The Assos Trail Women’s Cargo shorts are a beautifully made pair of trail shorts with a sleek design and minimal branding. However, they have a rather hefty price tag and little storage space.
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Assos Trail Women's Cargo shorts - Technical Details
Assos has taken a new approach to the traditional baggies with these Trail Cargo shorts. Known for their high-quality road clothing, Assos described their off-road Trail collection as, “Blazing a new path forward, Trail is tuned with loose fits, protective features, and innovative textiles for all-mountain riders who demand the most from their equipment.”
The shorts feature a trim top block, starting with the highly elastic AZPtech (abdomZeroPressure) waist panel for a smooth, comfortable wrap. The upper legs' circumference has been pulled in on either side of the crotch to ensure your saddle can float, free of any material hang-up. The lower portion of the legs is relaxed and the 12.5-inch inseam is ideal with or without pads.
The Cargo shorts are made with type.0F11 high-density bi-stretch woven fabric that is highly abrasion-resistant but breathable. They have SPF 50+ protection and a DWR treatment to protect them from rain and mud. The pair features two zip pockets on the mid-thigh area and reflective details at the back.
The shorts are available in two colours, torpedoGrey (grey) and blackSeries (black) and come in six sizes ranging from XS to XL. They also come with a two-year warranty.
Assos Trail Women's Cargo shorts - On Test
The Assos Trail Women’s Cargo shorts promise a lot in terms of comfort, but I think the delivery of it is down to how well the design fits your body shape. The first thing I noticed about these shorts when pulling them on is the waistband. The V-shaped waistband reminds me of yoga shorts - it is stretchy and wide but it lacks any adjustability.
At first, the shorts felt great on; they're light and breezy, but although they otherwise fitted me perfectly, the waist quickly felt compressive, especially when paired with the Assos Trail Liner Shorts. The extra compression from the liner short combo is exaggerated by the fact that both waistbands sit at the same spot (at least they did for me), and given these shorts are meant to be worn with liners, it's not ideal that they don't work too well together. Assos also doesn't offer a bib liner (one with straps) for women, even though one does exist for men. Not to say you cannot pair other brand liners with these, but if you're brand loyal, the options are limited.
I think the non-adjustable waist area can be an issue because the shorts sit in an area that can be prone to bloating, especially for women. The waistband of these shorts is too tight for me personally, but given that they fitted quite perfectly otherwise, this might be to do with the design just not being compatible with my body shape.
The lack of adjustability aside, the shorts stay up nicely with the help of small silicone grippers. Assos have carefully considered the design as the waistband comes up higher at the back and lower at the front.
Being quite form-fitting for a pair of baggies, these shorts do have a very flattering design. The black pair I tested were quite nice and had quite subtle branding. The light construction of the shorts makes them feel comfortable when riding (except for the waist), and as Assos promises, there is no saddle snag. This also makes them suitable for urban/everyday riding shorts, especially because they have reflective detailing for added safety. With a 12.5-inch inseam, they are also a good length with or without knee pads.
Having 'cargo' in the name always makes me think that the shorts have ample storage space, but the two zip pockets are actually disappointingly small, only able to hold a small snack, a small phone, or keys. I think the cargo title refers more to the placement of the pockets than their actual cargo holding capability.
The shorts’ DWR coating worked really well on some damp Scottish rides, and they have remained water-repellent after a few washes, too.
Assos Trail Women's Cargo shorts - The Verdict
I would suggest sizing up one or two sizes if you're tempted by these. It should help increase the comfort level of these shorts in case you share my body shape - but this might lead to them being ill-fitting elsewhere. As with almost all clothing from Assos, I would absolutely recommend trying a larger size than your usual, especially because these shorts lack the waist adjustment which many other off-road specific shorts have.
Price-wise the shorts are not much more expensive than other similar, premium brand lightweight MTB/gravel shorts such as Rapha Women's Trail for £110 and 7Mesh's Farside Shorts for £100. Things do get a little pricey if you combine them with Assos Trail liners as you'd be looking at a nearly £200 investment for both, but they do offer that premium Assos quality. More affordable options are available, such as the excellent Endura Women's Singletrack Lite Shorts Jessica reviewed at £70.
These are less baggy baggies for someone looking for a pair that looks good on and off the bike. However, good as they look they also have quite a snug fit which can be uncomfortable, especially when worn with a pair of liners and on long rides.