enough of the buttery fabric. New for 2024, the Lola offers a soft hand feel and a forgiving stretch that easily slides over chamois and is comfortable for big days in the saddle.

Stretching nearly to the knee, the exterior hem has an angled feminine detail, reminding us of a herringbone pattern. We love that these shorts offer three roomy, stretchy zippered stash zones: two hand pockets and a lengthy one off the right hip. The hand pouch is large enough to stuff a big phone, which holds close to the body and doesn’t jostle while dancing down chunky rock gardens.

Even after one fairly muddy 32-mile ride, during which our rider absolutely caked the blue-steel color with wet dirt, these shorts came out of the wash without any stains. Score! While our main tester found that the shorts are pretty true to size and super comfortable, she was thankful for the grippy interior silicone patches and the exterior velcro adjusters to help tailor the fit at the waist. The band really does wick sweat, yet it doesn’t loosen over time. For riders that prefer a belt, generous loops line the midriff. The zipper and single-snap closure never popped open on rides, either.

For sunny and sweat-ridden adventures, the Inuitive IQ MTB fabric is reinforced with 50+ UPF. The quick-drying textile served us well with zero chafing, and it felt adequately breathable in the high alpine. The interior polyester lining is soft against the skin, and while it does pill fast, it’s not visible, and the exterior holds up against a beating. As long as the velcro belt lasts, we’ll be pulling on the baggy, smooth Flylow Lola Shorts for many more miles ahead.

Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women with a Classic Waistband

Wild Rye Freel Shorts

Specs

  • Inseam12″
  • Pockets2 hand pockets, zippered thigh pocket
  • LinerNo
  • Material4-way stretch nylon (88% nylon, 12% spandex)
  • WaistbandNon-adjustable with belt loops
  • Size range0-18

Pros

  • Comfort and style
  • Great pocket placement
  • Durable
  • Cool patterns

Cons

  • Not adjustable at the waist

Morgan Tilton

These shorts are some of our favorites because of their awesome style combined with comfort and functionality. Every single time we’ve worn them — provided there are other people on the trails — we’ve gotten compliments on the look, pattern, and style. TheWild Rye Freel Shorts($139) are similar to theWild Rye Kaweahbut differ in one way — fabric (and thus price).

The Freel is made with a slightly more durable, four-way stretch DWR-treated, water-resistant nylon, as opposed to the Kaweah’s polyester fabric. Both are comfortable. And if you don’t mind dropping a few extra bucks, the durability and feel of the Freel are even better.

The fabric of theWild Rye Freel Shortsis comfortable and strong, the shorts come in sizes 0 to 18, the fit is complimentary in the saddle, and we love the longer 12-inch inseam on this style. Patterns include desert dream and alpine bloom, or they come in solid black and mahogany. No matter what color or pattern you choose, these shorts look good and transition easily from your ride to hanging with friends afterward.

Two open jeans-style hand pockets are great off the bike, while a zippered pocket on the right thigh perfectly fits a phone and holds it out of the way while riding. The size range should ensure a good fit for most ladies, and although the waist does not have any adjustments, the loops make it easy to snug them up with your favorite belt if needed.

After testing the Wild Rye Freel shorts, it’s easy to see why everyone loves them. These shorts perform well on the bike, look great all the time, and are built to last.

Best Tight-Fitting Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Shredly Biker Cham

Specs

  • Inseam7″
  • PocketsYes, two! They’re large, also
  • LinerServing as the liner, the pad ranges from 2 mm to 14 mm thick in targeted zones
  • MaterialButtery nylon-spandex, OEKO-TEX 100 Certified
  • WaistbandHigh-reaching waistband-free
  • Size RangeXS-3XL

Pros

  • Beautiful chamois that you can feel good wearing solo or under shorts
  • Extremely comfortable waist-free high-reaching upper
  • Fabric is super soft and stretchy
  • Lots of colors and pattern options

Morgan Tilton

Not everyone wants to wear baggy mountain bike shorts when they ride. We tested out the newShredly Biker Cham($98), and this design is one of the most functional we’ve ever worn — it’s simply elegant and fashionable. These versatile bike shorts can be worn on their own or under your favorite baggies, depending on the look you’re going for.

You might not think much of the scalloped hem with laser-drilled perforations until you pull these shorts on and shred. There’s no need to sacrifice style when it’s packed into such a comfortable chamois that fits smoothly under your baggy shorts or works great and looks cute on its own. The Bike Cham also come in a range of colors and patterns to match your style.

