The Best Padded Bike Shorts of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Giordana FR-C Pro and Pearl iZUMi Expedition Shorts reigned supreme

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Giordana Men's FR-C Pro Short

Tripsavvy / Dave DeCarlo

Riding a bike may be fun and freeing—but no one would call it comfortable. Wearing padded bike shorts, also called chamois, can make cycling far more comfortable and provide more support on long rides, whether riding on the road, gravel, mountain trails, or indoors at the cycling studio.

The best padded bike shorts minimize discomfort and saddle sores on your most sensitive areas, allowing you to pedal for miles more. But not all chamois are made equal: The best padded bike shorts will feature high-performance, moisture-wicking materials; be constructed to fit different body types comfortably; have a long enough inseam and anti-slip grips at the thighs, so they don’t ride up as you pedal in different positions; and have minimal seams to reduce chafing and sores.

If you prefer padded bib shorts (which are the most comfortable to wear), are looking for padded bike shorts on a budget, or want padded bike shorts for indoor cycling, we’ve got you. We tested 30 pairs of padded bike shorts and bike bibs to hone in on the top options for men and women.

Best Shorts for Women

Pearl Izumi Women's Expedition Short

Pearl Izumi Women's Expedition Shorts

Pearl Izumi

What We Like
  • Comfortable high-waisted fit

  • High-quality performance material

  • Phone and snack pocket; comfortable padding

  • Silicone thigh grip to prevent shorts from rolling up

  • Lifetime warranty and free in-house repairs

What We Don't Like
  • Limited sizing

  • Pearl iZumi runs small

During testing, these padded bike shorts proved to be well-padded, comfortable to wear, and super breathable during rides, and they stayed in place and didn’t ride up (even on the uphill and out of the saddle). Their performance and fit and reasonable price are why they’re our best overall pick for padded bike shorts for women.

These bike shorts are high-waisted, which tends to be the most comfortable for most women, and don’t chafe or pinch. Testing found that the shorts are stretchy and feel slightly compressive but not overly tight. Our tester reported the material, which is 80 percent recycled nylon and 20 percent elastane, felt very high-end, and the stitching was high-quality, holding up after multiple washes. What’s more, Pearl iZUMi backs its gear with a lifetime warranty and free in-house garment repairs.

These shorts have an 8-inch inseam and a silicone grip along the bottom to hold them against the thigh securely. The pad is the perfect size for mid- to long-distance rides—and our tester barely noticed it during a 90-minute ride.

Our tester loved the small features on these shorts, like the side pocket to securely and comfortably hold your phone and the low-back pocket for quick-grab snacks. They also have reflective elements for better visibility to cars and traffic.

Price at time of publication: $100

Sizes: XS to XXL | Materials: 80 percent recycled nylon and 20 percent elastane | Sustainability: Part recycled material; socially-driven brand

Pearl Izumi Women's Expedition Shorts

Tripsavvy / Lizzy Briskin

Best Shorts for Men

Giordana Men's FR-C Pro Cycling Shorts

Giordana FR-C Pro

Competitive Cyclist

What We Like
  • Made from high-quality and premium materials

  • Second-skin fit

  • Chafe-free padding

What We Don't Like
  • It may be overkill for those new to the sport, run small

Our tester, an avid cyclist, wore the Giordana FR-C Pro bike shorts on multiple 15+ mile rides, both on pavement and trail, and found them to be the best padded bike shorts they've ever worn. These padded bike shorts are snug, incredibly well constructed, and feature premium padding—complete with aloe vera infused for less chafing and more comfort—which is why we've named them the best padded bike shorts for men.

These padded bike shorts are incredibly lightweight and use wide, woven elastic leg bands to hold the shorts in place a few inches above the thighs. Giordana carefully designed them to follow the curves of the body's natural riding position, so you don't feel obstructed while riding.

These padded bike shorts are definitely on the compressive side and feel like a second skin once on, which our tester said took some time to get used to. But he reported that the tightness didn't bother him on the bike, and he really loved the premium materials.

