10 Best Cycling Shorts Tested and Fully Reviewed

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Unlike other shorts, Cycling shorts provide padding for the rider while on the bike. While different brands offer varying levels of padding, they all enhance the comfort of the rider and minimize any pressure felt from the bike seat.

Cycling shorts are typically tight fitting so they stay secure and don’t need to be adjusted during your ride—which is incredibly annoying to do while maneuvering your bicycle.

The best cycling shorts allow the cyclist to focus on the training ride while remaining comfortable and at ease.

Below, you’ll find our picks for the 10 best cycling shorts. Here you’ll find a wide range of styles, prices, and brands, as well as some women’s options and a unisex option. Each choice has been evaluated according to specific metrics to ensure we are recommending quality options.

Last Updated: May 27, 2018
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By Giselle Killebrew:

This update brings the Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2, which is a top pick for the guys this season. It is highly breathable, comfortable, and durable—and overall one of the best picks on our list.

NOOYME
  • NOOYME
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quality materials
  • Price: See Here
Sponeed
  • Sponeed
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Good amount of padding
  • Price: See Here
Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2
  • Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2
  • 4.2 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Helps increase circulation
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Cycling Shorts

 

 

 

1. NOOYME (Men)

Our top pick for best cycling shorts is the NOOYME cycling short for men. It makes the top of the list for its comfortable fit, accurate sizing, and excellent moisture wicking properties.
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Construction & Fit
The NOOYME men's cycling shorts made the cut because of their true to size fit. Made with non-slip leg grippers, the shorts are not prone to slipping or riding up and don't require frequent adjustments. An elastic waistband keeps the shorts sitting comfortably on the rider's waist.

Comfort
Reviewers greatly appreciated the anti-chafing smooth seams featured on the shorts which eliminate issues related to friction. The 3D chamois offers a nice amount of padding for riders that users found quite comfortable. Side padding on the shorts was something users found to be a nice touch.

Style
The shorts are offered in a variety of different color options and also feature stylish and practical reflective strips for added visibility on evening or early morning rides.

Breathability
The materials that make up the shorts (polyamide and spandex) work well when wicking moisture and work effectively to regulate body temperature.
Pros
  • Great value
  • Comfortable
  • Made with quality materials
  • Nice style
  • Fit as expected
Cons
  • Padding may not be adequate for very long rides
  • No drawstring for easy adjustment

2. Sponeed (Men)

These athletic looking shorts are inexpensive and provide great compression with a generous amount of padding.
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Construction & Fit
The shorts fit true to size according to the majority of reviewers and the material composition (polyester and spandex) provides a nice amount of stretch giving riders the right fit. The shorts also happen to be UPF 50+ protective. This feature ensures riders are protected from the sun's powerful rays and is great for the rider concerned with skin health.

Comfort
The 3D chamois in these shorts is male specific to ensure male riders receive padding in all the right places. Leg grippers keep the shorts in check for a smooth wear experience.

Style
The shorts feature interesting graphics mostly on a black background. Several design options are available and all of them make the shorts look like they were made for serious athletes.

Breathability
The Coolmax silicone crotch pad is breathable and mops up moisture as the rider sweats. The padding also works to fight off bacterial growth in order to eliminate unpleasant smells.
Pros
  • Nice graphics
  • Good amount of padding
  • Comfortable
  • Fit as expected
  • Great value
Cons
  • Long length might not be suitable for shorter cyclists
  • Not as great as other options for overall sweat wicking

3. Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2

These shorts have quickly become a favorite. They provide optimal padding and will keep you comfortable even during your longest rides.
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Construction & Fit
These bib shorts are made of a Lycra material and have highlander mesh panels--which improves breathability and keeps you cool and dry. They are compressive and stretchable and help increase your blood flow.

Comfort
These bib shorts are comfortable and breathable. They also reduce fatigue as well as muscle compression.

Style
These bib shorts look pretty standard and comes in black.

Breathability
These shorts are highly breathable thanks to their Carbon Lycra material.

4. Pearl Izumi Quest (Men)

The majority of reviewers cited the great fit as one of their top reasons for loving this cycling short. The Pearl Izumi Men's Quest Cycling Short comes in a variety of sizes to ensure you get the right fit.
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Construction & Fit
The nylon fabric of these shorts provides a nice amount of give to ensure sizing is right on. A snug fit means these shorts stay put during a ride and an anatomically correct design works to produce nearly zero chafing. Sun protection, in the form of UPF 50+ material, is another bonus with these shorts.

