Ridden & Rated: 10 of the Best New Women's Riding Pants

Jan 5, 2021
by Nikki Rohan  



‘Tis the season for riding pants, at least in the northern hemisphere. If you haven't looked around on the trails lately, people riding in pants is the new normal—especially anywhere with a chill in the air. Yes, I know some of you have been rocking pants for mountain biking since before I was born—tights, softshells, hardshells, jeans, you name it! People have been wearing them for mountain biking since day one. But nowadays riding pants, and not just waterproof ones for when it’s nuking out, are making their way from the DH/park trails to every day trails. As a result, lots of companies have been putting in the hours and are either designing or updating pants to meet this trend. And these aren't the excessively baggy pants of the freeride era either; they're cut for riding, fitted to eliminate snagging, and offer the freedom of movement mountain biking demands.

On the women's side, until recently, you could buy moto pants, rain pants, or find a unisex pair to fit your shape, and that was about it. But now mountain bike trail riding pants designed specifically for women are no longer unicorns, and many of the major brands are making a women's specific riding pant. Below you will find ten different brands offering a new or updated trail riding pant—seven women specific and two unisex. Brands included are: Endura, Pearl Izumi, NF, POC, Leatt, Fox, Patagonia, Scott, Ion, and Trees Mountain Apparel. Previous reviews of the Giro Havoc Pants, Gore C5 Active Trail Pants, Norrøna fjørå flex1 Pants, Fox Defend Fire Pants, and Sweet Protection Hunter Light Pants can be found here in last year’s fall gear review.


Riding Little Moab






About the Tester:

Nikki Rohan stands 5'5" and weighs 135 lbs with a 28-inch waist, 30-inch inseam, 37-inch hips, and 35-inch chest and wears a size small helmet, size large gloves, and EU-41 shoes. She typically falls between a size small and medium, a US size 6, and US 8.5 shoe. She resides in Hood River OR with her husband, Colin Meagher, her two kids, a dog, and a grumpy cat.




Table of Contents
Endura Women's MT500 Spray Baggy Trouser II
Fox Women's X Defend Kevlar Pants
Pearl Izumi Women's Launch Trail Pant
NF 2020 DP3 Pant
POC Resistance Pro DH Pants
Ion Shelter Wms Softshell Pants
Leatt Pants MTB 4.0
Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants
Trees Mountain Apparel Loamy Pants
Scott Trail Contessa Sign. Women's Pants
Top Picks



Endura Women's MT500 Spray Baggy Trouser II




The Endura Women’s MT500 Spray Baggy Trousers II are a rugged, performance riding trouser designed for trail riding in the wet and muddy season. The pants (the other word for trouser) feature four-way stretch front panels treated with a DWR coating and a waterproof rear panel with taped seams for spray protection. The waistband includes a double button and fly closure with Velcro side waist adjusters and belt loops. There are two zippered hand pockets, two zippered thigh vents, gusseted/zippered ankle hem, and the pants are cut to accommodate knee pads.


Endura MT500 Baggy Spray Trouser II
• Closure type: Snap
• Colors: Black
• Sizes: XS - XXL (tested S)
• MSRP: $179.99 USD
• Weight: 412 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 81 cm (32 inch)
endurasport.com/


Fit: I tested the MT500 in size small. The small was a bit more fitted than some of the other pants in the review but that's the correct size for me and it was stretchy/relaxed enough that I had no issues pedaling. The velcro waist adjusters are great for tightening the waist up as needed and there are also belt loops for those who like to rock a belt. The inseam length measured in at about 32 inches, which worked fine for my fairly average 30 inch inseam. My knee guards easily fit under the pants and the ankle hem is zippered with a gusset for adjusting around shoes.

Testing: Endura is based in Scotland and knows firsthand how to make quality products that stand up to the most wretched of weather conditions. Consequently, the MT500 Spray Trousers top the chart when it comes to a riding pant that will keep you dry in piss poor weather. I tested the pants in a mix of cold and wet weather and they did an excellent job of keeping me both warm and dry. Generally, the pants breathed fairly well despite being one of the heaviest pairs in the review, and the zippered side vents were a nice add on for increasing air flow when pedaling hard. While I wouldn't recommend hours and hours in the pouring rain, the pants seemed to be about as water resistant as one can get without the use of a full on rain pant. The Patagonia pants were the only fully waterproof pant of this review and given the price difference between the two, I would lean towards recommending these (unless you're a masochist and plan on hours on end in monsoon rain), although Patagonia's environmental record is hard to beat.

Details of the Endura MT500 Spray Baggy Trousers II.

