One of the worst feelings when working out is wearing a pair of shorts or pants that never quite stay on properly. You have to do that awkward shuffle to try and haul them back up or down, just to be in the same situation a few minutes later. Why put yourself through that unnecessary routine? Enter bike shorts — a go-to buy for cyclists. They’re specifically designed with padding to help provide comfort throughout your ride, reduce chaffing and even decrease air resistance. If you find the right pair of bike shorts, chances are you’ll never want to ride without them again.
Buying the right bike shorts can make a huge difference during your ride. Typically made from spandex or synthetic materials, bike shorts use dense padding that’s catered to your body, layered with antibacterial materials to fight off saddle sores and any other unwanted smells or infections. If you’re a novice rider and plan to do a quick loop of the neighbourhood, odds are you’ll survive wearing any old pair of gym shorts. But if you plan to go the distance, you’ll want to invest in a pair of proper biking shorts.
Check out our top five best bike shorts below, or scroll to the bottom for more info and factors to consider before buying bike shorts to help you find the right pair for you.
|X-Small to XXX-Large sizes|
|Made of 80 percent nylon, 20 percent spandex and lycra|
|4D COOLMAX cushion|
|Anti-sweat, anti-pilling, anti-shrink, anti-wrinkle material|
|Wide variety of colours|
These Santic cycling shorts are made from nylon, spandex and lycra materials that work to not only keep your skin dry and cool, but prevent irritation as well. These shorts use a 4D COOLMAX cushion that has nearly 40 vents to reduce the chance of bacterial growth, and provides maximum comfort to protect your delicates during rides. Built with anti-sweat, pilling, shrink and wrinkle properties, you can ride comfortably, (figuratively and literally) knowing your shorts have your best interests in mind.
|Anti-slip leg grippers (1.8” wide)|
|Lightweight, breathable mesh material|
|85 percent polyester, 15 percent spandex|
|Seamless chamois with four-way stretch, six-layer protective multi-density foam padding|
|Small to 4X-Large sizes|
If you’re looking for a pair of shorts for an occasional leisurely ride, or want something a little more comfortable during your commute to work, the Souke men’s cycling shorts are a great choice.
Their anti-slip silicone leg grippers help eliminate slipping and chaffing. They also work to ensure that the ergonomic 4D pad stays where you need it to so you can have a comfortable ride from start to finish. Made with a lightweight, breathable mesh fabric that wicks away moisture and a wide elastic waistband, these biking shorts will give you the best bang for your buck.
|Made from lycra and polyester|
|Breathable, loose fitting|
|Comfortable, wicking and protective 4D COOLMAX pad|
|X-Small to XXX-Large sizes|
Now, if tight bike shorts are simply not your speed, these loose fitting bike shorts from Santic are perfect for any casual or mountain biking excursions. These bike shorts are made from lycra and polyester to give riders a comfortable, breathable ride while working to remove sweat and moisture from the body. With a 4D COOLMAX cushion, an elastic waistband, a convenient pocket and reflective design, these easy-to-wear, loose-fitting shorts are the perfect addition to any casual riders closet.
|X-Small to XXX-Large sizes|
|Very wide range of colours and patterns|
|80 percent polyester, 20 percent spandex|
|Moisture absorbing, flexible material|
|3D gel padding|
The BEROY Women’s bike shorts provide a close, comfortable fit that forms to your legs to quickly absorb moisture and reduce the amount of friction as you ride. Combining polyester and spandex materials, a non-slip belt and 3D gel padding, these long shorts allow for a breathable, flexible ride — perfect for those wanting to go the distance.
|Small to X-Large sizes|
|Breathable, flexible, moisture wicking material|
|Made from a specialty 80 percent nylon, 20 percent spandex fabric blend|
|Six layers of multi-thickness density foam|
|Rear pocket for small items|
These fashionable bike shorts use moisture wicking properties to help you stay dry on long rides while providing a comfortable and supportive fit. The Souke women’s cycling shorts use a yoga-style, wide waistband to stay secure on your body without pinching it and silicone grippers on the leg bands to prevent them from riding up.
With a rear pocket perfect for holding your keys, cards or cash, and a premium chamois specifically created for women to allow for maximum breathability and protection, these bike shorts will become one of your favourite go-to pairs.
This term refers to the padded crotch section of your bike shorts. While it used to be made from non padded leather, thankfully today manufacturers use a blend of synthetic materials. Finding a pair of shorts with the right amount of chamois is crucial. It alleviates pressure to make rides more comfortable and is created to wick away moisture and reduce chaffing on sensitive areas, which is vital in fighting off any unwanted bacteria.
Although both men's and women's shorts work to accomplish the same things, the design of them are slightly altered to account for the different genetic makeups of the lower region. Women’s chamois are slightly larger in the sit bone region, with narrow pads in the middle and lower in the front, while men’s chamois opt for an inlet down the middle.
This may seem like a strange thing to think about, but the best way to use cycling shorts is to go commando.
Fit: Tight or Baggy?
Tight bike shorts are ideal if you plan to go on long bike rides since they provide the most comfort and are the most aerodynamic style of shorts. If you use your bike to commute, know you’ll be hopping off and on the bike or prefer style over function, baggy mountain biking shorts might be a better fit — not to mention they usually have spacious pockets.
The amount of padding on your shorts can make or break your ride. From thick to thin, the padding, or chamois, is designed specifically for men and women — never, buy a pair of unisex shorts. If you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks for anything, let it be for a better quality chamois, and when shopping online, make sure to read the reviews to make sure that your money goes to good use.
Fancy, expensive shorts are constructed with up to eight different panels of fabric that work to give riders a comfortable, form fitting pair of shorts. The less expensive a pair of shorts, the fewer panels.
The inseam, or length of the shorts, all depend on what you want to use them for. Shorter styles are great for spin classes and triathlons, while longer inseams tend to stay in place better and help prevent chaffing on the inner thighs. Typically, cyclists wear shorts that reach just above their knees.
Bike shorts can range pretty widely when it comes to price. Some shorts are sold for around $20, while more expensive professional pairs can be up to $200. While a cheaper pair is totally within reason for people who only bike on occasion, keep in mind that the more you invest, the better the fabric and chamois will be.
We're always looking for more feedback! If you own one of these bike shorts and would like to share your experience, please comment below!