Waterproof MTB shorts | grouptest

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7 waterproof MTB shorts that will go down a storm

Getting out in the filth is all part of the fun of mountain biking – but getting repeatedly soaked and caked in mud can be an annoyance when cleaning up post-ride. And it can knacker your washing machine all too easily!

Waterproof shorts may sound a bit daft to a non mountain biker, but in reality are some of the best things you can ride in as trousers are too restrictive and can be hard to manage your temperature.

Using waterproof MTB shorts means a far easier job of cleaning up post-ride – simply wash them with a hose when doing your bike and hang them up in the garage ready for next time. They make winter far more enjoyable – less time washing clothes, and more time out in the hills!

Waterproof MTB shorts

When you’re protected from the elements smashing through puddles like this is great fun! Photo | Callum Jelley

When buying waterproof shorts, you need to bear in mind how you will use them – some riders like to use them as over-shorts due to the way they feel. Unlike conventional trail riding shorts, the shell feeling can be chilly, and those with a rubbery feel on the inside can grip your bare legs too. Wearing over a pair of thermal tights or a light pair of shorts gets around this. Also bear in mind that unlike waterproof jackets that can be retreated easily, shorts are subject to constant grinding in the saddle and will lose some waterproofness over time due to the fabric deteriorating.  When this happens it’s time for new shorts, rather than a bottle of Nikwax reproofer…

Here are the best waterproof MTB shorts out there right now…

Royal Racing Storm short 

Retail Price | £89.99

Stockist Details | Royal Racing Best Waterproof MTB shorts-50


These no-nonsense waterproof MTB shorts from Royal have a fairly roomy cut, and a simple adjustable ratchet closure on the waist. The fabric is rated as 10,000mm waterproof and breathable –  and has fully taped seams.


The twin hand pockets and zippered fly all use reversed waterproof zips and there are reflective logos for safety. Inseam length is 15in.

Waterproof MTB shorts


  • Fabric doesn’t feel too rubbery against skin – work well simply over a liner
  • Good waist fit – short stays put
  • Clean, simple design
  • Decent breathability


  • Baggy legs can flap around a bit at speed
  • If wearing as an over-short you might need to size up.
  • For taller riders, the loose cut means they can ride up above the knee
  • No reinforced fabric on the seat of the short

We Say

Simple waterproof MTB shorts that keeps the weather out and is available in a wide range of sizes to suit 28-52in waist sizes. The ratchet buckle on the waist works well and they stay in place. Remember to try on over a pair of shorts if you’re likely to use them as an over-short, as the waist is on the snug side. 


Race Face Agent Winter

Retail Price | £89.99

Stockist Details | Silverfish 

Unlike the other waterproof MTB shorts on test, the Agent Winter is the only one that is lined. This means it feels warm and great against the skin, and will no doubt get used a lot more as a general winter short.

Waterproof MTB shorts

It’s a 3ply design with 10,000mm waterproof and breathability rating – and has a few unique features. There is a vented rear panel; waterproof zippers on the fly and side pockets; belt loops; adjustable waist cinches and the quite brilliant gaiter system on the lower leg that stops wind and rain getting in to the short from the bottom. Annoyingly the cordura crotch panel is not actually waterproof though. Inseam length is 13in.

Waterproof MTB shorts


  • Fully lined internal, and brushed material on waistband
  • Unique gaiter system keeps short in place, and stops wind and rain getting in
  • Rear vent stops the boil in the bag feel
  • Reinforced seat for durability
  • Tough Race Face build quality


  • Vent at rear can let moisture in on those severely wet days
  • Reinforced crotch fabric not as waterproof as the rest of the short

We Say

The Agent Winter is an excellent winter riding short – not just wet condition waterproof MTB shorts. It’s well made, breathable and is ultra comfortable to use. We especially like the fact it’s lined, and the gaiter system works brilliantly. 


Altura Attack waterproof shorts

Retail Price | £59.99

Stockist Details | Altura 

Made from lightweight React 3layer fabric, the Attack waterproof MTB shorts are very breathable with a 20,000g rating and has a decent 10,000mm waterproof rating.  The cut is more generous than the other shorts on test – our size large felt similar to a 36in, as opposed to the typical 34in. The legs of the shorts were also quite wide and the whole short suited being worn as an over-short well.

Waterproof MTB shorts

We found with the baggy cut, that if used on it’s own that the shorts could ride up – but remained waterproof and the fabric felt good against the skin. Inseam length is 13in.Waterproof MTB shortsLikes

  • Great value
  • Decent breathability and waterproofness
  • Roomy cut is great for use as an over-short
  • Decent waterproof zips
  • Durable, reinforced crotch panel
  • Nice double velcro waist cinch


  • For taller riders, the loose cut means they can ride up above the knee
  • Baggy legs can flap around a bit at speed

We Say

We’ve had a pair of Altura waterproof MTB shorts for a few years now, which we mostly use as an over-short for commutes. They’re still waterproof though thanks to the durable reinforced crotch. 