Price at time of publication: $190

Sizes: XS to 3XL | Materials: Lycra | Sustainability: N/A

Giordana Men's FR-C Pro Short

Tripsavvy / Dave DeCarlo

Best Bib Shorts for Women

Velocio Women's Luxe Bib Short

Velocio Women's Luxe Bib Short


What We Like
  • Incredibly well-designed

  • Buttery soft fabric

  • String straps

  • Minimal seams to eliminate chafing

  • Unique design that makes it easy to go to the bathroom

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No pockets

Our tester calls these bibs “a dream to ride in” with an unrivaled buttery softness in the Lycra material, strong bib straps, and the perfect amount of compression for no mid-ride adjustments needed.

These padded bib shorts have minimal seams and raw cut leg openings, ideal for minimizing chafing and, our tester adds, to help give it a more streamlined, less bulky look. They’re crafted with ultra-high gauge compression lycra to support your muscles and provide a second-skin fit. Our tester reported that the fit holds you in all the right places and stays comfortable on rides for well over 90 minutes.

The chamois has three layers and a perforated base for maximum breathability, quick-dry capabilities, and long-lasting comfort that you can easily walk around off the bike. The legs have silicone grips to keep the fabric in place, and overall these bibs hold up well wash after wash. The legs are longer than most road chamois, but this is ideal for taller ladies or folks who prefer a longer fit.

We especially love these bibs for women because of Velocio’s FLYfree functionality, which lets you pull down the back for bathroom breaks without removing layers or even using a clasp, zipper, or snap.

These padded bib shorts are expensive, but the superior design is worth it if you’re an avid cyclist.

Price at time of publication: $279

Sizes: XXS to 3XL | Materials: 80 percent Polyamide, 20 percent Elastane | Sustainability: 1 percent for the Planet pledge

Velocio Women's Luxe Bib Short

Tripsavvy / Ashley Craiger

Best Bib Shorts for Men

Gore Wear C5 Men's Cycling Bib Shorts with Seat Insert

GORE WEAR C5 Men's Cycling Bib Shorts with Seat Insert

Gore Wear

What We Like
  • Great fit

  • Perfectly compressive

  • Great at pulling moisture away

  • Pre-formed cup area for excellent climate control

What We Don't Like
  • No pockets

  • Runs small

  • Chamois might not have enough padding for really long rides

After putting more than 100 miles on these bibs during testing, they proved incredibly comfortable to ride in, fitting in that sweet spot of compressive but not overly tight and top-notch at wicking sweat.

Our tester found the proportions of these bibs ideal, with perfectly tight straps and an ideal inseam length of 25 centimeters that doesn’t ride up. These bib shorts have a unique chamois design, with the back two-thirds a well-layered cushion that minimizes vibrations and then a pre-formed, windproof front cup area for better climate control and anatomical support on your most sensitive parts.

We wish these bibs had at least one pocket, and then the design would be near perfect. But this is it if you’re looking for padded bike short bibs that’ll be comfortable across your entire undercarriage for long rides.

Price at time of publication: Starts at $72

Sizes: XS to XL | Materials: 80 percent Polyamide, 20 percent Elastane | Sustainability: N/A

Best Women’s Budget

BALEAF Women's 4D Padded Bike Shorts

BALEAF Women's 4D Padded Bike Shorts


What We Like
  • Quality material for the price

  • Anti-slip leg grips

  • High rise

  • Phone pockets

What We Don't Like
  • The inseam may be too short for some

  • Seams may chafe

If you’re looking for a great introductory pair of padded bike shorts without breaking the bank, these BALEAF’s options have every basic covered: they use breathable performance fabric, rock a comfortable mid- to high-rise, have anti-slip leg grips to prevent the shorts from riding up, and they even have a pocket for your phone.

During testing, we found the fabric to be durable and perfectly stretchy and the chamois padding to exceed expectations for the price. Our tester found the shorts mainly stayed in place, although she noted that the shorter inseam (5.1 inches) hit the widest part of her leg, and, with the silicone grips, she had to tug at it them to relieve the compressive pressure sometimes.

Two other drawbacks: These shorts have a lot of seams which might cause chafing on longer rides, and if you have a smaller waist-to-hip ratio, these shorts may fall down too often to be comfortable as the waistband isn’t super tight.

