With plenty of padding, the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts will certainly appeal to riders suffering from sit bone discomfort, but that pain may just be replaced by the waistband proving to not be the most comfortable on the market.
Multi-density gel chamios
Silicone leg grippers
Three colour choices
Six size options
Come up small
If you're in the market for decent non-bib cycling shorts, it can feel like a minefield with prices ranging from low twenties to close to triple digits – it's hard to know where to start, especially if you're after more than a basic budget pair. Having ridden and got on well with the Altura Women's Peloton ProGel bib shorts, we were keen to try the mid-priced Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts to see if they delivered just as well.
Made from a nylon/spandex mix, the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts are designed for good breathability as well as moisture management. This fabric construction also has what Altura calls a '4-way stretch', which has been engineered for comfort and flexibility.
The leg grippers of the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts are made of a 3cm silicone-backed elastic. It's a design that many manufacturers of women's shorts have moved away from in favour of a (in the main) more flattering, wider band of Lycra, but it wasn't an issue with the similarly constructed Altura Women's Peloton Progel bib shorts, so I was hoping for a similar fit here.
Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts come with the Altura Progel 3D mold construction pad, featuring Altura Dry technology – which Altura says is designed to move excess moisture away from the skin, helping to keep you dry and comfortable when riding. The multi-density pad also has gender-specific, strategically placed gel inserts which Altura believes offers riders specific support and protection where you need it most.
A 4cm elastic waistband is sewn into the top of the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts to secure them round the middle. It has a mesh panel at the rear, which should assist with breathability and sweat wicking.
Putting on the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts it was clear that they came up smaller than the bib version, so it's certainly worth sizing up. It's also worth noting that once on, the pink colour way option seemed to suffer more from a stretch colour fade than the grey shorts. It's not a performance-affecting issue, but something to consider if you're conscious of shorts looking stretched out.
Once out and riding, the leg grippers kept the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts firmly in place. My concerns about over-compression from the slightly old-fashioned finishing elastic were pretty much put to bed, although I think this does depend on the length of your legs and where the shorts come to a stop.
The Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts felt breathable, and although I was dealing with more moisture coming from the sky than from perspiration, the shorts were able to manage it well, and were swift to dry once the rain stopped.
Surprisingly, although I had issues with the same voluptuous chamois in the sister bibbed version, it felt much less prominent on these. That's not to say it's not still larger than average pads, and Altura has designed it to be for all-day riding comfort – so there's plenty of it.
However, I suspect part of the reason why the padding wasn't as distracting in the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts was because my attention was taken up by the fit of the waistband. Any effort put into the construction of a high-panelled front is wasted because ultimately it's the thin sewn-in elastic band that applies pressure round the middle. A bigger size might alleviate the constriction somewhat, but ultimately the shorts could do with a rework and could lose the front section of the elastic to prevent the digging-in feeling.
At £49.99 the Altura Women's Peloton Progel shorts are mid-price for waist shorts. There are some good technical attributes and the extra-large padding will certainly be a selling point for many riders. However, with the waistband issue they won't always be the most comfortable. A good pair of shorts for a reasonable price, but for just £10 more I think the bibbed version is a better bet.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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