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Hands-on Gear Review
Zoic Navaeh Review
Cons: Narrows at the knee, bunching fabric at the waist for slimmer girls
Bottom line: Whether a quick lap or epic day, the Navaeh will carry what you need.
The Zoic Navaeh introduces a clean and snazzy-looking short with tons of storage options for those days when you don't feel like carrying a pack. The loose silhouette crafted in a four-way stretch fabric creates a cool and breezy feel, perfect for a commute to the office or a lap on the cross country course.
RELATED REVIEW: Best Mountain Bike Shorts for Women of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Hoarders would love to own a pair of the Zoic Navaehs. They've got pockets galore. If you're a collector of moss, heart shaped rocks, and litter (thank you), then the five plus pockets provided by the Navaeh will suit you just fine. They're also stretchy and clean cut, making the Zoic a good choice for the pedaling packrat.
Fit and Comfort
The Navaeh was the only short in the test in which the external Velcro tabs pulled from front to back instead of back to front. We struggled with this one for a moment, weighing out the pro and cons. On the plus side, there's less material in the rear waist band, which helps to keep you cooler. On the flip side, testers noticed that adjusting the waistband from front to back was not as effective in eliminating any gap in the back and suggested that the smallish Velcro tabs would lose their elasticity quickly, which is why we gave the Navaeh a 5 in fit and comfort. The internal Velcro tabs of the Pearl Izumi Elevate offered a more fine tuned adjustment. The internal button tabs of the Club Ride Apparel Ventura offered the most fine tuned adjustment.
The Navaeh does come with an internal padded short, which was female specific and well fitting, though testers did replace it with their own high quality liner.
Four-way stretch and a gusseted crotch helped the Navaeh score some points in pedaling category, 6 out of 10 to be exact. It was mentioned amongst our testers that body type played a huge role in the pedaling happiness level. The looser cut of the Navaeh provided ample room in the hips, but then narrowed slightly at the knee. The ladies with more curves felt that the shorts stayed put and stretched through each pedal stroke easily, while the girls with narrower waists complained of bunching material at the waist and therefore a leg that slowly crept up towards the thigh. The Troy Lee Skyline provided a more snug silhouette, but ample stretch in the material created a short that fit most body types.
Ladies all around were stoked on the lightweight and breathable four-way stretch fabric.
The 11-inch inseam keeps the Navaeh closer to the cross country side of the terrain spectrum, and so we gave it a 5 in protection. Because the knee tapers slightly at the hem line, we found that low volume kneepads would work best during downhill feats. Bulkier, more downhill-oriented pads would catch on the bottom of the shorts, making for a distracting descent. If you're a narrow-waisted lady, you may encounter a little thigh gap and we would suggest skipping the pads all together. Overall, we would say the Navaeh is best suited for miles of rolling single track. If you're looking for a shorter-inseam short that is more adaptable with pads, try the Troy Lee Skyline.
The Navaeh was the hands-down winner in the pocket department, and brought in the highest pocket score of 9. They featured five zipper-secured pockets, not including the handy pocket-within-a-pocket smart phone holder. What we loved most about these shorts were the two thigh pockets that angled away from the body. Positioning the pocket just so allows the rider to pedal unencumbered by whatever weight is hanging in the pocket. AND, with the trusty phone pouch, you can protect your screen from any sort of sticky wrapper or sunblock goo you might have floating around in there. The Troy Lee Skyline also featured the beloved thigh pocket. The pockets on the waist are zippered on a side angle, making them more accessible. With so many secure options, you could easily carry what you need and head out for a ride without a pack.
A few testers described these shorts as sharp looking. We might also call them smart. At first glance, these tweedy coal grey Navaeh could pass as the bottom half of a summer casual pants suit. They're straightforward and non-frilly with a looser silhouette and we really like that about the Navaeh, so we gave them a 7 out of 10. They're not quite the Yeti Norrie, which had a bit more feminine flair.
The Navaeh provides a ton of storage options with a clean and minimalist feel. We would recommend this be your go-to short for both the quick, casual jaunt and epic cross country ride.
For $85, you get a plethora of pocket options and a sharp addition to your wardrobe. For five bucks more, check out the Pearl Izumi Elevate - Women's. There are two fewer pockets, but with a little more inseam and better waist adjustability, you're going to be more likely to head out for that second lap.
If you're heading out the door and looking to travel light and log some miles, the Zoic Navaeh is what you need. With ample secure pockets and a nice lightweight breathable construction, you can cruise singletrack with ease.
— Cat Keenan
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