But overall, we were impressed with the quality of this product and material given the price, and if you’re looking for a pair of padded shorts to get into cycling more comfortably, these are a great budget pick.

Price at time of publication: $31

Sizes: XS to XXL | Materials: 80 percent Nylon, 20 percent Spandex | Sustainability: N/A

BALEAF Women's 4D Padded Bike Shorts

Tripsavvy / Christine DiGangi

Best Men’s Comfort

Endura Men's Pro SL Cycling Bib Short

Endura Men's Pro SL Cycling Bib Short


What We Like
  • Customizable pad width to minimize excess bulk between legs

  • Fabric dumps heat and sweat on hot days

  • UPF fabric

  • Leg grips stay in place

What We Don't Like
  • Have to measure yourself for pad width

  • It fits tight around the midsection for some

These padded bib shorts have one of the best paddings we tested, with excellent cushioning and the option for a narrow, medium, or wide pad at every size to eliminate extra bulk between the legs for different-sized people.

During testing, we found the Italian Power Lycra fabric to be strong but lightweight and very breathable—particularly nice on the hot days our tester rode in them. These bibs have a layer of coldblack technology, which reduces heat build-up on the fabric and provides 50 UPF for sun protection.

These bibs are re-engineered with winder straps and a better wicking rear panel in the back. A tailored fit over the pelvis and raw-edge leg hems minimize creasing or room for chafing. Lastly, the grips on the legs kept the shorts in place for our tester over their various rides, indoors and outdoors.

Price at time of publication: $200

Sizes: XS to XXL with the option of a narrow, medium, or wide pad in each | Materials: 78 percent polyamide (nylon), 22 percent elastane (spandex) | Sustainability: N/A

Best Shorts and Liner

Zoic Men's Ether Cycling Short with Essential Liner

 Zoic Ether Bike Shorts and Liner


What We Like
  • Padded shorts removable

  • Two shorts for one

  • Adjustable waistband for personal fit

What We Don't Like
  • Must be hand-washed

If you want a two-in-one, the Zoic Ether Shorts come with a detachable liner (complete with a padded chamois) and an outer short for road, gravel, or mountain biking. We found the tightly-woven material on both shorts to be of very high quality during testing. The relaxed outer shorts are made from a polyester/spandex blend with a baggy fit, while the inner liner fits like boxer briefs but with a built-in chamois pad to minimize chafing and abrasion.

The outer shorts feature a gusset on the 12-inch inseam, which allows for a better range of motion in the legs, and the celtic-back waistband has side tabs to let you adjust the waist to your body. Our tester reported that the shorts hit the right spot on the waist, and they didn’t have to think about them while riding (which is really what you want in any performance clothing).

We also love that the liner is removable if you want to wear the padded shorts solo or the outer shorts with different chamois. Considering you’re snagging two pairs of shorts for under $90, these are a great deal.

Price at time of publication: $90

Sizes: S to 3XL | Materials: Shorts 95 percent polyester, 5 percent spandex, Liner 91 percent polyester | Sustainability: N/A

Best Women’s Indoor

Terry Bella Bike Short

 Terry Bella Short Short


What We Like
  • Don’t ride up despite the short inseam

  • Comfortable

  • Well-designed padding for women’s anatomy

  • Breathable

  • Chamois is not too thick

What We Don't Like
  • The inseam may be too short for some

  • Mountain bikers may want more cushion

If you want the padded support for your undercarriage on indoor rides, but don’t want that bulky diaper feeling or long shorts as you walk around the spin studio, check out the Terry Bella Short. Our tester reported these shorts felt barely there—in a good way—with good, firm coverage from the material.

While she could still feel the seat under her, she had no saddle pressure during 90+ minute rides. This might be because Terry uses a unique winged design on their chamois to offer padding along the inner thigh without bulk and a four-way stretch elastic interface for comfort, multi-level perforated foam padding for airflow, and microfiber fabric for better moisture transfer.

