Softail™ Pad delivers supreme comfort for those gnarly long days in the saddle. >Differential density, multi-level foam construction provides additional padding at pressure points without increased bulk. >3D anatomical shaping and seamless construction hug your body for a performance fit. >Polyester-knit face fabric against your skin disperses heat and moisture. >Anti-bacterial finish maintains hygiene. >Dries rapidly after washing.
What Mountain Bike - Feb 12
A lot of women don't like bib tights for reasons of practicality. The tailored eight-panel ﬁt of the Witches Britches and blend of Lycra and 15 percent merino wool keep you cosy, the high-cut back prevents builder’s bum if stretched forward and the elastic waistband is comfy.
Seams are ﬂat-stitched, the cut is to mid shin, the Softail pad is comfortable and anti-bacterial, and the anatomical shaping makes for a far better on-bike ﬁt than many general-use tights. These are tough, quick-drying, very reasonably priced and made in New Zealand.
"Among the best on the market if you don’t like bib-topped tights"
Ground Effect Revolutionary - May 12
My Witches Britches are great for broomstick flying, stirring the cauldron and avoiding the Spanish Inquisition. But seriously, they are ideal for commuting to work and excellent for Mtb trips during the cooler months. The contoured stretch fit makes them very comfortable for long rides and high country missions. The merino lycra mix and mid calf leg length keeps my knees warm when winter chills invade our adventures. The perfect garment for three season riding. Dress down for herbs and potion shopping with the Martinis thrown on over the top.
Ditte van der Meulen
Road.cc - May 10
I've long been a fan of 3/4 length cycling legwear. For starters it's more flattering than most shorts, which have a tendency to exaggerate flaws in all but the trimmest of thighs. Most crucially though, they are wearable almost year round.
Ground Effect's Witches Britches are more attractive than the average plain black 3/4 tights, with contrasting light blue stitching along the flat seams of their 8 panels adding a bit of interest, without being excessive. Those with a morbid fear of shiny Lycra will also love the matt black used here. There's a reflective logo on each calf for visibility.
As with much of the kit produced by New Zealand company Ground Effect, these tights suit UK conditions really well. The slightly fuzzy thermal backed lycra they are made from is ideally suited to Spring and Autumn riding, but will happily do the job on less chilly winter days and during the worst of the average UK summer too. The density of the fabric and the amount of stretch is just right to support and gently compress muscles without ever feeling anything other than comfortable, with a side effect that they're flattering too. They are washable at 40 degrees too, unlike many technical fabrics.
The pad is a good shape, extremely comfortable in use, even on the longest day, and unobtrusive. The density of padding varies dependent on anatomical pressure areas, it's fast drying and finished with an anti-bacterial treatment.
Fit wise, the sizing is spot on. Unlike many European brands, Ground Effect kit is sized for real people and true to size. A size Medium will suit a UK12 perfectly, with just the right amount of stretch to accommodate any inter-season 'fluctuations'. The high back means there won't be a gap between jersey and tights, while the broad waistband means they're very comfortable to wear. Leg length will vary depending on your height obviously, but is somewhere between just past knee, and mid to lower calf, meaning they'll suit a variety of sizes and shapes, including going up to XL. There are no leg grippers but I've not had any problems with them.
Verdict: A genuinely useful and well-considered pair of three season tights. Flattering, attractive and comfortable.
Cycling Plus (UK) - Dec 09
Silky smooth and stretchy, these leggings with a fleecy inner feel wonderfully soft and elastic as soon as you put them on. They're made from Hotshot Lycra designed to keep out winter chills - and they do keep your knees cosy on cool rides. The styling is flattering and also very comfortable for riding, the eight panel construction with long s-shaped flat seams stretching freely as you pedal. They only proviso is that the hems are quite tight, so if you have big calves you might want to go up a size. The Softail pad is also one of the most comfortable we've tried on and off the bike. It's anatomically shaped, with varying levels of foam, without feeling like a bandy- legged cowgirl.
Overall: Comfortable and flattering - what did you wear before? 9/10
What Mountain Bike (UK) - Jan 07
A tight is a tight is a tight. Except when it's a knicker or three-quarter. And with the Witches Britches it's the detail that sets them apart from the rest, keeping multiple pairs in the wardrobes long beyond the point where they're indecently see-through and holey. Fluffy fleece-lined knees keep delicate ligaments happy, a wide, high, elastic-free waistband keeps kidneys warm while ensuring the post-Christmas guilt ride is far more comfy than it should be, and the funky moulded, anti-bacterial, synthetic pad does a good job of channelling air and moisture to their separate destinations. The fabrics weight's spot on: not too light to wear alone when it's a bit nippy, not too heavy to under a pair of tights for really grotty days. Plus it's tough enough to withstand the ravages of the worst hedges we could find to crash in. Ground Effect's trademark longevity should see this tweaked incarnation of an old classic on the knees of hardy riders for years to come.
UnderGround - Feb 06
Ants in Your Pants
I've been the lucky owner of a pair of Witches Britches since their birth some year's ago from the cauldron that is the Ground Effect skunk works. As I get older and my knees become my most attractive and treasured body part, the Witches Britches have taken on a new importance. No longer do they hide in the rarely exposed back section of the drawer that is home to my cycling wardrobe. Nope, they have moved up to pole position - front left hand corner, easily grabbed in the pre-dawn dank.
