DAKINE Boundary Short w/Liner Review
I’ve been on the hunt for a lighter-weight, yet still durable, mountain biking short for quite some time. I’ve found that the shell of many brands have a lined interior, and this is in addition to thigh pockets and a liner short with pad. If you’re keeping count, this can mean up to four layers of material. Not too bad if you spend a lot of time riding in the cooler temperatures of Colorado’s high country, but in 90 degree weather closer to the Denver area it can be a bit… much.
Enter the DAKINE Boundary Short—a single-layer shell made of tough nylon featuring an “all-mountain” fit, 13″ inseam, and a removable liner short with an Italian Dolomiti pad featuring high density 8mm foam and antimicrobial treatment. I don’t care for my biking clothes to have much of a “bling” factor unless I’m racing, and found the charcoal gray short with understated graphics and small hints of red quite attractive. So far, these shorts looked like the hot ticket. The plan was to test them for a couple of shorter rides in the Denver area, then take them to Moab for four days of abuse under the hot desert sun.
First impressions—materials and craftsmanship were of good quality and the style was spot on. After wearing them on a short hour-long ride on my local go-to trail, I was a bit concerned about the sizing. For an “all-mountain” fit these sure seemed a bit snug across my backside. The waist fit perfect, the length came to just above my knee, but through the thigh and seat they were a bit tight. When ordering them, I had consulted the DAKINE sizing chart. My waist measures 35″ so I chose size large, which fits a 34-36″ waist. After testing, I rechecked the size chart and found DAKINE also lists a “Hip” measurement. Size large fits a 39-41″ hip, and thanks to lots of cycling and little genetics (I have wide sit-bones) my hips measure 42″. D’oh.
As a guy, I am simply not used to paying any attention to hip measurements in clothing. I should have been more thorough, especially knowing I generally buy “relaxed fit” jeans for proper fit. Fortunately, the shorts were still absolutely wearable thanks to a stretchy back panel and interior waist adjust. And since they feature zippered side pockets, I found that leaving the pockets unzipped helped with the snugness. Off to Moab!
Once on the bike in Moab, the snugness became less of an issue. Riding in Moab is full of rocks, ledges, and technical obstacles, with lots of up and down maneuvers that require your gear to allow your body plenty of range of motion. Thanks to a four-way stretch back panel (just below the waist-band) and a gusseted crotch panel, I was able to pull off all the technical moves I normally do wearing looser fitting shorts. As a bonus, the slimmer fit also kept the crotch from hanging up on my seat, which doesn’t happen often but occasionally when wearing looser shorts.
The liner was very comfortable and stayed put, the leg bands have a bit of rubberized grip at the end to keep them from riding up. The 8mm thick pad was welcome cushion, and even after multiple days of hard riding including shortish 1-2 hour rides as well as all-day epics, my derriere was chafe-free and happy. Who wears the same liner three out of four days on a four-day biking trip? When the padding is this comfortable and has anti-microbial treatment, I do. And since the liner is removable and works so well, I’ll be wearing these with other biking short shells fairly regularly.
As I mentioned the hip pockets are zippered, which is a nice feature if you need to throw a set of keys or chapstick in there and don’t want to lose that item while riding. The shorts also feature a zippered side pocket that is just large enough for a wallet, or maybe a pair of sunglasses. I found the side pocket a bit on the small side, it just wasn’t quite large enough for me to get items in and out of it while riding. The DAKINE website also lists “zippered leg vents” as a feature of this short, but mine did not have any. Not a deal breaker though, since the shorts are quite breathable and cool.
During the course of testing I took a couple of hard falls on the Moab rocks, but the shorts seem to have held up quite well. No rips, tears, scuffs or abrasions are evident. This is likely due to the abrasion-resistant properties of the nylon shell coupled with the “reinforced stitching throughout key stress zones”. I’m sure the flexibility of the shorts certainly helps, as well. The snap enclosures on the waist have an “open” design, and I’ve had other pants with these snaps that constantly unsnap. Not true on the DAKINE Boundary Shorts—even with some rough and tumble crashing the snaps stayed snapped.
Overall, I really like these shorts. A lot. I wish I had paid better attention to the size chart, as I would likely have opted to get size XL for a roomier fit. Being between sizes makes it a tough call. The bottom line, however, is these are a well-made, lightweight, and sturdy short with a comfortable liner and would be good for riders who prefer an understated look and ride anywhere, really. But especially good for those who live in hotter climates.
The DAKINE Boundary Short comes in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large and is listed as having an “all-mountain” fit with 13″ inseams. Consult the size chart on the DAKINE website for measurements. They’re available in Charcoal or Black and retail for $125.00.