Best bicycle commuter pants: waterproof and breathable cycling trousers 2022

Our pick of the best bicycle pants / trousers to protect your lower half when commuting and riding in wet weather

Image shows a rider wearing some of the best bicycle commuter pants / trousers
(Image credit: Getty Images - Yonatan Firdaus / EyeEm)

The best bicycle commuter pants and waterproof cycling pants / trousers will help keep your bottom half drier on wet weather rides.   

You may already have invested in a set of the best fenders / mudguards or one of the best waterproof cycling jackets to help get you through the rainy days on your bike - but for complete wet-weather protection, you are going to need something suitable on your legs. 

We’ve rounded up and updated our pick of waterproof bottoms for the all-weather cyclist and commuter, because arriving at your destination soaking wet is never fun. Our dedicated 11 tips for cycling in the rain page will give you lots of advice for how to survive the weather at its worst – and one of the biggest tips will be invest in a pair of the best bicycle commuter pants and waterproof cycling trousers. 

More information on what details to look for in a pair of cycling pants / trousers can be found at the bottom of the page. Up next are our top picks of the best performing options we've reviewed.

Our pick of the best waterproof bicycle commuter pants / trousers

Image shows a rider wearing the Showers Pass Transit Pants.

(Image credit: Future)
Best for waterproofing performance

Specifications

Material : Waterproof-breathable Artex Hardshell 3L ripstop fabric
Waterproof finish : Seam taped for wind and waterproofness
Waistband: Elasticated waistband
Ankle: Cinch straps keep pant legs away from chain and crank
Size: X-Small to XX-Large

Reasons to buy

+
Very, very waterproof - could wear in a monsoon
+
Good adjustability from numerous straps and velcro fittings

Reasons to avoid

-
Not made from particularly breathable material

The Showers Pass Transit Pants are a fantasic waterproof option that have a relaxed fit, as they’re designed to be worn over the top of other clothes. The elasticated waistband is comfortable and even features velcro fastenings for suspenders - if you're into that!

These trousers do not have pockets. The cinch straps around the calf proved extra useful as they kept our tester safe from splash off the road.

Read more: Showers Pass Transit Pants full review

Image shows a rider wearing the Altura Nightvision Women's Over Trouser.

(Image credit: Emma Silversides )
Best overtrousers for riding in low light conditions, or at night

Specifications

Material: 100% Polyester
Waterproof finish: DWR
Waistband: Elasticated
Ankle: Single velcro adjuster
Rating: 10K/10K
Sizes: 8-18

Reasons to buy

+
Wind and water resistant
+
Excellent reflective detailing
+
3 leg length options
+
Zipped pockets
+
Roomy enough to go over very bulky clothes

Reasons to avoid

-
Pockets don't handle extreme rain
-
Fit may still be too loose for some women
-
Not easy to get on over shoes due to interior gaitor

Altura's Nightvision is the original go-to range to be seen on a bike at night. The large reflective detailing should help make the wearer stand out in low light levels, with beams of light reflecting off the panels across the legs.

Unlike the Endura Hummvee II cycling trousers, these waterproof and windproof cycling trousers pull on over your existing clothing, so a great option to have stowed away in your commuting luggage should the weather take a turn for the worse while out on the bike. 

The Nightvision Women's Overtrousers that we tested doesn't seem to offer much in terms of tailoring for the female form; expect a very generous fit from these. They will accommodate very bulky trousers without issue but petit women will be drowned.

Breathability and waterproofing are both good, keeping you dry in light to moderate rain without causing you drastically overheat. 

If you want a trouser that pulls on over the top of shoes, these aren't the best option; they have an interior gaitor. The gaitor has benefits though; the Nightvisions are good at keep the cold air out on wintery days. 

Two pockets for quick access mean that the trousers are great for not having to open to the elements when trying to get keys/work passes out. However, these are not the best of designs in epic storms; the rain does find its way in.

Read more: Altura Nightvision Women's Over Trouser full review

Image shows a rider wearing the B Twin 100 City Cycling Rain Overtrousers.

(Image credit: Emma Silversides )
Best waterproof cycling trousers with built in shoe covers

Specifications

Material : 100% Polyester
Waterproof finish: 100% Polyurethane
Waist: Elasticated
Ankle : 2 Velcro adjusters
Sizes: S - 2XL

Reasons to buy

+
Integrated foot protection 
+
Great price point 
+
Wide leg end for pulling on over shoes
+
Eco credentials 

Reasons to avoid

-
Body and shoe size ratio needs to work for rider
-
Durability of shoe covers limited
-
Durability of protection limited

Decathlon does the cycling basics at a bargain price and its BTwin range includes some of the best value waterproof cycling trousers you can buy. 

When we tested the 100 City Cycling Rain Overtrousers, the unique, integrated shoe covers, which prevent the rain you’ve kept off your legs from ending up in your shoes, as well as offering protection for your feet from road spray (off the front wheel) really impressed. A wide split up the side of the leg end makes these easy to pull on over shoes. You need to make sure that the trousers Vs shoe size ratio works for you though. It's also worth avoiding walking too much with the covers on; they are not the most durable. 

