Home » Expert Tips » How to Wear Cycling Shorts Properly

Bike A Ton is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Feel free to click away.

how to wear cycling shorts properly

How to Wear Cycling Shorts Properly

If you’re a cyclist, you know the importance of wearing cycling shorts. They help keep you comfortable and safe while you ride, and they can make a big difference in your performance.

But how do you wear them properly? Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your cycling shorts.

Things You Should Know About Cycling Shorts


Cycling shorts come with a padded liner called a chamois. This padding helps to protect your skin from friction and makes long rides more comfortable.

Prevent Chafing with Chamois cream

Chamois cream is a thick, lubricating cream that you apply to the chamois before putting on your cycling shorts. It helps to reduce friction and prevent chafing.

Bibs vs. Waist Shorts

Bib shorts have straps that go over your shoulders, like a pair of overalls. They provide more support and stay in place better than waist shorts, but they can be harder to put on and take off.

Waist shorts have an elastic waistband that goes around your waist. They’re easier to put on and take off, but they may not provide as much support or comfort.

Lycra Road Cycling Shorts

Lycra (or spandex) cycling shorts have a tight, form-fitting design that helps to reduce drag. They’re made from a stretchy fabric that allows you to move freely on the bike.

Mountain Biking Shorts

Mountain biking shorts (or baggy shorts) are loose-fitting shorts that provide more coverage and protection than Lycra road cycling shorts. They often have pockets for carrying gear or tools, and some also have padding in the chamois.

The inside is padded, and the outside is sturdy-looking, constructed of lightweight nylon. Baggy shorts are appropriate for cold weather since they are warmer. On the other hand, the nylon material makes it pleasant to wear.

Nylon Vs. Polyester

There are two main materials that cycling shorts are made from – nylon and polyester.

Nylon is a durable, stretchy fabric that moves with your body. It’s often used in high-performance cycling shorts because it provides a close, comfortable fit.

Polyester is a less stretchy fabric used in less expensive cycling shorts. It’s a good choice for casual or recreational cyclists who don’t need the same level of performance as professional cyclists.

Both nylon and polyester are constructed with 15%-20% Lycra, making them stretchable.

Why wear cycling shorts?

When choosing cycling shorts, it’s important to consider how you typically ride, how long your rides are, and any other factors that may affect how often and how long you wear them. With the right pair of cycling shorts, you can enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable ride, regardless of how long or far you travel.

If you’re riding for a long time, it’s worth investing in a pair of high-end shorts with multi-density padding. This type of padding is designed to reduce pressure on your sit bones, and it can make a big difference in how comfortable you are on long rides.

Do cycling shorts make any difference?

Cycling shorts can make a big difference in how comfortable you are on the bike. They help reduce friction, prevent chafing, and keep you cool and dry. They also provide support for your muscles and joints, which can improve your performance and help to prevent injuries.

For professional riders, the benefits of cycling shorts are clear. But even if you’re a casual or recreational cyclist, you can still enjoy the benefits of wearing cycling shorts on your next ride. So why not give them a try and see how they can help you perform your best on the bike?

What are the Right Size and Fit for Cycling Shorts?

It’s important to get the right size and fit of cycling shorts. They should be snug but not too tight. And they should have a comfortable waistband that doesn’t cut into your skin. 

When trying on cycling shorts, be sure to pedal a few times to get a feel for how they fit and move with your body. Athletes and individuals with huge thighs prefer long inseams of around 10 to 11 inches.

Also, the leg openings should have tightness so that the shorts don’t ride up your legs while you’re pedaling. But they shouldn’t be so tight that they cause discomfort or restrict your movements.

Getting the right size and fit will help you stay comfortable on long rides, and it can also help improve your performance.

What to Wear Under Cycling Shorts

Cycling shorts are usually worn without underwear to prevent chafing and keep the chamois padding clean. The chamois help to protect your skin from friction, so you don’t need to wear underwear with them.

Wearing underwear adds extra material and bulk, making it uncomfortable to ride in cycling shorts.

That said, some underwear options are designed specifically for use with cycling shorts, such as moisture-wicking fabrics and seamless or seam-free designs.

How to Wear Waist Cycling Shorts the Right Way

Cycling shorts should be snug but not too tight. They should have a comfortable waistband that doesn’t cut into your skin, and the leg openings should have a smooth, flat fit.

The fabric material should be breathable and moisture-wicking to help keep you dry and comfortable. It must also be stretchable and flexible to move with your body as you ride.

Before putting on your cycling shorts, it’s a good idea to apply some chamois cream or another type of lubricating product to the chamois padding. This can help reduce friction and prevent chafing, making your ride more comfortable.

To put on your cycling shorts, start by stepping into them and pulling them up over your hips. Then adjust the waistband and leg openings to get a comfortable, secure fit.

Once you’re ready to ride, pedal a few times to get a feel for how they fit and move with your body.

How to Wear Bib Cycling Shorts the Right Way

Bib cycling shorts are a type of cycling shorts that have straps or suspenders (bibs) that go over your shoulders. Some bikers prefer bib cycling shorts because they tend to be more comfortable, with a better fit and fewer chafing issues.

When wearing bib cycling shorts, start by putting on the bibs first. Then step into the leg openings and pull the shorts up over your hips. Now, here’s the most important: the straps of these shorts are designed to be concealed under your cycling jersey.

Tips on How to Wear Cycling Shorts

Use chamois cream

Chamois cream is not necessary when wearing cycling shorts. While it can help reduce friction and prevent chafing, you may not need extra lubrication if you’re riding in a well-fitting pair of cycling shorts.

However, if your cycling shorts feel too tight or uncomfortable, a chamois cream can help to reduce friction and improve your comfort while riding.

In wet weather conditions, a chamois cream can also help to keep your skin dry and prevent chafing.

If you decide to use chamois cream, be sure to choose one designed specifically for use with cycling shorts. Rub your favorite cream anywhere your skin comes into contact with the saddle or where seams on your shorts touch the skin.

So, whether you choose to use a chamois cream or not is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to take good care of your cycling shorts to help them last longer and perform better.

Use leg grippers

Leg grippers are an important feature of cycling shorts, as they help keep the fabric from riding up or shifting out of place while you ride.

They are usually made of an elastic material, such as silicone, that grips the fabric and helps to hold it in place.

Leg grippers are typically located at the bottom of the cycling shorts, just above the ankle or around the mid-calf.

They can be adjusted to fit snugly around your leg and are usually adjustable so that you can tighten or loosen them as needed.

Do not use underwear

As mentioned, cycling shorts are designed to be worn on their own, without any additional undergarments.

Some cyclists prefer to wear a pair of underwear or briefs underneath their cycling shorts, but this is not necessary and can lead to more chafing and discomfort.

The padding in cycling shorts is designed to provide cushioning and support, and wearing an additional layer of underwear can actually create more friction and reduce the effectiveness of the padding.

How to Wash Cycling Shorts

Cycling shorts should be washed after every ride to remove sweat and bacteria.

You can machine wash your cycling shorts on the delicate cycle or hand wash them in the sink with a mild detergent.

Do not use fabric softener when washing your cycling shorts, as it can break down the padding in the chamois.

And be sure to air dry your shorts, as putting them in the dryer can damage the fabric and reduce their lifespan.

With these tips, you’ll be able to choose and wear cycling shorts that are right for you to enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top