Pros
+ Highly water resistant with waterproof spray panel
+ Solid waist adjustment and fit
Cons
- Heaviest of the review
- Size up for those on the curvy side





Fox Women's X Defend Kevlar Pant



The Women's X Defend Kevlar Pant are designed to stand up to the worlds toughest trails. The pants feature an MX inspired ratchet waist closure for easy adjustments, two zippered hand pockets, laser ventilation on the calf and inner thigh, TruMotion all-way stretch fabric, Kevlar reinforced knees, and a DWR coating. The pants have a tapered lower leg and the inseam was measured at around 31.5 inches on the size medium—on par with the website description of 31 inches.


Fox X Defend Kevlar Pant
• Closure type: Ratchet
• Colors: Black, Purple (tested)
• Sizes: XS - XL (tested M)
• MSRP: $169.95 USD
• Weight: 397 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 80 cm (31.5 in)
foxracing.com/


Fit:I tested the Fox pants in medium, which were slightly too big for me; but with Fox apparel that is just where I fit in, as the small tends to be too tight. The ratchet system allowed me to tighten up the waist and get the fit I needed, although I will point out that the pants have a low waist design and tended to ride on my hips even when fully cinched down. The cut of these pants is fairly loose—almost baggy, but then again, not all of us love skinny jeans. That relaxed fit makes these a good option for those with a bit more junk in the trunk. The pants have a fairly tight ankle hem despite the elastic stretch panel, and the shorter inseam might not work great for taller riders.

Testing: These Kevlar reinforced pants offer the durability and comfort I seek out for shredding trails all day. The DWR coating is a plus, and it effectively kept me dry when some minor rain showers came through during testing. Like most of the non-waterproof pants, you don't want to ride with these all day in the pouring rain, but the DWR coating will usually get you through a fairly damp day in the woods. The pant material breathed well and the laser cut ventilation was appreciated on the warmer days when the weather and temperatures were all over the place. At the end of the day, Fox has done an excellent job of making a relaxed fit riding pant that is functional, stylish, and will likely outlast your drive train.

Details of the Fox Women's X Defend Kevlar Pant.

Pros
+ Well ventilated
+ Abrasion resistant materials
Cons
- Low waisted design






Pearl Izumi Women's Launch Trail Pant



The Launch Trail pant are Pearl Izumi's first edition of a cool weather trail riding pant designed to handle all the elements. They're available in both a men's and women's design. The pants feature a lightweight 4-way stretch Cordura nylon fabric with PI DRY water-shedding technology, two zippered side pockets, external velcro waist adjustments for a secure fit and a tapered ankle hem. From a sizing perspective, I do really appreciate brands like Pearl Izumi that offer an extended sizing system—in this case going from a US 2 to US 14—which allows for a more personal fit. The more sizing options the better, I say!


Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pants
• Closure type: Snap
• Colors: Black (tested)
• Sizes: US 2 - US 14 (tested US 6)
• MSRP: $150 USD
• Weight: 287 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 77 cm (30.5 in)
pearlizumi.com/


Fit:I tested these pants in a US 6. As expected, they fit fairly well, albeit a tad bit loose and baggy as per the product's design and description of a relaxed fit. The velcro adjusters worked great to customize the waist of the pants for my almost between sizes frame. The Launch Pants have a nice taper to keep the pants legs from catching in the drivetrain but are still roomy enough to fit knee guards without any constriction. While the ankle gasket is stretchy for fitting over the foot, there are no zippers, so you will need to take your shoes off to get these pants on/off. The pockets are easy to reach and just the right size.

Testing: These pants were tested in a range of warmer and cooler temps. I found the sweet spot around 48ºF/9ºC—I seemed to get slightly too warm above that temperature. The pants are described by Pearl Izumi as suitable for temps up to 70ºF/21ºC, and while the lightweight Cordura fabric of the pants is breathable, there is no added ventilation for long slogs under the sun. Consequently, I'd save these for riding in cooler temps where the pants did a great job of keeping my legs warm. The stretchy feel and looser cut of the Launch Pants didn't restrict my efforts at all when pedaling. These pants reminded me a lot of the Giro Havoc Pants, and also compared well with the Scott Contessa pants in this review, although minus the venting. The PI DRY water-shedding technology—essentially a DWR applied to each thread vs. the garment as a whole—worked well to keep me dry in light rain and and shed debris when puddle romping, although it's worth keeping in mind that it's only water resistant, not waterproof. In sum, the Launch Trail Pants are a fairly lightweight offering with functional features and well thought out pocket placement, making them perfect for keeping you clean and dry during shoulder season adventures.

Details of the Pearl Izumi Launch Trail Pants.

Pros
+ Comfortable tailored fit
+ Breathable lightweight fabric
Cons
- No extra ventilation for hot days







NF 2020 DP3 Pant



NF (Needs Factory) is a Vancouver, BC based company that designs and makes all their products in house. Their manifesto is "to build the best rider experience possible, on and off the bike, through high-quality, long-lasting, performance products locally made (and "remade") to exceed our consumers expectations". The 2020 DP3 pants are one of the two unisex pants tested in this review. The pants are NF's flagship product, and they feature a soft, lightweight, stretchy, and breathable fabric with a DWR coating, two zippered hand pockets, one larger zippered thigh pocket for cell phone or snack stashing, and an elastic waistband. And yes, I have my slippers on in the photo and fully blame the COVID brain fog and a lack of coffee.


