Tested : Anna Reviews ION’s Shelter Softshell Womens’ Trousers.

Could a decent pair of water-repellent riding trousers be the answer to winter riding? Anna puts ION’s women’s specific Shelter pats to the test.

We’re all after that bit of kit that can see us through the colder days but without overheating. ION make these Shelter softshell pants that offer a waterproof coating and full coverage.

Will they be better than a full set of waterproofs? Anna has been finding out.

Photo by Rafal Skiendzielewski.

Key features:

  • 4-Way stretch fabric.
  • Vent zips.
  • Water repellent coating.
  • XS (34) to XL (42) sizes available.
  • Ankle closures.
  • £130 RRP.
  • Ion-Products.com

The ION Shelter pants are soft-shell trousers designed to keep you warmer on cooler rides while offering more breathability than waterproof trousers, however; they are DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treated, so they will still keep puddle splashes, mud and light showers at bay.

My favourite feature of these Shelter pants is the 4-way stretch material used throughout. They are incredibly flexible, never once restricting me from movements both on and off the bike, nor bunching up in creases at the backs of the knees.

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Their snug fit ensured the trousers moved with my every movement, but also kept them from snagging on the bike, particularly my saddle; something my baggy waterproofs are prone to doing, and the more robust strips of material on the bum, inner thigh and ankle hems ensure they’re robust enough to last.

The flexibility of these trousers allowed me to fit my 661 knee pads underneath them, and these are very thick, heavy-duty pads made from neoprene and thick D30 padding. I dare say you can fit any set of knee pads underneath these trousers without over-stretching them, and they actually helped hold them on place better.

Photo by Rafal Skiendzielewski.

I also managed to squeeze my iPhone 6 into the designated pocket and still ride without noticing it. I’m not sure the neoprene ‘Phone Pouch’ does much in the way of impact protection, but it did keep a fair amount of sweat off the screen.

Out in mucky conditions the pants did well to keep my legs clean of mud and water spray, and they dry quickly. The DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treatment was effective in low level wet conditions, but they are not highly waterproof in full-on rain. They are, however; less likely to become overly hot and clammy like some waterproofs can get, so I have been reaching for these over Gore-Tex on dry days.

What do we think?

If you can afford to have a set of these as well as some waterproofs (or if you simply don’t go out in the rain) then they are a great addition to a rider’s cool weather wardrobe.

We love:

  • Great fit and flexibility.
  • Good amount of adjustment.
  • Comfortable.

Could do better:

  • Not waterproof.

Check out the full ION womens’ range as well as the Shelter softshell trousers on ION’s website here.