Comfort
The great fit of these shorts makes them comfortable to wear. Adorned with leg grippers to eliminate movement, the shorts feature a male specific shape for comfort.

Style
A basic style with all-black coloring will suit cyclists who prefer to minimize flash.

Breathability
In addition to anti bacterial properties, the shorts feature select transfer material which wicks sweat really well, helping to keep the rider dry.
Pros
  • 3D chamois is extremely comfortable
  • Great fit
  • Look great 
  • Quick drying 
Cons
  • Not as supportive as other options
  • Sizing is on the small side
  • No drawstring

5. Sugoi Evolution (Men)

Quality construction and durability have earned these shorts their spot on this list. They also feature a friction free fit and comfortable padding.
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Construction & Fit
A blend of materials make these shorts solid and durable. They will hold up even after several washes. They also fit well, according to the majority of reviewers who tried the shorts.

Comfort
Flat seams on this pair of shorts prevent chafing from occurring and an RC Pro chamois ensures riders stay comfortable even on longer rides. The chamois padding is so generous that it may feel a bit much for some.

Style
A sleek fit makes these shorts a stylish option for riders who prefer to opt for basic black.

Breathability
These shorts wick moisture pretty well thanks to the breathable fabric.
Pros
  • High quality construction
  • Durable
  • Nice fit overall
Cons
  • Logo fades away after a while
  • Chamois might be a bit too generous for some

6. Santic Men’s 4D CoolMax Padded

The Santic 4D CoolMax padded shorts are perfect for even the lengthiest ride and are sure to keep cool on those hot days.
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Construction & Fit
Santic's 4D CoolMax cycling short are made of a combination of Lycra, Nylon, and Spandex--which provides you with a comfortable and breathable option.

Comfort
These shorts are easily one of the most comfortable options available. They prevent sweat accumulation, supply adequate temperature control, and are breathable and padded for maximum comfort.

Style
There are few color options available for these shorts, however there are several sizing options--include Asian sizing and a women's version of the same shorts.

Breathability
These shorts feature breathable mesh, which provides you with sweat repellent
Pros
  • Breathable
  • Great value
  • temperature control
  • 12-panel seamless padding for maximum comfort
Cons
  • Few style and color options

7. Endura Hummvee Baggy

A baggier short for those who want to avoid skin tight options. Great for mountain bikers or those who just want a pair of shorts with a looser fit. Easy to wear off the bike.
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Construction & Fit
A baggier fit makes these great for those who don't want to feel constricted. The nylon fabric construction is durable and the variety of pockets offer great storage capacity. An adjustable belt makes finding the right waistband fit easy.

Comfort
Seamless construction of the inner leg means that the potential for chafing is reduced. Reviewers found the looser fit quite comfortable and accommodating.

Style
Unique style is offered in a variety of color options to suit different tastes. These shorts can easily be worn off the bike. Wearers won't feel self-conscious taking a break from riding to head into a coffee shop in these shorts. Work just as well as a casual short.

Breathability
The water repellent material keeps rainy days from ruining the fun. Water won't be soaked up by the fabric. A side zipper can be utilized for extra ventilation and a mesh liner encourages breathability.
Pros
  • Super durable
  • Easily adjustable
  • Well-padded
  • Great amount of pocket storage
  • Sturdy zippers that won't break
Cons
  • Belt buckle is a little flimsy
  • Sizing chart is off, best to go up a size

8. Pearl Izumi Sugar (Women)

This pair of cycling shorts is a great option for women looking for something durable and stylish. The wide range of sizing means there's an option for all shapes.
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Construction & Fit
Revewiers were extremely happy with the fit of these shorts and loved that they were offered in so many sizes. An anatomically correct fit hugs the body to ensure the shorts fit well.

Comfort
3D chamois padding adds comfort during a ride. Placed in the right areas to provide protection for female riders even on longer rides. Leg grippers eliminate unwanted movement from the shorts.

Style
These shorts look sleek and stylish and options with different color accents can be purchased. The basic black base stays the same but pops of color add some interest.