NF 2020 DP3 Pant
• Closure type: elastic
• Colors: Black, Cement, Midnight Navy, Black Mono (tested)
• Sizes: Unisex XS - XXL (tested XS)
• MSRP: $218 CAD ($170 USD)
• Weight: 345 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 75 cm (29.5 in)
ridenf.com/


Fit: I tested the DP3 in unisex size XS. I was on the brink of needing a size small, mostly because I hit the maximum stretch of the elastic waistband pulling them up over my hips and glutes. But once on, they were super comfortable and the stretchy fabric offered a nice fit and feel. I should note that the pants are fairly tight around my quads; not too tight, per se, but if you are one of the lucky ones to have quadzillas, you may need to size up. NF has a detailed size chart and measuring system on their website: make sure to check it out to see what might fit best. Note that the inseam on the XS was fairly short, 29 inches, but it does go up as the waist size goes up, maxing out at 32 inches like a lot of brands. I know a lot of tall folks complain they can't find a pant that will fit them, and I would agree that longer inseams seem to be in short supply.

Testing: The DP3s are more of a skinny fit and feel pant: tight in the hips and knees (too tight to fit anything other than low profile knee guards), but overall really comfortable when riding despite that snug fit. Sizing up might have given me a bit more space for knee guards—as you can see in the men's review, Jameson was able to wear a heavier knee guard under his pair. I had zero issues hooking the saddle and the taper at the ankle kept the pants from getting sucked up in the chain (note: there are no zippers to adjust the tapered hem and they were fairly tight, similar to the Fox pants). As the only pant with an elastic waistband, I liked how easy it was to take them on and off, but the downside of that is that if the pants don't fit just right there's no way to adjust them. Breathability was good in the chilly test temperatures; there are no vents, but I never felt like I was too hot nor did I notice any extra leg sweat. I love the idea of these pants. I think if I could get my hands on a size small I'd be pretty happy and could easily keep them in my fall/winter riding rotation.

Details of the NF 2020 DP3 Pants.

Pros
+ Made in Canada
+ Elastic waistband for dialed fit
Cons
- Narrow in the thighs, not great for quadzillas




POC Resistance Pro DH Pants



POC doesn't make a women specific riding pant, but when given the opportunity to test the Resistance Pro DH pant, I couldn't pass it up. This pant is a favorite among many fellow riders, and POC describes it as "the ideal performance and protection pant for downhill riders who ride in variable riding conditions". They feature a durable, stretchy nylon fabric with reinforced Cordura in the rear, reinforced hip and knee panels, tapered leg with zippered and adjustable ankle hem, two zippered thigh pockets with mesh phone insert, a small key card pocket on the back, and velcro waist adjusters.


About the Kneepads:
• Closure type: Snap
• Colors: Black with multiple logo color options
• Sizes: Unisex XS - XXL (tested S)
• MSRP: $175 USD
• Weight: 485 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 71 cm (28 in)
pocsports.com/


Fit:I tested the Resistance Pro DH Pants in size unisex small (these are the other unisex pants in this review) and they were a perfect fit. Perfect everywhere. The waist was comfortably loose but I was able to snug it up with the somewhat flimsy velcro waist adjusters, and the ankle zipper included a couple size options for snapping the hem up. The length was short (the shortest of all the pairs I tested) but worked well for me and my 13 year old son who stole them as soon as I was done with my testing. My knee guards fit under the pants without issue and I had zero problem with the crotch hooking the saddle when riding.

Testing:As the name implies, these pants are the perfect choice for long days in the bike park or cold winter days when you need a pant that will keep you warm on the descents while not overheating on the climbs. These pants have a plethora of well thought out features. The two I really appreciated were the zippered thigh pockets which are well placed and large enough to stash a phone, and the zippered lower leg that allowed for easy on/off over the shoes if needed. The pants breathed fairly well on the warmer days, although I wouldn't want to have them on for any big climbs in temperatures above, say, 50F/10C. The fabric is reinforced where it needs to be and stretchy everywhere else. Overall these are a stylish and super comfortable pant that hit all the marks for cool weather shredding.

Details of the POC Resistance Pro DH pants.

Pros
+ Solid durable design
+ Super comfortable
Cons
- Flimsy velcro adjusters
- Shortest inseam of the test






Leatt Pants MTB 4.0 ♀



The Leatt MTB 4.0 ♀ pants are a super flexible and highly durable riding pant designed for "whatever off-road two-wheeled passion fires you up, be it BMX, MTB trails or Downhill!" They feature an ultra-light, four-way stretch fabric, two zippered hip pockets, one rear waist pocket, laser cut ventilation on the inner thigh, and a rear yoke panel. The inseam appears to increase (based on the Leatt size chart) as you go up in sizing from 30 inches on the extra-small to 33 inches on the extra-large.