We also really like the two long stretchy pockets on each side of the shorts. While we tended to wear these as a liner beneath other riding shorts (and wouldn’t use the pockets), we always used those pockets before and after rides while wearing only the Cham. They fit a phone perfectly.

The longer 7-inch length of these chamois is super comfortable and helps protect our skin. The chamois pad itself is densely padded and very appreciated, with a variable thickness of 2-14 mm from the front to the backside. We’re also happy to see the materials are PFAS and PFC-Free, lowering our exposure to potential cancer-causing agents.

If you tend to wear thicker mountain bike shorts over your chamois, get hot easily, or live in a humid, sunny environment, be aware that the fabric of the Shredly Biker Cham is not the most breathable. In contrast, some of the other liner chamois are made of mesh for extreme breathability. This textile is built so that you can wear it alone without an outer layer, and it’s not see-through. The thicker material reduces the breathability that mesh provides.

At the top of the short, there’s technically zero waistband, meaning the fabric tapers off and is super smooth and high-reaching. We found it to be comfortable and rarely saggy. It was so elastic and stretchy that, typically, when we pulled those puppies on, they’d stay. Ultimately, we also love how smooth and buttery the fabric is on these shorts.

Best Minimalist Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Curious Creatures Marilyn Short

Specs

  • Inseam12”
  • Pockets1 zippered side pocket
  • LinerNot included
  • Material2-way stretch, durable midweight plain-woven nylon (152 gsm), PFC-free DWR finish, Bluesign-approved
  • WaistbandSide zipper and single snap (two options for waist width)
  • Size rangeXS-XL (0-14)

Pros

  • Single stretchy side pocket is spacious for a phone, well-placed, and zipper secured
  • High waist offers unique feminine cut
  • Really light and forgiving textile

Cons

  • Not many pockets
  • No belt loops might be a downer for some

Morgan Tilton

We questioned how a seemingly simple and high-cut mountain bike short would serve us on the trail and were pretty blown away by just how comfortable the Curious Creatures Marilyn Short ($130) turned out to be. What a perfect ode to an icon!

Yes, the look is on the “sexier” side, but still sports tech. With a fit on the slimmer side of the baggy spectrum, the waist reaches high, keeping away any chance of a backside flash. We found the extra-high reach to be surprisingly comfortable. A unique waistband allowed us to easily pull these on, zipping up the side and then closing the single snap (with two options for your preferred tightness). The closure never popped open on a ride.

These shorts reach further down the leg than their sister, the Ramble Scramble. While they’re not baggy, they’re slightly less snug-fitting than the Ramble. Super minimal seams lead to a very smooth, airy feel and a simple, streamlined, uncluttered aesthetic. We don’t typically use pockets on our backside while we ride, so why not keep the look polished? The brand also partnered with a local Montana-based sewing studio, The Stitch House, to handle repairs if those surface down the line.

Launched in the fall of 2023, Curious Creatures is relatively new on the scene, but we’re already seeing them everywhere on the trails. After trying them for ourselves, it’s easy to see why. We appreciate the fusion of flattering cuts and a fun yet technical vision for ladies on bikes.

Don’t sleep on the Curious Creatures Marilyn if you’re after a high-performance, comfortable, slim-fitting, and minimalist pair of mountain bike shorts. Slender and form-celebrating yet functional, we like to think Marilyn would love these shorts, too.

Best Extra-Coverage Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Norrøna Fjora Flex1 Short

Specs

  • Inseam15″
  • Pockets2 zippered hand pockets, zippered thigh pocket with an interior tiny mesh pocket
  • LinerNot included
  • MaterialFlex1: 50% recycled nylon with reinforced knees and seat and a PFC-free DWR
  • WaistbandHigher-reach to cover up backside, double snap and zip closure plus an integrated wide Velcro belt
  • Size rangeXS-XL

Pros

  • Premium coverage for top protection against the elements
  • Great choice for long rides or bikepacking

Cons

  • Some riders might find the length too much
  • Expensive

Morgan Tilton

TheNorrøna Fjora Flex1($159) is among the most durable and protective pairs of shorts out there. The 15-inch inseam is long, with articulation and reinforcement atop the knees, which stay covered even when we’re in the saddle. The added length provides extra protection from the sun, trailside bushes, and unexpected encounters with the ground, and it pairs well with knee pads.

