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The 4 Best Women's Mountain Bike Shorts of 2020

There’s no piece of bike clothing more personal than your shorts. On the bike, they’re an essential part of your bike-body interface, and beyond that, they need to stay comfortable through long days in the saddle, through cool evenings at the bar post-ride. Bike apparel companies have realized that women’s bike shorts are one of the more specialized pieces of apparel out there, and have focused a bunch of energy on improving them.

From strategic pockets and vents, to high-tech materials, bike shorts are better than they have been before. But it’s a crowded field, it’s hard to stand out. So we’ve put together this list of the best women’s bike shorts we’ve used, and we’ve tried a lot of pairs. We break down their strengths and weaknesses, and what sort of climates and riders each pair will appeal to, along with a chart of important details to help you find a pair that makes you feel as good as you look.

Sweet Protection Hunter Light

Best women's mountain bike shorts of 2020

Sweet Protection excels at packing a lot of technology and performance into an understated package, and the Hunter Light short is no exception. They have a smooth, casual styling that won’t look out of place as you grab post-ride tacos, but underneath that polished exterior, they have a bunch of features that optimize them for long rides and warm weather. Their velcro waist adjustment makes it easy to keep the shorts comfortably snug around your hips, and laser-cut ventilation holes keep things airy. The shorts are made out of a merino wool blend fabric that stays cool and light to the touch, dries quickly, and is odor resistant. So, if you miss a laundry day between rides, the Hunter Light won’t stink. Plus, the longer inseam length works great for riders that wear knee pads, offering plenty of overlap, making these great women’s enduro bike shorts.

If you live somewhere hot, and want a pair of bike shorts that will keep you cool and dry quickly, without looking out of place when you’re not on the bike, Sweet Protection’s Hunter Light shorts are a great option. This total package makes them some of the best women’s bike shorts available.

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Wild Rye Kaweah Shorts

Best women's mountain bike shorts of 2020

Wild Rye is a relatively new brand on the scene, focused on making good-looking, and high-performing ski and bike wear for women. The Kaweah shorts are their do-everything bike shorts. They have three pockets to store any tools or snacks you may need on the ride, and a gusseted crotch to allow a wide range of movement, on and off the bike.

While they’re not quite as light and airy as the Hunter Light, the Kaweah stay impressively cool, and still dry quickly. They also have some built-in stretch, so they’ll stay comfortable without chafing through long days in the saddle. The bright and loud prints aren’t for everyone, but they do offer a nice and unique look. The Kaweah is a good choice for ladies looking for good looking and functional bike shorts.

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Pearl Izumi Canyon Shorts

Best women's mountain bike shorts of 2020

If you’re looking for a shorter, lighter pair of shorts for long XC rides, the Canyon may be the choice for you. With a much shorter, 9”, inseam than other options on this list, and a more fitted cut, the Canyon shorts are made for all-day performance.

But the Canyon’s real kicker is its removable liner. Padded for all-day comfort, this liner helps keep your sensitive bits comfortable, even after hours of pedaling. If your idea of a good day on the bike involves riding from dawn till dusk, the Canyon will keep you comfortable through it all. For riders that like the fit and feel of short women’s bike shorts, these check all the boxes.

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Fox Ranger Women's Shorts

Best women's mountain bike shorts of 2020

Fox makes a huge range of bike apparel, but that doesn’t mean they skimp out on sweating the details. In fact, their Ranger women’s shorts are some of the most popular and best women’s mtb shorts. They’re not as light and breathable as the Sweet Hunter, instead, they’re designed to work well in a wider range of climates. They’ll stay comfortable on hot days, but their DWR coating means they’ll shed rain and mud as well if you find yourself caught out in a storm. The longer 12” inseam on the Ranger shorts is great for riders looking for some more coverage, this also makes them work better with knee pads, eliminating the “gaper gap.”

Like the Canyon, the Ranger shorts also come with detachable chamois to add extra comfort for long days on the bike. If you’re looking for something simple, and very, very functional, with the added bonus of some water resistance, the Fox Ranger is a great choice.


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