Whether you’re a casual or hardcore commuter, road rider or trail rider, it can be hard to motivate when the skies turn dark and gray.
Personally, I can handle being wet or cold, but I hate being wet and cold. This year though, I’m going to go back to trying my luck with riding pants. Say goodbye to cold shins and dirty ankles, and hello to the easy post-ride quick-change. By keeping the elements away, riding pants make it easy to transition from wet and muddy riding to warm post ride.
After digging around to find viable options, we’ve found riding pants for lousy weather fall into a few distinctive categories. On the commuter side, most options fall into casual, performance and over pant styles. On the MTB side, wet weather and cold weather options are both available with technical and casual styles available. With fat bikes making snow rides more common place, the cold weather category has expanded in recent years, as more riders seek out options for braving the elements.
Pant materials range from softshell pants with DWR — which is industry short hand for durable water repellent coating, to fully water proofted seam taped hardshell models. Softshell materials tend to be warmer and more comfortable, but the stretch fabrics often let more water through and can pill over time‚ especially in the seat. They are more often utilized in casual commuter styles and cold weather styles. Hardshell models range from baggy over pants to streamlined riding pants that take inspiration from moto and track pant styling.
With the wide range of conditions and options, it can be hard finding a good set of pants that fits the bill. If you’ve been looking for solutions to improving your wet weather outlook, here are a few potential options.
Fox Attack Water Pant & Attack Fire Softshell Pants — Wet and Cold Weather — $175/199
Fox has stepped up the pant game with 6 different styles to choose from, plus dedicated cold and wet weather models. I initially had my eyes on the Attack Softshell, but after a conversation with some of the product and marketing guys, I went with the Attack Water Pant. (and am glad, as Inga chose the softshell and it get hot far too quickly and is intended more for cold weather) Lightweight, comfortable materials and a dialed fit have sold me on the concept plus the team sent a pair home with me, and we’ll be following up with first impressions soon. I tried them on right off and found these pants were so comfortable I ended up wearing them all evening during a Game of Thrones marathon.
Considering the Fox team is based in sunny Southern California, it’s great to see the team taking the needs of riders in the PNW seriously. Best of all, they have zipper pockets. I love my pockets – after all, pants without pockets are basically long underwear. For those that prefer shorter pants, AKA shorts, the Attack Water Short is also an option.
Read our review of the Fox Attack Water Pant here.
Pearl Izumi Summit AmFIB Pant — Cold Weather/Waterproof — $185
The Pearl Izumi Summit AmFIB pant is a pant dedicated to cold weather riding. Rated for 20-40º temperatures, this dedicated winter riding pant is designed for riders braving cold weather. The softshell material features a DWR material for water protection, and the tailored fit should aid in freedom of movement. Best of all the pant features two zippered hand pockets plus a zipper pocket on the thigh.
We recently received a sample of this pant for review and they’re also extremely comfy to wear. Both Fox and Pearl took similar styling cues in regards to fit, with their pants wearing like your favorite fitted track pant/ jogger and it works. The Summit AmFIB is definitely intended for cold weather. I’m actually looking forward to heading out once the weather turns, and will report back with first impressions shortly after. (update: view our early impression review here)
Showers Pass Skyline Pant — 3 Season weatherproof commuter pant — $160
Showers Pass is best known for urban commuter gear, and their hardshell jacket and over pants can be found on Portland riders all winter. Their Refuge Over pant is super baggy though and aimed more at the ‘get there slow and steady’ than riding hard, so I added the Skyline Pant to my wet weather wardrobe.
With only one zipper pocket, the Skyline pant is closer to a relaxed fit tight than pant, and the bizarre fit at the waist almost ruins an amazing combination of hardshell and softshell materials. (comfortable in the legs, they need a stretch pant added to the back to be amazing) Being waterproof at the top of the legs, they perform on the pavement when paired with fenders, but we wouldn’t recommend them for MTB use as MTB pants need to prioritize butt splash over rain protection. Review forthcoming.
Learn more at ShowersPass.com or buy now on Amazon.
Endura MT500 Spray Trouser – Wet Weather — $170
Based in Scottland, Endura makes a wide selection of apparel for inclement conditions. The MT500 is the pant worn by Dany Mac. We reviewed the Humvee Knicker a few seasons back and they are well constructed and durable. We have yet to try the wet weather gear, and though it looks to be on the baggy side, we’ve heard positive things.
They seem to go through their US-based staff often though, and we have had a difficult time finding their gear locally.
Gore c5 Gore-Tex Active Trail Pants — Rain — $199
Gore offers a wide selection of weather resistant gear for riding, hiking as well as other active sports. The Gore C5 Active Trail Pants are a shell for your legs, designed to pack small. Intended as an over pant solution, the Active Trail Pants feature an elastic waist band, adjustable hem, reflective piping and zippers at the hem for easy access with shoes. The seat is also reinforced to resist the wear and tear of riding.
Sugoi Resistor Pant — Wet Weather Commuter — $160
The Sugoi Resistor Pant is fully seam sealed and waterproof and features 360º reflectivity for heightened visibility at night. It has a single zip side pocket and two side zippers for ventilation when needed.
Learn more at Sugoi.com
Craft Verve XP Pant — Cold Weather Commuter — $130
I’m intrigued by the look of the Verve XP pant but its tough to say what conditions these pants are intended to excel in. They look like a hybrid of a relaxed fit tight and a form fitting pant — most importantly with belt loops —but details are absolutely scarce. An email to Craft didn’t come up with much more information either. The customer service agent provided the fabric content (polyester) and that they were a semi-relax fit. Of course without the context (is that semi relaxed for tight?) that doesn’t give much to go on. Still, if you run into these in person, they look like they would be worth trying on.
Some (but not much more) additional details at Craftsports.us
Club Ride Revolution Pant — Water/Wind Resistant All Arounder — $130
Club Ride’s Revolution Pant isn’t a wet weather pant or a snow pant. Unlike most of the pants on the list, it’s a relaxed fit jean style and would look out of place on a skinny tired commuter bike. These days I’m more inclined to wear a skinny or fitted jean than a relaxed fit, but if this is your style, the stretch double weave softshell could be great for the post ride chill, shuttle runs with the boys, or wet ride to the local pub.
The fit appears to be similar to the Club Ride Cog Cycling Jeans previously reviewed, which still get pulled out first when we’re headed to the dirt jumps as the relaxed fit jean comfortably accommodates pads. If you’re looking for a dedicated cold weather snow pant, Club Ride also offers the Fat Jack Pant, which offers a more streamlined fit.
Bontrager OMW Softshell Pant – Cold Weather & Snow — $175
Bontrager’s winter pant is specifically designed for the fat bike rider braving the elements. Designed to accommodate a wide range of boots, it also features a removable internal gaiter to keep deep snow out. Think: your snow board pants with more of an XC ski fit, plus vents.
Learn more at TrekBikes.com