13 Favorite Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts

Women’s mountain bike shorts are probably the one piece of mountain bike gear that I’m most picky about when it comes to riding apparel. They’re also the one piece of gear that is hardest to get right. I recently tried on about 10 different pairs of shorts and they all fit differently! Most were too small (FYI women’s mtb shorts run tiny). Others were too short and most just didn’t fit right. It seems that there is a huge size and fit discrepancy between brands!

There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

So in an effort to find the best pair of shorts for all body types, I scoured reviews, watched fit videos, asked friends, and read countless product descriptions. Here are the results.

Keep in mind that this list is not perfect. I have not tried on every pair of shorts, but my hope is that with the reviews I’ve read and research I’ve done, you will find one or two brands that you love and can trust.

Here are the best women’s mountain bike shorts for all body types

What to consider when choosing a pair of shorts

Unlike other mountain bike gear, such as shoes, where size and fit are generally agreed-upon across the board, women’s mountain bike shorts are a whole different ballgame. Shorts fit very differently based on height, weight, hip size, butt shape, thigh and waist measurement, and more. Add in fit preferences (baggy vs fitted) and one short could be someone’s favorite pair ever and another’s most uncomfortable (or unflattering) pair in the world.

So while I can’t say which women’s mountain bike shorts will be the winner for you, here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping:

Inseam length

Women’s mountain bike shorts come in a range of lengths from 7″ shorties to super long 14.5″+ baggies. Depending on your height and length preference, you can narrow down your options. For example, I’m pretty tall at 5’8 and I really like shorts that reach just past my knee, so a longer inseam is my preference.

If you want an inseam length that is tailored to your height, check out SHREDLY shorts. Their inseam lengths vary based on size.

Material

Most mountain bike shorts are made from polyester and some sort of elastic material like spandex, nylon, lycra, or elastane. If you want a short that stretches a bit while you pedal, be sure to look for ones that have a slightly higher percentage of stretchy material.

Waist adjustment

To get the best fit for a variety of body types, most women’s mountain bike shorts come with an adjustment at the waist. This could be velcro, buttons, waist straps, or even a belt. Shorts that don’t have an adjustable waist, are less versatile when it comes to getting a good fit.

Water repellant finish

If you’ll be riding in wet conditions, some mountain bike shorts are designed with a DWR (durable water repellant) finish. If this is important to you, check to see whether a short has a weather-resistant coating before buying.


Best Women’s Mountain Bike Shorts

Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

1. POC Essential MTB Short

Best for: Taller women with curvy hips who want a flattering look

When I discovered the POC Essential MTB Shorts I felt like I hit the jackpot. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. They are seriously my favorite mountain bike shorts that I’ve ever owned. I particularly appreciate the length. They may be too long for some women, but for me at 5’8 who prefers long shorts, they’re perfect. No knee pad gap!

I also like how the hips are wider and the legs are not tapered. I’ve ordered three pairs and when new colors come out I will be ordering more. I’m a size 6-8 and the large fit perfectly. Read my full POC Essentials MTB Shorts review here.

  • Inseam length: Not specified, but they’re very long
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Stretch nylon with DWR coating
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand 1 small zippered rear
  • Adjustable waist? Velco tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $99.95
POC Essentials Women's Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / Jenson

2. SHREDLY MTB Long/Short

Best for: Slim builds with a baggy look

SHREDLY is perhaps the most loved women’s mountain bike short brand out there and for good reason. They have a short for everyone. No matter your height, build, or size, there’s a short for you.

The SHREDLY MTB Long and MTB Short are great options for the slimmer ladies with athletic builds and narrow hips. They even have different inseams lengths based on short size! (The longs are going to be longer and the shorts are shorter, obviously).

All shorts come with thigh vents, a gusseted crotch to prevent bunching, three pockets, and a clever internal waist adjustment system.

  • Inseam length: Varies depending on size
  • Liner included?: No
  • Short material: Polyester and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 hand and 1 side with snap botton
  • Adjustable waist? Hook-and-loop
  • Sizes: 0-16
  • Price: $105.00
SHREDLY Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: SHREDLY / Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

3. SHREDLY Curvy

Best for: Muscular bums and thighs

The SHREDLY Curvy short, which comes in long and short styles, won the Gear Of The Year award by Outside Magazine in 2020. What’s so great about them? For starters, the Curvy short doesn’t have front buttons or zippers. Instead, it has an elastic waistband that doesn’t cut into your stomach and it has a shaped back panel that allows for more room for those muscular bums and thighs.

