Rock climbing as a workout is taking off in many parts of the world, with more and more women around the world realizing what a great hobby it is for keeping fit and having fun. If you’re new to the sport and a beginner, it can be difficult to know type of climbing bottoms or pants to wear, especially if it is for a date and you do not want to embarass yourself.Some brands are now designing really great women rock climbing leggings and shorts. This article takes you through some of our favourite rock climbing leggings and climbing shorts that are super comfortable and look great!
What are the Best Women’s Climbing Shorts?
Below you’ll find the list of the top 5 Best Women’s Climbing Shorts. We compiled this list from climbing shorts we have used, asked others about, and researched further to give you the best possible roundup. With many years of experience with shorts for climbing you can be assured that this article will give you what you’re looking for.
We also wrote a buying guide and answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of this article.
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Material: 96% nylon, 4% elastane
Sun Protection: UPF 50
Variations of Colors: 5
Purpose and Usage: Hiking, climbing, travel, casual wear
The Anytime Outdoor Capri features the patented Omni-Shield technology, making the fabric water resistant and keeping dust and grime out. Columbia’s Omni-Shade technology offers UPF 50 sun protection while the 2-way stretch gives plenty of freedom of movement, making it ideal for many activities like climbing, bouldering, hiking, or simply wearing around town.
Longer than shorts, these capris drape slightly over the knees without hindering movement and can protect the knees from minor cuts and scrapes. They run true to size so there’s no need to size up to down. One drawback is that they start getting fuzzy after a few washes, and need to be washed with other delicate fabrics.
- Omni-Shield keeps the pants clean
- 2-way comfort stretch
- Drops below the knee and protects knees from minor scraps
- Fabric feels thinner after several washes
- Not as long lasting
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Material: 86% nylon, 14% spandex
Sun Protection: No
Variations of Colors: 9
Purpose and Usage: Hiking, running, climbing, biking, yoga
The award-winning Ferrosi collection uses a signature soft shell fabric that is durable, super stretchy, and breathable. The wind and water protection will keep some wind out while continuing to wick moisture away from your body. The internal drawcord around the waist keeps the fit optimal while the single button fly stays out of the way of the harness.
The comfort and breathability of these shorts make them a popular favorite for all outdoor adventurers like canyoneering or mountaineering, especially on hot summer days. Be warned! These Ferrosi shorts are at least one size, or two sizes smaller so be prepared to size yourself up.
- Super lightweight at 175g
- Stretchy and comfortable
- Water and wind resistant
- Fits small and needs to be sized up
- Fabric feels thin
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Material: Fortius DW 1.0 (87% Nylon, 13% Elastane)
Sun Protection: UPF 50+
Variations of Colors: 2
Purpose and Usage: Hiking, climbing, running
With no buttons, waistband, or zippers to get in the way of a harness, the Sabria shorts are ideal for climbing. The Sabria has a streamlined design and a slim fit, so sizing up might be required. The durable, 4-way stretch fabric, and gusseted crotch, allow for maximum stretch and freedom of movement for mountain climbing and vigorous outdoor sports.
The low-profile waist fits comfortably and both side pockets come with flaps for more security. This pair of shorts fit narrowly over the waist and hips and might not suit people with wider hips. With longer legs, sizing up might result in the shorts draping over the knees and hindering movement.
- No buttons or zipper
- 4-way stretch allows maximum mobility
- Long fit, legs might be too long for shorter bodies
- Slim fit and might have to be sized up
|Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Material: G-1000 (60% polyester, 40% cotton)
Sun Protection: No
Variations of Colors: 2
Purpose and Usage: Climbing, hiking, travel, yoga
These snug-fitting shorts by Fjallraven offer optimal comfort and fit, with maximum movement capabilities. The back is designed to ride higher, negating the possibility of a plumber’s crack as you crouch or squat. Even though there are no back pockets, there are plenty of hand and side pockets to hold your wallet, phone, and keys without feeling overloaded.
These shorts are made with Fjallraven’s G-1000 fabric, a durable fabric designed for outdoor apparel and built to last. They hold up well in multi-day expeditions and have a reinforced area around the back that can handle even the roughest butt scoots. Priced a little more than most other shorts, this pair is a well-fitting classic from the award-winning Keb product lineup.
