A pair of the best cycling shorts can make the difference between a ride to remember and one you’d rather forget. The major benefits offered by cycling shorts are that they allow your body to breathe and provide support to your muscles, thanks to their compression construction.
If you are a cyclist that prefers those long-distance rides, a pair of modern compression cycling shorts include technical fabrics that can give you huge advantages. They can wick away moisture keeping you cool and sweat-free, and also prevent chafing and rashes.
What are the different types of cycling shorts?
The most common type of cycling shorts is waist shorts, which are shaped like a regular pair of shorts but have an elastic waist. However, one of the best styles of cycling shorts is the bib short, which removes the elastic waist and instead uses a pair of straps or suspenders to keep them in place. Finally, there are the compression tights that are similar in shape to the bib shorts but cover more of the body.
The style of cycling shorts you choose depends on your type of ride. Competitive racers will be best off wearing a pair of bib shorts, as they offer support and comfort for the muscles. Beginners, however, will do well with a pair of compression waist shorts, especially for shorter but athletically intense rides.
Features of quality cycling shorts
One of the major features that are unique to cycling shorts, is the chamois. Pronounced ‘sha-me’, the chamois is a pad that is sewn into the fabric and was designed to ensure comfort during long-distance rides. The functions of the pad are to alleviate pressure in the groin region, reduce friction and chafing, and even have antimicrobial properties to keep everything fresh down there.
They are often made of cushioning foam that varies in density depending on the type of ride. Professional riders on the Tour de France for example would use a chamois that is extremely dense to keep them comfortable under those gruelling conditions.
Some other helpful DMARGE stories about cycling:
A brand that specialises in designing quality apparel and equipment for swimming, snowboarding, surfing and cycling, Siroko are based in northern Spain and has built a reputation for caring for every detail.
This has allowed them to craft a range of chamois bib shorts from a fabric blend of polyester and spandex that is interwoven with UV protection and reflective panelling, making them some of the best cycling shorts around. They can withstand the intensity of a long ride and have power length elastic bands to keep everything in place the whole time, distraction-free. For the very best, check out the ‘SRX Pro Elite’.
Born in Umea, Sweden, Sigr is heavily inspired by the natural landscape of mountains, dense forests and the wildlife within that is common to their hometown. This connection to the environment and its sustainability is a wholly Swedish value and is something that the brand has carried over into the development of their products.
Their range of bib short are some of the best cycling shorts for those who go for long-distance outdoor rides and even for indoor competitive cycling. However you choose to ride, you’re guaranteed to be moving comfortably and with their ‘Riksettan’ bib, you’ll ride without fear of injury with laminated pads throughout that reduce load on typical pain points.
Founded in 1950’s Japan, Pearl Izumi’s journey to becoming a cycling powerhouse began when its founder, Kenji Shimuzu rode his bike 38 miles every day to deliver 90 pounds of clothing to his customers in the neighbouring village. This kind of hard work and dedication saw him redefine Japanese cycling and beyond to a global market.
The ‘Pro Bib’ shorts are the very best cycling shorts on offer and feature a comfortable, supportive fit that will resist twisting and binding. With breathable chamois and ultra-soft fabrics that allow for a flow of natural movement that is completed by the addition of thin silicone grips on the leg hems that stop them from riding up.
Pietro Santini founded his brand in 1965 after taking over a knitwear factory previously owned by his sisters. Fueled by his passion for cycling, he turned the factory from making clothes for other brands into designing and creating his own for cycling and racing. Even today, every piece made in a Santini factory around the world is made by hand, truly making them some of the best.
Their range of bib cycling shorts offer aerodynamic cuts and top of the range chamois for the best performance, all ride long. With the ‘Trek-Segafredo Pro’ bib short, the elasticated seamless braces ensure the utmost comfort and contain an internal silicone gripper within the durable elasticated leg bands.
Stefan Ytterborn founded POC in 2005 and had a crystal clear vision to provide personal protection and safety through products that are quality and relevant. Keeping riders safe while using their equipment is the brand’s priority and riders of all levels, including their roster of sponsored professional cyclists and even the enthusiasts, can get the most out of them.
Their range of cycling shorts includes boxer shorts, bib shorts and even thermal tights, and they are all of the utmost quality expected by the professionals. Featuring their patented ‘VPDS’ contour pads that reduce vibration and enhance anatomic support, the Çeramic VPDS’ bib short is the best on offer and guaranteed to keep you comfortable and safe from unnecessary injury.
