Home Cycling Best Mountain Bike Shorts | 16 Top-Rated MTB Shorts for Men and...

Best Mountain Bike Shorts | 16 Top-Rated MTB Shorts for Men and Women

MTB shorts are designed to keep you dry and protected from the elements, but that’s not the only thing they’re designed to do. For a lot of riders, they’re as much a fashion statement as they are functional. The best mountain biking shorts are made from the best fabrics, with the best designs and designs that will make you look good, too.

Breathe new life into your mountain biking wardrobe with our wearable tech advice for MTB shorts. Whether you’re looking for a technical pair of shorts for trail riding or a casual pair for on-road riding, our expert cycling guides will help you find the perfect pair.

Long gone are the days when cyclists wore baggy shorts with an elastic band around the waist. Today’s shorts are designed to be as close to the skin as possible, to help reduce the risk of chafing and to improve comfort.  Mountain bike shorts are designed to last, using the finest materials, and a variety of different styles and designs are available today.  Most of the best mountain bike shorts are made of technical fabrics that are lightweight and durable, with some even made from windproof material.

Our team of professional testers have rode, evaluated, and rated the finest mountain bike shorts for men and women in 2023.

The following shorts vary from downhill protection designs that nearly stand up on their own to lightweight cross-country go-faster variants — and everything in between.

The list also includes choices for individuals who are new to the activity and are considering what to wear mountain riding, as well as luxury options for seasoned riders.

Our professional reviewers have chosen the best mountain bike shorts for 2023.

  • £65 / $95 / AU$130 / €80 Endura Singletrack Short II is the sequel to Endura Singletrack.
  • £235 / $270 / AU$482 / €270 Assos Trail Cargo Shorts with bib lining
  • Endura MT500 Spray Shorts II for Women: £80 / $120 / €100
  • Workshop on Missions £140 / $165 / AU$185 / €160 for the Traverse Shorts
  • £80 / €96 Shorts Rocday Roc Lite
  • £100 / $130 / €120 for 7Mesh Slab Trail Shorts
  • £70 / $100 / AU$130 / €80 Endura Singletrack Lite Shorts
  • Ranger Shorts for Women by Fox: £75 / $90 / AU$100 / €85
  • £90 / $107 / AU$159 / €119 C5 Gore Shorts
  • Dirt Roamer Shorts by Patagonia: £90 / $99 / €100
  • £85 / $100 / €100 Essential Enduro Shorts from POC
  • £80 / $110 / AU$160 / €107 IndyCar Race Short
  • Trail Tuned Shorts by Scott: £140 / €150
  • Demo Pro Shorts with a Twist: £90 / $105 / €100
  • Hunter Slashed Shorts by Sweet Protection: £70 / $80 / €80
  • Mischief Women’s Shorts by Troy Lee Designs: £100 / $109 / €125

Endura Singletrack Short II

Endura’s Singletrack II shorts have been a part of the Endura range for a number of years, with many revisions and enhancements based on rider input. Immediate Media / Andy McCandlish

  • Sizes range from S to XL.
  • Black, Forest Green, and Mustard
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, £65 / $95 / AU$130 / €80

Endura’s Singletrack II shorts have been a part of their range for a long time. The most recent version has a long length, knee articulation for pads, waist adjusters, and deep zipper pockets, among other features.

On each thigh, there is a convenient zippered ventilation hole as well as an additional zipper pocket for valuables.

The nylon fabric is pleasant to the touch, and the cut is unrestrictive and comfortable, while the seat of the shorts is made of a harder-wearing fabric for added durability. The seat pad is also a deeper color, which is a good addition given how frequently saddles create markings.

Shorts and bib liner from Assos Trail Cargo

The Trail Cargos aren’t inexpensive, but they deliver on their promise of all-day comfort on long rides. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from XS to XL. & TIR
  • Black and grey are the colors used in this design.
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, £235 / $270 / AU$482 / €270

These Assos Trail Shorts come with a bib liner and are intended to work together, but they may also be worn alone.

