7Mesh Glidepath Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Water-resistant, quality of materials
Cons: Poor fit, excess material in some areas
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
7Mesh was on the right track with the Glidepath shorts. The water-resistant two-way stretch fabric has a place in the world of mountain bike shorts. The pockets are huge, and the inner cell phone sleeve is a clever detail. The shorts are easy and quick to adjust. Unfortunately for 7Mesh, the poor fit seriously detracts from our overall impression of these shorts. If you are spending $140 on a pair of mountain bike shorts, you should be able to enjoy a well-crafted fit, something that 7Mesh doesn't deliver with the Glidepath.
Given the underwhelming fit, the Glidepath shorts are actually pretty comfortable. You have so much space when you are wearing them, that it is hard to call them uncomfortable. There is no restriction or points where the shorts feel like they are squeezing you. If you are worried about the more trim fitting shorts feeling too restrictive, the Glidepath bear no resemblance to those shorts.
Fit and Pedal Friendliness
The fit and pedal friendliness was our biggest gripe with the Glidepath shorts. These shorts do have some redeeming characteristics, but the fit is certainly not one of them. Some shorts fit a specific body type better than others; we can't even say that about the 7Mesh shorts.
When standing up, the fit issues are apparent immediately. There is a balloon-like appearance near the top of the short between the waistband and crotch. There is so much excess material that you can pinch it with your fingers and easily pull the shorts 3-4-inches from your body. When you are sitting down, the balloon-like appearance is emphasized.
The mid to lower leg is also ill-fitting. There is a ton of excess material, and you feel like you are swimming in the shorts. Some baggy shorts have well-designed fits; we didn't find that with the Glidepath. The poor fit heavily detracts from their pedal-friendliness. Every time you spin the pedals, the shorts bounce around on your leg to a noticeable extent. This is annoying and a little uncomfortable. Also, the water-resistant material feels somewhat more abrasive on the skin and it has an audible swoosh when it rubs against itself.
The Glidepath shorts are loaded with features. The majority of these features function very well. 7Mesh didn't try to reinvent the wheel with these shorts, but they did add some clever details. The pockets are quite large but feature an internal sleeve to keep your cell phone from bouncing around too much while pedaling.
These shorts are constructed with what 7Mesh calls a water-resistant 2-way stretch fabric. While they may not be as soft and comfortable as other shorts, this material is undoubtedly a nice touch. Riders in wetter climates where you are frequently splashing through puddles on the trail or often ride on misty mornings will appreciate the water-resistant construction. We tested this material with the mist feature on a garden hose. We stood downwind of the hose, not in its direct path. The misty water beaded up and didn't penetrate the material easily. If you're riding in a downpour, you will still get wet, but with the occasional shot of water from a puddle, stream crossing, or rain shower, they do their job well.
The Glidepath shorts have large pockets. They are located on the outside of each upper leg and use a burly zipper. The pockets offer loads of space and are by far the largest in our test. You can easily fit a sizeable peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the thickest of wallets, a wadded up rain shell or the largest cell phone. Speaking of cell phones, these pockets have smaller inner sleeves that hold your mobile phone in place. Think of it as a sub-pocket that keeps the phone from sliding and bouncing around when you are riding. It's a nice feature, and without these designated cell phone zones, the phone would flop around far too much.
The waistband adjustment system is simple and effective. The locking waist adjustment is easy to use on the fly, and while it isn't the most user-friendly, it is reliable and seems durable. Two plastic locking tabs clamp down on a piece of webbing that wraps through the waistband. Simply pull the fabric tighter, and clamp it down to tighten.
The Glidepath shorts showed no signs of wear throughout our test period. All of the stitches and seams remained intact, and we saw no signs of them failing any time soon.
We observed only one area of concern in the design of the shorts. There is a seam that runs straight down the middle of the back of the short. When riding, you are sitting directly on this stitch. We have some concerns about how well this area would hold up after hundreds of hours in the saddle. As you ride, your seat wears the material on your shorts, it's inevitable. This seam would be a prime location to wear through or fail, given its direct contact with the saddle. Again, we didn't observe any problems, but we are using our experience to suggest this could be an issue down the line.
The Glidepath shorts have a simple and utilitarian style. These don't scream bike shorts like some other shorts that are littered with logos and prominent bike-specific features. The 7Mesh shorts could easily pass as a hiking short or just an everyday short. The front of the shorts has a clean look absent of obvious pockets or zippers. The seams are clean and tend to fly under the radar. The rear of the short is simple. The whole piece is one color, except for the adjustment straps. We tested the rust colored shorts which have a little bit of pop to them. Some of the more subtle colors have an even more understated appearance.
The Glidepath shorts have a 15-inch inseam with a baggy fit. Style-wise they look fine but the excess material in the legs isn't all that flattering. This isn't a baggy vs. less baggy stylistic argument. It is a matter of an imperfect fit somewhat ruining the overall aesthetic of these shorts.
The Glidepath shorts post a decent score for protection. These 7Mesh shorts don't have any overt protective features worked into the design. That said, they are certainly knee pad friendly, constructed from a robust material, and have some protection from the elements when mother nature gets nasty.
These shorts play well with knee pads. We wore these shorts with multiple pairs of knee pads of various styles. They work well with thin, sleeve-style knee pads that are conducive to trail riding as well as more robust enduro-style pads and larger downhill-inspired knee pads. The 15-inch inseam offers plenty of length to cover part of the knee pads and prevent the dreaded gap between the short and pad. Also, the opening in the knee provides ample space to allow plenty of clearance for the pads within the leg opening.
While this isn't a traditional element of protection in a pair of mountain bike shorts, the water-resistant fabric offers a barrier for the occasional interaction with moisture. They protect you from rain, puddles, and mud reasonably effectively. This can be important on a cold fall day where staying dry is very important.
At their retail price, we don't feel the Glidepath are a very good value. They are among the most expensive pairs of shorts in our test, but we did not get along with the sloppy fit. If you are okay with the fit, they deliver decent practical features, and they may still work for you. That said, we think you would do better saving some cash and looking at some other shorts.
The 7Mesh Glidepath shorts are a serviceable pair of mountain bike shorts. They do have some nice characteristics. The major pros of these shorts are how well they play with any style of knee pad, the water-resistant material, and a clever cell phone sleeve within the pockets. The lowlight is primarily the boxy fit and excess material. The poor fit heavily detracts from the pedal-friendliness of these shorts.
— Pat Donahue