A brief buyer's guide on how to shop for women's bike shorts:
Fitted or Loose-fit?
Fitted Lycra bike shorts are:
a popular choice of road cyclists,
supportive of your muscles,
made from stretchy spandex materials that move with you to alleviate chafing,
aerodynamic - no extra material flapping in the wind.
Loose-fit, baggy bicycle shorts are:
popular with casual urban, trail and mountain bike riders,
more modest in look,
more abrasion and snag resistant than Lycra shorts.
A chamois pad is used in bicycling 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.