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Best Summer Motorcycle Pants: Say Goodbye to Sweaty Legs

Enjoy hot weather riding without sacrificing protection.

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BYAndra DelMonico/ LAST UPDATED ON August 6, 2022

Wearing summer motorcycle pants is a must in Florida, where I ride. Take even a short ride, and you end up with a seat-shaped sweat mark on your pants. Wear jeans, and you’re walking around feeling damp for the rest of the day. This is not a good look or feeling to have. Some riders resort to wearing cooler clothing, but this is a problem because summer clothes aren’t designed to be motorcycle protective. This is where summer motorcycle pants come in. They combine breathability with protection to keep you feeling cool and dry on even the hottest of summer days. While they may seem like an investment, they’re well worth it for their benefits. You don’t have to live in or ride in Florida to appreciate how cool and comfortable these summer motorcycle pants will keep you.

Best Overall

Klim Baja S4 Pants

Summary
These virtually indestructible pants are perfect for keeping you cool in the hottest weather and are constructed of innovative materials.
Pros
  • Karbonite Micromesh
  • Superfabric reinforcement
Cons
  • Not a true offroad pant 
  • Won’t fit over your boots
Best Budget

Scorpion EXO Drafter II Pants

Summary
Enjoy plenty of features and cool air in these affordable entry-level summer pants.
Pros
  • Perforated polyester mesh lining
  • Stretch panels on the upper knee
Cons
  • No belt loops 
  • Waist runs small
Honorable Mention

RokkerTech Tapered Slim Jeans

Summary
Look good and feel cool in these riding jeans that are made from breathable and abrasion-resistant fibers.
Pros
  • Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) 
  • Adjustable height armor pockets
Cons
  • Could have a more tapered design through the ankle
  • Stretch in the fabric can make it loose
Best Summer Motorcycle Pants: Say Goodbye to Sweaty Legs
Jake Richmond

Summary List 

Our Methodology

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Here at The Drive, we want everyone to enjoy their motorcycles as much as we enjoy riding ours. This means taking pride in finding the best quality gear, motorcycle parts, and accessories. As someone who rides in a hot climate for most of the year, I focused on pants with the greatest breathability, moisture wicking, and fast drying ability. These are the pants that will keep you cool and dry, increasing your comfort. In addition, I focused on brands that have a strong history of research and development because these are the companies that make innovative gear designed for more extreme riding conditions. I also compared protective features and armor because these are the qualities that keep you safe and differentiate motorcycle pants from regular pants. 

Best Summer Motorcycle Pants Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Material: Schoeller-Dynatec nylon mesh
  • Armor: D3O CE Level 1 hip and knee armor
  • Size: 30-40, short, regular, and tall

Pros

  • Karbonite Micromesh four-way stretch zones
  • Goat leather lining at inner leg
  • Mesh antimicrobial lining
  • Superfabric reinforcement

Cons

  • Not a true offroad pant
  • Won’t fit over your boots

These pants may be an investment, but Klim is known for making virtually indestructible gear. There are also many color options, which is a breath of fresh air from the typical black option. Sure, there are four-way stretch mesh panels, Cordura impact zones, and breathable Superfabric constructing the pants. But what makes them stand out are the adjustment straps all over, making it possible to have a truly custom fit from waist to ankle. As expected at this price level, CE-approved armor is included at the hips and knees. A high-end feature is the goat leather inner leg lining for better grip and heat protection. There is also an antimicrobial lining, helping to improve airflow and prevent that funky smell from developing on a hot weather ride. If you do plan to wear these off-road, be aware that the road-friendly slimmer cut can make them not knee brace compatible. The bottom of these pants will not fit over your boots. Those external adjustment straps can also be a safety hazard if you are off the trails.

Specs

  • Material: 600 denier nylon
  • Armor: Exo-Tec CE on knees
  • Size: Small to 3XL

Pros

  • Perforated polyester mesh lining
  • Stretch panels on the upper knee
  • Dual-adjustment waist belts
  • Removable AirGuard liner

Cons

  • No belt loops
  • Waist runs small

You do not have to spend a fortune to have breathable protection. These poly mesh pants are a second edition for Scorpion and sport an added removable AirGuard liner that turns them into three-season pants. Take the liner out and feel maximum airflow through the mesh panels on your knees and seat. The stretch panels on the upper knee are a nice touch that you do not typically see on entry-level pants. This reduces bulk and makes the pants more comfortable. For protection, there is Exo-Tec CE-approved ventilated armor on the knees. One complaint about these pants is that the waist runs small, so if you are thick around the middle, you will want to size up. The other problem is that the waist doesn't have belt loops, so you are stuck with the waist tabs to hold the pants in place. This is not a big deal if they fit you well, but if you depend on the waist tabs to keep the pants securely on your waist, this can be frustrating.

