Due to societal norms, the vast majority of the population will find themselves wearing pants throughout most of their life. When faced with the prospect of wearing something for the bulk of one’s time here on Earth, I’d argue that it would be in everyones’ best interest to own a quality pair of shorts. However, with such an expansive selection available in today’s knicker marketplace, how can someone be sure that they’ve invested their money wisely on the best option for covering their lower half? Mission Workshop hopes to claim the coveted title of “Best Mountain Biking Short” with their new Acre-branded foray into the world of leg coverings. As an avid wearer of pants, I was excited to put their offering to the test. Read on to learn more about this impressive pair of shorts, and see if they warrant a place in your dresser.
The Acre Traverse XC riding shorts combine a number of thoughtful features, with high quality materials, to create one the finest pairs of shorts that I’ve ever had the pleasure of covering my nether regions with. The shorts utilize a pair of reassuringly tight snaps to keep riders from indecent exposure, as well as an integrated belt that does an impressive job of keeping the shorts properly adjusted, even after hours spent on and off the saddle.
One of my favorite features, however mundane it may seem, is the location of the pockets. Prior to putting these shorts on, I had accepted that pockets are always located just below the beltline, and reside with the majority of their space resting at the front of the wearer’s body. After all, that’s just how pants are and have always been since the beginning of pants. By either a stroke of genius or divine intervention by a benevolent, pants-wearing deity, Acre opted to relocate the zippered pockets not only lower on the leg, but also further outward so that the contents of said pocket no longer rest on the wearer’s thighs, but rather on the outside of leg, so that the rider isn’t dealing with incessant slapping during their ride. It may seem trivial, but this pocket relocation is truly an outstanding feature and the designers deserve recognition and high praise for their efforts.
Another thoughtful detail is the addition of generous gusseting in the crotch of the short, which allows a wide range of motion for the rider. While fit is certainly a question of personal preference, with some preferring the baggier, downhill-esque end of the spectrum, as someone who regularly finds himself wrapped in race-cut lycra 3 days out of the week, these shorts are much more to my liking, and offer a tighter fit than most other baggy shorts on the market. This isn’t to say that the shorts are by any means snug, but they do have a more streamlined cut, which prevents them from getting caught on the saddle while riding.
The materials chosen by Mission Workshop are quite nice to the touch while still retaining a high level of toughness and enough elasticity to allow the rider more freedom. After extended use, other riders have noticed that there are some saddle-shaped wear marks on my underside, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but is something to consider if you find yourself with a lot of people looking at your butt. On closer inspection, it looks as though dirt thrown up onto the saddle was ground into the fabric and left an imprint on the derrière. Regular washing has removed some of the marking, but there are still some stubborn stains that will require a more intensive washing. Realistically though, you are going to be riding a mountain bike while wearing these shorts, so concerns about dirt stains should be pretty low on your list of concerns.
Aside from the material’s propensity to hold dirt, I have nothing but high praise for the Acre Traverse XC shorts. They’re very comfortable on and off the bike, have a classy and understated look, hold your essentials secure while getting rowdy on the trail, provide a good amount of protection and warmth, and, most importantly, allow you to move around without concerns of snagging yourself on the bike. Additionally, you can wear the shorts post-ride at the bar without looking like you’re a poster child for Monster Energy, which is certainly a positive.