To encourage pooling and water to run off, Madison’s DTE Softshell short is constructed from three-layer breathable fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating applied to the surface. It may sound like this material is a little bit lightweight but it’s extremely hard wearing and, to add some extra protection in key areas, Madison also uses a double-faced, stretched ripstop material over the knee.
Internally the short is fully fleece lined and this has a textured surface to help pull moisture away from your skin. Any condensation can then be expelled via the mesh-lined front pockets, which can be left open while you’re riding to increase air flow.
The short gets two heavy duty pop studs and a chunky fly zipper. To stop it shifting, silicone print and two Velcro waist adjusters but unfortunately, these adjusters are a little too stretchy and, on the large sample I tested, don’t have a big enough range - to get them to work better I actually tied a knot in the elastic.
Madison offers the DTE Softshell in S-XXL sizes and two colours but unlike the company’s waterproof short, there’s currently no women’s version.
I don’t think Madison has got the name of its DTE Softshell Short quite right because the name suggests it’s some sort of soft padded baggy but at 445g (over 150g heavier than a normal baggy) it’s the exact opposite. This is a really tough, hardwearing short that will provide warmth and insulation on a cold start but it’s still fully breathable, so even when the winter sun does make an appearance or someone decides to put the hammer down, you won’t overheat.
Madison-DTE-Softshell-shorts-review-100 (1).jpg, by Paul Burwell
It may not have the ultimate wet weather protection of a full Gore-Tex baggy but on wet trails or in light rain there’s ample protection. It’s also much more comfortable and I think more versatile option because you can easily wear it both in the wet and the dry.
Really generous in the leg so keeps knees warm/pads covered.
Waist adjusters lack adjustment.
Absolute must have if you ride in sub-zero temperatures or wet trail conditions
Not as waterproof as a proper waterproof short but with its greater breathability and three-layer fabric, the Madison Softshell provides sufficient splatter resistance and is much warmer. Definitely a piece of riding kit worth having in your winter wardrobe.