Now that we’re back in shorts season, my go-to short has been the Apex DWR 12″ ShortS from Showers Pass. Nailing practically everything on my feature-wish list, the Apex short utilizes a comfortable nylon-spandex blend that is conducive to movement as well as durability. Most importantly for me though, it nails the fit and has usable pockets.
- Breathable Nylon-Spandex blend 4-way stretch fabrics with heavier weighted fabric on the back panel for excellent durability
- Durable water repellent (DWR) finish sheds rain and spills
- Adjustable waist cinch and stretch articulation on the low back for the perfect custom fit, on or off the trail
- Silicone grip on elastic waistband
- 2 thigh vents offer enhanced cooling when temperatures rise
- Back zippered pocket and right-hand zippered pocket
- Reflective accents on the sides provide low-light visibility
- 2 snap closure with hook and bar for durability
- Gunmetal hardware
- 12” inseam
On the trail
I’ve written on my experiences wearing much of the Showers Pass apparel lineup. Full disclosure, in recent years we’ve become friends with the folks there — yes, that’s me on their site — and often have the opportunity to test pre-production pieces as well as provide feedback while products are still in the development phase. (yes, I have been bugging them about making a trail riding pant for some time now, somewhat unsuccessfully… so far)
I had the opportunity to wear and test an early version of this short, and the production version they sent out for me to try is even better. I’m a fan of the Showers Pass shorts line; I enjoy a number of different riding disciplines, and each model is subtly optimized for each experience. The bulk of my time on bikes though is spent on my mountain bike, and the Apex short is specifically designed to complement this riding experience with a longer inseam that pairs quite well with knee pads.
And there are frickin’ pockets! Quite a few cycling overshorts AKA “baggies” forgo rear pockets, and that just doesn’t work for my adventuring style. The fit, material, and the securable rear pocket of the Apex short make it a favorite, as I carry a folding knife clipped to my rear pocket. (sure, it probably won’t do a lot against a cougar, but I’d still rather have it) The waistband is well secured with the snaps and security fasteners, and the shorts stay in place, even with the added weight of a waist pack and a small camera and GoPro.
The fitted cut keeps the shorts snag free, and the mechanical stretch make the shorts very comfortable. The material also dries quickly should you jump in a lake post ride.
The biggest difference between the Cross Country Short and the Apex (Trail) Short is the length, which features a slightly longer inseam that plays well with knee guards. I previously wore the size 32, but have since sized down from the 32 to the size 30, for a more snug fit on my waist (I’m between sizes) and pairs better with a waist pack. With the grading, they also are a bit more fitted than the 32 (have an early model test pair of these as well) that I like.
What I’d change
Showers Pass is all about the bike lifestyle and commuting. That said, I could do without the reflective features on this short, as well as the choice of the gray “pop” zipper in the front. It does add a bit of visual differentiation from their Cross Country DWR shorts so I get it, but also means I’m less likely to wear them in day-to-day life. It’s not a big deal though, as I also have the Showers Pass Cross Country Shorts, which serve better for an all-around lifestyle short. And that’s just fine, as the Apex short as the ones I grab for riding technical trails. (the XC short and the Gravel Short, are my favorites for around town.)
The other item is the front pocket bags, which I wish were a bit deeper. As they’re unsecured, the shallow pocket bags make me a bit nervous about storing keys and my phone in them. Fortunately, the zipper pocket on the right hip is well placed and carries the weight of my iPhone 11 very well, without being noticeable while pedaling. (the weight of the phone is well placed, hanging on the bottom of the thigh.) I haven’t had a problem with keys falling out, but will often stick them in my waist pack on rowdy trails for peace of mind.
The Showers Pass Men’s Apex DWR 12″ Shorts sell for $105. For more info on the Apex short visit ShowersPass.com