Leatt MTB 4.0 ♀
• Closure type: ratchet
• Colors: Black
• Sizes: XS/EU 34 - XL/ EU 42
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
• Weight: 403 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 81 cm (32 in)
leatt.com/


Fit: I tested the 4.0s in Medium/EU 36 and they were definitely too big for me. Even with the waist fully ratcheted down they were still way too big with quite a bit of excess material in the waist/crotch area. Sizing issues aside, the length and fit was similar to Fox, but with a looser design that should work well for curvier figures and accommodate a variety of knee guards. The pants also have one of the longer inseams of this particular round up.

Testing: Despite the loose fit, I was still able to get out and test these pants in some wintery conditions. While the material is on the heavier side, the pants have a nice stretch and inspire confidence in their ability to handle interactions with sharp pointy objects on the trail. Breathability was fine, and while I would lean towards wearing these on cooler days or shuttle days, the ventilation did help keep the leg sweat to a minimum. I did not test these in any major precipitation, although Leatt does indicate there is some sort of DWR coating on the fabric but doesn't specifically state Durable Water Repellent so I am not 100% sure what it means. For the price, these are still designed well and a solid and affordable option for women who ride hard and are looking for a more relaxed fit/style of mountain bike pant.

Details of the Leatt MTB 4.0 Pants.

Pros
+ Relaxed fit with longest inseam
+ Good ventilation
Cons
- Size down if you are at the bottom end of chart
- Fabric is on the heavier side




Ion Shelter Wms Softshell Pants



The Shelter Pants are a women's softshell mountain bike specific riding pant from Ion. They feature a 4-way stretch fabric, velcro waistband adjusters, two zippered thigh vents, zippered hand pockets with a built in phone pouch in the right one, zippered leg openings, and a DWR finish. The pants utilize a mix of flexible (88% polyester 12% elastane) and non-flexible fabrics which add stretch and comfort for freedom of movement when pedaling with durability in high wear areas like the inner leg and the ankle hem.


Ion Shelter Wms Softshell Pants
• Closure type: Snap
• Colors: Black, Root Brown, Red Haze (tested)
• Sizes: 34/XS - 42/XL (tested 38/M)
• MSRP: $159.95 USD
• Weight: 399 grams
• Measured Inseam: 81 cm (31.5 in)
shop.ion-products.com/


Fit: I tested these pants in EU 38/Medium which ended up being a perfect fit for me. While I typically wear a size small in the Ion shorts, the small Shelter Pants were too tight in the hips and butt for me, so I sized up. The length on these pants was also on the longer side for the medium, so potentially a good option for a taller rider. The pockets are just where I wanted them.

Testing: The Shelter pants were one of the few pairs that got a lot of compliments so I would say they checked the style box pretty well. Riding in them was also a positive experience. They were very comfortable, fit over my knee guards, had super convenient side pockets that fit my phone (although I don't use the built in neoprene phone pouch), and the zipper at the bottom makes it easy to get them on/off over shoes if needed. The side vents are really nice to have. They offer great breathability if you start overheating on climbs (although zipping them back up was a bit of pain with the mesh insert getting stuck on occasion). While Jameson didn't love his pair, and they're not truly waterproof, I would say these are a great female specific design for someone looking for a winter riding pant with all the bells and whistles.

Details of the Ion Shelter Wms Softshell Pants.

Pros
+ Very stylish
+ Breathable and comfortable fit
Cons
- Size up if you want a looser fit
- Mesh snags on the ventilation zippers





Patagonia Women's Dirt Roamer Storm Pants




The Dirt Roamer Storm Pants are Patagonia's lightweight, packable and waterproof MTB-specific riding pants. They feature a fully waterproof, 3-layer H2No fabric (3-layer, 3.5-oz 40-denier 100% recycled nylon stretch plain weave with a soft polyester knit backer and a DWR finish), abrasion-resistant nylon material at the knees, seat and crotch, two zippered thigh pockets, zippered leg openings, an adjustable waistband, and are Fair Trade Certified sewn. The waterproof/breathability rating on the H2No fabric is 10 - 20,000 Waterproofness (mm) and 15 - 25,000 Breathability (GM/M²/24HR). A good comparison of Patagonia's H2No vs GORE-TEX can be found here.


Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants
• Closure type: Snap
• Colors: Black, Steller Blue (tested)
• Sizes: XXS - XL (tested small)
• MSRP: $269 USD
• Weight: 297 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 81 cm (32 in)
patagonia.com/


Fit: I tested the Dirt Roamer Storm pants in size small. The small was a nice relaxed fit in the waist, hips and butt. The pants come with a 32" inseam on size S through XL and I had zero issues with the pants being too short or too long. The Patagonia MTB-specific OppoSet waist adjuster makes for an easy adjustable fit, and the zippered leg openings allow one to take the pants on/off over shoes. Note: clothing sizing has changed a lot in the past two decades. Case in point: I was a medium in Patagonia pants in the late 90's. My measurements haven't really changed much despite two kids and many bottles of tequila, but I now wear a size small in most their products. While this may make me feel better about myself, I urge you to try before you buy whenever possible.

Testing: These pants are 100% bombproof for those days when the weather is horrific and you just want to be at home in front of a fire with a cup of tea. I've experienced the whole gamut, rain, snow, frigid temps, miles of blackberry bush-whacking, and these pants have consistently provided the protection and durability I needed. I will say they do run on the warmer side (while H2No® fabric is breathable, there is no zippered ventilation to shed excess heat), so when the sun comes out I would on occasion just pull them off and stow them away in my pack. They do have an articulated knee design which allows for fairly easy pedaling, a fitted crotch which eliminates snagging the saddle, and they are compatible with most knee guards. Putting the somewhat high price tag aside, these pants are the second lightest and the most waterproof of this review. Patagonia also has a phenomenal repair program in case you do accidentally damage the pants. I love their environmental policies and so in my opinion is that they are worth every penny.

Details of the Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants.

Pros
+ Fully waterproof
+ Durable
Cons
- No ventilation/a tad bit warm
- Expensive




Trees Mountain Apparel Loamy Pants


Trees Mountain Apparel is another brand offering cycling apparel made in Canada. They are based in Quebec and have been producing riding gear since 2012. The Loamy pants are Trees' all-new technical 'skinny' fit enduro pant. They feature a four-way stretch fabric (90% polyester/10% spandex), an elastic waistband with snap closure and belt loops, a DWR coating, two zippered side pockets, and a tapered leg design.


Trees Mountain Apparel Loamy Pants
• Closure type: Elastic waist with double snap
• Colors: Charcoal, Black (tested)
• Sizes: XS - XL (tested M)
• MSRP: $168 USD
• Weight: 330 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 75 cm (29.5 in)
treesmountainapparel.com/


Fit: I tested the pants in medium and they kind of hugged me in all the wrong places. As you can see from the photos, the outline of my bibs shows through. Technically the medium was the correct size, and technically they are a "skinny fit" pant so they are supposed to be tight... maybe I just have larger than average quads? The waist fit was fine, but even with the stretchy fabric I would call them far too tight for my liking in the butt and quads. The website does recommend sizing up for a looser fit, and I would probably size up to a large next time (again, as per the Dirt Roamer pants above, if at all possible, try before you buy to get the right fit). Tight fabric on the butt and quads aside, the inseam on these was spot on, and despite the "skinny" fit, I could still squeeze a pair of low profile knee guards under them.

Testing: These may be on the more fitted side of the equation as compared to, say, the Fox or the Leatt pants in this round up, but the Loamy Pants offered enough stretch that once I was pedaling, I was fine. The material breathed well when I was pushing hard, and I definitely didn't have any saddle snag issues, nor did the pants shimmy down like some of the options with a larger waist. The pockets were nicely placed and the slanted design made it easy to stow a phone or snacks while keeping them from bouncing around too much. Fit aside, these pants are a simple, get-the-job-done, fitted design that offers everything you need for a competitive price tag. Les français le font le mieux!

Details of the Trees Mountain Apparel Loamy Pants.

Pros
+ Stretchy durable fabric
+ Made in Canada
Cons
- A bit too tight, size up




Scott Trail Contessa Signature Women's Pants

Riding Little Moab
Riding Little Moab


The Trail Contessa Signature Women's Pants are a newly designed lightweight trail riding pant from Scott. The pants feature two side zip pockets that are big enough to stow a phone or snacks, a tapered ankle cuff, laser cut holes for ventilation, an elastic waistband with the Alu hook closure system for adjustments, and a 4-way stretch durable CORDURA fabric. Scott also uses a DRYOzone PFC free DWR to add water repellency. Note: The pants showed up a tad late since they were shipped from Europe and COVID delays are real... so they were shot after-the-fact when the eggnog belly was a thing and trail riding was limited to weekend hours.


Scott Trail Contessa Sign. Pants
• Closure type: Alu hook
• Colors: Black/Nitro Purple
• Sizes: EU XS - XL (tested EU M)
• MSRP: £119.99 ($160 USD)
• Weight: 249 grams (actual)
• Measured Inseam: 79 cm (31 in)
scott-sports.com/


Fit: I tested the pants in EU Medium which was a perfect fit. The Alu hook closure system let me tighten up the waist as needed, but out of the box these were one of the best fitting pants of the test group. They were comfortably loose in the hips and butt, but definitely not baggy. The inseam length was right around 31.5" (80cm) and worked well for me. The tapered ankle kept the pants from flapping in the wind and I was able to easily fit a pair of lower profile knee guards under them.

