To all the riding enthusiasts who are looking for the best cycling shorts or best cycling bib shorts, yet find this search difficult due to an ever-growing market with dozens of products released on a daily basis, this article has been written for you. It offers a list of the best cycling shorts on today’s market. It then ends with advice on the aspects you should look into before purchasing your biking shorts. Enjoy “the ride”!
9 Best Cycling Shorts
Castelli takes great pride in itself for bringing most of the innovations in the market of cycling shorts, including “the first Lycra® shorts on the market, the first synthetic seat pads, the first anatomical seat pads, the first minimalist and flat bib straps, and the first flat leg grippers.” These shorts fit men of different sizes, from S to 3XL, and help them find comfort, fit, and function, all in one pair of shorts. Quite complete, right? To learn more about these amazing shorts, keep reading its other features just below.
Among the most notable features of the Castelli Entrata Shorts are:
- KISS Air 2 Seat Pad which enables a long-lasting comfort
- Pro Dry matte Lycra® that ensures good compression and moisture management
- An eight-panel construction that enables a perfect fit
- Mesh Bib straps that provide a great deal of comfort and breathability
- A very lightweight of 158 gram
- A great range of available sizes, from S to 3XL.
- Stretchy material
- Numerous innovations
- Very lightweight
- Comfort and breathability
- Great stretch
- Anatomical shape
- A bit high-priced
The Sunzel Biker shorts bring together comfort, softness, and fashion, all at an affordable price. They are designed for a range of activities, from biking to workouts, athletics, yoga, running, walking and hiking, or simply lounging. Additionally, you can use these shorts as outwear in combination with a hoodie or a cute tanked top, or for cozy days and nights around the house. That is not all, they are among the best budget cycling shorts.
Most notable features of these biker shorts are:
- High-quality fabric made of 75% polyester and 25% spandex
- Button closure
- Availability in 25 different patterns, including unique animal prints
- Availability in a multitude of sizes that range from XS to 3XL
- Soft, stretchy and non-see-through material
- High waist and tummy control design
- Has two spacious side pockets that provide for enough storage possibilities
- Different models and sizes to choose from
- Comfortable and high-quality material
- A bit short, the neck of the bike saddle might rub against the skin
“Designed for women cyclists by women cyclists,” Louis Garneau Women’s Classic Gel Bike Shorts will offer high comfort for an endless riding experience, mostly due to their women-specific Active Gel Comfort Pad that disperses shock and vibration while cycling. Indeed, this is important, but it’s not all. Other key features, and their pros, and cons are listed below.
Key to these shorts are:
- High-quality silicone material that provides 100% breathability with moisture-wicking capability
- Women-specific designed padding for miles of comfort
- Spherical contouring that allows for compression, therefore preventing muscle fatigue
- Silicone leg grippers that help the shorts remain in place while riding
- A reflective logo that enables the rider to be seen from distance by other motorists or cyclists
- Lightweight—only 0.4 pounds
- Availability of sizes from S to XL
- Great padding for long riding
- Safe riding ensured by the reflective logo visible at night
- Stays firm on the body during ride
- Color selection is limited to black
Pearl Izumi has brought into the market unique designs of both cycling shorts and bibs. They are designed to keep men comfortable and enjoy their riding, with high-quality fabric and a perfect padding with a 9.5″ inseam and 6-panel anatomic design. Thus, if you are looking for the best-padded cycling shorts or the best bib cycling shorts, you surely cannot go wrong with this brand.
The main features of these biking shorts are:
- Modelled as cycling shorts or bibs
- Breathable blend of material that allows the shorts to dry quickly
- An excellent padding with a 9.5″ inseam and 6-panel anatomic design
- Reflective elements for low light visibility
- Availability in a range of sizes: from S to XXL
- Machine wash fabric
- High conformity in the bike saddle
- Great level of breathability
- Opportunity to choose between shorts and bibs
- Great range of sizes
- Machine wash
- Limited color selection
Available in a multitude of colors and designs and made of an upgraded fabric that ensures comfort in the skin during the ride, the HLTPRO Spandex Shorts are among the best budget cycling shorts for women.
The main features of the HLTPRO Spandex Biker Shorts for Women include:
- 92% polyester and 8% spandex
- Washable in a machine
- High-waisted and tummy control design
- Not see-through
- Suitable for riding, yoga, gym, training, lounging around the house and similar
- Two large side pockets and one back hidden waistband pocket
- A soft and lightweight fabric that provides ultra comfort
- Found in a great range of sizes, from XS to 3XL
- Breathable and sweat absorbent, preventing build-up of moisture
- Perfectly combined with a hoodie or other piece as outdoor fashion
- Comfy, yet stylish
- Sweat absorbent
- Not transparent material
- Suitable for a multitude of activities
- None, in fact
If you are looking for biking shorts with a great padding design, to offer great comfort even during long rides, but are short in budget, or simply do not want to spend a lot of money in a pair of shorts, then Baleaf 3D Padded may tick your box.
These shorts contain the following features:
- High-quality fabric, made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex
- Thick and adequate 3 padding that provides for proper protection on the bike saddle during middle-distance riding
- Suitable for all types of biking, whether it be road biking, mountain biking, commuter bike riding, and similar
- Stretchy material that offers a lot of comfort
- Comes in sizes from S to 3XL.
- Comes in two styles, with and without pockets.
