The 10 Best Cycling Shorts of 2022

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Best for the Spin: Zella Live In High-Rise Pocket Bike Shorts


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If you prefer a stationary bike to a racing bike, this category is for you. Spin cycling shorts require a few different features than road cycling shorts, and the Zella Live In High Waist Pocket Bike Shorts hit the marks a spin enthusiast would be looking for. Peloton instructor Camila Ramón has a few golden rules to follow when looking for the perfect shorts to tackle those hills and flats. “I like to feel secure and I can’t feel anything digging into me, so I don’t do elastic in the waist. [And] if they have pockets that don’t distort the shape of the shorts and can hold my phone, we’ve hit the jackpot,” shares Ramón, describing his dream shorts.

This dependable pair from Zella is made from performance sweat-wicking fabric that won’t chafe or irritate skin with smooth flatlock seams. Thin side pockets that can hold your phone or keys while sculpting your figure and a high waist that makes you feel safe and comfortable are just some of Ramón’s qualities. These shorts also come in a variety of sizes, from XXS to XXL, so find the fit that’s right for you. But Ramón’s final piece of advice is to ask yourself, “What gives you the most confidence?” What will make you wear them all the time? That’s where you have to look. Note taken!

Material Polyester, spandex
seat cushion Nope
leg gripper Nope

How to choose the right cycling shorts

With a wide variety of cycling shorts on the market, from bib shorts to cycling shorts, it can seem daunting to start your search for the right pair. Take it from Sagan, who shares this: “Choosing just one pair of shorts is never easy; it depends on many factors such as the hours spent in the saddle, the outside temperature and the chosen discipline. To help you find your niche, we think you should keep these factors in mind to narrow down the search.

drive style

Something to take into consideration is your workout style and the activities it may involve. For example, road cycling requires a very different skill set (and terrain) than mountain biking, which means it requires a different outfit. Road, gravel, and all-mountain biking often requires compression shorts with suspenders and seat pads to keep them comfortable and hassle-free on long rides. But on the other hand, mountain biking and even DMX requires looser shorts (with the option of wearing compression shorts underneath. And if you choose to cycle for recreation or spin classes, you can Opt for a pair of cycling shorts that are long enough to avoid chafing in high contact areas, but don’t need any extra features such as seat pads and leg grips.

Design

Some people are looking for comfort (amazing seat cushions) while others are looking for utility (extra pockets), so identifying the design aspects you really like will help narrow down the product pool. “I would say that finding the right length and the right material for your comfort is absolutely essential,” Ramón thinks. The Peloton instructor went on to say: “There are a couple of things I look for in cycling shorts – not restrictive on the waistband or thighs (your daughter has really strong legs with muscles), [a] high waist and dry-fit fabric for breathability so I don’t feel like my legs are being held captive, but I still feel supported. Seems pretty relevant to us!

Comfort

Arguably the most important aspect of any type of workout gear is comfort, because the last thing you want to focus on is that belt or saddle that hurts after a few hours. To combat the latter is the inclusion of a chamois, or seat cushion, which provides an extra layer of comfort and padding under the seat bones to make your ride more bearable and your workout that much better. Comfort is also largely down to the fabric you choose, and no one knows that better than a trainer. “The best fabrics for shorts with soft compression, moisture wicking, [and] breathability is usually synthetic like Lycra, nylon and spandex,” Bullock shares. A blend of these materials is sure to sculpt and wick sweat where you need it, keeping you cool in the saddle and focused on the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do you need cycling shorts?

    Cycling shorts serve a much different purpose than your usual workout shorts. Cycling requires body-fitting clothing so that the athlete can cut through the wind without the fabric holding them back, which translates to compression shorts. The repeated motion of cycling also requires the fabric to be strong enough to withstand potential abrasion and protect the wearer from uncomfortable chafing. Speaking of discomfort, if you’ve ever spent enough time on a bike saddle, you’ll know how painful it can get. Many bib shorts come with seat pads to protect the seat bones during long periods of time on the bike, such as when running or riding a long distance. Last on our list of reasons why you need cycling shorts (but certainly not least) is the suspenders, which are also equipped on many pairs of these shorts. Suspenders hold the waistband up so you don’t have to fiddle with your shorts or feel uncomfortable hems digging into your skin while you work out.

  • What is the difference between cycling shorts and cycling shorts?

    Cycling shorts and cycling shorts, while similar in name (and function), have a few key differences. While you can use the two interchangeably for taking a quick bike ride or taking a spin class, cycling shorts are used by those who train for marathons, compete in races, or are just doing their thing. job. Cycling shorts often consist of a few of the aforementioned key features such as suspenders, seat pads and leg grips which are silicone liners inside the hem that prevent the shorts from riding up while you ride. Biker shorts, on the other hand, are generally made from the same sweat-wicking materials, but lack those extra bells and whistles. These are the stripped down version of cycling shorts and designed for the most democratic trainer, who likes to go from the saddle to Pilates and not need to change clothes in between.

  • Do you wear anything under your shorts?

    Long story short: you can, but you don’t have to! Since most styles are constructed with a breathable chamois and the material generally wicks sweat and compresses, you can rest assured that you’ll feel protected with or without underwear. Many bikers will use these shorts as underwear and wear another pair of shorts over them if they’re mountain biking or hiking a bit more strenuously for extra support. Adding seat pads also provides an extra layer of protection for those high contact areas, so you don’t have to worry about discomfort if you choose to forgo underwear.

Take our word for it

Alyssa Brascia is a business writer for PEOPLE and has written for publications such as InStyle, Shape and Real Simple. When researching the best cycling shorts, she spoke to Peter Sagan, three-time world championship winner and Tour de France green jersey record holder; Christine Bullock, fitness expert and founder of Kayo Body Care; and platoon instructor Camila Ramón for their expert picks and insight. She also took a close look at material, cost, design and functionality while compiling the list to ensure that a diverse range of needs for every type of rider were met.

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