Testing: These were my top pick pant for shoulder season trail riding. I tested them in a variety of colder weather conditions, including some skate skiing (our local trails were briefly snowed out) in damp 32 degree F conditions. They were incredibly comfortable, lightweight, and breathed well (I never noticed any leg sweat). The fabric is stretchy yet also feels durable, and should be able to withstand an overgrown trail or minor crash, although these are the thinnest and lightest pants I tested this year, so I've some slight concerns regarding durability. In damp conditions, the DWR is a nice addition: water drops appeared to bead pretty well on the fabric and I stayed dry in both the mist and the wet snow that I encountered. While I wouldn't choose these pants for pouring rain conditions—I'd leave that to the Endura or Patagonia pants—if you can get your hands on these for trail riding, I highly recommend them for cool to cold, damp riding conditions.

Riding Little Moab
Riding Little Moab
Details of the Scott Trail Contessa Signature Women's Pants.

Pros
+ Solid & Unique Waist Adjustment
+ Lightest and most comfortable of test
Cons
- Not currently available in the U.S.A
- No length options for tall or short riders




Top Picks




74 Comments

  • 40 1
 Came here to see if just wearing girls pants would be cheaper, it’s not.
  • 19 1
 Pop into your local women's underwear store and report back
  • 7 0
 Girls clothes are ALWAYS more expensive!
  • 1 0
 Same, I’m smaller as well so usually it’s a better fit too.
  • 2 0
 @AFunFox: I’m not smaller I’m just a cheap ass
  • 1 0
 They would just give you a bigger Mannel Toe....
  • 2 0
 By MSRP, it's the same. In real world, yes it's cheaper.

Women's cycling clothing has far more markdowns than men's because inventory doesn't move as fast. My g/f is constantly snagging high end garments for ridiculous prices.
  • 13 0
 Thanks to @NikkiRohan for an informative, unbiased survey. I have always struggled with the pants/knee pad situation and usually end up looking slightly clownish opting for super-long socks, knee pads, shorts and hoping for the best. Or currently wearing Dave's old sweatpants which is not a good look. Both combos are fine if it is dry and not very muddy, but I live in North Wales so the result is usually soaking legs, wet shoes and gross socks.
I am definitely checking out the Endura and POC pants. Cheers Smile
  • 10 0
 Pro tip: hiking pants work great, or any stretchy athletic pants, look way better, and are cheaper. Half the people I ride with wear non-MTB specific pants instead of paying a ton to look this silly.

