How to wear cycling shorts properly

Cycling shorts are an extremely useful wardrobe for cyclists whether they are commuting to work, riding a bike to burn calories, or taking part in a cycling competition like tour de France. The main function of cycling shorts is they make your riding much more comfortable. In this article, we will discuss how to pick the right pair of cycling shorts and then how to wear them.

The necessity of wearing cycling shorts

While riding a bike, if you experience any discomfort, the first thing that flashes in your mind is that your seat might be the reason for discomfort and it needs to be replaced. Of course, it could be a factor. But another convincing reason would be the garments that you are wearing. If you are not wearing a pair of quality cycling shorts, instead of wearing anything other than these, those garments also cause your discomfort.  Cycling shorts boost your riding comfort by providing three key benefits

First, cycling shorts come with padding. The padded area in the cycling shorts makes your sitting on the bike seat more comfortably. The padding in the cycling shorts is called chamois since it(padding) is made of the material chamois.

Second, cycling shorts snugly fit with your skin that moves with you as you pedal. The fabric lessens friction rather than rub against your skin.

Third, cycling shorts offer moisture management. The spandex, lycra, and other special fabric used to manufacture cycling shorts enhance leg movement and facilitate the evaporation of sweat from your skin.

Jeans, regular pants and shorts are made of cotton which entraps heat inside of your garment, promote the growth of bacteria and make the shorts too uncomfortable for wearing.

1. The other benefits of wearing cycling shorts are

  • Reduced chafing
  • Shock-absorbing
  • Breathable
  • Compression qualities
  • Comfortable
  • Good movement and
  • Wicking

2. How to choose the right pair of shorts

Cycling shorts come in various shapes and sizes The most common basic shape is it starts from your waist and goes down above your knees. To protect from sun and cool weather, cyclists also wear knickers or ¾ shorts which are a bit longer and go down below the knees.

Another type of shorts is bib shorts. They go high above your waist and pass the shoulders and finally wrap around your body. Although they look a bit at first impression, they offer more comfort than regular shorts. It is because you need not be concerned that your shorts might slide down. However, peeing is difficult while wearing such shorts.

Manufacturers also make women-specific cycling shorts. These shorts come in shorter lengths that come to around mid-thigh which some women like. Knickers, bib shorts, and bib knickers are also available in women’s specific shape and size. A few designs of bib shorts for women have buttons that facilitate the straps to be undone to make mid-bathroom break easier.  Another type of shorts for women cyclists are skorts. These are regular tight cycling shorts attached to an outer simple looking skirt.

Baggy shorts are one type of cycling shorts that have two layers. They have one tight short inside but also have an outer layer that looks like casual shorts. Wearing them during a hot sunny day is not a good idea since they will make you feel warm and uncomfortable. Baggy shorts are also available in knicker length size.

3. Try different types of cycling shorts

Try on the different styles of shorts to find out which style fits with your body more ergonomically. Remember that cycling shorts are designed for optimal fit while you are riding a bike, so they will feel a bit awkward while you’re standing and walking around, but the feeling will be very different on your bike.

Wear different styles of cycling shorts and see in which style you feel more comfortable. Remember that cycling shorts are designed for bike riding; not for your casual wearing. So, wearing them for regular use will make you feel uneasy.

Unlike pants, cycling shorts are not marked with specific numbers. They come with various sizes like Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, and XX-Large. Make a guess with your eyes to determine what size might fit you before trying any of the types of cycling shorts.

4. The right way to wear cycling shorts

Do not wear underwear under cycling shorts. Wearing a pair of cotton underwear beneath your cycling shorts will cancel out all benefits of wearing cycling shorts.

If you wear bib shorts or bib knickers, your cycling jersey will conceal the bib straps since the jersey will go over the bib strap. So, no one other than you will know that you are wearing bib shorts or bib knickers.

Cyclists or biker’s choices vary when it comes to choosing the right pair of cycling shorts. Most road cyclists for example like regular cycling shorts while baggies are the top choice among mountain bikers. However, it is the tradition not any specific reason that acts behind the scene that inspires cyclists to choose a particular type of cycling shorts.


Cycling shorts are ergonomically designed so that they move in unison with your body while you are riding a bike. Wearing them properly will enhance your cycling performances.


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