Breathability
These shorts wick sweat quite well, reviewers were happy to report that they liked how the shorts left them feeling dry even when the going got tough.
Pros
  • Snug comfortable fit
  • Great sweat wicker
  • Quality short that will hold up after many washes
Cons
  • Padding tends to flatten out over time

9. Louis Garneau Fit Sensor (Women)

Another women's option with a great sizing range. These shorts fit as expected and come in a variety of color options. And, of course, they're quite comfortable.
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Construction & Fit
Lycra fabric is paired with special Fit Sensor material to ensure the shorts fit well. Hugging the body, these shorts won't ride up as you move.

Comfort
An ergonomic fit means these shorts will move with your body. Reviewers also liked the feel of the fabric against the skin and found the waistband fit just right without constricting the belly. There's enough padding in these shorts to make them a good option for long rides.

Style
3 color options provide some choice for wearers but regardless of the color selection, these shorts look built for performance. The athletic design looks sleek and modern without appearing overly feminine.

Breathability
AirZone Chamois is built to ventilate the crotch area to avoid heat build up and discomfort.
Pros
  • Good fit
  • Comfortable fabric
  • Perfect length
  • Seamless waistband fits nicely
  • Great amount of padding
Cons
  • No leg grippers (but they don't tend to ride up)
  • Fabric is not thick enough for colder rides

10. Giro Women’s Chrono Expert

Bibs are an excellent alternative for long distance riding. We wanted to include a stylish, functional, and comfortable bib option for women, and we found it with the Giro Women's Chrono Expert.
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Construction & Fit
The Giro Chrono expert is made of a combination of Nylon and Spandex—with mesh incorporated on the upper body section, for increased breathability and comfort.

Comfort
The lightweight and breathable material used for this bib provides cyclist with optimal comfort and elasticity.

Style
While there are not may color options, Giro does provide a flattering and functional design.

Breathability
This bib is made up of breathable material and the use of mesh on the upper portion makes it ideal to wear in hot conditions.
Pros
  • Chrono Sport Cytech Chamois for a stretchier and more flattering design 
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable upper Mesh
Cons
  • Expensive 

 

The Criteria We Used to Find the 10 Best Cycling Shorts

We didn’t select these cycling shorts at random. We decided that the most important factors to consider when purchasing cycling shorts were construction & fit, comfort, style, and breathability. Each of these considerations played into our decision to feature the products on this list.

Construction & Fit

Who wants to wear a pair of shorts if they aren’t made of quality materials? We chose to consider construction to ensure the shorts on this list represent durable options that will last through several washes. A snug fit is also important to avoid riding up while cycling and to ensure movement is minimal. You want cycling shorts to move with your body but when shorts ride up or waistbands don’t hold, wearing the shorts quickly becomes a burden.

Another important aspect of fit is correct sizing. We attempted to choose options that reviewers labeled as true to size. This makes selecting the right size easy. We also wanted to feature shorts with a wide range of sizing that might suit riders needing the smallest sizes to those who require plus size choices.

Comfort

The whole point of wearing cycling shorts rather than regular shorts on the bike is to ensure there’s enough padding to reduce or eliminate discomfort. Bike seats are hard, and even with an added padded cover, there’s still a need to wear shorts with some cushion to make long rides bearable. Gravity produces pressure on your bottom and crotch while you ride and padding helps to alleviate any discomfort that results from this.

We chose shorts with generous amounts of padding in the right places. Of course, fit is an important part of finding a comfortable short which is why it’s our top consideration. Comfort is also aided by breathability, which was another aspect we used to evaluate the shorts on this list and is explained in detail below.

Style

When you’re riding a bike, how you look may not be your top priority but it’s not something to ignore completely. Each pair of cycling shorts on this list is well-designed and looks great when worn. There are a variety of color options for most of the shorts featured and different designs to suit cyclists who prefer a more minimal look or those who want something that looks obviously athletic.

Breathability

When you exercise, no matter what the activity, the body heats up and sweats. The amount of sweat depends on the person, of course, but everyone produces some amount of sweat. The harder you work, the more sweat. No one wants to head out for a long ride and spend the entire time sitting in their own sweat.

