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Buyers Guide to Women's Cycling Shorts

Buyers Guide to Women's Cycling Shorts

A brief buyer's guide on how to shop for women's bike shorts:


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 bicycle shorts are:

  • popular with casual urban, trail and mountain bike riders,
  • more modest in look,
  • more abrasion and snag resistant than Lycra shorts.


cycling short chamois pad

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.

You can 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.


  • Longer inseam shorts provide better support to the quads.
  • Shorter inseam shorts can help you avoid an obvious "cyclist's tan".


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


Wear Without Underwear:

  • Bike shorts are always worn without underwear.
  • Underwear bunches and abrades and retains moisture.

avoid Velcro on seat bags, jacket hems, gloves in the laundry - it will destroy your shorts!

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.

Now that  you know what to look for, you can shop for the best bike shorts right here at!


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