Summer has been raging on, with the heat still in force across many parts of the northern hemisphere. If your shorts are wearing out or you’re in search of a better pair to finish the summer right, then we’ve got the latest and greatest from several different brands here. Take a look and find the perfect pair.
Not long ago in a pants review, we checked out the new 686 / Evil Everywhere Blackout pant, and now we have the shorts, which are very similar. The 686 x Evil Everywhere Blackout shorts are 686’s first mountain bike shorts in collaboration with Evil, and they are packed full of function. Up top, there’s a draw cord around the curved waistband for a better fit. Throughout the shorts, there are pockets in pockets, and loops and little utilitarian features everywhere.
Along the sides of the legs are zippered vents and the rear has open pockets so that the look isn’t too techy. Inside those open rear pockets is another small pocket for credit cards with RFID-blocking material.
These shorts give riders a look that says “I don’t care about the latest and greatest in apparel,” but with the features that say “Actually I care a lot.” The good thing is that they are on the affordable side of a good pair of baggy shorts. The fit is still a little off on this one; the brand rep suggested I size up to a 34 since the sizing tends to run small, and I found them to be a touch too loose in the waist. I’m not sure a 32 would have worked either; it sounds like this would have been too tight. Other than the fit, these shorts have been great, and we found that we wanted to wear them off-the-bike just as much as on.
They’re only available in black and they aren’t the lightest pair of shorts out there, but the Everywhere Blackouts fit in at the bike park, on trail days, and on any other ride.
Bottom line: The 686 x Evil Everywhere Blackout shorts are a great option that combine style and function into a casual mountain bike short.
Fox offers an easygoing but performance-minded pair of shorts for trail riding with the new Ranger. These shorts have a 12″ inseam, with a baggy but fitted feel and a soft, but durable feeling fabric. The shorts have a goggle strap inspired external waist adjustment, and unlike the Ranger pants we tried earlier this summer, we managed to keep these unstuck.
There’s one zippered and vented pocket along the left side, but otherwise, just two regular ol’ pockets on the front of the shorts. So far the Rangers have treated us great on trail rides and they feel like a high quality trail riding short from Fox. They are thicker than some of the other options here, but don’t feel too warm.
They do come with a chamois liner, which is of typical Fox chamois liner quality, meaning that they feel fine for the first hour of riding, but aren’t going to help much beyond that. Overall, the Fox Rangers are a simple pair of shorts for trail riding.
Bottom line: An easygoing pair of trail shorts from Fox’s trusted Ranger line that are comfy and durable.
POC Guardian Air shorts
Athlesiure wear has grown in the pandemic – comfy clothes, made for lounging, or for quick trips to the store. The POC Guardian Air shorts aren’t necessarily that, but the hallmark feature on them – a stretchy waistband is often found on the athleisure that so many have grown into.
The POC Guardian Airs use this stretchy waist band and toss the fancy belt systems that every other pair of shorts in this roundup uses, out the window. Why cinch when you can stretch? These POC shorts are probably the lightest in this bunch without a belt system, and with their lightweight fabric and nearly unnoticeable pockets.
The Guardian Airs are light enough for hot lunch rides, but durable and roomy enough to get a set of knee pads on underneath and hit the bike park. If you’re looking for a summer short for hot temps that can be ridden almost anywhere, these are your jam.
They are athletic but aren’t as leisurely or apt for trips to the grocery store as some of the other options like the 686 x Evils. $160 isn’t cheap for a pair of bike shorts but these don’t disappoint. These light khaki shorts aren’t the best either if you have a lot of mud, but POC does offer darker colors.
Bottom line: Stop being hot and bothered on your rides and get into a pair of POC Guardian Airs for a lightweight, do-anything short.
Showers Pass Gravel
These shorts became a favorite early on. The Showers Pass Gravel shorts have a 10″ inseam and are great for gravel riders who still want to look like mountain bikers, or mountain bikers who simply want a slimmer, shorter short, or maybe a baggy cross-country short.
The Gravel shorts have an externally adjustable waist belt, 4-way stretch fabric, silicone accents on the inside of the back of the waist, and have six pockets throughout the short including some zippered pockets on the side with mesh venting.
The Gravel shorts have been great on gravel and mountain bike rides and feel good in hot temperatures too. The fit, form, and aesthetic of the Gravel shorts are a nice departure from the regular reel of bike shorts, and these work nicely on off-days too. The silicone in the back of the shorts keeps them right where they need to be.
Showers Pass has five different colors and sizes 28-40 for men.
MSRP: $90, available at Showers Pass.
Bottom line: Grab these Gravel shorts for a shorter, more tailored option that will will work on gravel, XC, and trail rides.
Showers Pass Apex
The Gravel shorts are too short? The Apex DWR shorts are just like the Gravel shorts, but have a 2″ longer inseam. These pack the same fit, form, and function as Showers Pass Gravel shorts but in a longer package for a great trail riding short.
The Apex shorts are made from a Nylon-spandex blend and have a 4-way stretch. Showers Pass adds in a DWR finish on these shorts for rain resistance, and there is an adjustable, external velcro belt for the perfect fit around the waist. These shorts felt true to size for our medium tester.
The Apex also has silicone grippers on the rear inside of the waistband, and under the waistband stretching from hip to hip around the back is a more breathable piece of stretchy fabric. The Apex, like the Gravel shorts, has a double button snap closure with an additional hooked closure.
The comfort, function, and breathability place the Apex shorts among the best you can find for $105. They are a true “hack” to some of the $150 pairs of shorts out there.
Bottom line: A really good pair of mountain bike shorts at a reasonable price.
Velocio Trail Shorts
Velocio offers some of the best mountain bike shorts out there and the Trail shorts continue to be a favorite. These are lightweight, breathable, durable, and some of the easiest shorts in this roundup to get along with. They’ve also taken a solid, ground-smearing crash and the fabric held up just fine.
The Trail shorts have a thicker belt on them than some earlier variations, and that slightly thicker belt helps keep the shorts exactly where they need to be. There are two pockets that run alongside the legs, which keep phones and keys from jabbing your hips as you pedal. They aren’t the roomiest pair of shorts out there if you want to pack a pair of knee pads underneath, but something slim like G-Form pads fit perfectly.
These shorts have a nice stretch to them and make for an athletic-feeling product that stays out of your way on the climbs and descents. They also have a DWR finish to keep the rain at bay. Velocio offers the Trail shorts in four different colors and sizes XS-XXXXL.
Bottom line: The Velocio Trail shorts are a premium pair with an excellent feel for light to aggressive trail riding.