While that construction might be a bit overbuilt for some everyday rides, it’s our go-to for long hours in the saddle in variable conditions — like our self-supported 142-mile Kokopelli Trail ride under brutal sun and dashes of rain. The waistband also reaches higher than our other shorts, adding lower back protection and comfort, especially if we’re wearing a loaded backpack for a long journey.

Despite the extra leg coverage, two front-facing, mesh-lined, zippered vents on the legs of theNorrøna Fjora Flex1allow airflow if needed on the ride. The integrated Velcro belt is substantial and wide and definitely helps tighten up the shorts, especially on back-to-back days. Two zippered hand pockets and a spacious zippered thigh pocket provide ample space for your storage needs.

If you’re seeking more coverage and protection than most shorts provide, the Norrøna Fjora Flex1 is a great option to consider. While protective, they’ve still got a flattering cut and have you covered, literally, for your most epic mountain bike adventures.

Most Versatile Mountain Bike Shorts for Women

Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble Short

Specs

  • Inseam7”
  • Pockets2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 1 inset pocket, 1 envelope pocket, 1 small zippered pocket
  • LinerNot included
  • Material4-way stretch, bio-based (easily recyclable) heavyweight twill polyester (240 gsm), PFC-free DWR, Bluesign-certified
  • WaistbandInterior drawcord, zipper and single button closure
  • Size rangeXS-XL (0-14)

Pros

  • Fun, hip style that doubles for everyday summer use
  • Ample pockets
  • Super stretchy, comfortable fabric
  • Unique shorter length

Cons

  • Most pockets are not secure for rides (but great for post-ride and everyday use)
  • Some riders prefer belt loops
  • Hits mid-thigh or higher, and some bikers might prefer more leg protection

Morgan Tilton

Talk about hipster — making a new mark on the mountain bike scene, the Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble Short ($139) marries the look of jean cutoffs and trail shred. And we really dig ‘em.

Founder and designer Natasha Woodworth launched the brand in the fall of 2023, and we’re stoked to finally put down miles with the apparel. Following more than a decade on Patagonia’s design team — where she rocketed off the women’s MTB and touring lines — plus years with Quicksilver, Lady Gaga, and Marc Jacobs, she established a new fun-yet-technical vision for ladies on bikes.

With a slim fit, the Ramble Scramble hits mid-thigh and hikes a bit while pedaling, showing the hem of our chamois (We love the feminine, scalloped hem on the Shredly Biker Cham, and we don’t mind getting peeks while we roll!). With sizable biker quads, we recommend sizing up if you don’t want a hug. But we’ll say the fabric is deliciously malleable and smooth, so the fit doesn’t bug. Inside, a drawcord is available to help snug up the waistband, which is comfy and goes unnoticed.

Lightweight and treated with PFC-free DWR, the surface repels moisture (woohoo!), and the feel? Super soft. Decorated with pockets, there are two rear and two hand pockets without zip closures. There’s also a tiny inset pocket on the right side, hanging above the hand pouch. On the right is also a broad envelope pocket and a smaller zippered pocket, which fits an ID or key fob (but not a large phone). While we wouldn’t use most of the pockets while we rip singletrack because they lack security, we appreciate their presence post-ride. Also, we love that the Curious Creatures eyeball logo is visible on our back right pocket as we pedal.

The roundup of pockets reminds us of lifestyle shorts — and even one-ups with regard to storage — and that’s a special niche these mountain bike shorts fill. As soon as we’re done on dirt, we pull off our chamois and keep sporting these shorts as an everyday summer piece in our wardrobe. One niggle: the garment’s hand pocket tends to get ruffled when we pull items out, so they need a little manual ironing with our hands. Not a big deal but it’s a tad annoying. The issue would likely be less prevalent if we’d sized up instead of going slim with the fit.

Ladies who want a fun, stretchy pair of mountain bike shorts they can seamlessly wear from happy hour shreds to grabbing dinner with the crew, look no further than the Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble Short. We recommend rocking these shorts on your rest days, too.

