Best Climbing Shorts: The Top 5 of 2017

Click here for the best women’s climbing shorts.

Climbing ShortRetail Price
Top Pick: prAna Stretch Zion Short$$
Most Durable: Arc’teryx Palisade Short$$$
Most Protective: Kühl Krux Short$$
Best Value: prAna Mojo Short$
Two for One: prAna Stretch Zion Convertible Pant$$$
Summer is here and, with it, warm weather. It’s typical vacation season, and I can bet you’re itching to get out to your favorite crag sometime in the coming months. Maybe you’ve even planned a longer trip to a faraway climbing destination. Wherever you go, the weather will likely be hot and you’ll need to dress appropriately.

Climbing pants are great to wear during the colder seasons, but shorts are your best bet in the warmer months. Below is the list of the best climbing shorts on the market today. These shorts are all functional, durable, and comfortable. They won’t restrict your movement and will help you stay cool as you partake in some summer sending.

Top Pick: prAna Stretch Zion Short

The prAna Stretch Zion ShortThese shorts are our pick for the best climbing shorts, and we’re not alone. Everyone thinks these shorts are amazing.

How do I know?

Just look at the number of 5-star reviews these shorts get on any popular e-commerce site.

These shorts are great because they have everything you need in a pair of climbing (or general outdoor) shorts. They are breathable, comfortable, stylish (by climbing shorts’ standards), and durable.

They are also incredibly versatile. You can wear these to the crag, to work (as casual wear), and around town as an everyday pair of shorts. In addition to climbing and bouldering, they work perfectly for yoga, biking, camping, hiking, backpacking, even fly fishing.

Most Durable: Arc’teryx Palisade Short

The Arc'teryx Palisade ShortThese shorts are for the climbers looking for a pair that will outlast them. Many reviewers have owned the Palisade Short for over four years — putting them through the toughest conditions shorts can go through — without them wearing out one bit. They have even been described as “bomb proof”.

They are marketed as hiking shorts, but they are also great for climbing and bouldering. They aren’t made of cotton so they keep you cool in summer months. No matter how many times you scrape them against the wall or rock, they will not scuff, mark, or tear.

The Palisade Short is ultra-durable, functional, and also stylish enough for casual evening wear. You can wear it to the crag or climbing gym and then out to the bar afterwards.

Most Protective: Kühl Krux Short

The Kuhl Krux ShortWhen you think of a pair of climbing shorts, you might envision them going past your knees. If that’s what you’re looking for these are your best option. The Krux Short’s pant legs drop below your knees to offer an extra degree of protection. No longer will you cut or scrape your knees on the wall or rock.

In addition, they are comfortable and breathable. Despite the longer length, they will help you stay “kühl” during the warmer months.

Also, you’ll be able to keep your full range of motion in these shorts. Their comfort, coolness, and ease of movement make these the best long climbing shorts on the market.

Best Value: prAna Mojo Short

The prAna Mojo ShortTalk about a good deal. The prAna Mojo Shorts are the best climbing shorts you can get for the money. They are the cheapest option on the list but also the choice that provides the most bang for your buck.

They are ultra comfortable and made of a soft polyester that lends itself to climbing and any other outdoor activity. Wear them for climbing, bouldering, swimming, camping, hiking, etc.

The prAna Mojo Short is the most comfortable option on the list and feels more like a pair of gym or athletic shorts than climbing shorts. It is light, breathable, and smooth against your skin.

Yet, it is still durable and capable of withstanding the wear and tear of indoor and outdoor climbing, and, for that reason, climbers love them.

Two for One: prAna Stretch Zion Convertible Pant

The prAna Stretch Zion Convertible PantI swear I don’t work for prAna, they just make the best climbing shorts and pants out there at the moment. Yes, this option is a pair of pants, but I’ve included them here because they’re convertible.

At any time, you can unzip the bottom half of the pant legs to create shorts which will look and function similarly to the prAna Stretch Zion Short.

These are a top option for anyone looking for a pair of pants that can double as shorts when summer comes (they’re especially great for days that start out cold and then warm up).

We loved the non-convertible version and this version is just as exceptional — durable, functional, and stylish.

Best Women’s Climbing Shorts

The above shorts are all men’s shorts. For the female climbers out there, we’ve also compiled a list of the top women’s climbing shorts:

How to Choose the Best Climbing Shorts for You

Don’t like any of the options we’ve listed above? Or are unsure which pair to get?

Consider these criteria when shopping to make sure you buy a good pair.


You’re going to be putting these shorts through hell. You’ll be getting them wet, sitting on the ground in them, scraping them against wall and rock, hiking miles on dirty or muddy trails, and generally using them in the most demanding ways possible. They need to be durable. If you know they won’t hold up to multiple seasons of climbing and outdoor sports, don’t bother getting them — they’ll be a waste of money. All the shorts above are durable enough to last you years of climbing and bouldering.

Ease of Movement

Climbing and bouldering require you to move your body in abnormal ways. High steps, heel hooks, hand foot matches, cutting feet, you name it. You need your legs to be as unrestricted as possible and make sure the shorts you’re wearing don’t interfere with your freedom of movement. The climbing shorts here are all designed with ease of movement in mind. In fact, they offer so much freedom of movement that many people often wear them for yoga as well.


Comfort is probably at the top of everyone’s list when choosing new clothes. However, climbing especially demands comfortable clothes. If your shorts are uncomfortable they can not only restrict movement, they can interfere with your ability to concentrate on your climbing or bouldering.

Photo Credit: Amazon

About the Author:

Alex is the owner of 99Boulders and has been blogging about the outdoors for over two years. When he isn’t working on the site, he can be found backpacking around South America or at the bouldering gym using his 6’5″ wingspan to skip all the hard holds.