The bibs, which are more often seen with road cycling shorts, help these shorts accomplish their incredible comfort, and once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off.

The outer shorts are simple in style and fit well on the bike. The no-fly design is held in place against the liner underneath by gripper tape at the waist, and the luminous patterning on the back is a nice touch.

These shorts are expensive, but they will soon pay for themselves if you put in a lot of kilometers. They also come in a wider leg size if you like things baggy.

Women’s Endura MT500 Spray Shorts II

The Endura MT500 Spray Short II is a cross between a baggy trail short and a waterproof short that’s perfect for changing weather and trail conditions. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from XS to XL.
  • Pockets: There are two zippered pockets on this bag.
  • Black and Cocoa Red are the colors used in this design.
  • Women’s fit
  • Price: £80 (as tested) / $120 (as tested) / €100

The waterproof panels on the back of the shorts and the DWR-treated fabric make Endura’s MT500 Spray Shorts II perfect for riding in wet, changing weather and transitional seasons.

These women’s shorts have a fantastic fit. The front of the shorts has a contoured hem that pairs nicely with knee protectors, and the Velcro tabs allow for lots of adjustability around the waist.

The shorts’ logo is very bright, which may be a disadvantage for some, but when the weather is severe and keeping dry is a necessity, the Spray Shorts II are difficult to beat.

The Traverse Shorts from Mission Workshop

Even with bulky knee protectors, the Traverse shorts fit well. Behr, Steve

  • Sizes range from 28 to 38 inches.
  • Cargo pockets on the sides
  • Black, Charcoal, and Sutro Camo
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, £140 / $165 / AU$185 / €160

The Traverse Shorts from Mission Workshop are a great fit with ample space for knee protectors.

The shorts are composed of a four-way stretch cloth with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Finish that is claimed to be military-spec. This material feels strong but not stiff while riding, and its lightweight feel keeps you cool on hot days.

The quality of these shorts can be seen in the adjustable waistband and double popper, which provide a snug fit and scream quality.

A back pocket is in an unusual location, and it’s unclear if it’ll store big things effectively, but apart from that, these shorts will keep you riding in comfort for extended periods of time, allowing you to concentrate on the path.

Rocday Roc Lite Shorts

The Rocday Roc Lites are the lightest of the two pairs of shorts available from this Polish company. Immediate Media / Andy McCandlish

  • Sizes range from XS to XXL.
  • Pockets: There are two hip pockets.
  • Black, Brown, Dark Red, and Green
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, the price is £80 / €96.

With a flexible feel and a tidy cut that comes in just above the knee, the Rocday Roc Lite Shorts are the perfect length and weight for a trail short.

The shorts feature a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. The shorts feature mesh stitched into the knees to assist them glide over your knee pads, and the two deep pockets have Lycra edges to prevent your things from sliding out.

The shorts are comfortable in the riding posture, despite the heavy material, owing to the lumbar panel, which also offers excellent covering on the lower back.

Although the tight cut may not be appropriate for everyone, these shorts are so comfy that they may even be worn off the bike.

Slab Shorts 7Mesh

The most comfortable pair of shorts you’ve ever worn. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from XS to XXL.
  • Zippered storage pockets
  • Grateful Red, Super Blue, Black, and Charcoal are the colors used.
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, the price is £100 / $130 / €120.

The Slabs are designed for high-speed comfort in a basic, but beautiful, pull-on form with ultrasonic seams throughout and a single minimal thigh pocket.

First and first, we must commend those seams, which bind the panels that form the shorts so skillfully that they are virtually undetectable. They’re smooth on the inside and feel like the pinnacle of friction-free, light design.

The shorts can be easily pulled up thanks to stretch panels on the side waist, and there’s an elastic belt to adjust the fit. They don’t flap and there’s no extra material to snag thanks to the high-quality manufacture and thin design.

The Slabs have a high back and excellent fitting, so they follow your form and movement when riding. When you combine it with the stretch in the DWR-finished cloth, you get the greatest pair of shorts you’ve ever worn.

