Updated on

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 our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Climbing Pants.

Climbing Gift Guide
Climber gift guide mobile

 

Quick Answer - The Best Climbing Shorts

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

 

Comparison Table - Best Climbing Shorts

PictureNameInseamFabricClosurePriceRating
Prana Stretch Zion12”97% nylon, 3% spandexZip and Button$$4.8
Arc’teryx Parapet Women’s5”94% nylon, 6% elastaneZip and Snap$$$4.7
Prana Mojo10"100% recycled polyesterElastic Waistband$4.5
Arc’teryx Perimeter11”89% nylon, 11% elastaneZip and Snap$$$4.7
Black Diamond Credo14"97% cotton 3% elastaneInternal Zip and Button$$4.5
Mountain Hardwear Castil11”100% nylonZip and Button$4.8
Black Diamond Credo Women’s9”97% cotton, 3% spandexInternal Draw Cord Waistband$5.0
PictureNameInseamFabricClosurePriceRating

Reviews - The Best Shorts for Rock Climbing

Prana Stretch Zion

Specs
  • Closure: Zip and Button
  • 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 Parapet Women’s

Specs
  • Closure: Zip and Snap
  • 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

Prana Mojo

Specs
  • 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

Arc’teryx Perimeter

Specs
  • Closure: Zip and Snap
  • 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

Specs
  • Closure: Internal Zip and Button
  • 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

Mountain Hardwear Castil

Specs
  • Closure: Zip and Button
  • 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 Women’s

Specs
  • 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 color selection

 

 

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 the best climbing shorts for you to get you started.

READ MORE

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

108 Shares
Tweet12
Pin91
Share5
Email
Flip