Best of the Rest

Best Chamois Liner for Women

Shredly YOGACHAM

Specs

  • InseamNot specified
  • PocketsN/A
  • LinerN/A
  • MaterialPad (polyamide and elastane)
  • WaistbandWide
  • Size rangeXS – 3X (00-24)

Pros

  • Wide waistband rests comfortably on hips
  • Anti-microbial pad
  • Breathable mesh construction

Cons

  • Riders that don’t prefer a compression fit, size up
  • Pricier than budget options

Morgan Tilton

When it comes to women-specific mountain bike shorts, Shredly has put in the time and research to determine what women want and what fits us best. From tall to petite, curvy to thin, the brand has something for everyone. Its well-known and belovedShredly YOGACHAM($88) is the best liner chamois for women of all riding and body types. We have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love and rave about them.

The chamois is highly breathable, conforms to your body almost immediately, and doesn’t have any extra bulk. The pad is designed with four specific zones of thickness (2 mm to 14 mm) and density for targeted protection along the entire saddle.

The wide waistband and body of the shorts were inspired by yoga shorts. And theShredly YOGACHAMfeels nearly as comfortable as our favorite yoga garb. These pair perfectly with any of the amazing Shredly outer shell shorts — or any other baggy shorts, for that matter — just pick your favorite and go hit the trails.

Velocio Women’s Ultralight Trail Short (With Trail Mesh Bib Liner)

Specs

  • Inseam13″
  • Pockets2 zippered thigh pockets
  • LinerNot included
  • MaterialPolyamide and elastane
  • WaistbandZipper and button closure plus integrated, streamlined belt to snug up fit
  • Size rangeXXS-XXXL

Pros

  • Broad size range
  • Super lightweight
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Pricier choice

Morgan Tilton

TheVelocio MTB Bib Liner($139) is the first one designed for women. The suspender system replaces a waistband, which makes them comfortable, sturdy, and slip-free and removes any opportunity for gut or bladder pressure that can be created by a double waistband. To relieve yourself, you simply drop your bike shorts (leave your top on), and the bib’s stretch allows them to be pulled down, too.

Pair these with the slim-fitting, buttery-soft, stretchy, and breathableVelocio Ultralight Trail Short($159) for happy days on the trail. Even better, the brand has continued to expand size options to deliver the current XXS to 3XL — nice work. The slide-snap closure and stretchy Arcade belt included with the Trail Short also reduce the amount of pressure at the midline.

Plus, the short repels water (thank you, DWR finish) and a slim, performance fit. Despite being super sleek and shockingly lightweight (115 gsm), the high-woven fabric on the Velocio Ultralight Trail Shorts is surprisingly robust.And if you prefer more freedom around the waist, grab theVelocio MTB Bib Linerto go with the shorts.

Wild Rye Kaweah

Specs

  • Inseam12″
  • Pockets2 hand pockets and 1 low-down zippered pocket
  • LinerNone
  • MaterialStretch polyester and spandex
  • WaistbandZipper and two snaps, wide
  • Size range0-18

Pros

  • Lower price yet still durable
  • Comfortable, thick fabric

Cons

  • Phone pocket is down lower on the leg, and heavy items tend to swing around

Morgan Tilton

TheWild Rye Kaweah($99) is a fresh take on theWild Rye Freel short. The general fit is slimmer and offers less stretch compared to the premium-made Freel, and the Kaweah is a polyester-elastane blend at a more economical price point.

There’s a long, wide, zippered pocket that’s well-positioned on the lower hamstring — a phone or wallet goes unfelt and unnoticed. The fabric is DWR-treated (and UPF 50), so puddle or downpour droplets roll right off.

Wild Rye is also well-known for unique, fun, eye-catching prints, and these shorts are no exception. We’re especially fond of the Thistle print, a one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn floral illustration created by artist Emberly Modine.

Plus, the shorts have casual touches — like non-zipper front pockets and wide belt loops — so they work well for casual, around-town outings post-ride.

Some of our testers have been riding with these shorts for several seasons, and the fabric is only now starting to show wear with some discoloration. But otherwise, there are no loose seams or tears. Despite being the lower tier built from the brand, the durability of theWild Rye Kaweahis still super sound.

Club Ride Eden Modern Trail Shorts

Specs

  • Inseam7″
  • Pockets2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, and 1 zippered thigh pocket
  • LinerYes, chamois included
  • Material89% polyester, 11% spandex
  • WaistbandAdjustable
  • Size rangeXS-XL

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Lightweight
  • Reflective touches
  • Included chamois is removable
  • Cute style that does well on and off the bike

Cons

  • Shorter inseam may not work for everyone

Morgan Tilton

Club Ride has been combining casual style with technical fabrics for many years, and the Eden Modern Trail Shorts ($100) is a great example. These mountain bike shorts made it on our list after a couple of years of testing because of their light weight, simplicity, and versatile aesthetic. Comfortable, breathable, and cute, the Eden Shorts offer a lot at a reasonable price.