I have $20 Eddie Bauer hiking pants I got from Costco, but Prana/Lulu/Patagonia/etc all work well as does anything stretchy from Target or Old Navy!
  • 3 0
 100% AGREED. My Duluth Flexpedition Pants ($80 reg/$50 on sale) and my Eddie Bauer hiking pants have performed great in literally all riding conditions, including monsoon rain and snowmageddon. They come in short, tall, regular, curvy, slim, straight, lined with fleece or ultra lightweight for max breathability - I just don't get why people are still paying upwards of $200 for "special" ill-fitting pants.
  • 4 0
 Agreed. I wear Columbia hiking and fishing shirts and jackets when I ride. Bike stuff is over priced and plastered with logos. Fishing shirts have so many more smart things built into them that are really nice to have when riding and do not cost a stupid amount of money.
  • 1 0
 How do they pedal with knee pads?
  • 9 0
 For ladies reading this - check out Revel Rider. They don't have cold/wet-weather pants yet - but their Flow downhill pants were clearly designed for women's bodies, unlike 7/10 of the pants featured here.
  • 1 0
 I see you and I love you! Big Grin #KCMO
  • 1 0
 I love my Flow pants! Haven't tested them in rain but they do just fine in the cold. I have a 33"ish inseam and they are surprisingly long, especially for a small. They pedal well even with fairly bulky knee pads (Leatt 3DF 6.0). And they don't look ridiculous off the bike, either.
  • 4 0
 PB and clothing designers/manufacturers need to have/highlight products for riders that do no fit the traditional sizing/desgin molds. Based on my recent (failed) experience trying to find a pair of riding shorts for my wife for an Xmas gift, i now know that there are sooooooooo many more variables with womens clothing than mens. But it seems like manufacturers design their clothing to only fit a certain percentage of the population. Of course, they can't make "custom" clothing for folks that don't tit that mold, but there needs to be more options.
  • 2 0
 You're absolutely right and women have been complaining about this FOR YEARS. All they would have to do is look to non-mtb brands/manufacturers who have got their women's sizing dialed in to fit most shapes/sizes. Brands like Eddie Bauer, Duluth Trading Co, Athleta, etc. are making outdoor apparel that fit a WIDE RANGE of women's bodies, but they aren't "mountain bike specific" so folks tend to overlook them. I've been riding in Eddie Bauer and Duluth for several years now and the durability, fit and price just can't be beat.
  • 4 1
 The majority of women riders are not built like 12-year-old boys.
  • 7 3
 @KyleeSprinkles @Shemme I am not a 12 year old boy. I had two babies. I have hips and a butt and I am almost 40. Shaming women for any of the work we do in the MTB industry is pretty harsh. If you look at my previous blog post, it was solely a shorts review for XL sizes. How about we start supporting each other instead of always finding something to bitch about? In return I will work on pushing for more size inclusive testing.
  • 5 0
 @nkrohan: No disrespect to you! My comment is geared towards manufacturers - more often than not pants seem to fit very tight in the hips and thighs. I found your roundup extremely thorough and helpful.
  • 5 0
 @KyleeSprinkles: Okay maybe I'm just a little sensitive today. LOL. I suggest you keep commenting and pushing for more sizing inclusivity.
  • 3 0
 @nkrohan: Yes, ma'am! And thank YOU for doing the good work with your writing. Your voice is more important than you know.
  • 4 0
 @nkrohan: Hey, mama, hey! You did awesome with the products you were provided. Very thoughtful and well written. I married a bike shop manager and we have these discussions almost weekly. The riding apparel he can sell in his shop is no bueno, esp. the women's items. We've written emails and had lengthy phone calls with the corporate powers to advocate for a wider variety of cuts, fits, and sizes to no avail... yet. I've even suggested they reach out to some of the smaller brands and women-owned brands to INVITE THEM into the fold. Kinda like how Target does their designer collabs. We will keep pushing!
  • 1 0
 Try Dirty Rides Apparel. They custom make MTB kit for every gender and shape and it's great quality and we'll designed.
  • 5 0
 We carry Revel Rider Flow Pants and DHaRCO Defy Gravity pants. Both are incredibly comfortable and made for women's bodies. Both are designed by women for women.
  • 1 0
 Yea!! Perusing your website now DirtyJane.com - I'm 5'10" / 175lbs and so far only Duluth and Eddie Bauer pants have worked well for me (they come in tall inseams) and they're easy on the wallet at $50-$80 / pair. Might have to try those Defy Gravity pants though!
  • 1 0
 @Shemme: I have a pair of the Dharco Gravity pants and can tell you they're great! Tight fitting though, like the Trees pants reviewed here, and can only fit low profile kneepads underneath. Also not super water repellant. Now I'm thinking I should try the Eddie Bauer....hah
  • 2 0
 Beware Dharco pants! I have a pair and absolutely love them but only use em for uplift days as they are seriously uncomfortably tight around the knees to pedal while wearing kneepads.
  • 2 0
 @CSC: Darn, my kneepads aren't low profile. Thanks so much for the intel. I'd recommend the Duluth Flexpedition pants over the Eddie Bauer if had to choose one. They come in slim, skinny, and bootcut leg with choice of inseams 29-33" with several colors on sale for $50. Available in sizes 2-18 and in plus sizes 16W-26W with choice of inseams. The 4-way stretchiness and fully articulated knee are money. There's also a fleece-lined version that is a bit more expensive with all the same great features. All versions are abrasion resistant, wind-resistant, have a DWR water-repellant finish, and 6 pockets!!
  • 1 0
 @Shemme: they're pretty awesome! Lots of stretch and fit slim kneepads under them. They are slim-fitting so I often recommend going up one size if you like a bit of room.
  • 7 1
 Not one pair of pants that offer a 34" inseam. Am I alone in this quest?
  • 4 0
 I searched. I had read all the comments on the previous men's piece from 2018 and a longer inseam is a desired thing. I couldn't find anything from the major brands.
  • 3 0
 7Mesh came out with a new waterproof pant late in 2020 called the Thunder with both women's and men's sizing. The women's pant has an inseam range of 32" in XS and up to 35" in XL [for guys it's 33"-38"], and you can trim the pants to the correct length if desired.
  • 3 0
 @revystoked: Thanks for that beta. They didn't have any product available for this piece, but that is really good information to know.
  • 2 0
 I'm 5'10" and found the tall (33" inseam) Flexpedition pants from Duluth are awesome all-weather riding pants! You can often find them on sale for only $50 too.
  • 2 0
 Really surprised to see that the women specific Thunder pant from Canada company 7mesh didn’t make it into this review. These pants would blow their competition out of the water.
  • 7 0
 maybe because they're priced at double what all the other pants are running at. $400 is excessive
  • 1 0
 The Thunder pant has impressive features, but I'd suppose $300-$400 for a pair of pants puts it out of reach for most people
  • 1 0
 Wow, that's a lot of women's MTB pants. Might have to upgrade from my current setup of three-sizes-too-big Pearl Izumi softshell roadie tights with the excess waistband sewn up in a malignant-looking lump at my lower back...