Despite the inseam only being 5 inches, our tester also reported that they surprisingly didn’t ride up at all thanks to super secure silicone grips inside the leg opening. These padded bike shorts have flat seam construction to minimize chafing, which our tester confirmed as her experience.

Price at time of publication: $125

Sizes: XS to XXL | Materials: 74 percent nylon, 26 percent spandex | Sustainability: Made in the USA

Best Cargo

Rapha Women's Core Cargo Shorts

Rapha Women’s Core Cargo Short


What We Like
  • Convenient

  • Secure storage in the side pockets

  • Plush padding

  • Seamless construction for minimal chafing

What We Don't Like
  • Some body shapes find the pad uncomfortable

From the cycling brand known for its sleek and high-end gear, these Rapha Core Cargo Short are incredibly well-made and feature Rapha’s award-winning Classic chamois pad for ideal comfort. Our tester found the chamois thick and plush without feeling overly bulky and good at relieving any pressure from the ride.

The dense knit fabric of these shorts offers compressive support with a lower cut at the front waistband to avoid the fabric riding up while on the bike. During testing, we found they didn’t lose their stretch, wash after wash. Our tester reports that the waistband hits at just the right place not to cut anything off, and it’s crafted with minimal seams at the waist to prevent chafing.

Testing proved these shorts stay in place well, even as our cyclist changed positions.

In addition to their superior quality and fit, these chamois are cargo shorts with easy-access mesh pockets on the side to hold your phone, snacks, or other small items if you don’t like wearing a traditional cycling jersey with pockets. Our tester confirmed these pockets stay tight enough to hold valuables securely.

Price at time of publication: $122

Sizes: XXS to XL | Materials: 82 percent Polyester, 18 percent Elastane | Sustainability: N/A

Rapha Women’s Core Cargo Short

Tripsavvy / Paige Grandjean

Best Splurge for Men

Velocio Men's Concept Bib Short

Velocio Men's Concept Bib Short


What We Like
  • Luxe fabric

  • Compressive but not tight

  • Superior proprietary chamois padding

  • Inclusive sizing

What We Don't Like
  • Runs small

  • Expensive

If you are a serious cyclist and/or you value a top-of-the-line padded bike short, our in-person testing found the Velocio Men's Concept Bib Shorts to be incredibly luxe from start to finish—or, from the materials to the fit to the performance.

This race-fit design works for the highest level of performance, it has a unique chamois integrated into the short's patterning, so it has fewer seams, fewer chafe points, and a more fluid pedaling motion. Our tester reported that these were the most comfortable chamois they've ever worn—well-padded, wide-coverage, breathable, and absorbent.

These bibs feature microfiber straps, laser-cut ventilation for airflow on hot days, and silicone grips at the leg, which we confirmed during testing don't move an inch. Velocio has used a mix of fabrics for a highly stretchy, second-skin fit. Our tester reported that the shorts provide quite a bit of compression, but not uncomfortably so.

The one potential downside, our tester noted, is that these bibs are low cut in the front, which on the one hand, helps with quick access for bathroom breaks—but it also means if you have any stomach fat, they might not be as comfortable.

Price at time of publication: $309

Sizes: XS to 4XL | Materials: 70 percent Polyamide, 30 percent Elastane | Sustainability: 1% for the Planet Brand

Best Splurge for Women

Machines For Freedom Endurance Bib 2.0

Machines For Freedom Endurance Bib 2.0


What We Like
  • Size and shape inclusive

  • Luxe fabric

  • Plush chamois pad

  • Laser-cut straps for minimal chafing

  • Great ventilation

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • On the tighter side

  • Not ideal for short torsos

If you struggle to find padded bike shorts or bike bibs that fit you well, the Endurance Bib Shorts are well worth the money. For starters, they’re one of the few size-inclusive options, running from XS to XXXL and pretty true to size. But moreover, these bibs are designed by women, for women, and were specifically crafted for inclusive female shapes, both straight and curvy. According to our tester, a panel design construction perfectly supports and moves with curves rather than fighting against them.

Our tester reports that the high compression, high-wicking fabric feels buttery-soft and incredibly luxe to the touch, with the perfect level of snugness to hold everything in and a thickness that feels durable but not hot. The straps are laser cut to minimize chafing and create more breathability around the mid-body.

