Copes better than rival trousers on really wet days
We’ve tried most riding trouser options on the market, and these Ion Shelter Softshell Pants are a relatively new addition to try.
Every year, the switch from shorts to riding trousers happens before Christmas and lasts until spring. Long pants keep crap off legs, out of the house and warm legs in the bad weather.
The 4-way stretch fabric is on the thinner side and less soft shell, more canvas/nylon than the name implies. Re-enforced, less flexible, patches on the saddle, inner thigh and ankle area offer extra protection and durability, and the whole pant is DWR treated to fend off moisture. The thicker fabric patches resist ground-in mud and clart pretty well too.
These fit and fasten great and move well while pedalling. The Shelters also breathe well and fend off wind, but the mixture of thicker and thinner fabrics crumples up a bit and feel a bit conspicuous at the knee and ankle, so fit isn’t as invisible as the Specialized Demo Pant I use a lot. The Ion copes better on really wet days though, staying drier and warmer when constantly splashing through puddles.
I recently catapulted over the bars on a night ride into some brash. It wasn’t pretty, and I managed to rip a lengthy 10cm hole into the Shelter’s backside. It’s impossible to say how another brand would have fared, but other trousers I use have either thicker and/or stretchier fabric that might have worked differently.
I really rate the new Ion riding kit and this is decent trouser with good fit, temperature management and coverage, but it’s not quite perfect for me in terms of some fabric choices.