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How to Buy Cycling Shorts

A state-of-the art blend of padding and material, cycling shorts are designed to cushion and contain. Selecting the right fit and style for your body and ride technique is critical to enjoying the sport.


  • Step 1: Consider the price Consider the price when examining potential shorts. Although cycling shorts can be found for $30, the inexpensive pair may wear out and fall apart before the $100 pair. For the best price, check out the sales and clearance rack at your local specialty bike retailer.
  • TIP: Spandex, like most fabrics, is sold by the pound. Therefore shorts made with a heavier spandex are more expensive than a lighter weight.
  • Step 2: Check out the weight Try on a pair of 6-ounce and 8-ounce-weight shorts. The 8- ounce shorts will have a heavier fit and encase your legs more firmly. Which is better? That's entirely up to you. Some riders prefer the heft of the heavier material, while others like the lighter feel.
  • Step 3: Decide on the configuration Decide whether you need touring or racing shorts. Touring, or entry level, shorts are designed with a higher rise in both the front and rear. Racing, or sport shorts, are cut lower and more articulated, meaning the material is already bent forward to mimic the typical bike racing position.
  • Step 4: Look at the chamois Look at the chamois padding within each pair of shorts. How thick is it? Does it mold to your body? Consider the size, weight, and construction of the shorts and padding. For instance, light-weight shorts with a heavy chamois will appear unbalanced. Try on several pairs to find the best fit.
  • Step 5: Consider bib shorts Cut higher and with shoulder straps, bib shorts eliminate the slippage of regular cycling shorts. They are, however, more expensive and make using the restroom a challenge. If you opt for bib shorts, make sure to find the right pair of bibs to match your height and waist measurements.
  • Step 6: Opt for mountain bike shorts Embrace the baggy mountain bike style. Shorts designed for mountain biking often feature cargo pockets with a chamois insert. That way you can look hip, yet still remain comfortable.
  • FACT: The first Tour de France was held in 1903.

You Will Need

  • Information about cycling shorts
  • Various pairs of cycling shorts to try on

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