With a long and storied history in cycling dating all the way back to the late 19th century, Mavic was born in France and gained international recognition when they developed the first aluminium rim in 1934. Their reputation was solidified in 1973 with the first disc wheel which became a staple for racers in major competitions.
Designed for those long and hot rides, the ‘Cosmic Ultimate SL’ bib shorts are some of the best cycling shorts for keeping you cool. With strategic engineering to promote cooling airflow without losing its fitting form so you can push yourself during those sweltering days. The chamois includes a multi-layer construction that absorbs jarring vibration for when you’re pedalling over uneven and rough terrain.
Brent Gale and Ryan Carlson were two graphic designers who had one goal in mind, to change the face of cycling apparel. Founded in 2005, Mavic always seek to keep things looking fresh and on-trend and their products are their attempt to move cycling apparel away from the regurgitation of bland replica kits; we think they’re some of the best-looking cycling shorts around.
Their range is full of sleek designs and patterns that break the mould and perform even better. With a selection of bib shorts that pay close attention to the details for a comfortable fit that is versatile for any kind of rider. With their ‘Standard’ bib you’ll find eight panels of eight-ounce micro-denier nylon and soft fabric that will absorb and disperse moisture.
The brand was created as a result of its founder, Tullio Campagnolo, who found he couldn’t loosen the hub wing nuts to disengage the wheel and shift to an easier gear because his hands were numb from the cold during a race. This gave him the idea to redesign the nut’s lever to make the release more straightforward, and that striving for innovation remains evident today.
With their cycling shorts, they approached the development with top-quality materials, exquisite construction and classic design. They’ve made shorts that will move with you, and with the ‘Magnesio’ bib short you’ll find the very best fit, with compressive fabrics, triple-density chamois and even UV protection.
It all began in 1976 when Assos founder, Tony Maier-Moussa created an aero carbon bike that was innovative in how it was tested. Along with some engineers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he took the bike into a wind tunnel to determine the aerodynamic factor. This was new for the time and set a standard for how bikes would be tested in the future.
The range of cycling shorts on offer include bib shorts, compression shorts and even cargo shorts that work the same as your regular cycling shorts but have a semi-baggy fit. The best however comes in the form of the ‘T.rallyShorts_s7’ shorts that were designed for trail riding and mountainous terrain complete with padding that centres on the hip joints.
The history of DHB isn’t quite the same as other cycling brands. One of the owners, Mitch Dall, acquired an independent bike shop in Portsmouth, UK in the 1990s and quickly changed it into the hub for an online store, and after finding success, changed again into wiggle.com. DHB is one of the sub-brands under the wiggle.com portfolio.
The range of cycling apparel available includes bib shorts, waist shorts and bib tights. All of them feature the highest quality but serve a different function for the kind of ride and the kind of season. For those indoor training sessions, you’ll go with their ‘Aeron Turbo’ and for those more intense mountain rides, you’ll go for something like the ‘Aeron Lab XC’ bib short.
Cafe du Cycliste
Conceived by two friends on a mid-ride stop in the hills of the Cote d’Azur in South-Eastern France, Cafe du Cyclist provides first class cycling apparel by combining performance with a touch of French elegance. Remi Clermont, one half of the duo, even started their first bike shop in a cafe that still resides in the town of Nice.
With technical fabrics and aerodynamic cuts to keep you cool and comfortable, their cycling shorts really are some of the best, helping you to perform as well as they make you look. With their ‘Augustine Mesh-Panelled Jersey’ bib short you’ll find a lightweight, stretch jersey fabric that wicks moisture and a padded ‘CyTech’ seat that ensures those long rides are comfortable.
Sportful’s history has roots as far back as 1946, when couple Olindo & Irma Cremonese moved to the foothills of the Dolomites in Italy and began a business in shearing and spinning wool yarn. The story really begins when their son, Giordano, became interested in cross-country skiing and carried on the tradition of creating clothes, but now for sports including cycling.
With tradition comes a level of expertise and their range of cycling shorts match that and go beyond in terms of fabric and feel. With their ‘Total Comfort’ bib tights, you’ll find the very best in construction, featuring a stretchy, fleece-lined fabric that is double-layered in the front for protection from harsh, cold winds, and a thinner band of thermal fabric at the base ensures everything stays breathable.
