Best waterproof cycling trousers 2024 — make winter and wet weather riding less dirty and more fun |

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Best waterproof cycling trousers 2024 — make winter and wet weather riding less dirty and more fun |

To keep cycling through the cold winter months, facing rain and road spray is inevitable. However, choosing the right legwear can prevent your rides from turning into soaking-wet miseryfests. We've racked up countless cold and wet miles to round up some of the best waterproof cycling trousers so you can choose the ideal pair for you and your riding. 

Leg muscles don’t work as well when they’re cold, and there are few better ways of making them cold than running water over them. Tights, trousers and overtrousers that fend off the wet are therefore a winter essential for many riders.

You have three main choices. Performance-orientated riders tend to go for bib tights; waterproof overtrousers fend off the rain so you arrive at the office with dry trousers; and cycling trousers look like regular trousers, but are shaped and detailed so they're comfortable for riding.

Waterproof trousers are ideal when you require complete rain protection, be it during your daily commute or off-road adventures. If you want a more inconspicuous off-bike look, consider trousers and jeans made from water-repellent cotton. These fabrics do a pretty good job of keeping the rain out for a while and look normal off the bike too. 

A note on water resistance it's just about impossible for a fabric to be totally waterproof and remotely pleasant to cycle in, so there's always a degree of compromise here. We've found the garments in this guide fend off water well enough that we'll happily use them in the rain.

If you're gearing up for long rides and seek extra protection against road spray, waterproof bib tights are a great choice. Check out some of the best winter bib tights to ensure comfort during those long rides.  Whichever option you choose, it's a good idea to look for trousers and bibs with reflective patches to increase your visibility in the winter gloom.

Need to cover your top half too? Check out our guide to the best cycling jackets. If you're specifically after wet weather protection, narrow it down and head straight to our waterproof cycling jackets guide. 

B'Twin's 900 Waterproof Cycling Overtrousers are worth a look if you're looking for protection from the weather and don't want to spend too much. They are designed to be both waterproof and breathable for shorter journeys at low intensity, and easily pack down small, making them easy to transport. 

Tester Iwein writes: "The cut is good too: they're not just a bag with holes in them. They strike the right balance between being roomy enough to get on and off without swearing, and not being flappy on the bike". 

These waterproof trousers also feature overshoes which are a nice touch for keeping your shoes clean and dry. 

The Altura Grid Softshell Pants are a great pair of cycling trousers making commuting in most conditions pleasant. For most riders and most days, the textured fleece and DWR coating will keep you warm and dry in mild conditions and withstand drizzle and road spray. 

They have been designed to be as practical as possible with their tapered design and fleece-lined inner, the Pants can be worn on and off the bike, much like a pair of sweatpants. There's also plenty of room to wear a pair of bib shorts underneath if you're seeking a bit more comfort or want to travel further afield. 

You might not want to go full hog with a set of waterproof trousers, instead opting for a set of water-resistant trousers like these Vulpine Men's Rain Trousers. They are premium cycling-oriented smart/casual trousers that are packed full of features, including five pockets. They will repel light rain showers and road spray, and look great off the bike too. 

Tester Bryn writes: "The trousers' weather resistance is extremely effective. During commutes over wet roads I found that the water beaded and simply rolled off the trousers – and they were warm and windproof too, with no air blowing through them."

We don't currently recommend stuff that's out of stock but we recently reviewed these and think they are worth hanging around for. 

The Pas Normal Studios Escapism Pants are extremely good – they're stretchy, fit and hang well, feel nicely made and are very comfortable both on the bike and off. They're considerably more expensive than some really strong competition, though.

The DWR coating will protect you against rain showers and tester Steve says, "They never got any less comfortable when damp. They dry reasonably quickly too". 

They are very effective trousers for gravel, town, or just general riding. Additionally, they are well-suited for a range of outdoor activities. If you're keen on making a statement, you can choose from white or purple, in addition to black, brown or this olive green. We aren't sure how well the white will stand up against the elements though...  

The Gorewear Gore-Tex Paclite Pants are an excellent addition to any rider's winter kit bag thanks to the comprehensive waterproofing, impressive breathability and the well-executed versatility of the Velcro calf straps, which mean you can tighten them up and loosen them on the fly.

The calf panels have been made from hi-vis material and Gorewear includes a great amount of reflective detailing. The visibility is fantastic and they are incredibly light too, but you wouldn't want to wear them in normal-life scenarios as they are made of pretty noisy material and are clearly technical bike wear.