If you’ve had trouble finding the ‘perfect’ mountain bike short that fits just right, I highly recommend giving the SHREDLY Curvy a try!

  • Inseam: length Depends on size
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: 100% recycled polyester and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 hand and 1 snap button side pocket
  • Adjustable waist? No, it’s elastic
  • Sizes: 2-24
  • Price: $105.00
SHREDLY Curvy Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check Price: Backcountry / Competetive Cyclist / SHREDLY

4. Patagonia Dirt Craft

Best for: Petite or slim women with fewer curves

The Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts are great for women who have a slim, athletic build with narrow hips. I find that this is true for most Patagonia shorts and bottoms in general, so size up if you have bigger hips and butt.

These shorts are great because they’re made from stretchy and durable material and they’re designed with a high-rise waist so they don’t dig into your stomach or ride up into your crotch, which can really put a damper on a ride. They also come with a removable padded liner, which a lot of shorts don’t

If you’re looking for shorts that don’t include the liner, check out the Patagonia Dirt Roamer.

  • Inseam length: 12″
  • Liner included? Yes
  • Outer short material: Nylon (65% recycled) and spandex with a DWR finish
  • Liner material: Polyester and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 hand and 1 zippered side
  • Adjustable waist? Hook-and-loop
  • Sizes: 0-18
  • Price: $159.00
Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / Patagonia

5. Wild Rye Kaweah

Best for: A slim fits with wide leg

The Wild Rye Kaweah is great for a variety of body shapes, but especially for althetic/slim builds because the fabric is slightly less stretchy than other styles and brands. This doesn’t mean curvy women can’t wear the Kaweah, but Wild Rye’s Freel might be a better fit (see below!).

The Kaweah is made from durable polyester, so it’s a bit heavier than other fabrics like nylon, but it’s still a great trail short.

They also come in super fun colors and patterns!

  • Inseam length: 12″
  • Liner included?: No
  • Short material: Polyester and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 front pockets and 1 zippered side pocket
  • Adjustable waist? Only with belt (belt not included)
  • Sizes: 0-18
  • Price: $99.00
Wild Rye Kaweah // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / REI

6. Wild Rye Freel Shorts

Best for: Women looking for a baggy fit

The Wild Rye Freel Shorts have a similar fit to the Wild Rye Kaweah shorts, but they’re made from stretchier fabric which I find more comfortable for larger hips and a butt. The Freel Shorts are made out of durable nylon fabric and are water-repellent as well as moisture-wicking and breathable. They’re slightly lighter in weight than the Kaweah shorts, and they also come in fun colors and prints!

  • Inseam length: 12″
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Nylon and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 hand pockets and 1 zippered side pocket
  • Adjustable waist? None
  • Sizes: 0-18
  • Price: $119.00
Wild Rye Freel Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check Price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

7. Fox Defend shorts

Best for: Tall, slim builds with muscular thighs

I’ve tried on a few Fox shorts and they don’t fit me super well, but I’m also not a slim, athletic build (I got hips!). But several women who are tall, slim, and athletic have said that the Fox Defend shorts are their go-to mountain bike shorts.

The material is breathable and stretchy and the waist has a ratchet strap for a dialed-in fit. These do have a very long inseam, so they’re probably best for the taller ladies.

  • Inseam length: 14.5″
  • Liner included?: No
  • Short material: Polyester and elastane
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand
  • Adjustable waist? Ratcheting buckle
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $119.95
Fox Defend Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / Jenson

8. Endura Singletrack Lite Short

Best for: Taller slim builds wanting a “fitted baggy” look

The Endura SingleTrack Lite Short is a great hot weather ride option for taller women with slim waists who want some extra room to move around in. They’re made from super breathable material and they have perforated thigh vents to ensure you stay cool on those long pedals.

  • Inseam length: Not specified
  • Liner included?: No
  • Short material: Nylon and elastane
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand 1 zippered rear
  • Adjustable waist? Velco
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $99.95
Endura Singletrack Lite Short // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / evo

9. DHaRCO Gravity Shorts

Best for: Medium builds (average waist, hips, butt, thighs)

DHaRCO is a fun-loving brand out of Australia. They make casual and practical mountain bike gear for the everyday rider and their women’s Gravity mountain bike short does not disappoint.

Crafted from nylon and spandex, it’s a perfect blend of stretch and durability. Their gravity shorts are also Bluesign approved, meaning the fabrics are environmentally friendly and they ship their gear in compostable mailers. I also LOVE their party-inspired designs – check out their Party Pant liners!

