Back in 2019, cycling apparel company ORNOT dropped a line of casual clothing, and within this announcement was the Mission Shorts. These stretchy minimal shorts have been in my riding and off-the-bike rotation for over three years, so I wanted to shine a light on them in a review. Check it out below…
Mission Shorts At a Glance
- Retail $118
- 1-Year Warranty
- 8.5″ inseam.
- Bluesign® approved Recycled 4-way stretch 85% Nylon / 15% Elastane fabric for durability.
- Full panel gusset for increased mobility.
- 4 Pocket construction, 1 rear zippered pockets for secure storage.
- Designed in San Francisco and sewn in Oakland, Ca.
Mission Shorts Review
I’m not writing this to convince you to buy $118 shorts. I’m doing this because these shorts deserve a review (in case you were considering buying them,) and the reason is simple; I’ve had no issues whatsoever with them since owning them. Think about that. When did you last buy something that exceeded your expectations and melted into your day-to-day use?
Well, that’s what the Mission Shorts are for me.
I’ll use them on road, gravel, mountain bike, and touring rides. The 8.5″ inseam feels appropriate for someone who doesn’t like to feel fabric touching his knees. (I am very ticklish there and have been tortured by Cari so much that I’m borderline PTSD.)
Jokes aside, the fit is slim, not baggy, and they stay planted to your body, reducing chaffing. I have wide hips, a high waist, and long skinny legs, so my 34 waist shorts fit perfectly on my thighs, but the nature of the fabric ORNOT chose is the waist does stretch out, requiring the use of a belt. This isn’t a deal breaker. I usually wear a simple, ubiquitous 1″ webbing belt, and who doesn’t wear a belt?
But what about crashes? Well, I’ve taken my share of trail diggers in the years of ownership, and they have held up just fine, ne’er a rip nor tear.
The gusseted crotch has resisted saddle wear or blowout. The right, rear pocket is zippered, ensuring your wallet or phone doesn’t jettison into the abyss of the forest floor. While they are great in various climates, if the standard Mission Shorts are too thick for your taste or environment, ORNOT makes Lightweight Mission Shorts too! Or if you’re reading this and only wear pants, check out the Mission Pants.
After 18 years in the bike industry, I guess I’m impressed at a small company’s ability to stick to its roots, deliver well-designed, well-fitting products, and stand behind that with a 1-year warranty. All while using local manufacturing.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to own, operate, and sustain an apparel company in a world where overseas manufacturing is dirt cheap and fashion trends in cycling ebb and flows like the tide. Yet, ORNOT has done a great job balancing these trends with limited runs of rare, deadstock fabrics and supplying staples like the Mission Shorts year-round. These shorts aren’t high-end, couture fashion; they are utilitarian, bomb-proof apparel that lasts and lasts and lasts, regardless of use.
That old “buy cheap, buy twice” adage might be overused to justify high-dollar items, but it for sure applies to the Mission Shorts.
I love them so much that I bought some backups if I ever lose or destroy them!
- Made in the USA
- Minimally branded
- 1-Year warranty
- Supporting a small company focused on sustainable apparel
- Fast drying
- Not too short, not too long
- Great on any bike
- You’ll want to wear them every day
- More pricey than overseas-made shorts.
- Can be a bit hot in very humid climates (Ornot makes a Lightweight Mission Short for that.)
- The waist can stretch out while the legs remain tight, requiring a belt.
Check out the whole line of Mission Shorts and Pants at ORNOT.