Climbing has its roots as a counter-culture sport. Climbers embody free expression in movement, appearance, and lifestyle. When it comes to climbing attire, there are no rules. Wear those hipster jeans. Slip into those hand-me-down cargos from your great uncle who climbed Mount Rainier 60 years ago. Embrace the multi-color patterned tights craze. You’re a climber – go for it! But, do you know what are the best climbing shorts for you and your style of climbing?

If you’re looking for something light, airy, and reliable for those sweaty days in the gym or that Smith-Rock-in-June trip you’ve planned, we can help! In this article, we’ll walk you through how to choose the perfect pair of shorts for you. We’ve also distilled a list of the very best climbing shorts for men and women of the year.

For more of out top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Ropes | Harnesses | HelmetsBackpacks

Climbing Shoes | Approach Shoes | Pants | Shorts | Shirts

Carabiners | Cams | Nuts | Quickdraws | PulleysBelay Devices

Bouldering Shoes | Bouldering Pants | Crash Pads

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST CLIMBING SHORTS

  1. Prana Stretch Zion
  2. Arc’teryx Perimeter
  3. Black Diamond Credo
  4. Kuhl Krux
  5. Prana Mojo
  6. Mountain Hardwear Castil
  7. Black Diamond Women’s Credo
  8. Arc’teryx Parapet

 

 

 

CLIMBING SHORTS REVIEWS

PRANA STRETCH ZION

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and button closure, adjustable belt

FABRIC: 97% nylon, 3% spandex

INSEAM: 12”

PROS: Quick drying, inseam gusset, abrasion resistant with wicking finish, eight available colors

CONS: Some users report lower than expected durability

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX PERIMETER

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and snap closure, belt loops

FABRIC: 89% nylon, 11% elastane

INSEAM: 11”

PROS: Mid-weight, air permeable, quick drying, articulated with gusseted crotch, three available colors

CONS: Expensive, some users report fit to be quite slim

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND CREDO

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and button closure, internal, adjustable belt

FABRIC: 97% cotton 3% elastane

INSEAM: 14”

PROS: Soft and stretchy, climber specific design, long with good coverage

CONS: Some users report lower than expected durability

 

 

 

KULH KRUX

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and button closure, belt loops

FABRIC: 75% cotton, 25% nylon

INSEAM: 16”

PROS: Gusseted crotch, long length protects knees, lightweight, breathable and quick drying

CONS: Less durable, somewhat heavy, some users may dislike longer inseam

 

 

 

PRANA MOJO

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WAIST CLOSURE: Elastic waistband

FABRIC: 100% recycled polyester

INSEAM: 10”

PROS: Lightweight, UPF 50+ sun protection, full inseam gusset, loved by climbers, many available colors

CONS: Fabric itself is not stretchy

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR CASTIL

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and button closure, belt loops

FABRIC: 100% nylon

INSEAM: 11”

PROS: Lightweight and durable ripstop fabric with a DWR finish

CONS: Not specific to climbers, reduced stock for winter, only one available color

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND CREDO

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WAIST CLOSURE: Internal draw cord waistband

FABRIC: 97% cotton, 3% spandex

INSEAM: 9”

PROS: Drawcord waist optimizes fit, lightweight, fits well under a harness

CONS: Limited colour selection

 

 

 

ARC’TERYX PARAPET

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WAIST CLOSURE: Zip and snap closure, belt loops

FABRIC: 94% nylon, 6% elastane

INSEAM: 5”

PROS: Articulated patterning, gusseted crotch, durable, and quick drying with sun protection

CONS: Expensive, does not provide much leg coverage

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST CLIMBING SHORTS

PICTURE
CLIMBING SHORTS
INSEAM
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
CLIMBING SHORTS
INSEAM
PRICE
RATING
Prana Stretch Zion
12”
$$
4.8
Arc'teryx Perimeter
11”
$$$
4.7
Black Diamond Credo
14”
$$
4.5
Kuhl Krux
16”
$$
4.3
Prana Mojo
10”
$
4.5
Mountain Hardwear Castil
11”
$
4.8
Black Diamond Women's Credo
9”
$
5
Arc'teryx Parapet
5”
$$$
4.7

 

 



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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING SHORTS

USAGE

Climbing shorts occupy a unique niche in the climbing world. They are a popular choice for gym sessions and summer-weather climbing. Climbing gyms are crowded and sweaty these days, so if you’re in for a work-out, shorts will be a comfortable choice. Wearing shorts to climb outside in the summer is a great way to stay cool too, but be wary of knee-to-rock contact.

 

BREATHABILITY

A massive benefit of climbing shorts is their inherent breathability over pants. Fabric and tightness can further add to how well the air is moving down there! Cotton and synthetic blends have great breathability.

 

FLEXIBILITY

All of the shorts we’ve highlighted have great flexibility. Ease of movement in your shorts is super important for climbing. Climbing movement is very three-dimensional; you need to be able to high step, heel hook, drop-knee, stem and more without restriction.

 

LENGTH

Length is more of a consideration when you’re climbing on real rock. Climbers often wear pants to protect themselves against the inevitable bumps and scrapes. As climbing is not an aerobic sport, leg sweatiness is generally a non-issue except on the hottest days of summer. If you’re a lover of shorts when climbing, keep in mind that more fabric means less rock to skin contact.

In the climbing gym you’ll have no problem climbing in whatever length shorts you love! Our advice is to remember that gym climbing, especially bouldering, often lends itself to dynamic movement and horizontal body positions. If you love these sorts of moves, tighter or longer shorts might be a good choice to prevent accidentally flashing your friends.

 

COLOR

Color is completely subjective, but for those of you who are photo savvy, we have one tip. Color pops! If you’re looking to boost the quality of those sweet climbing shots you’ll be posting to Instagram, consider adding bright colors to your outfit. Your look will be more unique and you will definitely stand out better against the rock.

 

MEN’S VS WOMEN’S

This one goes without saying. Men and women can be built differently, and we often have different tastes in fashion. We have selected seven of the best climbing shorts for men and three of the best climbing shorts for women to get you started.

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