Specs

  • Material: 12 ounce denim indigo-dyed cotton
  • Armor: D3O Ghost knee and hip impact armor
  • Size: 29 x 32 to 40 x 34

Pros

  • Tapered slim fit
  • Adjustable height armor pockets
  • Rivet free design
  • Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)

Cons

  • It could have a more tapered design through the ankle
  • Stretch in the fabric can make it loose

Sometimes you do not want to show up somewhere and look like you just dismounted from the bike. That is where these riding jeans come in. They may not provide as much airflow as pants on this list, but they are more comfortable than other jeans options. The heavyweight cotton fibers give the jeans a high-end feel, while the single-layer design keeps them lightweight and breathable. To provide them with abrasion resistance, the fabric is reinforced with ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), which is 15 times stronger than steel. There is D3O ghost knee and hip armor for impact protection in height adjustable pockets for a custom fit. This makes the jeans CE-level AA-rated. One of the biggest downfalls of denim with elasticity is that it stretches over time. This can make these jeans loose in places when wearing them on longer rides. The baggy look may not be what you are going for when you get off. They could also have a more tapered cut through the ankle for a crisper design.

Specs

  • Material: Polyester 600D
  • Armor: SEESMART CE-level 1 protection at hips and knees
  • Size: 36 short to 42 tall

Pros

  • Adjustment straps at waist and ankles
  • Ventilation panels at legs
  • Grip panel at seat

Cons

  • Not designed for women with curves
  • Can’t adjust knee armor position

The touring fit of these summer women's pants gives them a relaxed feel. Choose from white or black for the color scheme. There is also a matching jacket available. The heavy-duty mesh construction gives these pants a protective and robust feel while still allowing for plenty of airflow. Extra large ventilation panels run the length of your leg for all-over cooling. The mesh's abrasion resistance is paired with SEESMART CE level 1 armor on the hips and knees. There are some nice small details on these pants for their price point. The inner thigh has grip assist material, there are adjustment straps on the ankles, and they come with an elastic waistband for increased comfort. These do not sit at your true waist and instead sit lower on your hips. The drawback of these pants is that they are designed to be over pants so that you will wear them over your pants or shorts. This just causes heat buildup and bulk. They also are not designed for curvy women, and you can't adjust the position of the knee armor.

Specs

  • Material: Poly 600D and 980D ballistic
  • Armor: SAS-TEC CE Level 2 knee armor
  • Size: Small to 3XL

Pros

  • Multi-position knee armor pockets
  • Pocket for optional hip armor
  • Stretch mesh moisture-wicking lining
  • Reinforcement on seat and knee

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold knee armor in place
  • Better for bikes with narrow seats

The sleek blacked out look of these pants makes them perfect for those who prefer an understated look. You’re getting a nice set of low-profile and ventilated SAS-TEC CE Level 2 knee armor, which is nice for the price point. The armor pockets are designed for multi-positioning to give you a custom fit. The mesh constructing these pants has a slight stretch with a moisture-wicking liner to increase comfort. The seat and knee areas have reinforcement, giving these pants increased durability at this price point. Another nice touch is the snap and hook dual closure at the waist, giving you greater security that these pants won't just pop open on you. The downside of these pants is that the armor pockets allow the armor to move around within the pocket, which can cause the armor to move out of place. There is also a lack of space in the crotch area, which can make them too tight if you have a wider seat on your motorcycle. The heat-resistant material also feels hot on your inner thigh.

Specs

  • Material: 450/600 denier panels
  • Armor: CE-approved knee and shin protectors
  • Size: Small to 4XL

Pros

  • Accordion textile stretch inserts
  • Full mesh lining
  • Jet Ventilation System (JVS)
  • Pre-curved shaping

Cons

  • Foam armor on the hips
  • Run small

Look and feel like a racing legend while staying comfortable and cool in these pants. These pants use a Jet Ventilation System (JVS) to forcibly direct air into the pants when you are in a sport riding position. The system uses multiple panels pieced together that are made from abrasion-resistant mesh, accordion stretch inserts, and a full 3D mesh lining. As you would expect from Alpinestars, the legs are pre-curved to reduce stress when you are in a riding position, and next-generation CE-approved armor is included. What is nice is that you can adjust the armor position to suit your body for maximum protection. One disappointing feature is that the hips have foam board protection instead of CE armor. The knee armor is designed to protect your knees and shins, which can be confusing for some and lead people to think that the armor is too low. Additionally, Alpinestars is notorious for ridiculously small sizing. If the pants are too tight, there is no space between the pants and your legs, making the ventilation system useless.

