Madison Protec Women's 2-Layer Waterproof Trousers

Good for light rain and protection in very cold conditions

Madison waterproof trousers
(Image credit: Emma Silversides)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Madison’s Protec Women's 2-layer Waterproof Over Trousers are a rustle-free, reliable layer for anyone braving the elements for short periods of time. They are well-made with taped seams and DWR coating for extra protection. The wide leg means you can pull them on without having to remove your shoes. They fall short where reflective detailing is concerned, so aren’t the best option if you value extra visibility for riding in the dark. If you are long legged, you may want to avoid them.

For
  • +

    Soft, compliant fabrics

  • +

    Not obviously waterproofs, so ideal for 'no-rain' protection

Against
  • -

    Minimal reflectives

  • -

    Shorter than average leg

Construction and fit

I followed Madison’s size guide to test a 14. I’d normally wear a 10 or 12. I should have stuck to what was the norm for me; the 14’s literally fell off me and were returned for a 10. They are undoubtedly a better fit, but still generous at the waist and come up a little short in the leg. I wouldn’t want to size down again for fear of losing leg length. I’d always suggest trying before you buy with overtrousers. If that’s not possible, definitely sizing down here would be advisable, but be conscious of the shorter-than-average leg length. 

The waist band is elasticated with a draw-cord. I appreciated this; the elastic on its own didn’t give a snug enough fit for me.

At the ankle, there are two Velcro adjusters. The calf one is well-designed; I could pull in all the excess fabric without running out of compatible Velcro. The lower one isn’t quite so good. A tighter fit was required, but impossible to achieve as I ran out of compatible Velcro.

The 100% polyester fabric carries a 5K/5K waterproof/breathability rating and all of the seams are taped. The fabric has a C6 DWR coating, not great if you are concerned with your impact on the environment; C6 water repellents contain dangerous fluorocarbons, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined to be highly toxic to humans.

Madison Protec Women's 2-Layer Waterproof Trousers - the Ride

Pulling the Protec trousers on is a breeze; they have a wide leg and I had no problem getting them over my chunkiest trainers. The shortcoming with lower Velcro strap meant that I always had excess fabric at the ankle. It repeatedly brushed the drive chain but never once got caught up in it, even in very high winds. This is likely to compromise the longevity of the trousers and I’d be worried about the Velcro losing its ability to stick after some time. A trouser clip might be advisable.

The fabric feels much softer and more compliant than many other overtrousers I’ve been testing. It flows and folds freely as you’re riding. Out of the four pairs I’ve been using, I’d say these look least like waterproofs. Riding in them when it wasn’t even raining, just very cold, seemed acceptable due to their 'subtle' appearance. The lack of reflective detailing contributes to this look. Only the tabs are reflective, but not obviously so. The photos show this well. This does make them rather inconspicuous at night.

For the first few outings, the Protecs stood up to moderate, continuous rain for over an hour. However, this is reducing as time goes on. Now, after about 45 minutes, water is beginning to penetrate the fabric. You can revive fabrics with an in-wash product. From experience this can help a little, but not a huge amount.

I've been testing in temperatures between 2 and 10 degrees. Breathability in any condition is good. I never once felt like I was getting sweaty inside these trousers. 

Image 1 of 3

Rear

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)
Image 1 of 3

Rear

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Value

At £44.99, I’d say that Madison have priced these appropriately. There are trousers that will offer more protection in rainy conditions, with increased visibility too, for example Altura’s Nightvision Women’s Over Trousers (opens in new tab) for £64.99. 

You could even step up in Madison's own range and get a better rating: the Stellar Men’s 2-layer Waterproof Overtrousers carry a 10K/10K rating and cost £59.99. The DTE Men's 3-Layer Waterproof Trousers are rated 20K/20K, with an RRP of £119.99.

Verdict

Madison’s Protec Women's 2-layer Waterproof Over Trousers are a rustle-free, reliable layer for anyone braving the elements for short periods of time. They are well-made with taped seams and DWR coating for extra protection. The wide leg means you can pull them on without having to remove your shoes. They fall short where reflective detailing is concerned, so aren’t the best option if you value extra visibility for riding in the dark. If you are long legged, you may want to avoid them. 

For me, the Protecs make a better extra layer in cold weather than they do a protective layer in the rain. If it happens to start raining while you're out, you’re covered for a short while, but don’t expect miracles. I’d say you are getting what you pay for here. 

Specs

  • Sizes: 8-18
  • Material: 100% Polyester, C6 DWR coating
  • Made in China
  • Waterproof rating: 5K/5K
  • Contact: madison.cc

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Emma’s first encounters with a bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling. 


With a couple of half decent UK road seasons under her belt, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there, spending two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, working primarily as a domestique for Emma Johansson. When Redsun folded, Emma was offered the opportunity to ride with a newly formed Belgian team and home to the first year senior and budding rider Anna Van Der Breggen.

After retiring, Emma returned to teaching, setting up her own tutoring business. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. While the road bike remains her true passion, she has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been sightings of Emma off-road, on mountain and gravel bikes… As if all of this isn't enough, she's been working as a freelancer since 2005, testing and reviewing the latest kit and sharing her insight into the sport.