- Long in the legs so keeps your knees warm
- Hard wearing construction
- Waist adjusters lack adjustment
- Big in the waist and adjuster can’t take up the slack
Madison’s DTE Softshell looks and feels 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.
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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.
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.
I'm impressed with these - and they're currently heavily discounted and as such an absolute bargain. Comfy, good cut, minimal rustling on the bike. Clearly space for knee pads although I don't wear those. The XXL is true to size I would say (37 - 39" waist, I'm just about a 39" and they just about fit. Nicely fitted on the thigh and deep enough to avoid any unpleasantness for following riders. The two front pockets are placed well and will swallow a 6"+ screen phone and case. Sturdy zippers. There's another pocket that's optimistically labelled as a phone pocket on the right rear panel but you'd need be rocking an ancient phone (I'd say a 4.7" screen might just fit). As it is it's ideal for a carrying tenner, credit card, tyre boot, and keys.
As the review says the side adjusters are a bit bobbins but not an issue for me as I'm at the top of the size range anyway. There's a rubber Madison tag on the left hip which I seem to catch with my jersey but that's easily snipped off if that gets annoying. They're comfortable to ride in normal underwear and spacious enough to run a liner short if you want. Gusset isn't seamless but I've not had any chafing issues.
I'd have been happy with these at full price and now they're 50% I'm tempted to get another pair.