The Best Women’s Bike Shorts

Comfort is the key to enjoying your bike rides. We've tracked down and tried the best women's bike shorts so you don't have to waste money on rubbish.

Best Womens Cycling Shorts

Women’s bike shorts are designed specifically around the female shape to produce supportive shorts that are comfortable in all conditions. Padded women’s shorts tend to have more padding in the center of the seat area to avoid uncomfortable friction.

With all things considered, we found the Pearl iZUMi Women’s Escape Sugar Shorts to offer the optimal amount of padding and comfort. For us, they’re the best padded women’s bike shorts on the market.

Many other shorts provide too little or too much padding, making them great for certain activities but not as a general purchase.

We’ve listed the amount of padding we found these women’s bike shorts to have alongside them in the table above. Shorts with no padding are fantastic for light cycling over short trips and can be more versatile for day to day use.

Shorts with excessive padding can limit movement a little, but offer greater protection over long distance rides.

It’s a fine balance that ideally would be tailored to each individual.

We think our best pick is the smartest option for most women cyclists. Below is a list of the best women’s bike shorts that offer padding and protection during your ride.

Pearl iZUMi Women’s Escape Sugar Shorts

These high quality padded women’s bike shorts from Pearl iZUMi are the ultimate all rounder.

It’s true that they don’t offer the MOST padding around, but bear with me while I explain my choice here.

The range of movement is unrivaled and the padding is the perfect amount. The subtle but protective padding is more than enough to keep your bottom parts comfortable on short to medium length rides.

Subtle padding means they fit true to size, and the legs never ride up.

A large waist band stops the shorts sliding down and I’ve never had it fold over once during a ride as I have with some of the cheaper shorts.

If you’re looking for the best all round women’s bike shorts. Look no further. These are an absolute steal.

Tesla Bike Shorts 7″

Tesla’s multipurpose athletic shorts range are a godsend.

Exceptionally well made and reasonably priced, they’re the perfect shorts for cycling, yoga and pretty much any other exercise.

Created from an 87% polyester and 13% spandex blend, they’re fast drying in wet conditions and perfectly adapted for the summer months.

Because of their versatility, they do lack any significant padding. This is fine for short to medium length rides provided you have a comfy bike seat.

For more intense rides, you may want to turn your attention to a pair of cycling shorts with more padding.

These remain an excellent choice for the casual cyclist. The ultra stretch fit is true to size, despite many of the comments we’ve seen around the web. You should definitely order based on the size guide and not go up or down a size.

They’re very breathable for cycling shorts, meaning you stay cool in summer despite their tight hugging nature.

Baleaf Women’s 8″ High Waist Shorts

Similar to the Tesla women’s bike shorts, these Baleaf shorts are a fantastic bargain for the multi-purpose casual athlete.

They feature the same 87%/13% blend between polyester and spandex that makes them hug tightly while remaining breathable.

A high waistband that doesn’t fold over offers protection and coverage even while bending.

A huge, huge plus is that these shorts have hidden pockets. They’re big enough to fit a small phone or iPod in.

An exceptionally comfortable pair of women’s bike shorts like this usually comes at a premium. These are an absolute bargain.

A fantastic pair of budget bike shorts that rival some of the more expensive brands in terms of quality.

4ucyclingPremium 3D Padded 3/4 Tights

Something that offers a little more coverage. These 3/4 padded tights have a lot of padding and coverage that makes them great for winter months.

Prior to 2017 they were sold in Asian sizes, but since then they’ve adjusted their sizing chart so that they now fit true to size.

There’s a lot of padding in all the right places. The range of movement doesn’t feel quite as free as with the shorter shorts but that’s to be expected given the coverage they provide.

Cycling tights are amazing for colder climates and wet conditions. These are really comfortable even when wet and they dry really quickly.

Some find the amount of padding to be a little too much. I can sympathize with that if you only go for short cycle trips.

If you ride long distances over uneven ground, the padding is absolutely perfect. These are a really good option for winter women’s bike shorts.

beroy Women’s 3D Gel Padded Bike Shorts

Last up we have one of the most popular women’s padded bike shorts available today.

These shorts are made from an 80%/20% polyester & spandex blend that feels comfortable and fits well.

The chamois in these bicycle shorts is one of the best out there. The padding is superb.

3D gel padding makes it feel light and airy rather than stifling. It absorbs shocks very well and seems as durable as any bike short padding we’ve ever seen.

These are a really comfortable pair of women’s cycling shorts that provide an awful lot of value for money.

They’re a very good budget alternative to the Pearl iZUMi shorts reviewed above. Impressed.

A Guide To Women’s Bike Shorts

Finding the right gear is essential to a pleasant riding experience. Men and women have different bodies with different needs in order to ensure a comfortable ride.

Due to the wide varieties of women’s body types, there are a lot of factors to consider and it may take awhile to find the best women’s bike shorts for you.

Your standard pair of shorts simply can’t provide the comfort and protection you need for riding your bike. One of the easiest yet most worthwhile things you can do for yourself and your riding is to find the perfect women’s padded bike shorts.

