Our reviewer has been testing the Assos H FI.Lady_s5 shorts for six weeks now and has developed something of a Marmite relationship with them.
They are comfortable, no doubt about that, but they're not the most flattering shorts I've been seen in.
The shorts have a woman-specific, six-panel cut and the fit is on the small side. I'm a small in more generous brands, and a medium in others, and I could only just squeeze into a medium in these shorts. Once in, however, they've offered a good fit which matches the contours of my legs. The fabric is 80 per cent polyamide and 20 per cent elastane so there's a good amount of stretch in it, and it's pretty light, too.
I've had bad experiences with waist-band shorts like these in the past. The waist-band can dig into your stomach, particularly in the riding position on the bike, and that's only going to be uncomfortable over any sort of distance. These shorts are excellent on that front, with the waist-band made from a soft, stretchy fabric which doesn't dig in.
Assos have used their FI. Lady_S5 insert, which has a dimpled design like a golf ball, though Assos call it their 'waffle system'. It's meant to improve breathability and provide an ergonomic fit, and I found it really comfortable on long rides thanks to it's plush, well-padded design. It's a particularly thick chamois, and that's great for long days in the saddle, but it feels a little odd when offer the bike - I'm aware of it more than other pads - and it might not suit someone who prefers a slimmer, more streamlined pad.
Assos say the shorts are for 'hot summer', with a recommended temperature range of 29-39 degrees. That's a little ambitious even for the most cold-blooded cyclist and while they're undoubtedly great for riding in high temperatures thanks to the light fabric, they're also just fine for regular UK conditions, and I've paired them with knee warms through early autumn.
The legs are finished with a thick elastic band which is grippy and didn't slip while pedaling. There are also reflective tabs on the back and side of either leg. The rear label is external and that's not a feature I'm keen on, but it's normally hidden from view by a jersey.
I was sent the white version of the shorts (which are white at the front and black at the back) and they're pretty unflattering. Any marks quickly show up on the white front and they make my legs look a little bigger than I'd hope - and the same goes for anyone who doesn't look like one of Assos' models! The 'waffle' shape of the pad also shows through at the front, which I'm not a big fan of.
The shorts are available in all-black, however, and of the four colour options (which also includes red and royal blue), they're the only ones I'd recommend. But colour and the revealing 'waffle' aside, the shorts are very comfortable if you're after a well-padded long distance short with a comfortable waist-band.
They're undoubtedly expensive but the high price tag is matched by high levels of comfort, just watch out for the colour and sizing.
- Overall flattering, comfortable fit once on
- Soft, stretchy waistband means it doesn't dig in
- Plush, well padded chamois that's incredible comfortable in the saddle
- Certain colour options not flattering
- 'Waffle system' chamois pad is not aesthetically pleasing
Sizes available: XS (UK size 6), S (8), M (10), L (12), XL (14)
The sizes bracketed are our estimated guide for readers.
Colour options: Black, Blue, Red, or White (we tested White)
More information: Assos
What Assos say about the H.FI. Lady_S5 women's road cycling shorts
ASSOS performance in a ladies cut and style.
ASSOS H Fi.Lady_s2 shorts have a shaped waistband, which is flat at the front and elasticated at the back, for comfort and gentle support.
The woman-specific, 6-panel cut with flat stitching and leg grippers, offers excellent muscle compression, to reduce fatigue and provide a great fit.
80% polyamide, 20% elastane.