For a more casual alternative to bib shorts or baggies, we tested out the Chrome Industries Anza women’s shorts, designed to be a versatile option for everything from commuting to hitting the trails.
Materials and construction
The 94% Nylon, 6% spandex material of the shorts feels like a good compromise between technical performance wear and a casual style. The matte finish and all-black detailing (khaki colourway also available) is subtle, and can be dressed up or down. In fact, off the bike you’d hardly know that they are cycling apparel, which I really like in an urban context, or for longer bikepacking trips where you spend a considerable amount of time off the bike.
Spandex gives this short a great 4-way stretch, so unlike your favourite denim shorts, there’s no pulling or feeling of restriction when it comes to throwing a leg over or pulling shapes on the bike.
Although pretty lightweight, this material feels rugged and durable, so should stand up to the rigours of riding for a long time, with reduced crotch wear from the saddle or snags. To further aid this, there’s also a double-layer rectangular gusset, which doubles up to improve comfort in this sensitive area.
Fit and sizing
After consulting the size guide online with my measurements, I opted for the largest size on offer with some apprehension. It goes without saying (but I’m gonna repeat it again) that as an average-sized UK female, topping out the sizing availability ain’t cool. We need more size availability at the upper end of the sizing please, Chrome. Cycling, and technical cycling gear, should be for everyone.
The shorts are relatively short, with a 6″ inseam, and Chrome claim they have a slim-fit cut. I think I probably erred on the side of caution too much with the size 14 ordered, and could get away with a size or two smaller based on the waistband fit, although I do like the leg fit at this size with a little extra wiggle room. This also means more space for an undershort, which I ride with on longer gravel and MTB rides.
Thanks to the waistband loops, I could always add a belt if I wanted to cinch in the waist a little.
One of the most noticeable features is the webbing belt strap around half of the rear over the left hip. This 5-bar webbing is a typical Chrome Industries urban feature, and acts as a D-lock holster for when you’re nipping about town, whether that’s commuting or on a coffee shop crawl. I can’t admit to having used it much: my D-lock is the Hiplok DX, a small gold-rated lock that also has integrated hooks to attach to any waistband, although I typically prefer to sling it into a musette with other bits and bobs if I’m cycling about town.
If you choose not to use it, I can’t see much of a downside though: the strap is discreet and doesn’t affect comfort at all.
Numerous pockets come in handy on the Anza: two jeans-style open hip pockets on the front, including a small accessory pocket inside one of those, then two large pockets on the rear that feature flaps over the top to make these more secure. A single zipped pocket on the right hand side at the rear offers really secure storage, and this pocket is deeper than you might expect too.
This combination of pockets worked really well both on and off the bike for bits and bobs: keys, phone, mask, receipts, you know the drill. I especially liked the flap-top rear pockets for phone storage when riding, giving an extra bit of security while still being pretty easy to access with one hand while pedalling.
The Chrome Anza verdict
A well designed short with some nifty features and plenty of pockets, the Anza is a great all-rounder that should last a long old time. You’d hope so, anyway, as the price is pretty sizable at £105. Having said that, they’re currently in the sale at £77, which seems a little more swallowable.
To improve the Anza, I’d like to see more sizes on offer at the higher end of the range.
Last modified: 7th July 2021