Shorts Endura SingleTrack Lite

The waistband is well-made, with an inside gripper print and a beautiful, high back. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from S to XL.
  • Hand pockets with zippers and a security pocket on the back
  • Black, Azure Blue, Forest Green, and Tangerine are some of the colors available.
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, £70 / US$100 / AU$130 / €80

The SingleTrack Lites feel light and durable right out of the box, owing to their lightweight, four-way stretch nylon fabric with a DWR finish.

For optimum ventilation, perforated portions extend nearly the whole length of both legs on both sides.

These Endura shorts are available in both long and short leg lengths. We tried out the long version and found that it was comfortable to wear and that the legs did not ride up.

We sized up and were able to adjust the waist enough using the Velcro tabs, which pull in from the small of the back, so if you’re in between sizes, we’d recommend going smaller – although we sized up and were able to adjust the waist enough using the Velcro tabs, which pull in from the small of the back.

The waistband is well-made, with a grippy pattern on the inside and a beautiful high back.

The extra-length zip pull on the single rear pocket is a useful feature that highlights Endura’s extensive expertise designing MTB gear. The Singletrack Lites, in our opinion, provide a lot for the money.

Ranger Shorts for Women by Fox

The baggies come with a pair of liner shorts with a dual-density chamois. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from XS to XL.
  • Zippered pockets
  • Black, Purple, Dark Green, Khaki, and Grey are some of the colors available.
  • Women’s fit
  • As tested, £75 / $90 / AU$100 / €85

Thanks to the presence of a soft, dual-density lining that is also detachable, the women’s Ranger Shorts from Fox Racing provide excellent value for money.

The shell is constructed of a flexible fabric that has been treated with a DWR coating to help it shed water and dirt. It’s available in a range of colors and has a saggy, simple appearance.

The shorts have a 12-inch inseam to accommodate knee protection, but they sit low on the hips rather than the waist.

The shorts are closed with a sturdy metal popper, although waist adjustment through sliders and straps is a little difficult.

There are many pockets, both on and off the bike, that are well-placed.

Overall, these shorts are difficult to criticize; just make sure you get the correct size.

Gore C5 Shorts

The Gore C5 Shorts are ideal for long days and miles logged. Immediate Media / Andy McCandlish

  • Sizes range from S to XXXL.
  • Two zippered hip pockets are included.
  • Black, Nordic Blue, and Orbit Blue
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, the price is £90.

The C5 Shorts are constructed of a light, stretch fabric and are geared more at cross-country than hard trail riding, but they do so with the Gore quality you’d expect.

A secure fit is provided by velcro adjusters at the waist and elastic on the waistband, and the closing is provided by a double popper and fly.

On the hip, there are a few excellent, but shallow, zippered pockets, and one pocket on the right leg.

Although the design doesn’t allow for knee protectors, the tight fit, along with the lightweight fabric, is ideal for long days in the saddle and racking up the kilometers.

Dirt Roamer Shorts by Patagonia

The rear of the waist bends up, and the fit may be fine-tuned with the side micro-adjusters. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from 28 to 40 inches.
  • Pockets: There is a small, concealed, safe zip pocket on the inside of the jacket.
  • Black, Forge Grey, and Superior Blue
  • Men’s fit, although a women’s version is also available.
  • As tested, the price is £90 / $99 / €100.

These super-lightweight shorts are intended for warm-weather riding and have a minimalist style.

They don’t feel tight in the least because of a mix of shaping through the body and a high degree of flexibility in the DWR-coated fabric – the material moves with you.

This sense of freedom, as well as the sleek look, is enhanced with an adjustable waist and sonic-welded seams. The rear of the waist curls up, and the fit can be fine-tuned with the small micro-adjusters on the side, but the cut is so thin that you’re unlikely to need them. The zip fly fastens with a nice old-fashioned button, which is a rarity these days.

If you like more covering, the Dirt Roamers may not be the style for you, but they’re so cool and comfy for heavy summer riding that we’d recommend making an exception and getting your knees out.