What Makes Women’s Bike Shorts Different

Women's bikes

The biggest thing that sets women’s padded cycling shorts apart from men’s is the chamois design. Chamois is another term used for the padding. In men’s shorts, there is often a tiny gap down the center in the padding.

For women, the padding is one solid piece, including the center. Women will need pillow type cushioning in the front and center with a wider pad in the back. They are designed differently for the same reason that men and women’s bike saddles are different.

Ultimately, it is all about the comfort of your “seat” on bike rides.

Another difference is the length of the shorts. In general, women’s cycling shorts have a longer front inseam than men.

More women seem to prefer shorter shorts than men, and as a result, that is mostly what you will find when shopping for cycling shorts.

There are some women who find men’s shorts more comfortable than women’s. At the end of the day, comfort is much more important than labels.

Things to Consider When Buying Women’s Cycling Shorts

Before embarking on a long ride, you will want to make sure your shorts are comfortable. If you are shopping in an actual store, be sure to try them on before you buy.

When ordering online, make sure you are familiar with return-policies and do not remove any tags until you’ve decided they fit well.

In both circumstances, it is best to wear undergarments for trying the shorts on, although you will not when you are actually riding.

Here are some things to look at when you are trying your shorts on:

Does the chamois slide around?

Try moving around and mimic leaning forward on your bike as best as possible. If the shorts are too big, the padding may move, causing massive discomfort when riding.

The pad should fit tightly against the skin without sticking out in the crotch area.

How much padding do you need?

For beginners, or if you take very long bike rides, you may want to go with a thicker padding. A thick chamois will act as a shock absorber on the trails. The padding is usually made up of foam.

Some cyclists prefer not being able to feel the chamois at all. A thin chamois can still help prevent abrasions and add comfort.

A thin chamois is especially popular with triathlon athletes because it does not get in the way for the running and swimming portions of the event.

Are there leg grippers?

Many shorts feature silicon strips on the bottom of the legs to make sure your shorts won’t ride up on you.

This is a wonderful feature, as long as they do not cut off circulation. On the other hand, if there are no leg grippers or if they are too loose, the ends of the shorts may flap around.

This could be annoying and potentially even hazardous. Due to the fact that women tend to carry more weight in their legs, the cut of the leg grippers is often more generous.

Trying picking your feet up high so simulate pedaling your bike.

How easy are they to remove?

Essentially, you are looking for any features that will help if you need to stop for a bathroom break. These could be zippers, clasps, clips, etc. This may seem insignificant, but you will appreciate the convenience when out riding.

Do you want bib shorts?

Bib bike shorts

These shorts have straps that go up and over the shoulders to keep them up. For women, making sure that these bib straps are not uncomfortable is especially important.

Do they sit on top of, in between, or around your breasts?

Finding where the bib straps should rest is a personal preference.

Make sure any bib shorts you buy will not be uncomfortable for your chest.

Do you want waist shorts?

If your shorts are not being held up by bibs, they are considered waist shorts. Many women prefer these over bib shorts due to the discomfort the bib straps cause for their chest.

If you go with waist shorts, make sure the waist is high enough that they won’t fall down on you. Another thing to check while leaning over is if the waist is going to dig into your skin.

Are the shorts well made?

When trying on the shorts, check for any bunching or wrinkles in the padding. Even seemingly minor issues can lead to chaffing and discomfort on a long bike ride.

When sitting with the shorts on, you should not feel like you are on the edge of the padding.

You also don’t want the padding to be so bulky that it may interfere with your ability to pedal.

High-quality shorts often have multiple layers with varying densities for maximum comfort. As technology has advanced, they have also found ways to add perforations for great moisture management.

What materials will work well for you?

Freedom of movement is key when selecting a fabric. Many tight-fitting shorts are made out of Lycra, Spandex, or polyester. These materials are generally very breathable and good options.

If you ride on trails often and choose to go with baggie style shorts, you may find they come in a more durable material. Often, these shorts have an inner layer made of mesh or something similar to keep the padding in place.

What length will work the best for you?

Although you will mostly find relatively short shorts, you can also buy padded cycling capris, baggies, and even skorts.

As the need for female biking gear becomes more obvious, companies are working hard to fit everyone women’s style and budget needs.

Wrapping Up The Guide

Once you find the best women’s bike shorts for you, consider buying a second pair. In order to keep them free from all bacteria, these shorts need to be machine washed, so having more than one pair means you are always ready to ride.

It is best to wash your shorts after every ride to remove all of the sweat and bacteria. Although the chamois in these cycling shorts can be (and should be) machine washed, try to avoid putting them in the dryer.

By allowing them to air dry, you are prolonging the life of your shorts, especially if there is any Spandex in them.

A good pair of women’s padded bike shorts should last you for several seasons. Many riders also wear them in the fall and spring paired with a stylish pair of leg warmers.

Padded bike shorts are definitely a must-have for anyone serious about cycling.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you prepare to begin your journey towards finding the best women’s padded bike shorts.

The female body comes in many forms, and finding shorts that are compatible with yours can greatly improve your ride experience.