10 Best Cycling Shorts Tested and Fully Reviewed
A lot of runners are very diverse athletes. They participate in a variety of different sports and enjoy cycling. This can call for a change in the type of gear that you use. Regular old running shorts won’t cut it when it comes to competitive or casual cycling. This is the piece of clothing that’s going to spend the most time touching the bike and will be protecting you against the wear and tear associated with friction. This is why cycling shorts need to be specially padded to make the entire process more comfortable. Regular shorts are thin, loose, and can get in the way of the cycling motion. Shorts that are made specifically for the sport are tighter, appropriately padded, and can minimize the pressures felt from the bike seat.
When you’re participating in any sport, uncomfortable clothing can be a serious distraction. When you’re cycling, you’re traveling at an accelerated rate of speed, usually for a longer period of time. This means that everything you’re wearing needs to be appropriate for the sport. If a person is running, they have the option of slowing or stopping to readjust a clothing item. When they’re cycling, this isn’t always possible. You can’t stop in the middle of a busy street to readjust your shorts or to make sure that your shirt isn’t getting stuck to anything.
- Quality materials
- Good amount of padding
- Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2
- Helps increase circulation
The best cycling shorts allow the cyclist to focus on the training ride while remaining comfortable and at ease.
This is why cycling shorts can make such a huge difference to your performance. You’re able to sit back, relax, and focus on enjoying what you’re doing. The best cycling shorts are designed to be stationary. This means that they won’t ride up, shift uncomfortably, or cause unnecessary friction. With this being said, it’s important to remember that not all cycling shorts are created equal. Different products have different levels of quality. Having a review list of the best cycling shorts on the market can take the guesswork out of choosing the right product for you.
10 Best Cycling Shorts
1. NOOYME (Men)
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.
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.
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.
The materials that make up the shorts (polyamide and spandex) work well when wicking moisture and work effectively to regulate body temperature.
- Great value
- Made with quality materials
- Nice style
- Fit as expected
- Padding may not be adequate for very long rides
- No drawstring for easy adjustment
2. Sponeed (Men)
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Nice graphics
- Good amount of padding
- Fit as expected
- Great value
- 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 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.
These bib shorts are comfortable and breathable. They also reduce fatigue as well as muscle compression.
These bib shorts look pretty standard and comes in black.
These shorts are highly breathable thanks to their Carbon Lycra material.
4. Pearl Izumi Quest (Men)
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.
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.
A basic style with all-black coloring will suit cyclists who prefer to minimize flash.
In addition to anti bacterial properties, the shorts feature select transfer material which wicks sweat really well, helping to keep the rider dry.
- 3D chamois is extremely comfortable
- Great fit
- Look great
- Quick drying
- Not as supportive as other options
- Sizing is on the small side
- No drawstring
5. Sugoi Evolution (Men)
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.
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.
A sleek fit makes these shorts a stylish option for riders who prefer to opt for basic black.
These shorts wick moisture pretty well thanks to the breathable fabric.
- High quality construction
- Nice fit overall
- Logo fades away after a while
- Chamois might be a bit too generous for some
6. Santic Men’s 4D CoolMax Padded
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.
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.
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.
These shorts feature breathable mesh, which provides you with sweat repellent
- Great value
- temperature control
- 12-panel seamless padding for maximum comfort
- Few style and color options
7. Endura Hummvee Baggy
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.
Seamless construction of the inner leg means that the potential for chafing is reduced. Reviewers found the looser fit quite comfortable and accommodating.
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.
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.
- Super durable
- Easily adjustable
- Great amount of pocket storage
- Sturdy zippers that won't break
- Belt buckle is a little flimsy
- Sizing chart is off, best to go up a size
8. Pearl Izumi Sugar (Women)
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Snug comfortable fit
- Great sweat wicker
- Quality short that will hold up after many washes
- Padding tends to flatten out over time
9. Louis Garneau Fit Sensor (Women)
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.
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.
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.
AirZone Chamois is built to ventilate the crotch area to avoid heat build up and discomfort.
- Good fit
- Comfortable fabric
- Perfect length
- Seamless waistband fits nicely
- Great amount of padding
- 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
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.
The lightweight and breathable material used for this bib provides cyclist with optimal comfort and elasticity.
While there are not may color options, Giro does provide a flattering and functional design.
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.
- Chrono Sport Cytech Chamois for a stretchier and more flattering design
- Breathable upper Mesh
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
No one wants to wear something with a weird seam or a waistline that digs in at an uncomfortable place. This takes away from the experience of cycling and can impact your performance. We looked at the way that the shorts were made, and how they were intended to fit. While a snug fit is important to prevent shifting mid-ride, you also don’t want them to be so tight that they restrict your movement. You shouldn’t have to fight your cycling shorts to pedal your bike. They should move with you naturally and be made of materials that are sturdy enough to bounce back after washing. If the waistband or elasticity gives way after one rinse cycle, then your cycling shorts definitely weren’t worth the money.
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.
Sitting on a hard bike seat for miles and miles isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of comfort. Cycling shorts add an additional layer of padding that can counteract the friction and thinly padded seats. Depending on how sensitive you are, you may need a larger amount of padding to eliminate your discomfort. Even the best bike seats can get worn down, hard, and uncomfortable with repetitive use. Gravity doesn’t help either. You’re constantly being pulled down, and the motion forces you to rely on the seat for stability.
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.
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.
Sweat has a tendency to pool around her tailbone. Especially when we’re sitting for long periods of time and working really hard. Everyone sweats at different rates, but it’s still something you’re going to have to deal with. Cycling shorts that aren’t made of breathable fabric can make this extremely uncomfortable. Not only do you end up sitting in a pool of your own sweat that has nowhere to go, you also provide the perfect storm for bacterial growth. Wet skin is more susceptible to tearing and blistering. All it takes is one open blister to introduce bacteria to your tailbone or lower areas. If that sounds horrible, it’s because it is. Good cycling shorts are breathable and will be able to wick the sweat away from your body. This gives the moisture somewhere to go and prevents a lot of unnecessary issues.
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
Length can have a real impact on how comfortable the cycling shorts are. This can be influenced by whether or not you’re taller, and where the shorts will come to on your thigh. A lot of products run shorter than average athletic shorts. This is to stop them from getting tangled in any part of the bicycle, and to help increase the freedom of movement. Most experts say that you don’t want cycling shorts that go over your knee. Unless you’re trying to ride in inclement weather, this can be distracting and actually reduces your mobility. You can always check the inseam measurement in the specifications when shopping online. Otherwise, it’s a really good idea to go in and try the shorts on yourself. This lets you know the differences in sizing between brands, and helps you choose something that’s going to be comfortable and modest enough for your needs.
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.
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.
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.
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