Reviewed by Alice Burwell

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Madison Zena Womens Short


Madison Zena Womens Shorts review


Price as reviewed:


Reviewed by Alice Burwell.

Initially it may look like the Madison Zena women’s baggy is way better value than more prestige brands, but it doesn’t come with an inner short. Madison does sell a Flux women’s inner short for £34.99, and if you factor in that extra cost, both shorts represent similar value.

Read more: The best women’s mountain bike shorts

The Zena baggy is made from a stretch fabric with durable triple- stitched seams and the build quality and finishing is very good but it is almost twice the weight of rival shorts and you do feel this extra bulk when riding, especially if the short is wet. It dries quickly but it’s not especially fast wicking on the trail.

The Zena also uses a pretty conventional two studs and zipped fly. I don’t see the need for the latter on a women’s short but two press-studs are better than one because if one breaks you have a back-up. The Velcro waist is pretty conventional too, but the tags are a little bulky when they bunch up, and they do dig in.

There are too many pockets on this short – two would have been sufficient for my phone and keys. The zips are pretty beefy, however, and feature large tags that were a good size for my small hands. Although the mesh lining in the pockets is breathable, it adds weight, so has to work twice as hard at circulating air. On a hot ride the Zena didn’t feel as comfortable as other shorts and, while you could argue it’s harder-wearing, it’s not the short I’d choose for summer use.

I can’t help thinking most women will be prioritising comfort first when buying a baggy short. The Madison Zena has a ton of features and a burly build, but it lacks the comfort and rideability of the best shorts. I’d only wear the Madison Zena in the winter or on a cold morning because of its weight and extra bulk. And in situations like that you could argue that a pair of women’s mountain bike pants would make more sense.