But then again, $$$, and the roadie sweatpants are real cozy, I gotta say.
  • 1 0
 For the winter/shoulder season I can highly recommend the Alpinestars Stella Nevada trousers/pants. My favorite feature they are waterproof around the ankles. Great for those puddles you just didn‘t manage to pull up in time... ????

Also they are not high waisted - which is a plus for me. I‘m not a fan of the high waist
  • 1 0
 I purchased a pair of W XXL Endura Baggy pants. I feel the legs are a little too streamlined. My G Form knee pads will not fit underneath them very well so wear them over the top. Once I got used to the snug legs they are pretty comfy and perform well. Just not with knee pads underneath.
  • 3 0
 also, i've been trying to find any pants online.. they seem to have been sold out for the entire last year soooooooo..
  • 1 1
 Likewise. I've been trying to purchase a pair for my gf since last x-mas and can't seem to get my hand on them any anywhere. This article is misleading - none of these products are actually available to purchase (in Europe anyway). The provided hyperlinks take you to websites where you can't actually buy the products (incl Ion / POC / Fox). Pointless article!
  • 2 2
 @shbell23: Companies do get stock in regularly, you just have to check on sites or at local bike shops. Most companies also should have shipments of new 2021 product coming in by March. If the article is pointless to you, maybe tell your girlfriend you like to go onto the very limited women mtb product reviews and bitch and see what she thinks. PS. The Scott pants should be available in Europe. You might also want to check Dharco (which were reviewed in the spring), Norrona (reviewed last fall), and Maloja.
  • 2 0
 @nkrohan: Simply expressing frustration that the companies are sending you products to review that you can't actually purchase. Doesn't feel like they're matching supply against demand is my point.
  • 2 0
 Been weighing up the Patagonia pants and have just ordered after reading this, so good to see women's kit being reviewed major kudos PB!
  • 1 0
 I find it interesting that the majority of the women's pants reviewed here have longer inseams than the men's pants that were reviewed. I wish more companies would offer optional lengths (like jean companies do)!
  • 1 0
 Are you going to review the Seven Mesh Thunder Pant? So interested to hear how they stack up. I love your reviews. I am so similar in size I really couldn't ask for a better reviewer Wink
  • 4 2
 It would be awesome if you could always convert all numbers also to proper SI units.
  • 3 0
 I’m sad that the DHaRCO and Revel pants weren’t reviewed.
  • 6 0
 I reviewed the DHaRCO pants in the 2020 spring review. We have to spread the love to many options, but they are a great riding pant!
  • 2 0
 @nkrohan: Nice reviews, ceep the good work! The jacket what brand is ?
  • 5 0
 @HLEKTRON: 7Mesh. Quality but expensive.
  • 2 0
 @nkrohan: Thanks !
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: I may have missed that! So pumped there are finally many ladies cut dh pants out there! Thank you for the review.
  • 1 0
 I have the Ion Shelters. Love them. So comfortable and work very well in damp drizzly days. I haven't tested them in heavy rainfall. Smile
  • 2 0
 The Leatt or Endura are likely the best, but c'mon offer longer inseams and offer something other than just black.
  • 3 0
 Nikki- rad review. Thanks for this!
  • 2 0
 Honestly, I just need someone to really tell me, how is @NkRohan such a babe?!
  • 1 0
 Haha... let's put you up there and we'd triple the comments.
  • 2 0
 when a company makes one thing and just calls it unisex lol
  • 2 0
 Missed royal racing pants hardcore. Wife loves them. Also loose riders.
  • 5 5
 Id pay money to see PBs actual readership demo data for female consumer enthisasts that dont work in bike shops
  • 4 0
 I'd pay money to see several different sized women involved in every one of these "ridden and rated" product reviews. Let's see tall, short, average, muscled, slim, AND some ladies with big booties and/or big bellies bc we out here riding too!
  • 5 0
 Pretty idiotic comment. There's a huge community of female riders and very few work in bike shops. I've just shared this article with a group which has 5,000 female riders in it.
  • 2 0
 @Shemme: agreed, but it's a decent article.
  • 1 1
 @jesspolo: i didn't say there wasn't a huge community. i said i wonder how many actually pop open Pinkbike while they're drinking their coffee. N U A N C E
  • 1 0
 I loved the slippers slip up!
  • 3 4
 There is a title error... It should be Riding Trousers. Pants are things you wear under your trousers.
  • 3 0
 Pantaloons have pockets tho
  • 2 0
 Only in the UK. In North America, Underwear= UK Pants and Pants = UK Trousers.
  • 1 1
 came here for the grumpy cat, left disappointed
  • 1 0
 I like Trees and bushes!
  • 2 4
 Wish these companies would address the real problem, filtering hard gas.

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