Do you enjoy the cool vibes that come from riding in skin tight, cut off jean shorts? Nah, me neither. But I do love the tailored fit of the Specialized Trail Cargo short.

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 8

Specialized Trail Cargo Short


  • Good fit, and the soft, stretchy material feels great. They've lasted well too


  • Could be an inch longer on the leg, for taller riders


Specialized Trail Cargo Short review


Price as reviewed:


The Specialized Trail Cargo Short is no leg hugging number, it’s very definitely a baggy short, but there’s less material to flap in the breeze than some out there, making it ideal for skinny-legged riders like me. Lesser shorts can creep up your leg and bunch around the waist too when you’re sat down and pedalling – not so the Trail Cargo, which stays right where it should.

Read more: Best mountain bike shorts – baggy, waterproof and storage liners

Sure it’s stylish, but there’s a lot more going on than just good looks, starting with the material. Called VaporRize it’s made from a blend of polyester and spandex, it feels velvet-soft to the touch and it’s also extremely stretchy – put both those together and you have a very comfortable bottom half. Specialized says this space-age fabric is extremely durable too, but I can’t vouch for that as I’ve (yet) to lay it down in the dust. What I can say is it shrugs off rain showers and splashes well enough, but doesn’t stand up to proper rain.

Zippered thigh vents really give the short an advantage, cooler when it’s hot but less windy in the winter months

The Trail Cargo has a few decent features that bump it up my short pecking order, there are two hand pockets for lolling about in between rides, and two zippered pockets – one of which is just the right shape and size to snug your phone to your upper thigh without it budging. Keeping these slacks around your waist is a simple button closure, and adjustment straps either side on your hips. There’s no zip, instead you just get a sliver of mesh fabric, I suppose as a bug guard to fend off summer intruders.

There are no fancy zippered vents on the thighs to cool you down, but Specialized has laser cut small holes into the legs. I’m not a fan of this approach – plenty of us still like riding shorts in cooler weather, and there’s no way to stop the wind whistling through the gaps. That said, in spring and summer conditions the Specialized Trail Cargo Short is ideal.


If the Trail Cargo was just an inch longer I’d be bumping it up a mark, but it just comes up short if you’re over 6ft tall, sometimes revealing the dreaded gap between pad and short. As it stands though, this is a great option for the less gangly out there.


Sizes :30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40in