We see how Maloja’s waterproof women’s shorts stack up against PNW winters…
Words: Misti Walbridge
Photos: Toni Walbridge
I started the search for a pair of waterproof riding shorts this fall. There are quite a few out there for men, but I was coming up with very limited options in a women’s specific cut. Some of the items on my wish list included:
I know a few guys that have the Race Face Agent shorts and love them for cold, wet riding, but there is nothing on that level in the RF women’s line. I found a lot of European brands that had Gore-Tex and comparable fabric shorts, but they were all short in length and not the style I was after. Finally, I found the Maloja Sauerkleem short. They looked good online, so I ordered 2 pair, one size medium and one size small since I tend to fall in between sizes in the other Maloja gear that I have.
After trying on both sizes, I decided to keep the size small and return the medium. For reference, I am 5’6″ and around 120-125 lbs. I feel like these shorts run a bit big as I still have to use the velcro cinch straps at the waist to keep them from hanging too low. The length is very long and one of my favorite features of these shorts! I have longer legs and it’s a struggle to find shorts that don’t have a gap when lined up against the top of my knee pads, especially when my knee is bent in a pedaling position. It’s not only that I don’t care for the look, it lets cold air in. These shorts fall below my knee and have an articulated, pre-shaped knee area that fits over pads perfectly while keeping things from being too drafty. I ended up having to go with the Glacier color since that was all that was available online. I was concerned about the light color and stains from mud, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. There is a darker colored material in the seat area and that is where most mud collects and it seems to wash out just fine.
With the winter riding scene in full swing here in the PNW, I have put these shorts to the test at least a half a dozen times lately. I have to say, it is really nice to stay dry on an otherwise soaking wet, muddy ride. The material Maloja uses is called Moonstretch and they describe it as waterproof and breathable and these shorts have fully taped seams. Additionally, there is a DWR coating for extra shedding of rain, snow and dirt. The fabric is super lightweight and packable. There is one zipper pocket on the front that is large enough for a phone (tested with an iPhone 6s) or a snack, but not much else.
While riding, the Sauerkleems are comfortable and they stay in place. Since they are long without having a droopy crotch, they don’t catch on my seat. No matter how much bend there is in my knee, I stay fully covered and protected. I have yet to have a serious crash in these shorts and I am slightly worried that the material may not fare very well when that happens. It’s very thin (think waterproof rain shell thin) and seems like it will tear when coming in rough contact with rocks, sticks and dirt. For the coldest days, I have noticed that I prefer to wear compression tights under these shorts since they are not very warm on their own. For inclement weather riding in warmer temps, the shorts alone are fine, but when the outer layer gets wet or muddy, they do tend to cling to your legs a bit.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Maloja Sauerkleem shorts. I would love to see other manufacturers offer a women’s winter short. A more substantial (warmer) fabric and more pockets would definitely be nice options to have. Until then, I will layer up and ride with my Dakine Hot Laps pack so all the bases are covered.
Style (relaxed cut, longer length)
Waterproof and breathable as advertised
Resistant to stains (so far)
Comfortable and adjustable fit
Very thin material (not very warm)
Only one pocket
Maloja Sauerkleem. Short
Sizes : XS, S, M, L, XL
Colors: Mountain Lake, Glacier, Charcoal