These are a seriously versatile pair of waterproof and breathable trousers and tester Laurence writes, "Light and medium showers of up to 30 minutes are not a problem at all for these trousers. The precipitation rolls off and doesn't threaten to break through. They also stood up against heavy showers, and it wasn't until I gave them an absolute dousing with the hose that I managed to get damp patches to go through – but that was a slightly extreme test!" 

For cycling short distances and not having to carry a spare change of clothes, the DU/ER Performance Denim Weatherproof Slim Jeans are ideal, being comfortable on and off the bike and keeping you dry and warm in the wind and rain thanks to a waterproof membrane. They also pack some useful reflective details when you roll the cuff up.

The best thing is they look like regular jeans but normal jeans aren't much cop for cycling any sort of distance. Whereas the DU/ER Performance Denim Weatherproof Slim Jeans are stretchy and provide no restriction to pedalling nor are there any nasty seams in the saddle area to cause discomfort.

Our reviewer said: "Ride in the rain and, put simply, the jeans don't get saturated like regular jeans. Arrive at the office and they quickly dry off so you don't need to get changed. I found the waterproofing adequate for most rain I encountered, from drizzle to heavy downpours."

The Albion Zoa Rain Trousers are a well-thought-out pair of waterproof trousers, with lots of bike-specific touches. They're suitable for bikepacking, mountain biking, commuting, and even hiking. The waterproofing is very good, as is the breathability, making them useful whether it's cold and wet or warm and wet, and they won't make your legs sweaty like some waterproof trousers.

The trousers feature a three-layer waterproof fabric, Pertex Shield, with a C0 DWR coating (a more eco-friendly durable water repellent treatment than the standard C8 or C6 methods), with taped seams on the inside. The idea behind this fabric is it offers good protection without sacrificing weight or breathability. It's waterproof and windproof, and is also quite soft to the touch.

They are expensive but tester Hollis writes, "If you're willing to spend the cash, I think you'd be hard pressed to find waterproof cycling trousers as good as this. In terms of waterproofing and breathability they're very good, they're comfortable to wear, and have a lot of neat touches". 

The Madison DTE Waterproof Trousers are a robust pair of mountain bike-specific trousers that look pretty cool and are made for riding in the most terrible conditions. They protect you from the elements and do the job exceptionally well. As soon as you hit the trails, smash into the first puddle and realise you aren’t sending cold water up your shorts, you’ll fall in love with the DTE’s, and with a lifetime warranty on offer from Madison, you’ll likely be smiling for a long time.

They are constructed from a 2.5 layer fabric with 3 layers on the rear panel, knees and ankles for more protection, and taped seams which make the DTE's fully waterproof. They are pretty breathable too and tester Rachael writes: "Outings in these have been in both conditions of ‘raining cats and dogs’ and ‘dry skies but swamp like’. For the former the trousers have kept me dry while the rain batters down and for the latter they have defended us from the wet and crud whilst preventing us from overheating". 

The necessity of waterproof trousers depends on your cycling habits and the weather conditions. Especially in the UK during winter, it's nearly guaranteed that even if rain isn't falling from the sky, you'll likely be subjected to road spray, making waterproof trousers a practical choice to stay dry and comfortable. 

Waterproof trousers are particularly valuable for commuting, off-road cycling, and long rides where exposure to rain is more likely. They can often be packed up small and allow you to wear normal clothes underneath, keep them dry as well as stay warm. 

You have three primary options to consider. Waterproof overtrousers are designed to be worn over your regular clothes, providing complete rain protection. Cycling trousers offer a more versatile look resembling regular trousers, suitable for both on and off-bike wear. They provide some water resistance while ensuring breathability. Alternatively, waterproof bib tights cater to performance-oriented riders, offering advanced protection and functionality.

Yes, you should wash waterproof trousers, but it's important to follow the manufacturer's care instructions. It's usually recommended not to wash waterproof garments after every use and instead, spray off visible mud after every ride to maintain their performance. 

Generally, it's recommended to use a gentle detergent, avoid fabric softeners, and wash them in cool or lukewarm water.

Certain waterproof trousers are intended to be worn over your regular clothing, while others are designed as standalone items. For instance, waterproof overtrousers are specifically designed to be worn over your existing clothes, serving as an outer layer to protect your inner garments. On the other hand, cycling trousers are purpose-built to be worn independently, functioning as complete standalone items.

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Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Yup, the cheapest ones with the booties, also sold by Lidl are gamechangers, even in torrential downpours I arrive in work bone flippin' dry - 15 minute commute from the train station, West Wales. Once you've tried them you'll never go back. 

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Best waterproof cycling trousers 2024 — make winter and wet weather riding less dirty and more fun |

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