One of the leading producers of cycling apparel in Central and Northern Europe for over 25 years, Kalas was founded by Cestmir Kalas, who has been cycling since he was fifteen and has a history of being a representative cyclist throughout much of his youth. Also no stranger to history, he founded a race that would become the first to cross the ‘Iron Curtain’ in 1988.
Their range of cycling shorts are built to withstand the high levels of endurance that is familiar to European cycling. With the ‘GBCT Pro’ bib short, you’ll find technical construction using bonded seams, an Elastic Interface Endurance pad, and a compressive, aerodynamic Goffrato fabric that has all been tested by professional cyclists and worn by British Cycling endurance squads.
The brand can be traced back to 1876, when the founder, Armando Castelli worked with tailor, Vittore Gianni in Milan, who clothed football teams such as Juventus and AC Milan. He would eventually break away and venture into cycling clothing, where he clothed the five-time Giro d’Italia champion Alfredo Binda.
With that history of helping the very best perform at the highest level, their cycling shorts come with the guarantee of professional quality. Using some of the most advanced tech fabrics such as Gore-Tex and Nanoflex, the range is designed for performance under any condition. You’ll find the best with the ‘Sorpasso RoS Wind’ bib short, that will keep you rolling through brisk weather. In short, Castelli make some of the best cycling shorts around.
Created by fabrics designer Stuart Brook, who transitioned to focusing on sport after working with brands like Reebok and Speedo. Ashmei got its name from his wife’s Chinese heritage and is itself an anagram of his daughter’s name, Meisha. The brand’s focus is to create apparel that remains useful long into the future.
Ashmei makes some of the best cycling shorts for active riders which are complemented by a muted colour palette and minimalist aesthetic. The ‘Signature’ bib shorts come in a variety of different hues and in terms of performance, you’ll find a super compressive race fit, water and wind-resistant microfibre fabric and leg cuffs with silicone non-slip treatment.
The brand was founded when Emilio De Marchi started a sports hosiery shop in Conegliano, Italy in 1946. It supplied hand-made apparel to the local sports community and today it supplies some of the very best cyclewear to the world thanks to a century of being at the forefront of European cycling and racing.
Whether you are a trial rider or racer, this range of cycling shorts will support you and match your level of performance, all ride long. With their ‘Perfectos’ series of bib shorts, you’ll get the very best for any terrain, featuring unrivalled comfort and support thanks to lightweight mesh fabrics and padding that will support all muscle groups.
Taking its name from the retired competitive cyclist, Louis Garneau was founded in 1983 and as well as creating quality cyclewear, the brand also houses a cycling development team. This team helps young and talented cyclists to reach their full potential and break into the ranks of professionals.
Bib shorts, waist shorts and tights are all on offer with their range of cycling shorts and are constructed to make a tough ride or workout feel easy. With the right materials and supportive cuts, their shorts will make a difference and the ‘CB Carbon Lazer’ bib shorts are some of the best cycling shorts around, featuring a blend of fabrics from Lycra to carbon fibre and a coating that will absorb UV rays.
London-based and founded by Simon Mottram in 2004, Rapha builds on its passion for cycling with a range of premium riding apparel. Since then, the products have redefined comfort, performance and style for all kinds of cyclists, from beginners to professionals on the World Tour.
With their range of cycling shorts, you’ll find quality over quantity and premium fabrics within durable constructions. If you had to pick one for your ride, however, the ‘Pro Team Winter’ bib tights are the company’s best cycling shorts available. With a windproof stretch-jersey cut that is ideal for cold-weather rides, and internal fleece backing and chamois pad for comfort.
The story of Gore Wear is a part of the innovative history of W.L. Gore & Associates, an American technology company founded in 1958, who are best known for developing the Gore-Tex fabrics. Woven into all of Gore Wear’s performance apparel, the material is one of the most breathable waterproof fabrics that has stood at the top of fabric technology since 1969.
Their range of cycling shorts invoke quality and the development was helped with collaboration form professional cyclists such as Fabian Cancellera. Made to withstand the intensity of road cycling and built with technologies to support the lower body through the gruelling motions. With their ‘C7 Long Distance’ bib shorts, you’ll find breathable fabrics and a three-point chamois that means you’ll never have to readjust during your ride.