Anybody who has been looking for kids bike shorts knows that the options are pretty limited. If you’re looking for baggy mountain bike shorts, the choices are even fewer. Luckily, the Zoic Ether Jr is a high-quality, if somewhat expensive, option.
My 5.5-year-old has been testing a size Small short and chamois for me. Accustomed to riding without any padding, the chamois did take a bit of getting used to, but after a ride or two, he’s now a convert. The Zoic Ether Jr is a high-quality, comfortable, and stylish mountain bike short for kids who are still too small to fit in the adult version.
Review in a Nutshell
- High-quality construction
- Highly adjustable waistband
- Plenty of pocket space
- Removable chamois
- Chamois is sold separately
- Expensive for quickly growing kids
Price & Where to Buy:
High-quality, durable construction
If you’ve ever owned a pair of Zoic Ether shorts, these are the exact same shorts, just sized down. From the fabric to the zippers to the stitching, there is nothing cheap or dumbed down about these.
They look just like real, grown-up mountain bike shorts. If you have a younger child, I fully expect that these would hand-me-down well.
The only thing I don’t love about these shorts is that they are sold without a liner. While this might make sense for adult shorts, there are so few kid liners out there that there really isn’t a point. The fact that you have to buy the shorts PLUS an expensive liner ($30) can feel a little painful on the pocketbook.
The chamois themselves are comfortable (at least according to my son). The chamois is molded foam, while the liner itself is a mesh-like material that allows a fair amount of airflow and breathability. Both the waistband and legs are elastic, and there are loops to snap the liner into the short, all of which help the liner stay on even if they are a little large.
The liner is also tagless which is nice if you have a child like mine that is sensitive to them.
One of the best parts of Zoic shorts is the highly adjustable waistband. The Ether Jr shorts use the same waistband design as the adult Zoic shorts. I have a pair of women’s Navaeh shorts that I’ve been wearing for about a year and have found the waistband comfortable and durable.
The waistband tightens an elastic velcro strap on either side. The small shorts are still pretty large on my 5-year-old, but by tightening the waistband all the way, they stay on nicely without slipping down. This also makes it possible to buy shorts a bit big so they can last through more than one riding season.
The Zoic Ether Jr has plenty of pocket space, including one large zippered pocket on the leg. If you have a little person like mine that likes to collect things as they go, the plentiful pockets come in handy. I also like knowing he can use the zippered pocket to keep valuables safe–i.e. ice cream money, a bike park pass, etc.
Breathable and lightweight
The fabric on the Zoic shorts is lightweight and soft. The material is reminiscent of what you would expect from a high-quality gym short. That said, they are still rugged enough that they’ve survived several high-speed crashes without incident.
The shorts also have breathable mesh fabric panels across the rear and down the outside of the legs. This helps keep sweaty little boys cool on hot days.
A note on gender
These shorts are marketed as “boys” shorts but will work equally well for little girls. I have several friends who have used these shorts for their daughters, and the chamois is comfortable for them as well. Zoic does make a girls short but they are harder to find or get a good deal on.
At $80 for both the short and liner, the Zoic Ether Jr is not cheap. Compared to an adult short, this isn’t crazy expensive, but considering kids only last a season or two in a pair of shorts, the cost can be a bit painful.
If your child hasn’t asked for a pair of mountain bike shorts, I’d stick with a pair of sporty cargo shorts. If, however, your kiddo has asked for a pair of real bike shorts, or if they are doing long enough rides to really justify needing a chamois, then I’d cough up the dough and go for it.
The Zoic Ether Jr comes in both “kids” sizes and “youth” sizes meaning all young people should be able to find a pair of these shorts that fit. Check out the size chart before ordering, and make sure you’re buying the right thing because kids and youth are different sizes. (They are all the same great short).
Bottom-Line: High Quality Baggies For Young Riders
If you are looking for a baggy mountain bike short for your child, the Zoic Ether is not only one of your only options, it is one of your best options. The shorts are comfortable, highly-adjustable, and durable enough you can probably hand them down to a younger sibling. They also look cool, and will likely get your kiddo stoked to get out on the trail. Win.