- Great protection on the bike saddle
- Suitable for any type of riding
- High quality of nylon and spandex
- Opportunity to choose between numerous styles
- Friendly price
- Hard to find one
Not accidentally, these shorts hold a “best-seller” prize on Amazon. They are equipped with a six-panel design which is made of moisture-wicking breathable material and a 4D gel padded material to make your ride enjoyable by giving you super comfort. If you are intrigued by these bestseller shorts, keep reading.
Sponeed Padded Cycling Shorts come with these features:
- Made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex
- 4D padding that makes your ride super comfortable and alleviates the pressure
- Quick dry and high wicking material
- Handwashing or machine wash
- Available in different US sizes from S to 3XL
- Available in 10 different colors/designs
- Elastic waistband that does not tighten your waist
- Silicon non-slip band that makes the short stay firm while cycling
- Great customer service: any emails regarding the product are replied to within 24 hours
- Comfort, even during long-riding
- Suitable for any type of biking
- Sweat prevention
- Easily washable and quick dry material
- A great range of sizes and designs
- Elastic and non-slippery
- None, really
Designed for high performance and great comfort on the saddle during all-day riding, these shorts are perfect for those looking for fun and comfortable adventures on their bikes.
- RC Pro chamois that allows for great comfort in the bike’s saddle
- Silicone gripper that prevents shorts from slipping during the ride
- Has a comfortable waistband
- Single color: black
- Available in sizes XS to XL
- Great comfort
- Appropriate waistband
- Short in colors/designs
- A bit expensive
These women cycling shorts are found in a high-waisted and tummy control design that allows for a perfect shape. While more appropriate for yoga activities, these shorts can be used for biking, although not recommendable for long distances. They will still do the job, and it is worth going through their features.
- Made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex
- Elastic closure
- 4-way stretch and nontransparent material
- Available in sizes from S to XL
- 16 different styles to choose from
- High-waisted and tummy control for a perfect shape
- Affordable price
- Great quality
- More appropriate for yoga, less for long rides since no padding seems to be inserted
What to Look for When Buying Cycling Shorts?
Now that you have a carefully selected list of the best cycling shorts and you want to proceed with your purchase, there are a few other things to consider before deciding on which pair to choose. Begin by assessing comfort, fabric weight, and lastly, size and fit. Each is further elaborated below.
Long-distance riding surely needs long-lasting comfort. When looking into comfort, focus on the following:
- Fabric: Best cycling shorts are usually made of sticky materials like Lycra or Spandex. This material prevents them from sliding up while you are riding. Such fabric material also makes the cycling shorts more breathable, which is very convenient.
- Stretch: Biking shorts that are made of Spandex are usually stretchier.
- Panels: Shorts equipped with more panels are better in terms of comfort. Generally, 8-panel shorts will make you feel more comfortable than others with fewer.
- Liner: Biking shorts liners made of synthetic material and not real leather are better in the sense that such material does not dry, crack, or cause more irritation. In addition, large, smooth, absorbent, and one-piece padded liners are highly comfortable. So make sure to check out these characteristics.
- Waistband and length: The waistband should be wide enough and elastic so as to provide maximum comfort. On the other hand, a proper waist length means that shorts are cut high in the back to keep your back covered during bent-over riding positions, while low in the front to allow you to move forward with no restriction.
- Leg length and grippers: if you want to avoid tan lines usually caused by wearing causal shorts, then you are advised to purchase some short-length shorts; however, keep in mind that they should not be as short as to allow the neck of the saddle to rub against the skin. It is equally important to carefully choose the grippers that are wide and made of sticky rubber material that allows the shorts to stay firm, but not feel tight on your legs.
- Bibs-short with built-in shoulder straps are preferred by some, however, they might be a bit uncomfortable for both men and women during breaks and when having physiological needs; they are generally more expensive than shorts.
For maximum comfort during the ride, it is important that the fabric used is lightweight. In such regard, Lycra material has a great role in providing a tight, stretchy fit, and lightweight product overall. Further, it is worth mentioning that different manufacturers produce different versions of shorts in terms of weight, so it is advisable that you check into the weight specification of each of the products given above.
Size and fit
You will find biking shorts in different sizes, generally from XS to 3XL. However, note that the standards of sizing differ among different manufacturers and even countries. If you purchase shorts made in the US, consider that the clothing is generally cut bigger there. But this is not necessarily the case in other countries. Although it is recommended to try them on before buying, nowadays online shops have the possibility of returns and replacements, so as long as that is the case, you should not worry if it does not fit.
Overall, it is recommended that biking shorts fit tight, but not as much as to make you feel restrictive while riding. In this sense, the best biking shorts should be cozy but not fit loose or allow for wind catch. By contrast, a perfect fit means that the shorts should stay firm in the body. Further, the best cycling shorts are the ones that feel slightly stretchy. Just remember not to feel discouraged when trying them in front of a mirror, as they might look a bit strange in a stand-up position since they are modeled to fit you best while in a pedaling position.
Whether you cycle in the open air or indoors, it is clear that investing in cycling shorts is worth it. There is nothing more uncomfortable than doing a workout or going on a ride and feel uncomfortable in your clothes. Now that you have addressed the shorts, you may want to also think about other accessories. You can check out our guides on best cycling gloves, best cycling socks, and best cycling helmets for a comfortable and safe experience.