Sportful were one of the very first cycling kit brands to branch out into gravel-specific clothing with their Giara range back in 2017. Having tested those too, I can firmly say they’ve come a long way in the years since! We called in a pair of the Sportful Supergiara bibs to form part of our cargo bib shorts group test, with no less than three pockets spread between the lower back and thigh.
I’ve been testing the Supergiara bibs both on road and gravel rides around my hometown of Bristol this May and June, making use of the pockets and ditching my usual hip pack.
The main fabric of the bib shorts comprises of two materials: fairly typical Lycra panels on the front and rear, complimented by an anti-abrasion knitted material down the hip and leg on either side. Both materials are very stretchy, with flatlock seams matching each panel beautifully to avoid any skin irritation. Around the hips, a lighter mesh material is used, and then the bib straps and back panel are made of a white, flat-lay and highly stretchy mesh.
The chamois pad used is the women’s specific Total Comfort model, designed with closed cell foam padding with a maximum density of 18mm. In theory, this should be both breathable and help reduce the impact from rougher roads and trails. There are higher density areas around the sit bones, and medium density over the front of the pad (nose of the saddle) to suit a more upright position compared to road racing.
The Sportful Supergiara bibs are available in sizes XS-XXL for women and S-3XL for men. After consulting the size guide, I opted for a size large (I usually wear a UK 12 and and 5ft4), which fits really nicely indeed. The compressive material gives a close fit, without causing any feeling of constriction or the dreaded sausage-leg!
The shorts stayed in place beautifully during rides, with the laser cut hem of the legs lined with gentle dotted leg grippers that didn’t irritate the skin.
I especially liked the wide mesh bib straps which were really comfortable and breathable for the duration, complimented by a high cut short that fits snugly around the hips.
Cargo pocket features
There are three pockets on the Sportful Supergiara shorts: two smaller ones on the lower back and one on the lower left thigh. This was somewhat problematic for me as a right-handed rider, as it made accessing the pocket on the other side of my body from my leading hand a bit awkward: I’d much rather have a pocket on either side.
The rear pockets measure 10 x 13cm each, and the leg 16 x 11cm. Although the construction of the pocket seems sturdy enough, it’s a little small, and could do with being deeper to hold a whole phone in the upright position. I got around this by twisting my phone so it fitted fully in the pocket, but it was against the contours of my leg which I think may weaken the mesh over time.
After several washes at 30 degrees as per the instructions, the bib shorts still look as good as new. The dark colourways should help to avoid staining, especially when riding off road. It’s worth noting though, that unlike some other brands, Sportful do not offer any garment repair schemes.
As well as this plain black colourway, the Sportful Supergiara bibs are also available in ‘cocao’ (aka brown) and ‘red wine’, a deep burgundy colour, both for men and women. Pretty unusual, but a nice departure from the standard colours.
The Sportful logos on the right thigh and left hip are quite large, although they are in a reflective print to aid low-light visibility. A further panel of dotted reflective material is sewn into the outer thigh of each leg. Although this serves its purpose well, I’d rather it was printed directly onto the main fabric to avoid adding extra seams.
The Sportful Supergiara verdict
As a pair of bib shorts, the Sportful Supergiara don’t disappoint: and of course you’d expect that for the hefty sum of £175. A really comfortable design that stay in place perfectly even over demanding rides, with skin-friendly leg grippers, a compressive fit and breathable bib straps.
Yet as a pair of cargo bib shorts, I’m afraid they fall short. I’m not sure why you’d place a cargo pocket on one thigh and not the other, but I’d definitely like to see a pair of deeper thigh pockets on future iterations. If you’re left handed then this might just be fine for you!
Although the women’s-specific chamois was perfect for the job, I’d really like to see more consideration put into developing a design that makes pee breaks easier for women.
If you’re looking for a great pair of bib shorts with cargo pockets as a bonus then I think that the Supergiara shorts might be up your street, but if cargo carrying capacity is a priority for you, then I’d suggest for now that you look elsewhere.
Sportful Supergiara Women's Bib Shorts£175
Last modified: 13th June 2021