One of the first things we noticed about the Eden shorts is the soft, super-comfy fabric that hides their technicality. It’s super-lightweight and stretchy and has a water-resistant finish, too. This material moves easily with the body and your pedal stroke while allowing plenty of breathability. The relatively short, 7-inch inseam also shows a lot of leg and helps to keep you cool when the weather is hot but reduces the leg protection.

The short inseam and the cut of the Eden Shorts definitely put off a feminine vibe both on the bike and off. The style transitions seamlessly from the trail to post-ride hangs or any other activity you want. Two open hand pockets and two back pockets add casual appeal and are appreciated when hanging out pre-ride or running errands after your shred. The zippered thigh pocket is the most useful on the bike for keeping things secure.

TheClub Ride Eden Shortscome with a Level 2 Drift chamois liner, which is a nice touch at this price point. The liner is removable, so you can wear these shorts with or without it and use it with other shorts if you please. The simple waistband has a secure snap and zipper fly along with internal Velcro waist adjusters to dial in the fit. Additional belt loops seem like overkill but add casual style points. They are there if you need them.

If you prefer a shorter inseam and casually styled shorts that work as well off the bike as they do on, then the Club Ride Eden Shorts are worth a serious look. At $100 with a removable chamois liner, these shorts not only look good, but we think they’re a solid value.

Norrøna Fjora Heavy Duty MTB Shorts

Specs

  • Inseam12″
  • Pockets2 zippered hand pockets, 2 zippered thigh pockets, zippered phone pocket
  • LinerNot included
  • Material91% recycled nylon, 9% elastane UPF 50+ fabric
  • WaistbandWider, high-waisted fit with double snap closure, also adjustable
  • Size rangeXS-XL

Pros

  • Ultra-durable
  • UPF 50+ and PFC-free DWR treatments
  • Side zipper for venting is awesome

Cons

  • Not as much stretch as other shorts
  • Pricey

Morgan Tilton

TheNorrøna Fjora Heavy Duty MTB Shorts($179) are exactly as described — heavy-duty and durable. As soon as we put them on, we could tell they would do the job — provide coverage and protection and last for years. If you’re riding in colder weather, the thicker fabric is nice (but wouldn’t be our first choice for a summer ride unless we wanted that protection).

It’s a similar short to the women’sNorrøna Fjora Flex1 Long Shorts described abovebut not as long at only 12 inches (versus 15 inches). The fabric is a slightly heavier, denser style that’s 160-denier (compared to a 90 and 150-denier weave). Thepockets and zipper vents have a different placement, and the zipper vents are longer, but the adjustable waist is the same.

They also have a gusseted crotch, double top-stitched and offset seams for extra longevity, and a UPF 50+ rating (the Flex1 doesn’t have that UV protection). But the extra features, sun protection, and durability will run you another 40 bucks.

Given the fabric’s weight, we were wary at first — but theNorrøna Fjora Heavy Duty MTB Shortsare also really breathable. And these shorts are also compatible with knee pads! If you’re riding through a lot of brush, bushwacking, hike-a-biking, or riding dusty or sandy singletrack, these shorts should be on your list to try.

Women’s Bike Shorts Comparison Chart

Bike ShortsPriceInseamPocketsLiner Short Included?Material
ShredlyLimitless 11″ Short$108Varies by size, falls above the knee2 front, 1 zippered, 1 snapNoRecycled polyester-spandex blend
Flylow Lola Shorts$9511″2 hand pockets, 1 side pocket (all zippered)NoIntuitive IQ MTB Stretch fabric
Wild Rye Freel Shorts$13912″2 hand pockets, zippered thigh pocketNoFour-way stretch nylon
Shredly Biker Cham
$987″2N/AButtery nylon-spandex, OEKO-TEX 100 Certified
Curious Creatures Marilyn Short$13012″1 zippered side pocketNo2-way stretch plain-woven nylon, PFC-free DWR finish, Bluesign-approved
Norrøna Fjora Flex1 Short$15915″2 zippered, 1 thigh pocket with interior mesh pocketNoFlex1: Synthetic blend with wind and water resistance
Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble Short$1397″2 hand pockets, 2 back pockets, 1 inset pocket, 1 envelope pocket, 1 small zippered pocketNo4-way stretch, bio-based heavyweight twill polyester, PFC-free DWR, Bluesign-approved
Shredly YOGACHAM$88N/AN/AN/APad (polyamide and elastane)
Velocio Ultralight Trail Short (With Trail Mesh Bib Liner)$15913″2 zippered thigh pocketsSold separatelyPolyamide and elastane
Wild Rye Kaweah$9912″2 front, 1 low down zipperedNoStretch polyester and spandex
Club Ride Eden Shorts$1007″2 hand, 2 back, and 1 zippered thighYes89% polyester, 11% spandex
Norrøna Fjora Heavy Duty MTB Shorts$17912″3No91% recycled nylon, 9% elastane

