Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Short ReviewJuly 15, 2018
- Outstanding fit
- Kneepad compatible
- Poor venting on hot days
The Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Short has a semi-relaxed and articulated fit. Our tested size small felt very comfortable with a good balance between enough room for comfort and were not so baggy that they feel heavy or have bunching fabric. An internal waist adjustment accommodates smaller waists for an outstanding fit.
The inseam on the size small runs 11.5 inches and hits our testers mid-thigh when seated. When standing, the legs hit at the knee. The legs are slightly tapered but the openings still accommodate knee pads.
The Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Short have two hand pockets that are secured with sturdy zippers and a cargo pocket on the thigh with a water-resistant zipper. All three pockets are moderately deep for carrying lightweight cargo such as a car key, snack or multi-tool. An internal Velcro waist adjustments tabs cinch in the waistband to assure minimal back gap and a comfortable fit with no bunching or puckering. The wide-panel construction of the waistband provides a comfortable low-rise in the front to reduce bunching and a higher rise in the back for excellent low back coverage. Soft foam is added to the waistband for additional structure and four short strips of silicon grips hug skin to prevent the back from sliding down.
The fly is secured with a sturdy zipper and two sturdy snap buttons and the 11.5-inch inseam easily accommodates knee pads. The Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Short also come with a removable 3D Tour Chamois that our testers found comfortable enough for all-day rides. The Launch also easily accommodates beefier chamois and bibs.
A Lycra stretch panel runs through the crotch and to the leg openings to allow for good stretch, breathability and range of motion.
Although our testers did not experience any crashes, the medium-weight four-way stretch ripstop fabric of the Pearl Izumi Women’s Launch Short inspires confidence that they will very likely hold up to crashes, skids or contact with grabby flora. Of all the shorts in the test, the Launch shorts have the heaviest, most durable fabric and are treated with DWR for water-resistance. The single stitching is tight and with a heavy thread but could be more precise and straight.
The Pearl Izumi Launch’s medium-weight four-way stretch ripstop fabric is heavy and durable and will lend itself well in protecting leg skin on low-impact crashes. The 11.5” inseam on the size small hits at the knee. The legs easily accommodate knee pads and our tester found no leg skin was exposed.
Although the Pearl Izumi Launch are excellent for all-mountain and enduro riding, our testers did not experience any restricted mobility during cross-country or urban riding. Comfort came from the relaxed fit through the rear and hips, low-rise in front and the wide waistband.
Pearl Izumi labels the Launch as ideal for temperatures from 60 to 100 degrees. However, we did notice reduced breathability on hot and humid days due to the heavier fabric.Continue Reading
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.
Marie Malinowski is a Minneapolis-based mountain biker, bike commuter, backpacker, and trail runner who covers our cycling accessories categories.