Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts: New Favourites

Released this fall, the new Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts share a similar cut to the originals but are made from lightweight, stretchy fabric. Miles has been wearing them for the last month and shares his thoughts on why they might be his favourite shorts yet…

I’m picky when it comes to riding shorts. I’m not a fan of baggies, but I’m also only beginning to work up the courage to wear shorter inseam shorts. I prefer a casual look over technical but still want some stretch and a solid construction that won’t wear out after long days on the bike. Most importantly, I want a short I can wear on and off the bike, because there’s nothing more frustrating than having to change between activities.

For the last few years, the Chrome Madronas were my do-everything short. I found the cotton-blend fabric to be comfortable, and the 8.5″ inseam and straight fit complemented my modern millennium bikepacker aesthetic. I wore them on day rides, nearly all of my bikepacking trips in the last two years, and as my go-to short for around town. I recently discovered that the bum of the short is starting to wear through, and the fabric is near-translucent in places from all of that riding. This isn’t entirely surprising, since the lightweight cotton construction isn’t the most durable or technical fabric out there, but I’m still a little disappointed.

Ornot Mission Shorts Trail Shirt

Three years ago, San Francisco-based Ornot released their Mission Shorts (above). As part of a new wave of casual (but still technical) riding apparel for on and off the bike. At that time, I purchased some for myself and enjoyed the shorter, slimmer fit and toned-down look. They were a great introduction to short shorts, but I found myself craving something slightly stretchier for trail riding and bikepacking. Their 94% nylon/4% elastane construction just wasn’t cutting it.

Last month, Ornot announced the new Lightweight Mission Shorts. Cut and sewn in California, they feature a fit just like the original version but are made from a four-way stretch Bluesign-approved fabric that’s lighter and more durable. They have an 8.5″ inseam (the original version was also updated to this) and come in sizes 28-38. There are four pockets, including a zippered rear pocket, and they have a full panel gusseted crotch. The new fabric is much stretchier than the original, including throughout the legs and into the waist. For me, this makes the fit more comfortable. And while the cut is the same, they feel roomier. The legs ride up less, they move with me more naturally while riding technical terrain or while stretching at mobility class, and they are much more enjoyable to wear on hot days.

  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review

Something else I appreciate is the lack of seams on the back of shorts. Unlike the Chrome Madrona shorts, the Lightweight Mission Shorts have no exterior pocket seams, eliminating any weird pressure points or rubbing on long days. Ornot says they have a tailored fit, and the size 34 I wear has a 10.5″ leg opening. They feel true to size but run slightly big through the waist if anything. I could do with a size 33 to avoid any need to wear a belt. Through the legs and down toward my knees, there is just enough extra room to not feel too confined, but they’re still slim enough to look smart off the bike and reduce the chances of getting hung up on things while riding.

Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review


  • Made in the USA by an environmentally conscious brand
  • Clean design looks good on and off the bike
  • Lightweight and stretchy materials are great for warm weather
  • Price is justified but out of reach for many


  • 8.5″ inseam might feel too short for some
  • Six sizes and no women’s option isn’t the most inclusive
  • Pricey
  • Material: 85% Nylon/15% Elastane
  • Colors: Slate or Stone Blue
  • Place of Manufacture: California, USA
  • Price: $118 USD
  • Manufacturer’s Details: OrnotBike.com
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review
  • Ornot Lightweight Mission Shorts Review

Wrap Up

As I try to squeeze the last bit of life from my beloved Chrome Madrona shorts, it’s nice to know that the Lightweight Mission Shorts are waiting to take over. The new fabric is lightweight, stretchy, and feels more technical to the touch. I find the fit to be spot on for a do-everything short for anyone who appreciates a short-ish inseam and doesn’t want to change between rides, hitting up the local bakery, and work. The cherry on top is Ornot’s dedication to the environment, which includes using Bluesign-approved materials, being a 1% for the Planet member, Climate Neutral certified, and the shorts being designed and sewn in California.


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