  • Inseam legth: Not specified
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Nylon and spandex with DWR finish
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand pockets
  • Adjustable waist? Velcro tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $107.00
Dharco Gravity Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check Price: evo / DHaRCO

10. Sombrio Rebel

Best for: Taller women wanting a fitted look

I haven’t tried these Sombrio Rebel shorts, but they’re a favorite among Ladies AllRide coaches, who I’ve spent time around. They’re slightly longer in the front to eliminate knee pad gap, which is much appreciated.

They’re made from stretchy material and they’re super durable for big days out on the trails. They also come with a small cord that you can attach your bike park lift pass to, which is very handy and clever!

  • Inseam length: 13.5″
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Nylon and spandex
  • Pockets: 1 zippered front, 1 zippered back, lift pass cord
  • Adjustable waist? Velco tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $109.99
Sombrio Rebel Shorts // Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist

11. RevelRider Flow Shorts

Best for: High-performance downhill action and a fitted look

RevelRider is a bit of an under-the-radar brand, but it should be more mainstream! A women’s-specific mountain bike apparel brand based in Bend, Oregon, they make women’s mountain bike clothing designed by women. Every piece is designed to be functional and performance-based.

The RevelRider Flow Shorts are exactly that. They have a high rise back that is missing from a lot of shorts and helps keep your bum and lower back covered even on the steepest of descents. They’re made from thick, durable material and they also have clever hook-and-loop waist adjusters that don’t loosen as the bike park day wears on.

Also check out their Ride Shorts, which are a little less burly and better for longer days of pedaling.

  • Inseam length: Not specified, but they’re long
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Nylon and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 zippered thigh pockets and 1 small zippered back pocket
  • Adjustable waist? Velco tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $95.99
RevelRider Flow Shorts //

Check price: RevelRider

12. Backcountry Empire Short

Best for: Shorter women who prefer a tapered leg & snug fit

I tried the Backcountry Empire Shorts on and as someone who’s tall (5’8) and prefers a baggy leg, they weren’t for me. But that doesn’t mean you won’t like them! In fact, they get great reviews and they’re designed for the athletic woman in mind. The waist is adjustable with velcro straps and they have a silicone grip strip at the waist to keep them in place.

Backcountry also offers the Slickrock Short, which is slightly cheaper in price and made from lighter material for hot ‘slickrock’ rides. Instead of velcro tabs, these have an adjustable belt.

  • Inseam length: Not specified
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Nylon and spandex with DWR finish
  • Pockets: 2 hand pockets and 1 small zippered side pocket
  • Adjustable waist? Velco tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Price: $99.99
Backcountry Empire Bike Shorts

Check price: Backcountry

13. ZOIC Naveah

Best for: Muscular bums and thighs

I was a little hesitant to add the ZOIC Naveah Shorts to this list because personally, I don’t love them, but I figured my experience isn’t everyone’s experience. First, why I don’t like them: I don’t think they’re well made. The side pocket zipper broke on me within a month and the front zipper never stays up while I’m riding. Every time I stop, I have to zip it back up. The material is also thin and I noticed a hole in the butt after a couple of months of riding in them.

Ok, that being said… people do love these shorts and to be fair, they actually do fit me really well. They’re roomy for my muscular bum and thighs and the length is great (if you’re on the short side, try the Naveah 7). The pockets are also big and well-placed and you can buy them with liners or without liners.

I’d say if you don’t ride a lot and don’t ride hard or you’re looking for a budget option, these could be a great choice.

  • Inseam length: 11″
  • Liner included? No
  • Short material: Polyester and spandex
  • Pockets: 2 zippered hand and 1 zippered side
  • Adjustable waist? Velco tabs
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Price: $75-80 depending on print
Zoic Naveah shorts //

Check price: Backcountry / Competitive Cyclist / Jenson


If you try one of these women’s mountain bike shorts based on this post, let me know how they fit in the comments below! And did I miss any? What is your favorite women’s mountain bike short and why?

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Find the best pair of women's mountain bike shorts for your body with this guide compiled by real women riders of all sizes and shapes

2 Comments

  1. I appreciate that you describe how the shorts fit different body shapes. I really struggle to find shorts/trousers that fit in hips/thighs (big) and waist (small) and with so much only available online these days, it’s nice to know which brands are most likely to fit.

    1. Glad you found it helpful, Celeste! I have big hips/thighs/butt too and small waist and it’s silly how hard it is to find a pair of shorts that fit well. I love my POC MTB Essential shorts. If you’re on the tall side (I’m 5’8) I highly recommend them! Another great choice are the SHREDLY Curvy shorts, which come in long and short.

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