(Photo/Eric Phillips)

True Custom Fit? Kitsbow Madrone Women’s Bike Short Review

People come in all different shapes and sizes. And it’s time brands got on board. Made-in-the-U.S. Kitsbow thinks it has found a way to offer a truly custom fit with its new Madrone short.

Kitsbow has been making bike apparel for a long time. But its latest women’s bike short had us extra excited. Why? It’s the closest thing you can get to “custom made for you” — because, well, it is.

In short: We have loved the Madrone short ($169) in testing for many reasons, but mainly for its overall fit and design. It’s simply an awesome short, whether you’re mountain biking, gravel biking, or even commuting. And the brand’s unique approach to manufacturing, sizing, and fit is awesome as well.

Kitsbow Madrone Women’s Short Review

A view of author Mary Murphy from behind as she bikes up a trail wearing the Kitsbow Madrone short
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

Fit and Inseam

Here’s how Kitsbow describes its new short: “The short that you will forget you’re wearing, because it fits so well. And let’s face it, when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you excel.” Sounds great, but, of course, we had to put that claim to the test.

So, how exactly is the short custom?

First of all, the Madrone Short is designed by women, for women. Second, it’s sewn and made to order. There are 12 different sizing combinations: Choose the one best for you, choose your color, and submit your order. Got a 28-inch waist but a 36-inch hip? That’s OK. How about a 34-inch waist and 40-inch hip? These shorts should fit that too.

We started with our waist and hip measurements, as well as Kitsbow’s sizing chart and guide, and went from there. Once you place your order, Kitsbow will cut the fabric, make the short for you, and ship it in approximately 4-8 weeks.

Right now, the Madrone Short is available in waist sizes 26-36 inches, but the brand mentioned it hopes to expand to even more sizing options later on. Kitsbow’s Madrone short comes in two choices for inseam: 7 inches or 11 inches.

Note: The brand both mentioned (and we agreed once trying on the fit) that the short has enough stretch and flex in the fabric that if you’re in between waist sizes you can actually size down. And trust us, the stretchy fabric is heavenly. More on that later.

Fabric and Features

a close up view of the Kitsbow logo on the black women's Kitsbow Madrone bike short

Kitsbow built this short with a four-way-stretch nylon fabric. The fabric is simple, not too rough yet durable, and even after days of riding is easy to keep clean. I never happened to get caught in the rain wearing these shorts, but they are water-resistant.

Madrone Short Specs

  • Fabric: Schoeller-shape 93% nylon and 7% elastane fabric with 4-way stretch
  • Hardware: Metal button closure at the waist, secondary waist snap button, YKK zippers
  • Belt loops: Yes
  • Water-resistant: Yes, with Schoeller 3XDRY treatment
  • Pockets: 2
  • Verified weight: 8 oz.

Pockets

Side pocket on the Kitsbow Madrone Short
The pockets are awesome for holding smaller items, or even a phone; (photo/Eric Phillips)

Kitsbow included two long, angled side zipper pockets on this short. And honestly, it could’ve added more, but this keeps the design tight and simple. The zipper pockets are plenty big. They’re great for stashing smaller items, and contents stay on the side when riding.

My favorite design element is actually the zipper pulls. They’re long, slide well, and the touch of color is awesome. (On that note, the shorts only come in fairly neutral black, gray, or olive colors.)

I’ll add that the pockets are big enough for a phone, and while I almost never carry my phone in my shorts when on a bike, I did test this briefly. My iPhone fits well, and there’s enough stretch that its placement doesn’t feel clunky or interfere when I’m sitting in a saddle.

Kitsbow Madrone Short: Testing on Trail

Author Mary Murphy biking up a trail wearing the Kitsbow Madrone short
(Photo/Eric Phillips)

From short gravel rides close to home to longer rides winding over singletrack trails, I couldn’t find any major faults with the Kitsbow Madrone shorts. They are comfortable in and out of the saddle, have plenty of pocket room for those who want storage, and are durable yet also breathable.

The fabric is that just-right feeling between not too thin and not too thick.

One thing I noticed on one of my later rides in these shorts (just before finishing this review) was the subtle reflective touches, giving the already-awesome shorts another great feature.

Conclusion

Overall, I really love these shorts. They’re made well and fit well. I found them to be both comfortable and durable. They’ve also got plenty of stretch wherever you need it — hips, butt, thighs, back, or pockets.

The price will be a deciding factor for most, but if finding a great (not just good) fit and investing in quality, durable, comfortable bike shorts are at the top of your list, definitely consider the Madrone shorts.

Check Price at Kitsbow

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.