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Pure Velo's Short Leg Cycling Shorts are a good option for women wanting to avoid compressive, performance-orientated bib shorts. The fabric and chamois are very comfortable – I found the pad good for rides up to about three hours – and the absence of silicone and elastic on the legs makes for a pinch-free, easy fit.
I've been reviewing Pure Velo's matching Halter Neck and Racer Back jerseys alongside these shorts (full reviews to come), and the theme of comfort and femininity runs through the entire collection. There is a noticeable focus on comfort with these shorts – the fabric and chamois cover are exceptionally soft and conformable.
It's this element of the shorts that you notice first. They glide over the skin and feel like silk against it. There is zero compression going on, and if you are used to performance shorts it takes some getting used to. However, this is a fit that many – especially women new to cycling – will want; not all of us want to squeeze ourselves into shorts that compress our thighs like sausages.
The waist sits relatively high and provides good coverage. A wide, elasticated band at the rear combines with a shaped, stretchy panel at the front to give a relaxed fit. It's all very gentle on the tummy and there was no pinching while riding or evidence of 'cutting-in' post-ride. I did find myself yanking the shorts up fairly regularly though – they are the opposite extreme of what I am used to in terms of waist height and compression.
I like a decent bit of length in my shorts and I was initially happy when I first pulled them on, but the lack of compression or grippers at the leg ends means they can ride up. Because the fabric is so soft, I didn't actually notice this until I looked down and caught sight of significantly more exposed flesh than there had been at the start of the ride. It's not uncomfortable.
Claire, the brains behind Pure Velo, certainly didn't cut corners in the chamois selection process – you can read about it here. It's a Paris HP from Elastic Interface and its minimal profile belies the comfort if offers. I never experienced chafing, hotspots or overheating during rides of up to about three hours. Thereafter, I would find myself shifting around in the saddle as it felt like it was losing its cushioning a little.
The shorts are breathable too: in the recent hot temperatures I didn't feel myself becoming overly sweaty, and any moisture evaporates very quickly.
The fabric's qualities don't end with comfort and breathability either – it also protects from UV and is sun lotion/oil-resistant.
Price-wise, these shorts certainly aren't a cheap option – their rrp of £80 (currently on sale for £68) puts them at a tenner more than Fierlan's High Waisted shorts at £70, which Lara reviewed back in 2015, while Altura's Firestorms are £20 cheaper at £59.99.
However, they aren't the most expensive out there: Gore's C5 shorts are £89.99; I've done many a tour in these, and they offer a similarly comfy fit to the Pure Velos, but with a little more compression to hold the legs in place and, for me anyway, a more comfortable pad for longer rides. More expensive still, Rapha's Classic Shorts come in two leg lengths and are £130.
Overall, Pure Velo's shorts are a good example of design and manufacture with a more feminine focus, for those not wanting to be squeezed by skintight, performance gear, whether new to cycling or not. Arguably, they're a bit pricey for entry-level and recreational riding, but you want to be comfortable whether counting the seconds or not.
Comfort and femininity with a decent, minimal bulk pad, but the legs can slide up and they're not cheap
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pure Velo Short Leg Cycling Shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Pure Velo says: 'Cut specifically for the female anatomy, Pure Velo shorts give the comfort and performance of a bib short without the inconvenience of bib straps.
'Our non-bib shorts, designed for comfort in the saddle for many hours, are as practical and functional as they are stylish. The high, ultra-flat waistband is contoured and offers a comfortable and secure fit in a riding position as well as off the bike.
'We have used a premium, soft and durable fabric in a multi-panel construction. The seams of this construction have been positioned in such a way to prevent chafing and have been finished with a soft flat lock stitch.
'We have carefully selected a female specific pad from specialist manufacturers Elastic Interface. Chosen after rigorous testing this pad is a great choice for all-round riding and comfort.
'Finishing touches include a stand-out polka dot design to match the Racerback and Halterneck jerseys, and our Pure Velo logo.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pure Velo lists:
* Female specific cut
* Multi panel construction for anatomical fit
* High ultra-flat waistband for comfort
* Non bib for ease of removal
* No silicone leg gripper to allow fit for all thigh sizes
* Soft breathable fabric
* Moisture wicking
* UV protect
* Suntan lotion and oil resistant
* Made in Italy with premium Italian performance fabrics
* Exclusive cycling pad by Elastic Interface®. Registered design.
* Product certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex®.
* Road and off-road use.
* 3 densities. Perfect for long distance rides.
* Specific design for women. Developed according to anthropometrical parameters.
* Central insert that supports female anatomy.
* Anatomic construction for perfect fit and saddle stability.
* Smooth surface and gradual areas of transition.
* Perforations on the surface and perforated central insert for lower skin temperature and reduced moisture.
* Sustainable fabric with carbonium thread. Natural antistatic and bacteriostatic properties. Special channel structure that helps collect, canalize and expel moisture.
* Made in Italy
Very clean construction and finish.
Comfortable waist band, but the legs rode up.
The legs riding up wasn't uncomfortable, just not ideal.
Not the cheapest, but you are getting a quality Italian finish and a unique design. And you can pay a lot more...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Responded well to Pure Velo's instructions, still looking like new.
* Machine wash at 30°
* Do not use bleach or fabric softeners
* Do not tumble dry
* Do not dry clean
* Do not iron
* Wash dark and light colours separately
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Breathable and comfortable. For me the pad wasn't comfortable for much more than three hours in the saddle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Minimal bulk pad that's discreet off the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Legs riding up.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At rrp they are £10 more than Fierlan's £70 waist shorts, and £20 more than Altura's Firestorms. But they're £10 cheaper than Gore's C5 shorts, and Rapha's Classic shorts are £130.
Did you enjoy using the product? No, the lack of grippers/compression was not for me.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your overall score
Thoughtfully designed and well made, but a little expensive for what they are.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…