Which bike shorts should I get?

Cycling

Unlike regular shorts, bike shorts are usually made from tight-fitting spandex or a similar material. They have strategic padding and seams to ensure maximum performance, support, balance and comfort.

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How to choose the best bike shorts

Whether you’re a casual cyclist or ride competitively, a pair of bike shorts are an essential part of your attire when out on the open roads or in the backcountry. A good pair of bike shorts offers support, flexibility and ventilation in all the right places to keep you riding for hours. Plus, with options like gel cushioning, you can ride in comfort without losing out on performance.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of bike shorts, here are some of the best options available.

Best bike shorts for men

Assos Men’s Cento EVO Bib Short

Assos Men’s Cento EVO Bib Short

These high-quality cycling bibs are designed with performance in mind. They are moisture-wicking, fast-drying and comfortable with chamois technology that prevents chafing and keeps the material from awkwardly bunching up as you ride. These bib shorts are perfect for endurance or long-distance rides.

Sold by Backcountry

Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts

Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts

These form-fitting cycling tights are made with quick-drying material and have four-way stretch for optimal performance and long-term comfort. The material is highly breathable, durable and stretchy enough to keep up with even competitive cyclists. Plus, these shorts are tailored with the right amount of padding for men.

Sold by Amazon

Louis Garneau Men's Gel Cycling Shorts

Louis Garneau Men’s Gel Cycling Shorts

With a supportive fit and active gel chamois, these moisture-wicking cycling shorts offer flexibility and comfort during long rides. They also have anti-chafing seams and silicone leg grippers to keep them in place without causing discomfort. The reflective properties make them great for evening rides as well.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Sportneer Men’s Cycling Shorts

Sportneer Men’s Cycling Shorts

Affordable and comfortable, these bike shorts offer triple-layer padding at the seat and maximum saddle support to eliminate strain during long rides. The foam padding is absorbent and breathable, which prevents moisture from building up and chafing. On the whole, these shorts are designed for maximum efficiency and comfort. They also have a reflector for visibility in poor lighting.

Sold by Amazon

KPSUN Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts

KPSUN Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts

With 3D padding and UPF 50+ protection, these bike shorts are lightweight and baggy, which makes them great for casual riders or those who need a little extra ventilation. Made for mountain biking specifically, these shorts offer superior shock absorption. Plus, the material is moisture-wicking and antibacterial.

Sold by Amazon

Best bike shorts for women

Baleaf Women’s High-Waist Biker Shorts

Baleaf Women’s High-Waist Biker Shorts

Versatile enough for biking, running and other types of exercise, these shorts hold up against both light and strenuous workouts. With a gusseted crotch and elastic material, these shorts are non-restricting, breathable and comfortable. They also have a handy pair of side pockets for valuables.

Sold by Amazon

Pearl Izumi Women’s Interval Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Women’s Interval Bib Short

Made from the elastic material, Lycra, these shorts offer compression support, flexibility and comfort. They also have a near seamless fit to minimize chafing and maximize performance. The seven-panel construction keeps these shorts from restricting movements, while the chamois is supportive and breathable for long bike rides. Plus, these shorts have a drop-tail back design that is open and convenient for quick rest stops.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Heathyoga Biker Shorts

Heathyoga Biker Shorts

Stretchy and with a perfect fit, these bike shorts are made for casual cyclists, yogis and runners. They come with a secure inner pocket and side pockets for small things like a cell phone or keys. These shorts come in several different colors for those who want to add a little variety to their wardrobe. Every pair of shorts also has four-way stretch for optimal flexibility and movement. Plus, they’re non-see-through, moisture-wicking and quick-drying.

Sold by Amazon

Louis Garneau Women's Gel Cycling Shorts

Louis Garneau Women’s Gel Cycling Shorts

With the right level of active gel chamois padding and anti-chafing seams, these shorts provide maximum comfort and support without weighing you down while you ride. They are form-fitting, which makes them convenient for layering as well. The reflective logos increase visibility on dark roads for added safety.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Santic Women’s Cycling Shorts

Santic Women’s Cycling Shorts

These capri-style bike shorts are aerodynamic, anti-skid, form-fitting and highly breathable. They have a padded seat and ventilation at the thighs. Near the calves are two reflective lines for those who prefer evening rides.

Sold by Amazon

Best bike shorts for kids

Baleaf Padded Bike Shorts

Baleaf Padded Bike Shorts

Made from a stretchy, breathable material, these unisex shorts for kids are simple but effective. The material is UPF 50+ for added protection from the sun, while the reflective logo increases visibility during rides with low lighting. With an inner silicone gripper, these shorts stay in place during everything from casual rides to triathlons.

Sold by Amazon

How to dress for bike riding

Even if you prefer short, casual rides, it’s important to dress appropriately for the activity and the weather conditions. Doing so will make the experience more enjoyable and, for those who cycle competitively, it will maximize performance.

Here are some tips on what to wear when cycling.

  • Depending on the weather conditions, you may need to layer up. Layer a pair of tight-fitting bike shorts or cycling underwear underneath a baggier outer layer like bike pants. This will provide support and warmth without causing chafing.
  • When wearing layers, choose clothes with built-in ventilation and moisture-wicking, breathable material. This will prevent moisture from getting trapped between the clothes and the skin.
  • Don’t wear just any shorts for biking. Bike shorts are specifically designed to allow freedom of movement during rides. What’s more, they usually come with a padded liner at the crotch and other key areas that need extra support.
  • During hotter days when you need to keep cool, choose a pair of bib shorts. These don’t come up quite as high as other shorts, so they can help prevent overheating during rides.
  • In cold-weather cycling, wear a base layer, middle layer and outer layer. The base layer should be moisture-wicking to keep sweat or other moisture from your skin. The middle and outer layers can be insulated but shouldn’t be too heavy.
  • For the top layer, choose something aerodynamic, well-ventilated and breathable. Particularly, materials like polyester and Lycra are generally good options.

bike gloves

Consider getting a pair of bike gloves and socks. Both will prevent blisters from forming and add another layer of protection while riding. Plus, bike gloves add extra grip while cycling.

  • Bring a pair of cycling glasses to protect you from the sun and wind. Consider helmet compatibility if you choose goggle-style sunglasses. 
  • Wear a pair of bike shoes with cleats or a clip that’s compatible with your bike to keep your feet on the pedals.

 

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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