Trail pants are the new shorts, and the best mountain bike pants have become a riding wardrobe staple for nearly all trail, enduro and downhill riders. Pants offer increased protection should you crash and act as barrier against mud and other trail debris, which should in turn keep you more comfortable and clean on the trails.
The Trail Pants are Specialized’s offering to the lightweight, do-it-all, action trouser party and they promise to offer the ideal balance between style and protection. I’ve been putting these claims to the test, but do the Trail pants have what it takes for them to become our new go-to?
Looking for something waterproof? Check out our guide to the best waterproof riding pants.
Design and specifications
The Trail Pants are constructed using Specialized’s VaporRize fabric which is said to be lightweight, tough and ultra-breathable. The fabric itself has some integrated stretch to ensure they’re lucid with any on-bike movements and shapes.
In terms of cut, the pants are slimmer than most, which means they look sick and won't ever get caught in any moving drivetrain parts or suspension linkages. While they do taper aggressively, Specialized has left enough material around the thigh and knee to ensure they’re knee pad compatible, and the Trail Pants meshed seamlessly with all of the best knee pads I used them with. You could also argue that the properly tapered design could also offer some aero gains for racing, if you’re that way inclined.
There’s well-positioned laser perforated venting on the inner thighs to help with temperature regulation on milder days. A buckle waist closure keeps things in place and secure when riding, and there’s three zipped pockets to ensure any phones, keys and general ride essentials are stowed securely.
With a unisex fit, the Trail Pants are available in a vast sizing range with waist measurements staggering from 24 up to 44’-inch (worth noting that different regions appear to get different size options). The fact so many bike shops stock Specialized products means they’re relatively easy to try on for size too.
While it appears the UK only get the Trail Pants in black, the US has the choice between black or charcoal colorways.
In the wild, the functionality of the Specialized Trail Pants are next level. I found their featherweight feel, ultra-breathable function and perfect cut provided total comfort and exceptional performance regardless of the chosen riding style or weather conditions.
I found the articulated shape to work perfectly when worn with or without knee pads, and even when used with bulkier DH style knee guards the trail pants remained unrestricted and in place.
While nobody is claiming the Trail Pants to be the best option for wet weather riding, I found them to be excellent for riding in wet and muddy climates due to their low weight and fast drying nature. Again it’s the totally unrestricted range of movement and slim fit working together to ensure the smooth performance remains high regardless of the conditions – rain showers and puddle splashes are shrugged off with ease and they’ll literally dry before your eyes should the heavens properly open.
The laser cut vents are highly effective in regulating body temperature, but I did find they worked a little too well on properly cold days. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to accept due to their stellar overall performance though.
I found my size 30-inch waist test trousers sized accurately, but due to their tighter than average fit, the Trail pants are trickier to get on and off than some looser fitting options, but thanks to the elasticated ankle cuffs this never proved to be a show stopping hinderance to me.
Specialized’s Trail Pants perform flawlessly in every circumstance, and the fact the fit, ventilation, breathability and comfort has allowed me to use them for everything from downhill racing to multi-day gravel riding with zero compromise just concretes their versatility. The looks are a huge bonus in my opinion too, though if a straighter legged look is more your thing, check out our review of the 100% Airmatic Pants.
Considering how durable they’ve been throughout around 12 months of constant abuse I have no doubts in their durability either, which more than justifies the high-end price point. All things considered, I can’t praise the Specialized Trail Pants enough.
Tech specs: Specialized Trail Pants
- Price: £110 / $135
- Sizes: 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44-inch
- Colors: Black or Charcoal (options may vary in different locations)