How We Tested Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts

The GearJunkie testing team is made up of amateur to expert road cyclists, bikepackers, mountain bikers, and racers. We’ve ridden cross-country and steep alpine trails all over the West, including in competitions, while bikepacking across the Rockies, and on self-supported trips like the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail.

Women’s mountain bike shorts are essential for staying comfortable while in motion and loading the bikes, hanging out with friends, or setting up camp after covering miles. Over the years, we’ve tested many different mountain bike shorts, and this list comprises the best of the best.

To point, Senior Editor Morgan Tilton has tested mountain bike shorts for close to 320 miles of rides with 47,000 feet of ascent/descent in 2023 alone. Aside from testing bike gear, she helps manage the gear-testing flock.

While testing women’s mountain bike shorts in the field, we assessed durability, overall fit, ease of movement, protection, fabric feel, breathability, and functionality. We’ve tested shorts while pedaling in blustery wind, intense sun, rain, and hail storms from close-to-town singletrack to distant backcountry tundra.

Beyond our team’s experience, we also considered the most popular, highly rated, acclaimed, and bestselling shorts on the market, as well as a broad range of price points, features, and styles to meet the needs of various types of bikers. If you’ve somehow managed to make it this far but are searching for men’s mountain bike shorts, we’ve tested and reviewed those, too.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts

Chamois

One of the first pieces of advice we give first-time riders is to go out and purchase a pair of shorts with a good chamois or a padded liner short to go with your baggy shorts. It’s the single most important (and often overlooked) piece of gear that will make or break your ride. After all, we are talking about your butt here! You know what we’re talking about if you’ve ever experienced a saddle sore. And if you haven’t, let’s try to keep it that way with some of our favorite shorts.

Pronounced SHAM-mee, the chamois is the pad that is sewn into a cycling short to protect the groin area and sit bones against the saddle. The chamois is constructed with a pad that has cushioned foam with a range of densities — some designs offer more cushion than others. Typically, the materials also wick moisture and are soft. Wearing a chamois instead of regular underwear also eliminates seams, which can rub and cause chafing.

In mountain bike shorts, the chamois can be integrated into the shorts, but more often, the chamois is integrated into a short, tight-fitting liner worn beneath the exterior bike shorts. Some baggy shorts are sold with a chamois liner, which is nice to have included in the purchase. More often than not, however, these are typically not the best. They are better than nothing, of course, but the best-performing chamois are typically an aftermarket purchase. Some of our favorites are the Shredly YOGACHAM and the Velocio Trail Mesh Bib Liner.

Material

As the price goes up on mountain bike shorts, part of that tag is covering the upgrade to more premium materials. Regardless of price, nearly all mountain bike shorts are made of a blend of polyester or nylon and elastane or spandex that has a bit of stretch and is intended to dry quickly.

For example, the Norrøna Fjora Flex and Norrøna Fjora Heavy Duty have a tough, stretchy fabric made from a synthetic blend that offers wind and water resistance, plus it features 50% recycled fibers and a PFC-free DWR. The Shredly Limitless 11″ feels softer and lighter — it’s made with a recycled polyester-spandex blend and costs less.

The Wild Rye Freel is constructed with a WR Duraflex Nylon (88% nylon, 12% spandex), which is tough against reachy trailside branches. Comparatively, the Wild Rye Kaweah is made with the WR Bomber Stretch Poly (90% polyester, 10% spandex), a blend that is still durable but not as tough and at a lower price point.

Waistband

A range of waistband designs exist, and they are unique for each short. What’s most important is that the waistband doesn’t fold over or pop open or pinch your lower stomach while you lean forward on your bike. It’s also nice to have a waistband with adjustability so you can forgo a belt and tighten your shorts as needed, especially if the ride is particularly long, sweaty, or rainy.