The Patagonia Women’s Dirt Roamer Shorts are a women’s version of the Patagonia Men’s Dirt Roamer Shorts.

POC Essential Enduro Shorts

The design of the POC Essential Enduro Shorts is pretty basic, with no ventilation holes, extra pockets or other distractions, and I appreciated this. Andy McCandlish / Immediate Media

  • Sizes range from XS to XXL.
  • Two zippered hip pockets are included.
  • Uranium Black, Turmaline Navy, Basalt Blue, and Sylvantine Grey are the colors used.
  • Men’s fit
  • Price as tested: £85 / $100 / €100

These are a wonderful pair of lightweight shorts for any occasions, with a simple style that is really welcome.

The shorts only feature two zippered pockets, but this keeps them light and simple to maneuver in while yet giving them enough space for necessities off the bike.

The shorts are compatible with knee pads, as you would assume given the name.

Although the fabric is flexible and lightweight, POC has managed to make these shorts seem tough enough for when you’re riding downhill.

The lumbar panel might be longer and the waist elastic could be thicker, but these are minor flaws in an otherwise excellent pair of shorts.

Race Face Indy

Overall, the Indys are a flexible pair of shorts that provide great comfort and performance in a variety of situations. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from S to XXL.
  • Front thigh pockets are zippered.
  • Black, Concrete, Dijon, Navy, Dark Red, Grey, and Scorch are some of the colors available.
  • As tested, £80 / $110 / AU$160 / €107

The Race Face Indys are made of a heavy-weight fabric that seems like it was designed to take a beating. They’re also marketed as enduro shorts, and they deliver on that promise.

The inner and back thighs are lined up to assist control temperature, and the fit is excellent, with an extra-high back panel (which contains a tiny zippered pocket) and gripper print inside the waist to keep your skin protected.

Dropped over the knee, the long legs will suit riders who prefer more coverage, and they stay in place when pedalling with no tendency to creep up – the inner-leg ‘slip panel’ feature really works. The front pockets are generously sized.

Except for the wrap over tab at the top, the zip fly is left exposed, which is unusual.

Overall, the Indys are a flexible pair of shorts that provide great comfort and performance in a variety of situations.

Shorts with a Trail Tuned by Scott

The lack of Velcro is pleasant; instead, the waistline is elasticated and has a smart fold-over fly with single hook closure. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from S to XXL.
  • Two zippered side pockets
  • Blues from the Atlantic
  • Men’s fit
  • As tested, the price is £140 / €150.

Because the Scott Trail Tuned Shorts feature a replaceable lining, they are expensive. This liner is very comfortable and has a high-quality pad.

The outside shorts are just as nice. The fabric is made of durable but lightweight Cordura with a PFC-free DWR treatment to resist water and dirt. It rides light and has enough of flexibility to suit the tight cut.

The leg length is ample, and there are holes along the inner thigh to keep you cool. The lack of Velcro is a welcome change. Instead, the waistband is elasticized and has a smart fold-over fly with a single hook fastening that can be inserted into any of five loops, allowing for a flexible and very comfortable fit.

The Scott shorts stand out thanks to two zippered front pockets with advantageously lengthy zip pulls, as well as the careful attention to practical detail and a superb fit.

Demo Pro Shorts with a Focus

The Specialized Demo Pro Shorts include a thick micro-fleece lined waistband that adds a lot of comfort. Immediate Media / Andy McCandlish

  • Sizes range from 30 to 36 inches.
  • Two zipped thigh pockets, one zippered back center pocket
  • Black and Cast Blue are the colors used in this design.
  • Men’s fit
  • Price: £90 (as tested) / $105 (as tested) / €100

The Specialized Demo Pro Shorts have a 16-inch inseam, making them among of the longest mountain bike shorts that cover knee pads.

The shorts are ideal for downhill bikers, but the light, flexible fabric also makes them suitable for pedaling and varied tasks.

The fabric breathes well, and a broad perforated strip around the groin region prevents perspiration from accumulating.

