The De Marchi Women's Contour is a stylish pair of shorts. Available in black with red accents or a racier red with black accents, either will appeal to those looking for something a bit different from the usual plain black.
The first major hurdle with these good-looking shorts is the sizing. They were supplied in a 'medium' size, which turned out to be in the region of a UK 8-10, erring towards the size 8. Nominally available in small, medium, large and extra large, these are best suited to smaller ladies. That's not unexpected with Italian women's cycling kit. What makes things a bit more tricky is the lack of female-specific sizing advice on the company's website. There's a sizing table for men's kit, but not for ladies.
Once you've found out by trial and error which size you are, the shorts are actually rather good. The women's specific 'Elastic Interface 'W-Tour' Chamois' is a little stiff on first wear but soon 'beds in', and the multi-density padding offers good cushioning and support even on longer rides. The use of active carbon in the yarns provides a permanent anti-microbial action (that is, the active carbon inhibits the growth of micro-organisms). If I had a niggle about the seat, it's that the pad didn't wick moisture and dry quite quickly enough, which could easily lead to discomfort on especially long or hot weather rides.
The shorts are well shaped, with a good high back, and the leg grippers are effective without being uncomfortable. The stretch fabric is supportive and comfortable to wear.
Reflective accents help increase visibility and safety.
A comfortable, stylish and well thought through pair of shorts - once you've found out by trial and error the right Italian size for you
road.cc test report
Make and model: De Marchi Countour Women's short
Size tested: M
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
'A superior women's specific short that looks and performs over the top'
Good looking short and performs well in use.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pre-shaped, contoured panel design to reduce friction and support muscles.
Supportive stretch fabric with open weave construction for moisture management.
Contoured and seam free leg grippers using gel print.
Women's specific "W-Tour" chamois with multi-density cushioning, anatomical construction and permanent anti-microbial action
Reflective accents for visibility
Well made and good quality fabric
Body fabric wicks well
Pad could have better moisture management
Seem pretty hardwearing
Pad stiffer than some on first use but is supportive and comfortable even on long rides.
Looking a little on the expensive side but a high quality, well made product so a sound investment
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well as a spring, summer and autumn short, and could easily do duty as a liner for winter use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Styling and colours.
Supportive and comfortable pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Pad could have better moisture management properties.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, a slender one.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If you can find the right size and the cut suits, a sound pair of three-season shorts.
Nice styling and colour options too.
Lost a point for sizing issues.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.