The howies Venture shorts are stylish, flattering and extremely practical. In a versatile black with striking blue details, and great technical features, these are rapidly becoming my go-to pair for MTB trail riding this summer.
Most of the riding they have been through has been blissfully dry (ah, summer!) but they have encountered a few light showers and some particularly stinky muddy puddles. The fabric of the shorts is water resistant, so in both situations moisture just beaded on the surface and dripped off, rather than soaking through, so I remained dry and comfortable.
They have been through the wash several times (following the manufacturers guidelines) and have emerged in as good a condition as when they went in. Better, in fact, as the dirt came right off them easily. No bobbling of the fabric, no fading of the colour, and they kept their shape.
I love the cut of these shorts for several reasons. I’m a fairly curvy size 12, verging up to 14 on my lower half, and I have muscular cyclists thighs. I often find that ‘baggy’ shorts are actually quite tight across the hips and thighs. Not so with the Venture shorts – they manage to combine a loose, comfortable fit that allows plenty of freedom of movement, with a very flattering feminine cut.
This is in part thanks to the four-way stretch fabric howies have used to construct them. It allows a secure fit at the waist, with completely unrestricted movement. Despite some fairly long, technical trails, the shorts never caught, pinched or pulled. Supremely comfortable! The fabric is also fairly lightweight, while still feeling robust, making these shorts great for year-round riding on all but the hottest or rainiest days.
As I like a loose fit, I opted for a size large, which fitted very well with some tightening of the waistband. Howies state the large fits a 12-14, and I would agree with this.
Secondly, they are a great length. At 5’9, they reach just below my kneecap and the leg opening is wide enough to fit comfortably over my kneepads. When pedalling, they are long enough to keep my thighs covered so I don’t have bare skin showing between where the shorts end and the pads begin.
Finally, the waistband of the Venture shorts is cut higher at the rear, which kept my lower back covered when riding. It also offered some protection from the bottom of my rucksack, which sometimes rubs – an unexpected bonus!
The shorts have a zip fly and a double popper fastening at the top, which felt very secure – no unexpected openings halfway down the trails. The waistband can be adjusted easily with wide Velcro tabs, so you can tighten them to fit your waist. There are no belt hoops, which personally wasn’t a problem for me as I never wear belts with my shorts, particularly ones as comfy to wear as these.
There are two hip pockets, with a diagonal opening and a popper fastening. Although handy for stowing stuff when walking about, they weren’t ideal for keeping things safe while riding. The combination of being quite shallow, plus the wide opening meant that when leaning forward or moving around, things like phones didn’t feel secure.
A small zip pocket at the rear is great for stowing cake money, but its location and size is not ideal for cards or phones; I was worried I would sit on and break them if I tried!
To keep the air flowing internally, there are zipped vents on the front of the shorts, with a great-looking contrast blue mesh that matches the lining of the shorts and the pockets. Once opened, these allowed a cooling breeze through, particularly when standing up on descents.
The Venture shorts don’t come with a chamois, so I wore my own liner shorts under them which worked fine, and didn’t compromise the fit.
Although fairly pricy, the trade off is a practical pair of shorts that are comfortable and will last. They’ve been worn extensively and still look as good as new.
These are perfect for trail riding in the variable British climate, with all the essential features accounted for, in a stylish package that doesn’t compromise fit or function.
I think I’ve found my new favourite shorts.
- Water-resistant four-way stretch fabric is comfy and practical
- Durable and long-lasting
- Flattering fit
- Limited sizing options for larger sizes
Size: S (8 - 10), M (10 - 12), L (12 - 14)
More information: howies
Like what you've seen here? Take a look at our first impressions of some other howies kit.
If you are after some bibshorts to go with these, check out our review of the howies Breakaway Bibshort.
What howies say about their Venture shorts.
Knee length, fitted mountain biking shorts that go with the flow on your bike ride, thanks to their flexible four way stretch material. It provides maximum range of motion; meaning wherever you move, they move too.
2 zipped mesh leg vents keep your legs cool. A durable water-repellent finish keeps splashes and spray at bay. Cut higher at the back to keep your undercrackers covered and designed with a seam-free crotch panel for reduced chaffing.
2 popper-closure mesh hand pockets. Single zipped rear storage pocket. Double popper waistband with velcro tab adjusters and zip fly.