7mesh's Glidepaths were already among the best mountain bike shorts available if you could afford them. They've significantly tweaked the new versions in terms of fit, fasteners and pocket detailing. So are they the ultimate all rounder trail shorts?
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Design and specifications
That 7mesh attention to detail is shown in the fact that the Glidepaths aren’t just a more pocketed version of the 7mesh Slab shorts I tested at the same time. The double waistband and metal-hooked suedette strap and ladder loop ‘belt’ are the same, and they get a press stud fastener and zipped fly too. The mixture of very thin ultrasonically welded seams and double-stitched flat-lock seams joining the 4-way stretch fabric is also similar.
The actual cut of panels is very different (and more complex), however, with a separate elliptical gusset section and curving ‘articulated’ leg panel cut. The legs themselves are also slightly longer than on the Slabs, with a 15in /38cm inseam, dropping the doubled hem of the tapered well over my knee pads.
The 7mesh Glidepaths also come with mesh-backed hand pockets, big-zippered ‘phone’ pockets on the back of each thigh and a small 7mesh silver reflective logo. The stretch fabric used for the whole short is coated with a DWR water repellent to give it some showerproofing until it eventually rubs/wears off, when it will need refreshing. Sizing runs from XS to XXL and there are black, ‘Thyme’ green or ‘Loam’ brown color options.
While the high performance fabric, obsessive level of detailing and fancy panel shapes definitely contribute to the high cost of the shorts, they deliver dividends right from the start. There’s not much stretch in the waistband but a small pair of 7mesh Glidepaths sat perfectly on a 30in waist. Loose enough to not cramp breathing but not slipping or sliding around – however much we were jiving around on the bike. That meant we didn’t really need the hook-and-loop ‘belt’ to cinch up any slack but it’s useful to have it there if you need to adjust the fit slightly. While it doesn't allow for fine adjustments quite as much as a sliding buckle, there’s no worry about it slipping over time either and the flat shape doesn’t dig in or irritate in any way.
Leg length is generous so there’s no danger of a gap above your knee pads, and while the legs are tapered, the ‘Relaxed fit’ is noticeably roomier than the ‘Trim fit’ of the Slab shorts. That means more flap on thin legs and less snugness on chunky thighs, but I’d say they’re still average volume for a performance baggy short, not oversized.
The way the 7mesh Glidepaths are cut, seam-sealed and stitched means the hand and leg pockets sit really well when you’re pedalling too. Even a hefty phone in a case doesn’t feel cumbersome on the back of the thighs and the mesh panel inside the hand pockets mean they still wick okay in the crack of your leg/body bend where it matters most. The seamless crotch panel also works really well with minimal padded liners such as 7mesh’s Foundation boxers.
The 7mesh Glidepaths' versatility, fit and comfort means we’ve been riding them in heavy rotation since they arrived. We’ve also wiped out a few times on some abrasive surfaces. You wouldn’t know from looking at the unscathed fabric, though, and while the DWR rinsed off a while ago they still clean up like new. Being brown, easy-clean and fast-drying are also very practical traits if you’re really pushing your limits too…
Should something go really wrong then 7mesh offer discretionary free replacement for the first 30 days you have them and then cost price repairs where possible for the rest of their natural lifetime.
You could buy two pairs of shorts from a lot of brands for the price of the 7mesh Glidepaths but when it comes to versatile, cargo-friendly performance with a fantastic fit, they’re an absolutely outstanding pair of pants. If you want a slimmer cut and are fine with a single pocket then 7mesh’s Slab shorts are equally awesome – though they're arguably even more expensive given their minimalist design. Either way, the comfort, performance and durability of the Glidepaths makes the hefty price tag easier to justify as an investment and they’ll certainly be right up there in our best mountain bike shorts buying guide when we next update it.
Tech Specs: 7mesh Glidepath shorts
- Price: $150 / £130 / €150
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Options: Loam brown (tested), Thyme green, Black