Some modern mountain bike shorts come with broad, stretchy waistbands to gently and comfortably hug your waist — similar to your favorite pair of yoga pants. The Shredly Limitless 11″ shorts are a great example, and the stretch waist is one of the main reasons we like them so much. Similarly, the Curious Creatures Marilyn Shorts have a high waist and a simple zipper on the side. The broad waistband is super comfortable and provides a flattering fit.

Many women’s mountain bike shorts have more traditional waistbands and closures. The Wild Rye Freel shorts, for example, have a double-snap, zip closure, and wide, stretchy width, plus belt loops if you decide to go that route. The Velocio Ultralight Trail Shorts are similar, plus they come with a stretchy performance belt as an added bonus.

For the most adjustability, many models have adjustable features built into the waistband so you can customize the fit within a small range. Velcro tabs are one of the most common ways to do this. Both the Flylow Lola Shorts and the Club Ride Eden have this style of adjustment — both also have belt loops on case that’s your preference. Similarly, the Norrøna Fjora Flex both have double-snap closures with a zipper and integrated Velcro adjustment tabs.

Pockets

Pockets can be helpful for a spot to quickly stuff your ride gloves on a snack break or to warm up your hands while tailgating. Other pockets secured with a zipper can be a good spot to hold a phone or credit card, while pockets with a snap closure can be a nice place for a snack bar.

Some mountain bike short designs come with minimal pockets like the Curious Creatures Marilyn, which only has a single zippered pocket. Other shorts offer tons of pocket options like the Curious Creatures Ramble Scramble or the Club Ride Eden, which have two back pockets, two side pockets, and an additional pocket with a zip closure. The wealth of traditional pockets on these shorts is particularly functional and useful off the bike.

Most shorts offer something in between, with an average of three pockets, like the Wild Rye Kaweah, which has two hand pockets and one low-down zippered pocket.

In a well-constructed upgrade, the Shredly Limitless 11″now features a zippered pocket, and the placement is higher on the thigh to help remove the jostle of a phone while you pedal. In contrast, many zippered pockets on other shorts are down lower on the leg and inevitably swing around while you ride.

Inseam Length

The best inseam length comes down to personal preference, the type of riding you do, the elements you’ll be riding in, and your style. If you’re going on a long ride in sunny, exposed (as in, no tree coverage or shade) terrain, consider wearing longer shorts to protect the tops of your legs from getting sunburned.

Longer shorts can also protect the side of the legs from thick brush, tree branches, or insects if you’re riding in a buggy area or on a wild, unkempt trail. If you’re bikepacking or alpine riding on steep slopes and getting on and off your bike, the longer fabric can also help protect your legs from getting scraped up. A longer inseam also typically plays better with knee pads and helps to prevent pad gap — a gap between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the pad — and is generally preferred by those doing more aggressive riding.

Shorter inseams leave more of the thigh exposed, which may be preferred by many ladies for style purposes. The inseam lengths of the women’s mountain bike shorts in our guide range from 6 inches to 15 inches, with 9 to 12 inches being the sweet spot for most trail rides.

Then, with finely tailored inseams to various female body shapes, Shredly offers an adjusted inseam length for each design and each size within that design. For instance, the Limitless 11″ Short, featured among our top picks, has an inseam that varies slightly across the sizes for a proportional fit:

  • Size 0: 10″
  • Size 8: 11″
  • Size 16: 11.5″

Fit and Size Range

Most brands offer a size run from at least size 0 to size 18.

Velocio offers an even broader size range (XXS-3XL). More specifically, the Velocio XXS fits a 22- to 24-inch waist and 31.5- to 33.5-inch hip size. In contrast, Wild Rye, for instance, starts at a size 0, which fits a 25.5-inch waist and 36.5-inch hip.

Shredly also offers a greater variety of sizes with a 00 to 24 size run (XS-3XL), which starts at a 24-inch waist and 33-inch hips and goes up to a 43-inch waist and 52-inch hips. Kitsbow’s shorts also offer a much broader size range with waist sizes from 26 to 37 inches.

Be sure to double-check the size chart for each pair of shorts you consider buying, and to measure yourself before making an order or stop by a retailer to try on a pair first. Mountain bike short sizes and the precise measurements for each size are not universal and often differ across brands.