Tiny touches make these shorts stand out; a micro-fleece waistband keeps things cozy, and a small pocket at the rear of the waistband is perfect for a credit card. They also have little branding, which is perfect for those of us who don’t want to stick out on the trails.

Hunter Slashed Shorts with Sweet Protection

These shorts seem like they’ll become a summer staple, but their heavier fabric allows them to be worn into the fall. Immediate Media / Russell Burton

  • Sizes range from S to XL.
  • Two side pockets and one thigh pocket
  • Black and Forest Green are the colors used in this design.
  • As tested, the price is £70 / $80 / €80.

Sweet Protection’s well-fitting shorts feature pared-back design and a tightly woven, durable-feeling fabric.

They’re extremely pleasant to ride in since the soft material is tough but not heavy, with just enough flexibility to assist mobility where it’s needed.

If you want a longer leg length, opt for Sweet Protection’s original Hunter shorts, which seem longer than the dimensions indicate since the legs don’t ride up.

An elastic belt runs inside the waistband to help you get the perfect fit, and since it’s elastic, it won’t dig in when you tighten it.

Two handwarmer pockets and one zippered thigh pocket are located on the rear waist, which stays securely in place when riding.

These shorts look and feel more expensive than their price tag, and they’ll become a summer and fall staple.

Mischief Women’s Shorts by Troy Lee

The Mischief shorts provide a good mix between performance and fit. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd

  • Sizes: XS–XL
  • Three zipped pockets
  • Colors: Cheetah Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black, Black
  • Women’s fit
  • As tested, the price is £100 / $109 / €125.

Troy Lee Designs’ Mischief shorts are a fantastic illustration of how women’s mountain biking has progressed in recent years, with a perfect mix of performance and fit.

The shorts are constructed of a Bluesign-approved four-way stretch fabric that moves with you and feels comfortable while pedaling, and are available as a shell alone or with a liner.

The inseam is slightly below the knee and easily covers pads. This, along with the relaxed fit, three pockets, and waist adjusters, makes them excellent all-arounders suitable for anything from the bike park to enduro competitions.

The only reason they don’t receive five stars is because of the price, but a premium pricing is to be expected from a premium brand like TLD.

Take into account…

These mountain bike shorts for men and women received less than four out of five stars in our tests, but they are still worth considering.

Mountain bike shorts buyer’s guide

Mountain bike shorts are oversized, but it doesn’t make them any less functional. Immediate Media / Simon Bromley

The finest mountain bike shorts are made to withstand the rigors of off-road riding. Mountain biking, on the other hand, is a large category that encompasses a wide range of riding styles and kinds, and as a consequence, there are a vast range of shorts available.

Mountain bike shorts range in length from protective over-the-knee clothing to lightweight shorts with a short inseam. Some come with liners and cushions, while others are just shells.

Many mountain shorts are baggy in appearance, but that doesn’t mean they’re not functional. They’ll frequently assist shed rain and wick away perspiration.

This article will walk you through the most important considerations to make when shopping for a pair of shorts, as well as many of its characteristics. We’ve also put up a glossary to help you understand some of the more technical terminology you’ll encounter.

Fabric and fit

When it comes to mountain bike shorts, the two main factors that will help you select a pair that fits you and your requirements are fit and fabric.


Mountain bike shorts with waist adjusters allow you to fine-tune the fit. Behr, Steve

No matter how many features your shorts have, they’ll never be worth the money if they don’t fit properly. This is why it’s always a good idea to try on shorts.

The waistband is the most important part of any mountain bike shorts design because, unlike road cycling shorts, mountain bike shorts don’t depend on bib straps to keep them in place.

When placed flat, the finest specimens typically seem extremely low on the front. This is because they are intended to not cut into your waist when riding, yet are high enough in the back to keep you from falling down.

Velcro waist adjustment tabs are a popular method to fine-tune the fit. Look for elasticized versions of these tabs, which will allow the shorts to move with you and keep you comfortable.

