First Impressions

Haven’t heard about the Sombrio Cartel yet? You will. These guys started out in the late nineties in Vancouver as part of the Canadian freeride scene. Now, they’re bombing around North America in a combo-burrito RV and big rig hauling a pumptrack and a bunch of killer gear. Unfortunately, I missed their stop in San Francisco last year. But over the past month or so, I did get the chance to check out their Highline II short from their EPIK collection. Damn nice, I must say.


Sombrio makes gear in four different categories: Race, Freeride, Girls and EPIK. The EPIK collection is the more understated of the company’s offerings, less about flash and bling styling, and more about function and performance. Lots of black and muted colors figure prominently in the line as do heavy-duty fabrics and serious features.

Fabric: Stretch polyester, durable water repellent coating
Liner: Removable, synthetic chamois
Pockets: 3

Our Highline II sample arrived in the aforementioned black, but it’s also available in a dusky blue and brown. The heavy-weight polyester fabric felt twice as thick as that on the comparably feather-light Pearl Izumi Rev (also in this review). The stretch fabric is coated with a durable water repellent.

Outside, you’ll find three pockets. Two zippered slash pockets sit at the mid thigh. One additional security pocket – also zippered – is centered on the rear waistband. None of these pockets is really large enough for carrying much gear. Think some cash, a keychain and your phone tops.

Other features include: a wide waistband with hook and loop adjustments for a custom fit; two zippered inner thigh vents for added ventilation; and rear venting holes for even more airflow.


Near perfect. The Highline IIs never felt tight or constricting in any way. The wide waistband and hook and loop tabs made customizing the fit easy. No belt required. The removable liner and chamois had just the right amount of padding.

Final Verdict

Sweet shorts. We dug the fit and features of Sombrio’s Highline IIs. We wish the pockets were more substantial, but other than then that, no complaints. Can’t wait to catch them in San Francisco sometime later this year.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Sombrio and Catch & Release Media for providing product for this review.