Price

Most women’s mountain bike shorts hover around $100. That includesWild Rye Kaweah ($99), Club Ride Eden Shorts ($100), and Shredly Limitless 11″ ($108) in our guide.

Mountain bike shorts with a more premium construction that’s even tougher against the elements and a beatdown include the Wild Rye Freel Shorts ($139) and Velocio Ultralight Trail Short ($159).

It can be challenging to find great-fitting, well-made mountain bike shorts below $100, but the Flylow Lola Short ($95) impressed us enough to become our favorite budget-friendly model.

FAQ

Why are women’s mountain bike shorts so long?

The easy answer is coverage. When you’re riding a bike, no matter the bike or your riding level, the last thing you want is fabric that rides up, rides down, or doesn’t provide enough coverage or protection.

When you bike in the mountains, desert, or other environments, you’ll want skin coverage and protection against the elements, including sunshine (even your legs can get burned!), wind, rain, or hail. The further you venture out from a trailhead and the higher in elevation you go, the more likely you are to get stuck in a variety of conditions (with no quick bailouts), and the exposure becomes stronger such as being closer to the sun.

You’ll also want skin protection against abrasive vegetation on the side of the trail. Whether you’re blazing narrow singletrack that is surrounded by lush wildflower fields or scratchy bushes, you’ll be glad when your epidermis is not exposed.

Factor in that you may want a nice supportive or padded liner underneath, and longer shorts are the way to go. We’ve tested a slew of shorts that range in length from 6 to 15 inches on the inseam.

What are the best padded MTB shorts?

There are quite a few mountain bike shorts that are sold with a padded chamois liner included. On our list the only one we tested are the Club Ride Eden, which, at $100, is a solid deal. The Shredly Biker Cham is a spandex bike short that has a chamois pad and can be worn on their own or under a pair of baggies.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for even more support, consider buying whatever baggy shorts suit you best and adding your own chamois. There are lots of great aftermarket padded liner shorts on the market, including the Velocio Trail Mesh Bib Liner and the Shredly YOGACHAM. Either of these options will pair well with any of the baggy shorts on our list.

What should I look for in mountain bike shorts?

The best mountain bike shorts, our testers found, were the ones that offered a comfortable and supportive fit, work with a liner or no liner, and are durable, breathable, and can hold up to weather like water and wind.

When it comes to the features of mountain bike shorts, like inseam length or number of pockets, this is personal preference but is also influenced by the conditions you’ll be riding in and the type and duration of the majority of your rides.

Our testers preferred having at least one pocket with a secure closure, and either adjustability or an elastic stretch component in the waist. They also generally prefer shorts that fall just above the knee, but for certain objectives, the ultra-long lengths are better — like longer bikepacking trips in harsh sunlight.

Why do mountain bikers wear baggy shorts?

While some riders still prefer to wear tight-fitting spandex shorts for mountain biking, most modern mountain bikers prefer to wear baggy shorts. Not only do most people want to have a more casual look and feel on the bike, but modesty also plays a role for many. While looks are a big part of the reason to wear baggy shorts, they also offer a bit more protection in the form of leg coverage and another layer of material between your skin and the trail or scratchy trailside bushes.

The fit of mountain bike shorts overall is generally baggier than you are probably used to. Similar to running shorts, the reasoning for this is range of motion. You don’t want to feel too constricted while you are pedaling and moving around on your bike.

Mountain bike shorts are also typically made of thicker fabric for durability, and a looser fit means more comfort as well, especially since many riders choose to wear a liner, or chamois, underneath their shorts. Outside of bagginess, shorts come in a variety of fits and lengths to suit varying riding styles or personal preferences.

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Morgan Tilton

131 articles

Based among the awe-inspiring peaks of Crested Butte, Colorado, Morgan Tilton is a Senior Editor for GearJunkie honing the SnowSports Buyer’s Guides alongside warmer coverage. More broadly, she’s an adventure journalist specializing in outdoor industry news and adventure travel stories, which she’s produced for more than a decade and more than 80 publications to date. A recipient of 14 North American Travel Journalists Association awards, when she’s not recovering from high alpine or jungle expeditions she’s usually trail running, mountain biking, or splitboarding in Southwest Colorado, where she grew up and lives today. From resort to backcountry and human-powered to motorized travel, she loves sliding across snow.

Mary Murphy

1,435 articles

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie. She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for eight years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain biking, and the love of nature to kids. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

The Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2024 (2024)

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