Some shorts now have elasticized “grown-on waists” that function just as well as conventional fly and popper closures.

Belt loops are also common in more conventional and less apparent cycling short styles.


Do you prefer to ride an enduro bike or a cross-country bike? Do you like to ride quickly and rack up the kilometers, or do you prefer to go downhill?

Because it offers protection and comfort, the fabric will frequently decide what kind of riding a pair of shorts is most suited for.

Look for shorts made of heavier fabrics and abrasion-resistant materials that can withstand spills if you’re into gravity riding.

If you like cross-country skiing or are less likely to be speeding downhill, lightweight and flexible materials are recommended since they allow the shorts to flow with you and are less difficult to pedal.

Enduro riders will need something in the middle, and it’s a good idea to search for durable materials with breathability to strike a balance between protection on descents and not overheating on uphill portions.

Mountain bike shorts features to look for

Waistband with a high back

When you lay a pair of shorts flat, the back of the waist should be visible above the front to guarantee that it will sit high enough to keep your bottom covered when riding.


Airflow is improved through perforations. Alex Evans is a writer who lives in the United

These little holes in the cloth, strategically placed throughout the shorts, promote ventilation and are particularly helpful in the summer, when you want to retain covered yet not overheat.

Adjustable elastic

Shorts with flexible fabric in the waistband allow you to strike a nice balance between comfort and a fit that isn’t too tight across the stomach.

Zip pulls with a long length

If you usually ride with full-finger mountain bike gloves or on days when the cold has reached your fingertips, this is a must-have.


The importance of pocket location cannot be overstated. Alex Evans is a writer who lives in the United

Shorts come with a variety of pocket styles and sizes, or none at all, so pick what you need. Do you carry your belongings in your shorts or do you utilize a hydration pack with storage? Do you like to have your smartphone near at hand or do you just need a tiny zippered pocket to store your keys and cards?


Some mountain bike shorts just have an outer shell, while others include liners for added comfort. If you want to go the distance, get the finest you can afford – and purchase it separately if necessary. To prevent chaffing, make sure your liner fits tightly against your body.

DWR coating

The DWR coating on the Traverse Shorts is remarkable. Alex Evans is a writer who lives in the United

Fabrics with DWR (durable water repellency) coatings will keep you drier for longer, so seek for shorts with this feature if you’re cycling somewhere damp or muddy. The DWR coating may need to be renewed over time since the efficacy of the DWR decreases with usage and washing machine cycles.

Glossary of Mountain Bike Shorts

Seams that are ultrasonic

This technique, also known as welded seams, fuses seams together instead of sewing them. It helps maintain stretch from one panel to the next while also eliminating the risk of chafing from stitched seams.


The distance between the front of the waistband and the crotch seam. If the rise is too high, there will be extra fabric at the front of the shorts, which may snag on the nose of your saddle.


A grown-on waist does not have a separate waistband; instead, the cloth is cut and molded to the body of the shorts. Because there is no band to poke into your stomach, this reduces bulk and improves comfort.

Knee has been dropped.

Knees that are dropped will assist conceal knee pads better than other shorts. Behr, Steve

A construction technique in which the leg is cut higher behind the knee and lower in the front. This keeps the knee protected while decreasing the weight behind it for improved pedaling comfort. If you’re wearing knee pads, it also avoids a gap.


A raised silicone or adhesive pattern that is typically placed to the back of the waist to prevent baggy shorts from sliding down over a liner short’s smooth surface. This eliminates the need for a liner with specific fastenings for each pair of shorts.

MTB is a popular activity, but finding the right shorts is challenging. When it comes to cycling shorts, there’s a huge variety of styles and fabrics to use. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best cycling shorts in our reviews. We’ve tested more than 200 shorts, including a lot of top-rated models. These are only the best shorts on the market, so we didn’t include cheap, low-quality shorts.. Read more about mountain bike chamois and let us know what you think.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • mens mtb shorts
  • mountain bike shorts
  • mountain bike shorts padded
  • best mtb liner shorts
  • best mtb padded undershorts