Pop on the 7Mesh Foundation Shorts and you could be forgiven for wondering if you are about to head out for a ride, or heading off to watch the Rocky Horror Show. But does their unique styling set them apart from the field or fall short?
Designed to be a very lightweight and breathable foundation layer under your bike shorts in warm weather, hence the name, the 7Mesh Women’s Foundation Short have a very distinct styling made up of an open mesh fabric throughout, which may put you off instantly.
Once you’ve got over the chuckling at how you look in them, pull on your shorts or trousers and start pedalling, its quickly clear it has its benefits with a next to nothing feel against the skin and obvious breathability gains.
However, those gains are undone by the lack of durability of the mesh, after only four rides I’d managed to put multiple holes in them. Coming in at £90 for a liner short, they aren’t cheap, and I’d be look for more longevity if I was forking out this much for them.
For me the fit on the rise also fell short, quite literally. The short comes up low on front and rear and paired with other brands shorts meant you had two varying waistband heights. It’s saved from being uncomfortable by a stretchy elasticated waistband with subtle 7 Mesh Branding but ideally I’d want these to sit higher on my waist.
A clean cut deep hem on the leg is particularly comfy, with a thin line of silicon gripper to hold it in place. It gives a really nice transition to the shorts, prevents the dreaded sausage leg sensation and interacts well with kneepads.
Another area of comfort is the Performance Force Chamois, the shining light in these liners. The Chamois has deep padding under your sit bones but quickly tapers to a lightweight and very flexible outer giving you support where needed and minimising any bulky feel. It is intentionally low at the front and unlike the waist band, this works really well. The Chamois is suspended in a hammock style, which added to the overall Ann Summers-esque feel of the short, but also allows it to move with you as you ride and delivers top notch comfort.
I tested an XL which at a size 14 fit well in all ways but the rise, but like many other brands in the industry, XL is where the sizing range ends. 7 Mesh aren’t alone in needing to review their sizing against the reality of rider sizing.
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A distinct liner short, with a high quality and comfortable chamois let down by a lack of durability and fit issues.