The overtrousers come with taped seams 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. A longer period of testing has proved that this perfomance quickly deteriorates. However, they are still good for moderate rain. 

BTwin says that it's used a more environmentally friendly dyeing process, giving these some eco credentials. 

There isn't the level of reflective detailing which can be found on the Altura Nightvision waterproof trousers, but loops for lights on each leg. Again, testing these proved that they are limited- a light with a narrow clip was required.

Read more: BTwin 100 City Cycling Rain Overtrousers full review

Image shows a rider wearing the Madison waterproof trousers.

(Image credit: Emma Silversides )
Best for a subtle look in any weather

Specifications

Material: 100% Polyester
Coating: C6 DWR
Waistband: Elasticated with drawcord
Ankle: Two Velcro adjusters
Rating: 5K/5K
Sizes: 8-14

Reasons to buy

+
Subtle look doesn't scream cyclist
+
Comfy/rustle-free fabric
+
Breathable
+
Good protection in cold weather

Reasons to avoid

-
May lack length for some
-
Minimal reflective detailing

These are Madison's cheapest pair of waterproof trousers and while protection levels are limited- they fend off light rain well but don't cope so well with prolonged, very heavy rain, they still have their merits. In our grouptest, the Protec's were our testers favourite trouser for cold weather, not just rainy days.

The fabric is noticeably softer than others we tested and moves freely; it simply doesn't scream waterproof trousers. Out of the female-specific trousers on test, these offered the best fit, though they lacked a little length for our tester that won't be an issue for everyone. 

They have a wide leg end, so it's not too much of a battle to get them on over a pair of shoes.

Their more subtle looks mean that you aren't in a rush to take them off when you're off the bike- there's no rustling and they offer decent levels of breathability. If you want a pair of over trousers for more than just rainy riding, these are a good option. 

They fall down on reflective detailing; only the two Velcro adjusters are reflective. 

Read more: Madison Protec 2-Layer Waterproof Trousers full review

Image shows a rider wearing the dhb Flashlight Waterproof Trousers.

(Image credit: Emma Silversides )
Best lightweight, packable trousers for long or short legs

Specifications

Material: 100% Nylon
Waterproof finishing: Polyurethane
Waistband: Elasticated with toggle drawcord
Ankle: Single Velcro adjuster
Sizes: XS-XXL with short, reg, long leg length

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and packable
+
Decent reflectives
+
Good protection in wet weather and cold conditions
+
Three leg lengths in each size

Reasons to avoid

-
Very thin fabric may lack durability
-
Not easy to pull on over shoes

On test, the dhb's Flashlight's did everything well. They offer decent protection in both windy and rainy weather, they have some good reflective detailing, though perhaps not quite up to the standard of Altura's Nightvision's, and breathability is as good as any other out there.

Sizing is comprehensive and dhb offers three different leg lengths in each of the sizes available. Not all manufacturers offer this and if you fall into the category of 'longer-than-average', or 'shorter-than-average' leg-length, these will be ticking a box for you. 

There is only one ankle adjuster with these, an additional trouser clip might be a good idea to avoid flapping fabric near the drivetrain. 

Their most distinguishing features is their lightweight, packable nature- they'll take up very little room in a rucksack, pannier or bar bag. However, this might work against them- fabirc is exceptionally thin, wear-and-tear may well set in quite quickly as a consequence.

These are a pair of trousers to consider if you want something with minimal bulk and weight that will perform in a variety of conditions. 

Read more: dhb Flashlight Waterproof Trousers full review

Best breathable bicycle commuter pants / trousers

Image shows a rider wearing the Endura Hummvee II trousers.

(Image credit: Future)
Best water-resistant cycling trousers for all round use

Specifications

Material : Nylon Mini Ripstop
Waterproof finish: PFC-Free DWR
Waistband: Elasticated and adjustable belt
Ankle: Elastic, velcro and zipped
Size : S - XXL

Reasons to buy

+
Multiuse trail and urban trousers
+
Durable ripstop fabric 
+
Multiple zipped pockets 
+
Shorts liner compatible 
+
Very comfortable, especially in lower temperatures 
+
Seemingly very durable 

Reasons to avoid

-
DWR will need re-coating
-
Not overtrousers

Scottish brand Endura knows a thing or two about foul weather, and its Hummvee II water-resistant trousers are designed exactly to deal with it.

Constructed using Ripstop fabric designed for durability, these cycling trousers are a great option for anyone looking for water protection across a host of different terrains. 

Capable of shrugging off mud and rain, these water resistant trousers come with an environmentally friendly PFC-Free durable water repellent (DWR) finish, although that will need re-spraying from time to time with one of the best waterproof treatments

Casual enough to look good off the bike, these cycling trousers also have a seam free seat, which means that you can ride them without cycling shorts, although they aren't designed to be worn over your non-cycling gear, like the Altura Nightvision 3 waterproof cycling trousers, meaning that should you choose to commute in them, you'll need a change of clothes once you get to your end destination. 

The Hummvee IIs are compatible with Endura's own Clickfast padded shorts liner, and have a Velco style ankle closure. This can be a bit hit and miss over time if gets regularly clogged with muck, which can mean that the closure can become less effective. 