- Reinforced butt area
- Plenty of pockets
- Limited colors
|Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Material: 96% nylon, 4% elastane
Sun Protection: UPF 50
Variations of Colors: 5
Purpose and Usage: Hiking, beach days, travel, climbing
Made of Summiteer Lite fabric, these shorts are designed for optimal comfort and maximum mobility. They fit snugly against the hips and waist with a low profile. The Omni-Shield makes them water repellent and easy to keep clean, while the Omni-Shade offers sun protection for those blazing days.
WIth 2-way stretch comfort, they will be great for any outdoor activity that requires some dynamic movement. The integrated drawstring ensures optimal fit and can be removed if not needed. A small downside is that they get fuzzy after several washes and loses a bit of its original texture. They are also slightly on the tighter side so size up if you like pants that are slightly baggy.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Sun and splash repellent
- Low-waist might not be for everyone
- Fits snug and might need to be sized up
Based on all of our experience with shorts for climbing, we found that Columbia Women’s Anytime Outdoor Capri Hiking Pants is the best climbing shorts available today.
Our Premium Option is Arc’teryx Sabria Short Womens Climbing Shorts with all the best features and high-quality materials, but that’s only if you have more money to spend.
However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Summit Shorts as an affordable alternative.
Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:
What You Should Know Before Buying climbing shorts
Climbing Pants VS Leggings
The climbing scene is becoming more hipster and trendy with time, with people coming here for climbing dates and really dressing up well for climbing. You may see people climbing with leggings often, and at the end of the day it’s a personal choice. Though leggings may add more flexibility and stretchiness, they tend to be less durable than climbing pants and more susceptible to rips or tears.
Whether you choose to climb in pants, good looking yoga shorts with pockets or leggings also depends on the fit of your harness. If your harness sits on the tighter side, leggings might be the more comfortable option, while if you have a looser fitting harness, pants may be the better choice. Another important consideration is zippered pockets, which you can find in climbing pants but leggings almost always lack.
Precautions to note while selecting Climbing Leggings
It’s not always easy finding the best climbing leggings. Not only do they need to allow for movement, they also need to be comfortable, breathable and hard-wearing. And it doesn’t hurt if they look good too!
Your choice of climbing leggings will depend on the type of climbing you intend to do. Outdoor rock climbing will require different specifications to indoor climbing like bouldering, which is why we generally recommend matching your pants to your project. It’s also extremely important to take weather conditions into account and dress accordingly. Ultimately, it comes down to being comfortable whilst ascending and that encompasses numerous things, such as the material and fit of the leggings (think flexibility, durability, breathability and comfort), as well as feeling confident and stylish (yes, aesthetics is important too!) Know yourself and your preferences; the more you climb, the more you’ll realise which key features you prioritise and appreciate!
Leggings or yoga pants are, if anything, versatile. Due to their flexible material, they do not hinder movement, making them ideal choices for sports that require a lot of stretching and flexibility, such as yoga, gymnastics, dancing and pilates, and of course climbing where you need to commit those sit-in moves! They are also great for running and cycling because, unlike baggy or loose fitting climbing pants, they can reduce wind-resistance and increase your speed. Most yoga pants or climbing leggings provide compression benefits too; compression leggings enhance overall circulation and help increase blood flow while reducing energy expenditure and muscle fatigue; an important feature for rock climbing routes that are lengthy and intense. Lastly, legging fabric is usually not too thick and can thus also be worn underneath other pants for more insulation when training or bouldering in colder temperatures.
Material and Climate
It’s easy to overlook attire and focus more on ropes and harnesses when what you’re most worried about is safety. Nevertheless, opting to exercise in a pair of pyjamas is not a very wise choice. Oftentimes, your attire can actually enhance your performance and help you feel a tad bit more comfortable and secure, regardless of whether you’re training at home, in the gym or up on the rock.
When choosing your leggings, keep in mind the material it’s made of. Aside from comfort, mobility is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider, hence the material needs to allow for a full range of motion. It should also be able to take a beating; the ability to withstand rips and tears is important as rock surfaces are often unforgiving. Most rock climbing or bouldering pants feature a durable mix of cotton and elastic material and depending on the activity, durability may be something worthwhile to look into. You can probably get away with a thinner and lighter material for bouldering or workouts at home, but activities such as trad and alpine climbing will require more durable and weather-proofed material.