So why do I love them so? Well, their 8-panel construction fits great and conforms to my body while maneuvering technical rocky sections. But for me the ace is their 3/4 length - covering my knees with a fluffy insert. Ah... warm knees. Such comfort when rushing through dank, twisty, beech forest - or commuting home in the rain on a day that couldn't have looked finer and more settled (you know, the one when I left my jacket at home). I also chuck in a pair as my preferred riding short when on holiday as you can just never tell with New Zealand weather.
Pah... who needs a broomstick I say.
Outwitted, outlawed and... out riding
4-way stretch winter luxury uniquely combines superfine NZ merino against your skin with a tightly woven, hardwearing nylon outer and an impressive 32% lycra. So garments both stretch and move with your body, plus deliver a compression-fit. Warm as pie. Developed by Ground Effect and knitted for us in New Zealand.
- Composition: 47% nylon; 32% lycra; 21% merino.
Check out the chart to suss out where you fit. This is a guide only - if you fall in-between sizes, the right size for you will depend on your body shape and how loose or tight you like to wear your clothes. It's no hassle to swap it, if your first choice is not the best fit.
88 - 92 cm
93 - 97 cm
98 - 102 cm
103 - 107 cm
63 - 69 cm
70 - 76 cm
77 - 83 cm
84 - 90 cm
89 - 95 cm
96 - 102 cm
103 - 109 cm
110 - 116 cm
Unisex vs Women's Sizes
If you're struggling to find that certain something in the Outskirts™ women's range, then check out Ground Effect's standard range of unisex gear. As unisex items tend to be larger than our women's designs selected products are also available in XS (approximately women's small) to provide a more complete range.
Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble... genuine black magic for piloting broomsticks and fighting winter chills. Witches Britches combine 8-panel performance with below-the-knee styling and Merino Lycra to keep you and your knees toasty warm.
> HighRise™ rear ensures a generous overlap with your cycle top.
> Wide elastic waist band for maximum comfort.
> 'Contour fit' with s-shaped seams allows the lycra to stretch freely with your body.
> 8-panel construction.
> Flat seams for enhanced comfort.
> Softail™ Pad - 3D anatomical shaping, multi-level foam, rapid drying, seamless synthetic 'chamois' pad with anti-bacterial finish.
> Hardwearing, quick drying, Merino Lycra.
> WXL size option.
> Made by us in New Zealand.
What is the difference between the Witches Britches and the Short Cuts?
> The Witches Britches are constructed from 4-way stretch Merino Lycra for increased warmth.
> The Short Cuts are summer shorts for women made from standard weight ShockWave Lycra.
> The Witches Britches are a bit longer than the Short Cuts - reaching to mid-calf - and have flat seams for additional comfort.
Tell me about the pad in these shorts.
> Softail™ Pad delivers unparalleled comfort for those gnarly long days in the saddle. Differential density, multi-level foam construction provides additional padding at pressure points without increased bulk. 3D anatomical shaping, 4-way stretch and seamless construction hug your body for a performance fit. Polyester-knit face fabric against your skin disperses heat and moisture. Anti-bacterial finish maintains hygiene and dries rapidly after washing.
> It requires no special care and dries very quickly after washing (it loves a warm wash!).
> There are two main differences between the women's-specific and men's-unisex versions of the Softail pad. While the moulded part of the pad remains the same the pad is shorter at the front in the women's version. The position of the pad in the short is also gender specific, with differently shaped panels in the short's gusset supporting the pad.
Should I wear underwear with these shorts?
> Hell no. You want to have as smooth an interface as possible between your bum and the saddle. The seams on your underwear will inevitably be in the wrong place - causing rubbing and saddle sores. Also underwear is generally cotton - nice for everyday use but damp skin below is more susceptible to chaffing.
> Hand washing is sometimes the only option on tour, but a washing machine rinses more thoroughly and is preferable if you have the choice.
> With shorts in particular, cold-water detergents and those with bleach can cause 'nappy-rash' so if you're experiencing issues in that department try a warm wash and a change of cleaning brew. As a rule of thumb, product that is easy on the planet is also easy on your body. Select a mild plant-based soap like Ecover, Ecostore, Earthwise or Aware.
> Most Ground Effect gear dries super-fast so drying on the line or hanging over the bedpost does the trick. Or use a dryer on a warm (not hot) cycle.
> UV rays accelerate the decay of lycra. Our fabric is knitted so the lycra component lies on the inside of the fabric - shielding it from the sun when you're out riding. Consequently you should avoid drying these shorts inside-out. It's not a bad idea to do so occasionally as the sun does help keep the pad hygienic - although it is treated with an anti-bacterial finish anyway. But drying in this manner is a trade-off with the damage done to the lycra.
> It's common practice to not wear underwear with your riding shorts so you need to wash your shorts daily. And it's recommended to give your shorts an initial wash when they're new - the eXo and Softail pads in particular become less stiff after the first wash.