The first feature I look for in a pair of bib shorts is lay-flat straps. My shoulders taper steeply from my neck, so straps have a tendency to slide down, bunching uncomfortably. Sportful’s Super Total Comfort Bib Shorts have some of the most comfortable laser-cut lay-flat straps I’ve worn, and they’re attached to comfortable shorts with a mid-thick chamois I like for three- to four-hour rides.
Flat-woven bib straps are the most noticeable comfort feature, but it hardly stops there: The mesh lower back insert is perfectly placed for venting in hot weather, and the stretch-woven fabric lends a wraparound fit. Sportful says this fabric also provides increased muscle support, though I couldn’t glean any real benefits on the road.
Dot grippers at the leg hem keep the shorts firmly in place without tugging. It’s a minimalist approach to keeping your shorts from creeping up your thighs, but it seems to work fine.
My only two complaints are sizing and price. The shorts run small, so consider sizing up. (I generally wear size medium, but I had to jump up to large in Sportful bibs.) And while I’ve put many miles on these shorts with great results in terms of comfort and durability, it’s hard to stomach paying this much for clothing.
That said, given the shorts’ condition after a full season of use, I expect to get at least another year out of them, so perhaps the return on investment is more important than money up front.