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Zoic Navaeh Review

A very functional pair of mountain bike shorts that are lightweight and super affordable.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $70 List | $52.50 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, breathable, many pockets, affordable
Cons:  Not water resistant, runs large, velcro waist adjusters
Manufacturer:   Zoic
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2019
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Fit and Comfort - 30% 8
  • Pedal Friendliness - 30% 8
  • Protection - 20% 7
  • Pockets - 10% 8
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Zoic Navaeh mountain bike short has been around for years and while there have been some updates, they have remained essentially the same. They are made of a very breathable, lightweight material with excellent stretch. They have four zippered pockets, and they have velcro waist adjusters on the waistline.

While these shorts are versatile, they are especially nice for warm, dry climates. They are not super burly shorts for very technical riding, nor are they waterproof, but they are a very capable and comfortable pair of shorts at a very nice price that will suit most riders to a tee.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Zoic Navaeh
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
Price $52.50 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$74.98 at Competitive Cyclist$34.96 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 3 sellers
$64.98 at Competitive Cyclist$89.00 at Competitive Cyclist
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, breathable, many pockets, affordableFeminine fit, burly material, glide patches for smooth pedaling, easy cinching at the waist, zippered pocketsLightweight, four-way stretch, excellent fit, breathable, super comfortableLightweight, comfortable, flattering fit, perfectly placed zip pocket, four-way stretchDurable material, 13-inch inseam works well with kneepads, comfortable
Cons Not water resistant, runs large, velcro waist adjustersNot the lightest weightNot as protective for burly terrainNot the best protectionNot the most breathable, a little heavy
Bottom Line A very functional pair of mountain bike shorts that are lightweight and super affordable.A flattering and durable short built with an emphasis on downhill fun.One of the best fitting shorts we have ever tested, the Dirt Roamer is comfortable and super lightweight.The Avery is a lightweight and comfortable riding short.For all day, big rides in technical terrain the Airmatic is protective, comfortable, and durable.
Rating Categories Zoic Navaeh Yeti Cycles Norrie 2.0 Dirt Roamer Yeti Cycles Avery 100% Airmatic - Women's
Fit And Comfort (30%)
10
0
8
10
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10
10
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10
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9
10
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9
Pedal Friendliness (30%)
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8
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9
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9
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8
Protection (20%)
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7
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7
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7
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9
Pockets (10%)
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9
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8
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8
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7
Style (10%)
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6
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9
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8
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7
Specs Zoic Navaeh Yeti Cycles Norrie... Dirt Roamer Yeti Cycles Avery 100% Airmatic -...
Shell Fabric 86% polyester, 14% spandex Stretch polyester with DWR 90-denier 87% recycled polyester/13% spandex Stretch polyester Polyester, elastane
Lining Main Fabric None None Sold seperately None None
Chamois None None Sold seperately None None
Inseam Measurement 11 in 12 in 11.75 in 11 in 13 in
Number of pockets 4 4 1 1 3

Our Analysis and Test Results

Zoic was one of the first brands to make a comfortable mountain bike short that actually felt like it was made for women. While there are loads of options these days, the Navaeh is still a really functional and affordable model that is notable for its lightweight and stretchy fabric, as well as four functional zippered pockets.

Performance Comparison



A trail classic  these perform well on warm days and mellow trails.
A trail classic, these perform well on warm days and mellow trails.

Fit and Comfort


Not much as changed with the Navaeh over the years and you get the feeling that Zoic is taking an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to this model. It was one of the first comfortable pair of shorts, and it still is!

Researching this review we took a look at the size chart on the manufacturer's website and be warned that at the time of writing, it is not accurate. These shorts fit true to size — if you normally wear a small, you will fit in a small. They do have a baggy style, so size down if you are between sizes and like a more form-fitting short. With an impressive 4-way stretch, you won't feel overly squeezed.

One important change that has been made is that older versions of this model had much more rugged (and bulky) waist adjusters, so we are pleased to see the move to the softer fabric on velcro tabs that help dial in the perfect fit. However, we just aren't huge fans of velcro tabs. They catch on everything in the wash and the whole system ensures that you have double layers where the tabs are, meaning increased fabric to soak up and hold more sweat. They work, but we are happy to see many manufacturers solve the waist adjustment problem more creatively.