If the cut suits you, they are a great buy. 


Fox Attack Q4 CW

Retail Price | £90

Available From | Fox Europe 

Going against the trend of plain black waterproof shorts, Fox jazzed things up a bit with these great midnight camouflage shorts made from a 4way stretch waterproof fabric with fully taped seams. With 10,000mm waterproof rating and 10,000g breathable rating they offer a lot too.

Waterproof MTB shorts

The fabric feels slightly waxy against the skin though. Despite them breathing well, when you get sweaty things can feel a little clammy inside. If used against the skin you can confuse this as the short leaking – but we found the shorts do keep the weather at bay well and work great with a liner, light short or over tights. Inseam length is 13in.Waterproof MTB shorts


  • Great looks – they look like normal shorts!
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Nice internal waist cinches, and comfortable waistband
  • Stretchy, comfortable fit.


  • Waxy inside feeling can feel clammy against skin
  • A little on the short side for taller riders

We Say

It’s great to have waterproof MTB shorts looks this good, but still function great. A lot of people will no doubt buy these on that factor alone, but combined with decent layers the Attack Q4 CW is a great winter addition to your MTB wardrobe. 


Gore Bike Power Trail

 Retail Price | £124.99

Available From | Gore Bike 

Sitting quite close to your leg and high in the waist, the Gore waterproof MTB shorts suit taller riders well and use the ultra technical Gore Tex membrane material which offers outstanding waterproof performance and breathability.

Waterproof MTB shorts

The membrane itself has pores 20,000 times smaller than a rain droplet – so it can’t penetrate the fabric – but that are 700 times bigger that moisture vapour. Which is why it works so well.  Inseam length is 15in.

Waterproof MTB shorts


  • Incredibly waterproof and breathable Gore Tex fabric
  • Quite long in the leg
  • Comfortable against skin
  • Guaranteed to keep you dry


  • Waist band is quite a bit higher than the other shorts
  • No adjustable waistband to customise the fit
  • No fly
  • No external pockets

We Say

The simplicity of the Power Trail short is the key to it’s waterproof power and breathability – but it will annoy those who want a normal feeling short with pockets. The fit is OK, and they are comfortable over a short, or against the skin. 

It really does work well – but it’s not a lot of short for a lot of money. We do have a pair of these from a few years back, that despite having a hole covered in duck tape are still going strong – the quality of the fabric is what makes these so good. 


Madison Addict

Retail Price | £64.99

Available From | Madison CC

Unlike the Royal, Altura and Fox short, the Madison Addict is a multi-panel design, with a durable 3-layer fabric in the seat that is 20,000mm waterproof and a 2.5 layer body with 10,000mm waterproof and 10,000g breathability. The whole lot has fully taped seams and has a really good cut with an adjustable waistband and double button fastening.

Waterproof MTB shorts

A chunky zippered fly and twin side pockets won’t keep the rain out, but is easy to use and won’t play up in a hurry. Even though the inner material on the thighs feels a little rubbery, the knees have a different fabric that slides over your knees/pads well – and it’s further enhanced by a good shape and adjustable cinches behind the knee. Inseam length is 15in.

Waterproof MTB shortsLikes

  • Best value on test.
  • Great cut and feel in the saddle
  • Durable, tough and waterproof.
  • Shaped knees stay in place whilst pedalling
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • Waterproof zips would be nice on side pockets

We Say

The Madison Addict offers incredible value as far as waterproof MTB shorts go, and are built to last. They feel quite good against the skin too – although not quite as nice as the Race Face. 

We like the small details – like silicon rubber on the inside of the waistband to help them stay in place. They’re really well thought out. 


Endura MT500

Retail Price | £74.99

Available From | Endura 

The MT-500 has long been one of our favourite shorts, and is one of the most waterproof MTB shorts out there. We’ve preferred using it as an over-short until now – the new ExoShell60 triple layer fabric feels much nicer against the skin and is a whopping 18,000mm waterproof and 64,000 breathable.

Waterproof MTB shorts

It’s also cut nice and long, is immensely comfortable and just works brilliantly.  There is a small rear zippered pocket and the seat panel is tough Cordura material to keep on cranking. There is also a small gaiter on the inside to keep the shorts close to your leg. Not as pronounced as the Race Face, but great all the same. Inseam length is 14in.

Waterproof MTB shorts


  • Great fit with stretchy panels
  • Very waterproof and breathable
  • Tough – last ages
  • Now feel great against skin


  • Thin enough that you get a cold bum if just using a liner
  • No fly opening
  • Only single pocket at the rear

We Say

One of the MTB classics here has just got lighter, and comfier. It’s every bit as waterproof too.

Although it’s very comfortable, we do prefer the feeling of a short with traditional fly and adjustable cinch on the waist – but when it’s foul out and you’re blasting through the puddles it really doesn’t matter. 



Are you a waterproof shorts user already?

If so, which ones do you use?

Let us know below!




In Reviews


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