Keeping your bottom dry makes riding in soggy weather that much more pleasant, so we've rounded up the best men's and women's waterproof bike shorts that you can buy in 2020. The shorts in question here have all scored four stars or above meaning, meaning they are very good pieces of kit, something we turn to again and again for the performance and comfort they offer.
[Updated 2nd October 2020]
The best waterproof shorts you can buy in 2020
As well as the top-performing shorts we've tested, we've also written a buyer's guide to waterproof shorts so you know what makes a good waterproof short and you can get to know your breathability ratings from you taped seams. Read on for our top-rated shorts, hit the links below to jump straight to that pair.
- Endura women's MT500 Spray Short II
- Alpinestars Outrider WR Waterproof Base shorts
- Cube Blackline Rain Shorts
- 7MeshInc Revo waterproof shorts
- Madison DTE Softshell shorts
- Madison Zenith waterproof shorts
- Madison DTE Women's Waterproof shorts
The Endura women's MT500 Spray Short II is an updated version of its all-mountain MT500 shorts, with added waterproofing. It's a tough three-season short that protects from trail spray and light rain, dries quickly and looks good too. Oddly for Endura they come up a little small, however, so check the size before you buy.
The Alpinestars Outrider WR Waterproof Base shorts have a seamless, laminated rear and crotch panel, keeping the elements out but also offer a higher level of breathability and comfort than a fully waterproof alternative. Superbly comfortable and look good too, we think they are the perfect British riding short. At £95, they’re far from cheap but for a short that basically epitomises British riding conditions, you do indeed get what you pay for.
Cube Blackline Rain Shorts aren’t cheap but they prove to be high performers with an adjustable elastic waistband and importantly, durable and waterproof too. The only place we can fault the German conglomerate’s wet weather short is that we’d like another pocket other than the single left-handed inclusion and, at £84.99, they’re not cheap - especially for their minimalistic design.
They’re in line with other brands such as Endura, Altura and Madison (reviews of their versions coming soon) but just don’t fit with Cube’s normal ethos of high spec, high value.
From the very first wear, the 7 Mesh Inc Revo shorts have performed, offering brilliant fit and functionality - a proper all winter, waterproof short. The Revos have an instant feel of being high end, functional winter riding shorts. They also sit well over kneepads and don’t hitch or feel restrictive when pedalling. Our tester found myself riding in them even with no rain forecast, simply as they offer comfort and bad weather protection with the windproofing, and then puddle spray protection as well. The only place that let them down? That high price tag, £165 for a pair of shorts is a lot.
Madison’s DTE Softshell shorts look and feel like a regular baggy short but it has a waterproof outer skin and fleecy lining to keep you warm and dry even on the worst winter ride. 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. 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.
The Madison Zenith Waterproof shorts are some of the best in the business: they keep you perfectly dry, are suitably long for the task and the four-way stretch material ensures a supremely comfortable fit. The most impressive thing about the Zenith we thought, is the slightly longer leg length and articulated knee area. It's winter, meaning more than ever, we want my shorts to extend over the knee pads and be shaped to allow space, most commonly for said knee pads. The Zeniths are an ideal length, never exposing an entire knee pad or knee to the slop outside and have a nice shape to allow even the bulkiest of knee pads without any tight points. With an RRP of £75, they’re on par with their competition but do the job considerably better than most, they really are hard to fault.
New for this year, Madison’s DTE waterproof shorts come in men’s and women’s versions, with the colour range and sizing the only obvious differences. They have proved themselves invaluable on our tester's recent rides – in particular, a cold, rainy and windy epic in the Brecon Beacons, where they lived up to their description of being waterproof, windproof and breathable. Overall, these are great shorts, they might sound expensive, but when you compare them to other waterproof shorts the DTEs are decent value considering what you get.
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