The velcro tab waist adjustment system is functional but always leaves you with bunches of unflattering fabric.
The velcro tab waist adjustment system is functional but always leaves you with bunches of unflattering fabric.

The waistband of the Navaeh is made of really soft material that lays comfortably across the back, and the gusseted crotch ensures room for movement on the bike without getting caught up on the seat or bunched up where you don't want it.


Protection


An 11-inch inseam provides ample coverage for most riding needs. The lightweight fabric is surprisingly durable but may not protect from the pokiest bushes or mishaps with lava rock. They are not quite long enough to work with knee pads, and if you try to pair them, you will likely get a gap. Truthfully, if you are riding technical gnar trails, you will probably want a burlier short anyway. The length provides plenty of coverage to protect from the sun, though the material is not waterproof. It dries quickly, but we prefer the Navaeh for fair-weather adventures.


An incident with the hydration hose reveals how water soaks into the polyester. Fortunately  it is also quick to dry.
An incident with the hydration hose reveals how water soaks into the polyester. Fortunately, it is also quick to dry.

Pedal Friendliness


Lightweight and quick-drying, the Navaeh is an easy-breezy model, especially when you are generating a lot of heat. The fabric is all stretch and testers loved that it moves well on the bike. We had no complaints or issues with these sliding down as we pedaled. Nor did the legs creep up as we pedaled.

Because the pockets are stretchy (see below), having a lot of things (or anything heavy) in the pockets made the shorts feel less stable. Shorts should stretch, but pockets need structure and preferably, they stay close to the body and out of the way.


The dreaded pad gap! A longer inseam would be better to have a seamless integration with knee pads.
The dreaded pad gap! A longer inseam would be better to have a seamless integration with knee pads.

Pockets


With four zippered pockets adorning the Navaeh, you can squirrel away all kinds of things on your mountain bike ride! The top pockets on the waist are pretty small and limited to holding smaller items, as anything large will interfere with pedaling. The two side pockets are located on the outside of the thighs and are plenty large enough to carry a smartphone, energy bar, keys, as well as any trail trash or treasures you collect on your ride. One of the side pockets even has another pocket inside, which is useful for quick access to a small item like lip balm.


While we admit to being pocket fans, we don't 100% love the way these are constructed. The pockets are made of the same stretchy material as the shorts, meaning they have lots of give when holding heavier items. The side pockets are tacked with thread to the leg material, which keeps the pocket from swinging, but because the material is so stretchy, we found that heavy items tend to sag, and in the end, testers preferred keeping smartphones in their packs. However, the placement and access are perfect for snacks and other items that you might want to get at on the fly.

There is even a pocket inside the pocket!
There is even a pocket inside the pocket!

Style


While not the most stylish short that we tested, the Navaeh comes in a nice selection of colors and patterns, including the ever-present teal that manufacturers seem to think all women love. They are clearly a mountain bike short, and the scrunching of fabric that happens with this style of waist adjustment system is inherently a little unflattering. If style is a big concern, there are other options that move more gracefully to the apres ride party. These shorts are basic and functional, but really, they look just fine.

Curiously, the material of some of the Navaeh patterned shorts is slightly different from the solid and while that was not a part of this test, women reported to us that different patterns have different feels and stretch, something to keep in mind if one pair doesn't quite have the stretch you want.

There is enough taper in the legs to create a more feminine look, while still leaving room enough for athletic quads. Again, in the theme of not changing what seems to be working, the cut and fit of the Navaeh have not changed and a pair that we have from several years ago looks nearly identical.


The four-way stretch nylon moves every which way as you move on the bike.
The four-way stretch nylon moves every which way as you move on the bike.

Value


The Navaeh is one of the lowest-priced shorts that we tested. With super stretch and lightweight material that has proven to be durable enough for most rides, this is a smoking deal and great value. If you ride mostly technical trails and prefer to wear pads, these might not be the top option, but they will work well for most riders in most situations, especially women who ride in warm locations.

Conclusion


As a pioneer model in the land of women's mountain shorts, the Navaeh has proven to be a high-performing option. It is not the flashiest or most innovative, but is comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and has more pockets than you can shake a stick at.

Lightweight  breathable  comfortable  and a low price - what more do you want in a mountain bike short?
Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and a low price - what more do you want in a mountain bike short?


Laurel Hunter