Good cycling shorts will wick sweat effectively from your body and the material will dry out quickly to ensure you don’t spend all your time feeling damp. A good pair of cycling shorts will also have some degree of ventilation in the crotch area where the chamois is located to ensure you don’t overheat and experience uncomfortable chafing.

 

Other Important Factors to Consider

Length of the shorts

This is an important factor to consider for cyclists, especially if you are shorter or taller than the average individual.  If you’re on the shorter side, you may want to try on the shorts before buying to ensure the length of the short doesn’t go over your knee. Checking the inseam measurement of the short may help you to decide if the fit will be right for you if you’re unable to give them a try before buying.  For taller cyclists, the risk is that of purchasing shorts that may be too short. Cycling shorts generally tend to be shorter so make sure you’re paying attention to reviewer comments on the length of the clothing. Shorts that are too short may tend to ride up while you’re moving and cause discomfort for you.

Waistband or Bib Style

You have the option of going with shorts with traditional waistbands or bib style shorts. A traditional waistband tends to be composed of some elasticized material to ensure the shorts don’t fall or move too much as you ride. The downside to an elastic waistband is that it may dig into the skin after a while and begin to feel too tight. Some shorts will come equipped with drawstrings to allow for a more customized fit.

Bib style shorts feature straps that act like suspenders. Some cyclists may shy away from this style of short because they’re self-conscious about the different look. Don’t be shy to try something out of your comfort zone! These shorts have the advantage of no waistband. If you constantly have the issue of waistbands feeling too tight and leaving markings post-ride, a bib style option may be a good choice. The straps help the shorts stay put and there’s no need to fiddle with a drawstring.

Price

We didn’t feature price as the main consideration for the shorts on this list because there’s so much variation in terms of what you can get for your dollar. A pricier option doesn’t immediately signal better quality. There are plenty of value options that provide the same level of performance as more expensive shorts. Generally, less expensive options will prove less durable over time, although that’s not always the case.

 

FAQs

Q: Do I really need cycling specific shorts?

A: Yes! Unless you want a sore bum after a long ride. Cycling shorts are designed to pad your bottom while you ride your bike. Sitting on a bike seat without sport specific shorts can lead to discomfort. Remember when you were a kid and rode your bike around the neighborhood? Then you’ll probably remember feeling sore the next day. Bike shorts will ensure you feel comfortable even if you go long.

Q: What exactly is a ‘chamois’?

A: This is the special padding that’s featured in bike shorts. It helps to provide a layer of padding between your bottom and your bike seat. But that’s not all, it also provides support while you ride and helps to reduce the incidences of chafing you experience. Chamois that’s labeled as being 3D constructed is meant to mold to the body, you’ll notice a few options on this list with this kind of chamois. Many bike shorts have padding with anti bacterial properties to limit the growth of foul smelling bacteria.

Q: Should I wear underwear with these types of shorts?

A: Nope! It might feel weird at first, but most cycling shorts are designed to be worn without undergarments. They fit close to the skin and wick moisture away from the body and the chamois is designed to pad without underwear getting in the way. Wearing undergarments might actually cause unwanted friction and result in chafing.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a bib style short?

A: Bib style shorts eliminate the need for a waistband. If you’re someone who finds elastic waistbands uncomfortable, a bib short may help you with this problem. The straps on a bib short help the clothing to stay put. The downside? Going to the bathroom might be more of an ordeal.

Q: Why are all these shorts so tight fitting?

A: A tight fit helps riders become more aerodynamic. Clothing that’s close to the skin reduces drag and helps to produce a speedier ride.

Q: What’s the best advice for caring for my new cycling shorts?

A: Generally, most athletic clothing features special care instructions. Check the tag of your particular garment to see what’s recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid the clothes dryer if possible. Drying your athletic clothing will reduce its lifespan and cause it to wear out a lot faster.

Sources

  1. Winnipeg Cycling Club, Cycling Gear, Club Website,
  2. Philippe Tremblay, An 8-step guide to choosing your next pair of cycling shorts, Magazine (Online), Jun 05, 2017
  3. Robert Annis, 6 Things You Didn't Know About Your Chamois, Bicycling Website , May 06, 2016
  4. Joe Lindsey, Your Chamois: A Users' Guide, Bicycling Website , Jan 24, 2012
  5. Adrienne Auclair, How to choose the right cycling shorts, Blog, Feb 27, 2017
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