Sportful Classic Women's Bib Shorts review - sometimes simple is the best

A great-performing pair of bib shorts without any unnecessary bells and whistles

Female cyclist wearing the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts
(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Sportful Classic Women's Bib Short is perfect for those who want a well-performing pair of bib shorts. It doesn't have any of the modern day features of pockets, easy-pee systems or funky colours but just focuses on the essentials of an excellent fit and feel.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Minimal and flat seams

  • +

    Leg-openings don't have elasticated band so very comfortable and low-thigh bulge risk

  • +

    Great feel

  • +

    Comfortable chamois

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Bib straps a little on the short side

  • -

    No easy-pee system

  • -

    Black bib section may show under pale tops

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As the name suggests the Sportful Classic Women's bib shorts are designed just to do the simple things – like fit and comfort – without additional features like cargo pockets and easy-pee systems.

We reviewed these alongside other fuss-free bibs from Rapha (Women's Core Bib Shorts) and Velocio (Women's Foundation bib shorts) as well as the rest of our best women’s bib shorts.  

Female cyclist wearing the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Sportful Classic: construction

Sportful Classic Women's Bib Shorts are made from a fairly lightweight lycra (210g/m2) with flat stitched seams and have an open mesh bib. As well as an absence of seams around the waist, the silicon leg grippers are directly on the end of the main short fabric which removes any hems, seams or extra layers which might cause discomfort.

The chamois is Sportful's Bodyfit Pro MD made from a multi-density, two-layered foam.

Pad of the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

Sportful Bodyfit Pro MD chamois

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

There are six sizes in the women’s fit, XS to XXL. Sportful is an Italian brand and the kit tends to come up smaller than many US and UK brands so its good practice to check the size guide. I came out as a medium and found the fit to be true to the guide.

There is a choice of six colors, although that’s somewhat misleading. In fact the Classic comes in black only but with a choice of color for the block of reflective dots on the outside of the left leg.  A subtle design tweak rather than full-on color choice.

Reflective dots on the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

Color choice

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Sportful Classic: the ride

I was instantly won over by the feel of the Sportful Classic Bib Short. It’s lightweight, fits (me at least) brilliantly, and doesn’t have and bulky or bulgy seams as some other shorts can do. There's a gentle compression from the lycra which has a nice soft feel. 

Female cyclist wearing the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

Long legs

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

The Classics have quite a long leg which I really liked, both aesthetically and for its feel; it gave my lower thigh a gentle hug of reassurance that it never before knew it needed. It is also an excellent length for reducing any unwanted fleshy mid-thigh bulges.

On the subject of thigh flesh, I was really impressed by the hemless leg openings and silicon grips. Sportful’s fabric manages to be – simultaneously – the best for comfort and grip and minimal restriction than any other pair of cycling shorts I’ve worn.

Silicon gripper of the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

Silicon grips are directly on the shorts leg, there's no hem or seams on the leg openings

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

I found the chamois really comfortable too; not too bulky, not too minimal and firm padding in the right places. It was as comfortable to wear on short rides as those three hours plus. They were even comfy on two to three hour rides on the indoor trainer where usually things get a bit disagreeable as you stay in such a static position.    

In the same way the shorts gave my legs a cuddle of reassurance, the bibs seemed to do the same whilst actually being quite minimal in design. The front came up to just below my belly button so held unwanted bulges without feeling like a pair of maternity knickers. The mesh fabric of the straps and back means you’re not adding in the way of layers. My only slight reservation with the bibs – and in fact the whole bib short – is that the straps felt a little short for my fairly average height (5’6” / 167cm in a medium size).

Mesh straps of the Sportful Women's Classic Bib Shorts

Cool mesh bibs

(Image credit: Rachel Sokal)

Sportful Classic: value and conclusion

At $140 / £105 the Sportful Classics sit at a busy price point of more-affordable high end bib shorts. I reviewed these alongside the Rapha Women's Core Bib Shorts ($134 / £110) and the Velocio Foundation Bib Shorts ($129 / £105).

By way of comparison the Sportful Classics had the lightest fabric, the longest leg and the meshiest bibs. I personally found them the most comfortable, both the shorts/bib and chamois, although this was a very close run thing with the Rapha bibs.

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