Specs

  • Material: Knitted mesh Cordura AFT
  • Armor: Knee, shin, and hip protectors
  • Size: 46 to 60

Pros

  • Elastic Cordura panels for extra fit flexibility
  • Fits inside boots
  • Rukka AirCushion
  • Rukka warranty is valid for five years

Cons

  • No waist adjustment
  • Slim fit through the leg, so size up

While Rukka is known for its adventure gear, these pants have a universal cut that makes them more of a touring pant. The low-profile material reduces the bulk of these pants and makes it possible to tuck them into your boots. The knitted Cordura AFT textile is breathable while also being abrasion-resistant. It works with the CE level 2 Rukka D3O XTR knee/shin and hip protectors. What makes these pants stand out is the comfort features, which include stretch panels through the legs and rear yoke. The seat and gusset also have Rukka AirCushion and Antiglide features to keep you comfortable and securely in place on your motorcycle seat. One complaint about these pants is that there is no waist adjustment, making it more challenging to get a custom fit through the waist, hips, and legs. To compound this frustration, these pants fit slim through the leg. So you will need to size up if you have thicker legs, which can make the waist too big.

Our Verdict

My top pick for the best summer motorcycle pants is the Klim Baja S4 Pants because they are completely adjustable and constructed from the toughest textiles. 

The Scorpion EXO Drafter II Pants are a more affordable option that comes with some nice features you do not typically find on motorcycle pants at this price point. 

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

If those options do not have what you need, your local salvage yard is great for car parts, while swap meets are a great resource you should tap. Just Google either and head on down.  

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you stuff wasn’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Look at the stitching for loose threads and the fabric for signs of abrasion. 
  • Ask how old the pants are, as this will tell you how old the armor is and if it needs replacing. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Motorcycle Pants 

Ride Style Fit 

There are two basic categories for motorcycle pant fit: relaxed touring and sport. A relaxed touring fit is looser with a straight leg cut through the hips, thighs, and down to your feet. The wider leg opening at the bottom is designed to fit over your boots. A sport fit is slimmer, so the pants sit close to your body. The bottom of the pants are fitted to the ankle so that they fit inside your boots. 

Protective Features 

Armor and crash protection are what sets motorcycle pants apart from regular fashion pants. For the most protection, look for CE-certified armor over the knees and hips. Some manufacturers cut costs by using a foam alternative or skipping the armor entirely and only adding the pockets for it. Additionally, the textiles should be reinforced and stitched at stress and impact points. This makes the pants more durable and abrasion resistant. Finally, consider the textile used for the pants’ construction. Kevlar and aramid are traditional reinforcement materials. However, both are not very breathable. Modern textiles have reinforced fibers like Karbonite, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, and Cordura. 

Material 

Leather is simply too hot for summer riding when there are other more breathable options. Consider riding jeans, mesh, and textile. While riding jeans are the least breathable, they are suitable for short in-town riding. Textiles are more breathable than riding jeans and offer more protective features. Finally, mesh pants are the most breathable and are ideal for riding in the hottest summer months. 

Summer Motorcycle Pants Pricing 

If you want to buy a quality pair of summer motorcycle pants from a reputable brand, expect to spend at least $200. While there are pants for under the $100 mark, they tend to lack features that make them worth purchasing. These low-cost pants cut corners when it comes to fitment comfort, armor construction quality, and breathability. Some summer motorcycle pants are in the $300 to $400 range, but these are best for those who rack up the miles or put their gear through abuse. They have a ton of features and use innovative technology that tends to be overkill for the casual occasional weekend rider. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Should motorcycle pants be longer?

A: Typically, motorcycle pants are longer than regular pants when in a standing position. This is because pants get shorter when you bend your knee. So motorcycle pants are longer to ensure they are not too short when you are in a riding position.

Q: Do I need to wear something under motorcycle pants?

A: Over pants are meant to be worn over your pants. Summer motorcycle pants are to be worn as pants. You can wear compression leggings for an extra layer of support, cooling, and protection. Just don’t go commando; you will end up chafed in places that are too sensitive to experience high friction levels.

Q: How do I wash my motorcycle pants?

A: Don’t machine wash your motorcycle pants, as this destroys the specialty fabric and any coatings it has. Ideally, you should remove the armor and wash your pants by hand. Use a pH neutral soap and never use fabric softener, as it gums up the fibers. Then, hang the pants up to dry in a cool, dry place that is out of direct sunlight.

Q: Are regular jeans good for motorcycle riding in summer?

A: Regular jeans aren’t a good choice for riding in general. They are not cut for a riding body position and lack the abrasion resistance necessary to protect you in the event of a fall. In addition, during summer, traditional jean material is not breathable and is slow to dry, making them hot and stifling.

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