Pearl Izumi Elevate Short ReviewAugust 4, 2016
- Outstanding fit
- Glove-friendly zipper pulls
- Heavy fabric
- Minimal breathability for hot and humid days
The Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts have a relaxed and articulated fit. They are made with a medium-weight ripstop fabric that offers outstanding protection and the wide leg openings to easily accommodate knee pads. However the weightier fabric makes them best suited for all-mountain and/or enduro riding where the cyclist is not continuously pedaling.
The Pearl Izumi Elevate short runs true to size with an articulated and relaxed fit. Our tester’s sample size small did not feel restrictive or overly baggy however the heavier-weight is geared more towards enduro or all-mountain riding where the cyclist is not seated as much. The long, protective inseam runs 12.5” and hits right above the knee. The legs are slightly tapered but the openings still accommodate knee pads.
The Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts are made with a medium-weight four-way stretch rip-stop fabric that is water-resistant. Pockets are few but highly functional, well-placed and secured with sturdy zippers. The two hip pockets are moderately deep for carrying lightweight cargo such as a car key or a Honey Stinger waffle. They do not accommodate smartphones. The rear pocket at the waistband is small and conveniently placed but do not hold items that are larger than a key or MP3 player.
Internal Velcro waist adjustments tabs cinch in the waistband to assure minimal back gap and a comfortable fit with no bunching or puckering at the waist. The wide-panel construction of the waistband provides a comfortable low-rise in the front to reduce volume and a higher rise in the back for excellent low back coverage. Soft foam is added to the waistband for additional structure to prevent the back from sliding down.
A Lycra stretch panel runs across the upper back, through the crotch and to the leg openings to allow for good stretch, breathability and range of motion. The fly is secured with a sturdy zipper and two sturdy snap buttons and the long, protective 12.5” inseam easily accommodates knee pads.
Although the Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts do not come with an integrated chamois, our tester found that the shorts accommodated all chamois worn and worked well with bibs and chamois cycling knickers on cooler days.
The Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts are constructed with a medium-weight four-way stretch ripstop fabric that stays in place. Our tester experienced one crash during testing that ended in a skid across the trail into a mud bog. Structurally, the Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts were unfazed with no rips or tears and cleaned surprisingly well in the washing machine. The single stitching is tight and with a heavy thread but could be more precise and straight.
The Pearl Izumi Elevate’s medium-weight four-way stretch ripstop fabric leant itself to excellent protection on low-impact crashes. The long, protective 12.5” inseam easily accommodates knee pads and does not leave any leg skin exposed.
Although best suited for all-mountain and enduro riding, our tester did not experience restricted mobility in the Pearl Izumi Elevate shorts during cross-country or urban riding. Comfort was enhanced from the relaxed fit through the rear and hips, low-rise in front and the wide waistband.
However, our tester did experience reduced breathability on hot and humid days due to the heavier fabric.
Our testing team tested the shorts in and around Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; Sedona and Tucson, Arizona and Moab, Utah over a period of two months on asphalt, gravel, singletrack in temperatures ranging from the low 40’s to the mid-90’s and on distances that ranged from six miles to 56. Our testing team did not intentionally set out to test the durability of each pair of shorts in a crash. Instead, to judge the shorts’ ability to withstand impact, they scrutinized their construction materials, the weight of the fabric and the stitching. Though, there may have been some crashes anyway.