This brings us to our next point. There are some blends that are more suitable for a particular type of climate. Cotton is better suited for warm and dry conditions and is best avoided in cold and wet weather as it absorbs water and stays wet. If you’re climbing in a colder climate, keeping warm and dry needs to be your focus when picking your clothing gear, which is where base layers as well as waterproof and wind/water resistant jackets come into play. Crucial for cold, rainy, or windy days, such items ensure you don’t fall sick during or after your trip. On the other hand, synthetic blends such as polyester and polypropylene are great for wicking moisture and suitable for hotter climates as they are quick-drying. Material such as micro-polyester is great for climates that are humid but experience frequent rainfall and where monsoons are common, such as in South East-Asia; they do a great job at being wind and water resistant whilst being light-weight and breathable. However, unlike a material like wool, synthetics aren’t great at keeping odors at bay. Merino wool, a breathable and lightweight natural fiber, is one of the best moisture-wicking fabrics on the market today and does not retain odors, perfect for humid and muggy climbing conditions. It is, however, less durable than cotton and other synthetic fabrics.
Last but certainly not least, the fabric needs to be comfortable. Loose fitting items sure are comfortable, but excess bagginess can easily get in the way. While on the wall, it’s important that your clothing works with you, not against you. You can’t go wrong with stretchy material that will allow you to stretch that extra inch without worrying about a tear in the wrong place. Leggings tend to have a high amount of elastic material but are usually made of thin fabric. Since weather conditions can quickly change, it’s wise to be ready for whatever mother nature throws at you. Wearing the proper climbing clothes is crucial for a climber to perform effectively, comfortably and safely.
Questions and Answers About climbing shorts
Are wearing climbing leggings good for men?
It’s generally harder to find good quality leggings from good brands for men, as the climbing attire often advertised for them features pants and not leggings. Some may argue that leggings don’t offer as much protection as pants do. Regardless, leggings can be a good alternative to climbing pants, especially if you favor tight-fitting garments and want maximum freedom of movement. Nowadays, many leggings will feature a gusseted crotch rather than a standard pant crotch, which not only provides extra material and is more anatomically agreeable and accommodating, but also enhances flexibility which will prove useful when performing dynamic climbing moves. That said, many men feel that tight fitting clothes like leggings overexpose the crotch area and thus tend to wear them underneath a pair of shorts. The newest (climbing) fashion is geared to solving this problem. There are superior brands out there that incorporate soft moldable crotch cups into their leggings. These crotch cups conceal (the outline of) your goodies and provide better groin support. What’s more, leggings for men come in all sorts of styles and colours too, so you can be sure you’ll look good whilst scaling up that wall!
Why is stretchy jeans or pants helpful in climbing?
The stretch and flex of a pair of pants or leggings is probably the most important feature that determines how suitable they are for climbing in. Rock climbing requires a lot of suppleness and flexibility, and pants that inhibit this will actively work to make climbing more difficult. If you can’t execute moves like a high-step, then you have to find an alternative beta that may be more difficult.
Are leggings good for climbing?
It goes without saying that flexibility is crucial when it comes to climbing; the last thing you want is a pair of pants that limit your range of motion. If you’re sport climbing or climbing indoors, leggings may be a suitable option, as such activities don’t put a lot of strain on your clothing. Leggings are usually very comfortable to wear and allow for a lot of stretch, making them unrestrictive. Certain climbing forms such as free climbing require you to hold positions that are similar to those carried out by dancers, such as stemming, and thus leggings would be a great choice because you won’t face any resistance. They are also simple garments: frill-free, with no bells and whistles and easily worn under a harness.
Nevertheless, this flexibility often comes at the expense of durability because of the thinner and lighter material they’re made of. They may not be a suitable choice for climbing that may rough your clothing up a bit, such as alpine or trad climbing. In such cases, finding a balance between flexibility and durability is key. Leggings also aren’t as adaptable as climbing pants which can be cinched in, cuffed at the ankles or converted into shorts. Moreover, they aren’t as airy and since they are tight-fitting, you may feel more exposed (especially if they are also see-through when bending over).
In the end, it comes down to personal preference. A lot of new designs on the market now offer flexibility without compromising on durability and vice versa, such as these climbing pants by Prana.