By Paul Norman
We’ve rounded up our pick of waterproof bottoms for the all-weather cyclist and commuter. Because arriving to your destination soaked is never fun.
Our pick of the best waterproof cycling trousers
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Endura Gridlock II trousers
Endura is Scottish, so it knows about rain. Its Gridlock II trousers come with high waterproofness, including seam sealing and paired with high breathability. It's important to marry both features since you don't want the trouser's legs sticking to you as you ride through a deluge of rain.
There are long ankle zips for an easy on/off and you can adjust the leg length using poppers. The reflective elements built into the trousers will up your visibility, too - especially vital on those autumn and winter rides in the dark.
Altura Night Vision 3 waterproof overtrousers
Altura says that the Night Vision waterproof overtrousers are its best selling commuter trousers - and we can see why.
Super-reflective, they’re waterproof and breathable, with leg length adjustment and a relaxed fit. Crucially, though, there also lower leg adjusters to avoid them getting into your bike’s mechanicals.
Or buy the women’s version for £34.99.
BTwin 500 Urban waterproof cycling overtrousers
Decathlon does the cycling basics at a bargain price and its BTwin overtrousers are a great example. Cleverly, they include integrated shoe covers to stop the rain you’ve kept off your legs ending up in your shoes.
The overtrousers are seam taped and have been lab tested with 60 litres of water per square metre sprayed at them for two hours, which Decathlon says simulates an average downpour. These are a screwed purchase if you're on a budget and want something guaranteed to keep you dry, providing it's not biblical.
Madison Roadrace Apex men’s waterproof ¾ overshorts
If it’s a bit too warm for full overtrousers, Madison’s overshorts will up your ventilation while keeping your upper legs and rear end dry. They’re designed for the ride position, with a tall back and have high waterproofing and breathability.
The catch is obvious: you're lower legs won't be kept dry, but that's a trade off worth making in the majority of situations.
Endura Hummvee waterproof trouser
Endura’s Humvee range is designed for mountain bikers, but it would work well for commuters and gravel riders, too. It’s got a seam free inner leg panel to avoid rubbing and you can clip in Endura’s padded liner shorts for extra saddle comfort.
Castelli Nanoflex Pro 2 Bib Tights
If you’re after something more fitted, the Nanoflex Pro 2 tights uses Castelli’s latest Nanoflex Xtra Dry surface coating to repel water, a double layer over the seat and reflective waterproof splashguards on the lower legs.
Plus, there’s Castelli’s top of the line Progetto X2 Air pad for saddle comfort. They’re expensive but worth it if you’re doing a lot of cold, wet weather training.
Gore C7 Partial Windstopper Pro Bib Tights+
Another top notch option for longer road rides in wet conditions, the Gore C7 tights are windproof, breathable, insulated and water repellent, using Gore’s own Windstopper membrane-based fabric.
To increase your visibility, there are yellow lower legs and Gore uses lighter weight fabrics to maximise better breathability.
Best waterproof cycling trousers: what to look for
When you’re riding a bike, you’ll be bent over rather than standing upright. It's therefore useful to have a cut that’s higher at the back than at the front, so you’ve got adequate coverage of your rear end, with plenty of overlap with your upper half clothing to stop rain from getting in from above and spray from below.
It’s also a good idea to look for waterproof cycling trousers that are wide enough at the knees not to get in the way as you pedal, but tight enough at the ankle not to get caught in your gears. Leg length adjustment is useful to help keep the ends of your trousers out of the way.
It’s easy to get hot when you’re cycling. Since you’ll usually have a waterproof top as well as your waterproof bottoms, that means that you can easily get sweaty, particularly if it’s warm and humid.
A pair of waterproof cycling trousers made of breathable fabric will let sweat out better, helping to keep you more comfortable as you ride. See our guide towaterproof cycling jacketsfor more on waterproofing and breathability.
The best waterproof cycling trousers will be seam sealed. That’s where there’s a waterproof tape applied over the seams to prevent water ingress through the stitching. It’s something that can occur in prolonged downpours, with the extra pressure due to your forward movement helping the water to force its way in.
Wet weather makes you less visible to other road traffic, so it’s a good idea to have reflective elements on your clothing. They’ll come as part of most cycling-specific kit, but may not be present on non-specialist items. It’s also worthwhile to use daytime running lights to increase your road presence.
If the sun does make an appearance on your ride, it’s useful to be able to take your waterproof cycling trousers off for a more comfortable experience. If you’re on a road bike stowage may be limited to your pockets and even if you’re using a backpack, you probably don’t want half of it taken up by a damp pair of trousers. So the ability to pack small is useful in a pair of waterproof cycling trousers, although a weightier pair might be more durable.
Leg zips are useful on waterproof cycling trousers. They make getting the trousers on and off a lot easier, without needing to remove your cycling shoes. Plus, some waterproof trousers will have thigh zips, letting you get a bit more ventilation without needing to take them off completely.
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