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Bike Shorts

women's cycling shorts with chamois pads - see our buyer's guide
5 products
5 products

Women's Bike Shorts - Buyer's Guide

Fitted or Loose-fit?

  • Fitted Lycra bike shorts are:
    • a popular choice of road cyclists,
    • supportive of your muscles,
    • moisture wicking,
    • made from stretchy spandex materials that move with you to alleviate chafing,
    • aerodynamic - no extra material flapping in the wind.
  • Loose-fit, baggy bike shorts are:
    • popular with casual urban, trail and mountain bike riders,
    • more modest in look,
    • more abrasion and snag resistant than Lycra shorts.

Padding

chamois photo
  • A chamois pad pronunciation icon is used in cycling shorts to:
    • cover seams and reduce friction,
    • absorb and wick away moisture,
    • provide additional padding to reduce pressure at the sit bones.
  • The pad in a bike short designed for women differs from a men's pad. It is:
    • wider at the sit bones,
    • shorter in length - no need for a large "modesty panel" up front.
  • Chamois pads are available in a variety of thicknesses, shapes, densities and cover fabrics. The best chamois for a particular rider is a matter of personal preference. Unfortunately, it may take time and experience to determine what works best for your unique anatomy.
  • Search the TE Forums for advice from other female cyclists on which shorts have the best chamois?
  • TIP: every bike short on our site has a chamois photo, linked to in the details section of the product page.

Inseam Length

  • Longer inseam shorts provide better support to the quads.
  • Shorter inseam shorts can help you avoid an obvious "cyclist's tan".
  • TIP: Use our filters to shop by your preferred inseam length.

Leg Grippers

  • Silicone dot grippers or no gripper at all help to avoid the sausage leg look.
  • Silicone grippers are a good choice for those with latex allergies.
  • If the short has no grippers, it needs to fit well to avoid riding up and bunching.
  • TIP: Use our filters to view only those bike shorts that feature your preferred gripper type.

Panels & Seams

  • More panels generally means a more contoured, better fit when in the cycling position.
  • Fabric orientation within a panel can be used to provide additional muscle support.
  • Flatlock seams between the panels are less obtrusive than overlock seams and reduce friction.

Waist Band

  • Waistbands are largely a matter of personal preference. Look for a waistband that doesn't gap at the back or fold over in the front when in the cycling position.
  • Elastic waist bands have traditionally been used, but elastic-free yoga-style waist bands are popular option.

Bib Shorts

  • Eliminated waistband makes for a very comfortable bike short.
  • Women can find bibs problematic on longer rides due to the need to remove the jersey top in order to use the restroom.
  • Manufacturers are now offering a variety of innovative buckle systems in an effort to improve women's cycling bib shorts.

Use and Care of Cycling Shorts

  • Wear Without Underwear:
    • Bike shorts are always worn without underwear.
    • Underwear bunches and abrades and retains moisture.
  • No Velcro (hook-and-loop closures), No Sharp Edges:
    • Lycra cycling shorts are very susceptible to snagging when exposed to Velcro.
    • Check your bike for any exposed velcro or sharp edges on saddle packs and frame-mounted accessories. Velcro can chew up a pair of shorts in a single ride!
    • Protect your shorts and other apparel by using laundry bags for any clothing or gloves with Velcro.