The Hummvees feature several pockets, including zipped hand pockets for off the bike usability and handy cargo pockets and a large map pocket.

These aren't the most waterproof option that money can buy, but the Hummvee range is notoriously durable and these trousers are no different - there are a lot of reasons that these multi-use cycling trousers could be all you need. 

Read more: Endura Hummvee II Trousers full review

Image shows a rider wearing the Rapha Technical Trousers.

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)
Best riding trousers for wearing off the bike

Specifications

Material: 94% nylon, 6% spandex
Waterproof finish: None
Waistband: Buttoned with belt looped
Ankle: Tapered, roll to show reflective features
Size: Waist 28-36", two-three leg lengths per size

Reasons to buy

+
Styled trousers that are practical for riding
+
Wear on and off the bike
+
Subtle and styled riding details

Reasons to avoid

-
Price
-
Not full on riding trousers
-
No water resistance
-
Rear pockets too small to secure a phone
-
Not available in female fit

Rapha's Technical Trousers are a rare beast - practical on the bike and stylish off it. As you'd expect from Rapha these are well made and great fitting trousers with some stylish and functional features such as reflective logos on the inside of the leg and pocket closure details. 

These aren't full-riding cycling trousers, there's no seamless crotch or waterproofing, and the rear zipped pocket isn't big enough to fit some smart phones. There's no women's version either. 

Read more: Rapha Technical Trousers full review

Image shows cyclist wearing Altura Grid Softshell Pants

(Image credit: Rob Spedding)
Best for all-day comfort

Specifications

Material: 100% polyester
Waterproof finish: DWR coating
Waistband: Drawstring
Ankle: Tapered leg
Size: S-3XL

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable
+
Warm
+
Casual looks

Reasons to avoid

-
Only lightly water-repellent
-
Rear waistband could be higher

Altura’s Grid Softshell Pants certainly give off tracksuit bottom vibes – and they do offer a similar degree of versatility, being highly usable for non-cycling activities such as walking, wearing over shorts as well as their more bread-and-butter commuting purposes. 

Made from a DWR-coated polyester, the Altura Grid Softshell Pants are lined with a grid-fleece, designed to trap in heat – and they did an excellent job at that. The Softshell pants also have a decent amount of stretch to them, further boosting the comfort both on and off the bike.

As well as being warm and comfortable, our tester found that the Softshell Pants did indeed offer some protection from light drizzle. In heavy rain, it took about three miles before the fabric ultimately wetted out – although it’s worth noting that some water did seep in through the untaped seams before that point.

Regarding the fit, Altura’s Grid Softshell Pants are long enough for full coverage with no flapping around the ankles. The drawstring waist is high enough for decent coverage of the small of the back and is simple enough to secure.

Read more: Altura Grid Softshell Pants full review 

Best bicycle commuter pants: what to look for

Do waterproof bicycle commuter pants stay waterproof?

This all depends on the fabric they are made from and if there is any surface treatment. You'll find that most durable water repellent treatments will wash off after a while and you will need to re-apply a DWR treatment to rejuvenate their waterproofing. 

If you're not sure where to start, our pages on the best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket and how to re-waterproof your cycling jacket are just as applicable to your waterproof cycling trousers or waterproof cycling bib tights.

Image shows a rider wearing some of the best cycling waterproof trousers

What cut and fit is best for commuter pants / trousers?

The best waterproof bicycle commuter pants / trousers will generally have a fairly relaxed fit and will prioritise keeping the water out. While you might find some casual fit options that can be worn on and off the bike, many are a pull-over design that you can wear over other trousers or shorts and remove after your ride. You'll also find that many are unisex. For many women, this might pose fit issues.

While most overtrousers are marketed as rainy weather garments, they can be a great additional layer in extremely cold conditions too. Keeping your hardworking leg muscles warm in the depths of winter is invaluable.

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 bicycle commuter pants / 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.

Image shows a person riding in some of the best bicycle commuter pants

(Image credit: Getty Images - Halfpoint)

How breathable do commuter pants / trousers need to be?

It’s easy to get hot when you’re cycling. Since you’ll usually be wearing a waterproof top as well as your waterproof cycling trousers, that means that you can easily get sweaty, particularly if it’s warm and humid.

A pair of the best waterproof cycling trousers made of breathable fabric will let sweat out better, helping to keep you more comfortable as you ride. See our guide to the best waterproof cycling jackets for more on waterproofing and breathability.

How important are sealed seams?

The most waterproof bicycle commuter pants will be seam sealed. That’s where there’s waterproof tape applied over the seams to prevent water ingress through the stitching. Water entry through the seams is something that can occur in prolonged downpours, with the extra pressure due to your forward movement helping the water to force its way in.

But some people prefer greater breathability over complete weather sealing. Wetting out the inside of your commuter pants / trousers from sweat is hardly better than getting wet from the rain. 

The most expensive waterproof trousers will balance both needs. If you're going cheaper, it's best to consider whether you want something that will keep you dry but that will quickly heat up if you press on the pace, or weather you'd prefer the risk of getting a little wet if it means your skin feels more comfortable.