Moisture-wicking helps with temperature control on long or hot rides. Women-specific chamois cushion is soft yet breathable and is designed to move with you. Leg grippers prevent fabric from riding up. Reflective elements to help you stay visible.
Breathable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you comfortable and dry. Soft, stretchy material with flat seams to reduce irritation from chafing. 3D gel chamois reduces vibration and adds comfort. Fit comfortably under normal clothes.
Some have had trouble finding a good fit.
Though bike shorts usually aren't as comfortable as bibs due to pressure around the waist, these shorts eliminate that issue. Chamois is designed for endurance and the legs have grip to prevent them from riding up. Reflective for riding in low light.
Might run a bit larger than other brands.
Assos bibs are extremely popular among users. These are durable enough for riding off-road on any terrain and in any conditions. Treated with odor resistance. Semi-compressive design stays in place without being restrictive.
Expensive, but high-quality.
Compression fabric supports muscles and wicks sweat away. The perforated chamois is made of memory foam for comfort on distance rides. Leg openings are laser cut so they don't need grips to stay in place.
These have a lot of seams due to the number of panels, which can cause chafing.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Cycling is a great way to stay fit, explore nature or your community and get from one place to another. But bike seats aren't always the most comfortable, and if you plan on a long ride, you could experience painful chafing if you're wearing regular shorts.
That's why experienced female bikers choose cycling shorts designed specifically for them to help reduce the risk of chafing and improve their overall comfort while they ride. Women's cycling shorts are available in a variety of fits and styles and choosing the right one isn't always easy, especially if you're new to cycling and aren't sure which features are the most important.
Here's a short guide to walk you through all the key factors, so you can ride in style and comfort. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at some of our top picks.
It's best to purchase cycling shorts that are specifically designed for your gender, as opposed to unisex shorts. This is because women's cycling shorts have more padding in different places to better support you while you ride. Unisex cycling shorts may be better than nothing, but they probably won't be as comfortable.
You'll also need to decide between cycling shorts or bibs. You pull on cycling shorts just like regular shorts, and some prefer these because they're easier to take on and off. However, they can slide down while you ride, which is not only uncomfortable, but also exposes your lower back to the sun, causing sunburn. Bibs are better at staying in place, but they're more cumbersome to take on and off, and they can make going to the bathroom more difficult.
You're probably used to seeing bike shorts that are tight-fitting and hug the body. These are great for long bike trips because they're more aerodynamic, but they don't transition as well from biking to other activities. If you want bike shorts that don't look as much like traditional bike shorts, go with a baggier design. These cycling shorts may also have pockets, so you can store small items while you ride.
The pads in women's cycling shorts are known as "chamois." Some are thicker than others or have more padding in different places. A thicker chamois may reduce or eliminate any discomfort you feel from sitting on a bike seat for hours at a time, but it could also leave you feeling like you're wearing a diaper, especially when you're off the bike. If you don't intend to ride for long periods of time or if you're a triathlete, you're better off going with a thinner chamois that provides some support without making you feel uncomfortable when you're not riding.
Cycling shorts are available in several different lengths. Longer cycling shorts that end just above the knee typically stay in place better while you ride and can prevent inner-thigh chafing, but some may not find these longer shorts as comfortable. If you only need them for a triathlon or a spin class, you can probably get by with cycling shorts that have a shorter inseam.
The majority of women's cycling shorts are made from Lycra, which is a durable, stretchy, moisture-wicking fabric that can help keep you cool and comfortable while you ride. It's essential that you choose a fabric that's durable so that it won't tear or grow see-through over time.
Some chamois contain antibacterial qualities to prevent the growth of bacteria that can lead to saddle sores or other issues. This is worth looking into if you bike often or for long distances at a time. It may not be as necessary if you only bike occasionally over short distances.
Cycling shorts are designed to increase your comfort while riding, but fitted shorts may become uncomfortable if they're too tight around the waist or the legs. Everyone's body shape is different, so it's difficult to know how a pair of cycling shorts will fit you until you try them out.
Some cycling shorts contain gel grips around the legs that can help ease chafing and hold the shorts in place while you bike, so this is also something worth looking into if you plan to bike often or for long distances.
Black is the most versatile color for women's cycling shorts, because you can wear it with anything. But there are cycling shorts available in every color of the rainbow and a variety of patterns. One of these may be a better option if you prefer shorts that reflect your personal style.
Some women's cycling shorts are actually skorts (that is, a skirt with built-in shorts underneath). Not everyone will be interested in these, but they can be a great way to dress up the look of traditional cycling shorts.
Women's cycling shorts range in price from around $20 to over $200. While they're all designed to do more or less the same thing, higher-end cycling shorts tend to have high-tech padding that provides better comfort without being too bulky. They also tend to hold up better over the long-term. But it's up to you to decide how much you feel you need to spend on cycling shorts.
If you only ride occasionally, you can probably find a decent pair for $50 or less. But if you intend to bike often and cover long distances, you're better off investing in high-quality shorts costing at least $50 or more.
Consider purchasing multiple pairs of cycling shorts if you ride often, so you'll always have a clean pair.
Wash your cycling shorts after every ride to prevent the buildup of odors and bacteria.
Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear. Wearing regular underwear with cycling shorts could cause chafing.
Some cycling shorts may run large or small. Always check the manufacturer's sizing chart before you buy to be sure that you're ordering the correct size.
The Eco-Daily Women's Cycling Shorts are available in nine colors and patterns. Users report that they fit well and allow a full range of motion while still providing the padding needed for long bike rides. The fabric is lightweight and moisture-wicking, and it contains silicone grips around the legs to help the shorts stay in place while you ride. Most say the cycling shorts fit as expected and the manufacturer includes a detailed size chart to help you determine the right size for you.
The CYCEOS Women's Cycling Shorts are available in two different lengths and a number of patterns. Users rave about how comfortable the 4-D padding in the shorts is and how well they stay in place thanks to the silicone grips around the legs. The elastic waistband does a great job of keeping the shorts from sliding down, even on long rides. Most users say the shorts fit as expected, and there's a size chart to help you choose the right one.
Q. What's the advantage of wearing cycling shorts?
A. Cycling shorts can significantly improve your comfort while you ride your bike, reducing chafing and cushioning you against the hard bike seat. While you certainly don't need cycling shorts to ride a bike, most who try them never want to ride without them again.
Q. How should I wash my cycling shorts?
A. Generally, it's usually best to wash them in the washing machine to be sure that all bacteria that may be lurking is eliminated, but you should allow them to air dry whenever possible to help the shorts last for longer. Always check with the manufacturer to see if it has specific washing instructions for the shorts you're considering.
Q. What type of cycling shorts are best for those who bike often?
A. Choose well-made, high-end cycling shorts that have thicker padding and stay in place well. This may mean spending $50 or more on a pair of cycling shorts, but you'll get your money's worth if you wear them often.