Which shorts are best for cyclists?

Sports Apparel

If you’re having trouble keeping your shorts from riding up and chafing your skin, opt for a pair with longer legs. Styles that hit just above the knee usually stay in place better.

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The best shorts for cycling

Cycling is a great way to burn calories and stay in shape. It’s also an eco-friendly way to get from place to place. If you find that your bike seat is making those long rides a little too uncomfortable, it may be time to upgrade your cycling shorts.

Cycling shorts make riding easier since you don’t have to worry about fabric getting in your way while pedaling. They also provide cushioning from your bike seat, keep you cool on warm days and offer protection in case you fall — all without slowing you down. 

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite shorts for cyclists to keep you comfortable, whether you bike occasionally or every day. 

Types of cycling shorts

All cycling shorts may seem the same, but you can choose from two main types. 

Waist shorts 

Waist shorts are a trendy option for new and casual cyclists and feature a low-rise style. They’re an excellent option for warmer weather because they expose more skin. 

Bib shorts 

Bib shorts are another standard option, particularly for road cyclists. They extend over the torso with an over-the-shoulder cut that keeps the shorts from bunching. 

What makes a good pair of cycling shorts?

For shorts to be comfortable and functional for cycling, they should be made of a stretchy fabric like Lycra. Lycra is also moisture-wicking, so you can stay cool and dry while riding. Nylon isn’t as stretchy but offers more protection if you fall during a ride.  

Cycling shorts should have some type of padding in the saddle area, so it’s more comfortable to sit on your seat on long rides. Some padding is made of thinner foam, while other pads are thick and gel-infused for more cushioning. 

Cycling shorts should also reduce chafing on your thighs and backside for greater comfort while riding. You may also want a pair of shorts in a bright color or with reflective details to help make you more visible in low-light situations. 

Best cycling shorts for 2021

Louis Garneau Women’s Fit Sensor 5.5 Shorts

Louis Garneau Women’s Fit Sensor 5.5 Shorts

These breathable, quick-drying shorts are ideal for long rides, even in warm weather. They offer a comfortable chamois and a wide waistband that won’t pinch or roll down while you ride. Sold by Amazon, Backcountry and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Gore Wear Men’s C5 Bib Shorts

Gore Wear Men’s C5 Bib Shorts

These bib shorts can keep you comfortable thanks to their mesh uppers, which increase breathability and ventilation. The seams are placed carefully to avoid chafing and irritation, and its reflective logo design keeps you visible in low light. Sold by Backcountry and Amazon

 

Nike Women’s Bike Shorts

Nike Women’s Bike Shorts

If you’re a new cyclist and need a new pair of shorts, these are an excellent, affordable option for road riding. They’re made of a soft jersey fabric that feels comfortable against the skin, and the high waistband prevents pinching and rolling. Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods 

 

Castelli Men’s Free Aero Race 4 Bib Short

Castelli Men’s Free Aero Race 4 Bib Short

If you need to stay cool in warm weather, these bib shorts feature mesh-engineered construction, perfect for combating the heat. The dimpled fabric at the thighs can also help improve your aerodynamics, and the flat stitching prevents chafing on long rides. Sold by Amazon

 

ZOIC Women’s Navaeh Cycling Shorts and Essential Liner

ZOIC Women’s Navaeh Cycling Shorts and Essential Liner

These comfortable, lightweight shorts are a perfect choice if you prefer a baggier style. The removable liner and chamois provide support even through rougher rides, and the longer length can cover your knee pads. Sold at Backcountry, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

100% Men’s R-Core X DH Shorts

100% Men’s R-Core X DH Shorts

Thanks to their four-way stretch material, these technical shorts can stand up to all the rigors of downhill mountain biking. The backside is made of stretch Cordura fabric to prevent rips, and the large zippered pockets allow you to bring along all your biking essentials. Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

 

Giordana Women’s SilverLine Short

Giordana Women’s SilverLine Short

With their elastic-free, yoga-inspired waistband, these shorts are an excellent option for beginners. They have reflective details to keep you visible in low light and a plush chamois made of breathable foam for added comfort. 

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

 

Assos Men’s Cento Evo Bib Short

Assos Men’s Cento Evo Bib Short

These shorts are perfect for long-distance and endurance cyclists, thanks to their four-way stretch. They offer a compressive hold on your muscles to keep them energized, and the male-designed chamois keeps you comfortable on even the roughest rides. Sold by Backcountry

 

Pearl Izumi Women’s Pro Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Women’s Pro Bib Short

These soft, breathable shorts can keep you comfortable no matter how long you ride. The laser-cut bib offers support and helps you stay dry while you cycle. The silicone leg grippers also keep the shorts from riding up. Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

 

Canari Men’s Exert G2 Short

Canari Men’s Exert G2 Short

If you need a supportive pair of shorts for trail and mountain biking, these are the cycling shorts for you. They feature plush G2 padding with silicone gel to reduce shock and abrasions. The tall waistband offers greater comfort, too, because it won’t roll or pinch. Sold by Amazon

 

Sportful Men’s LTD Shield Bib Short

Sportful Men’s LTD Shield Bib Short

These shorts are excellent for fast road cycling because they feature anti-crash fabric on the sides to prevent road rash and other abrasions. They also have reflective logos on the front and back to keep you visible in dim light. Sold by Backcountry

 

Louis Garneau Women’s CB Neo Power RTR Bib Short

Louis Garneau Women’s CB Neo Power RTR Bib Short

These lightly-compressive cycling shorts hug your muscles to help fight fatigue during long rides. The mesh construction is lightweight and breathable to keep you cool in hot weather, and the fabric fights odor, so you stay fresh and comfortable all day. Sold by Backcountry and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Specialized Men’s RBX Shorts

Specialized Men’s RBX Shorts

These form-fitting cycling shorts feature four-way stretch to allow for plenty of freedom of movement. They also feature a UPF 50 rating for sun protection and silicone-infused cuffs to keep the shorts in place. Sold by Backcountry

 

ZOIC Men’s Edge Short

ZOIC Men’s Edge Short

These rugged, durable shorts are an excellent option for mountain biking and feature a highly breathable polyester blend material. The fixed waistband offers adjustment dials to help you get the perfect fit, and the overall neutral styling means you can wear them even when you’re not cycling. Sold by Amazon, Backcountry and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Castelli Women’s Free Tri Shorts

Castelli Women’s Free Tri Shorts

These comfortable shorts are designed for triathlons, so they’re ideal for cycling, running and swimming. They dry quickly and don’t offer much wind resistance to slow you down. They also feature two small hip pockets to make it easy to keep your valuables close. Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

 

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money

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