The ultra-high density chamois pad should fit comfortably on different sit-bone widths for 8-plus hour rides, and our tester confirmed they didn’t feel any saddle pressure in these on 3-hour mountain bike rides.

The legs have anti-slip silicone at the bottom, and our tester reported no rolling, bunching, or squeezing. And we love that they have two quick-access pockets in the back.

The downside is that these bibs are more compressed and can be a little annoying to wiggle into. Also, these bibs don’t have an easy way to go to the bathroom like the Velocio Women’s Luxe Bib Shorts—you have to take the bibs entirely off.

But these bibs are for you if you like a compressive feel in a luxe fabric with an uber-comfortable chamois.

Price at time of publication: $235

Sizes: XS to XXXL | Materials: Synthetic | Sustainability: N/A

Machines For Freedom Endurance Bib 2.0

Tripsavvy / Ashley Craiger

Other Bike Shorts We Tested

What We Would Recommend

Wild Rye Kaweah Bike Shorts ($99): If you're looking for women's mountain bike shorts to wear over your chamois, these from Wild Rye fit super comfortably with stretchy but durable fabric that can withstand snags and falls. We love Wild Rye's fun prints, and the company is woman-owned.

SOGOi Evolution Men's Short ($156): These padded bike shorts run on the tighter side, but not comfortably so. They're well-constructed with a nice pad but aren't the best we've found, especially at the price point.

The Black Bibs The Black Shorts Plus ($55): An excellent option for cheap padded bike shorts, our testing found these chamois to fit comfortably, stay put on the legs, and do what they're supposed to do. They didn't wow us, but for $55, they don't need to.

Louis Garneau Men's CB Carbon 2 Cycling Bib ($200): These bibs are well-constructed, well-designed, and well-thought-out, with a panel design that'll fit different shaped bodies well and fabric that stretches nicely. Our testing found the chamois was comfortable, albeit a bit lackluster for the price.

Assos Mille GTO C2 Long Bib Short ($350): These bibs feel expensive, with high-quality material, comfortably wide straps, and a well-padded, non-diaper chamois pad. Our tester found them comfortable on long rides and held up well through the wash. They're too expensive for most but worth it if you have the money.

Rapha Core Cycling Bib Shorts, Men's and Women's ($130): We tested both the men's and women's designs and found them incredibly comfortable with no chafing thanks to their seamless construction and a thick, non-cumbersome chamois pad. Ultimately, we liked other bibs more, but these are still a solid purchase.

Castelli Cycling Free Aero Race 4 Bibshort ($99 and up): These bibs have a super comfortable pad and generally good fit, but the leg hem was very tight on one tester, and the fabric resisted stretching or movement. If these fit your body, they're great, but if they don't, you won't like them.

Kitsbow Mescal Ventilated Short ($209): Another excellent option for women's mountain bike shorts to go over your chamois; these shorts are very comfortable, fighting well through the hips and crotch, and generally well constructed. They're pricey, but they'll last.

PEARL iZUMi Sugar Women's Bike Shorts ($65): These are an excellent option for a novice road cyclist, as they have enough padding to keep you comfortable up to 20-mile rides, our testing revealed.

Canari Women's Pro Gel Short ($32): These are another excellent budget pick with enough of a pad to keep you comfortable on shorter rides and are generally well-designed. You'll likely want to upgrade as you level up your cycling, but for under $35, you can.

NOOYME Womens Bike Shorts for Cycling with 3D Padded ($19 and up): These feel about their price, but the pad is high-quality, thick, and gel-like. So if you're looking for comfort on the cheap, these are a worthy purchase.

SUGOI Women's RS Pro Bib Shorts ($220): These bibs have fantastic, non-bulky padding with flat seams and strong leg grips, so everything stays in place. We liked other bibs more for the price, but these are a solid option.

Ostroy Camper Cargo Bib ($175): Overall, we love the fit of these bibs with their high-waist design and second-skin feel thanks to using thinner lycra. They're not ideal if you ride your gear tough, particularly like with mountain biking. But overall, we found these to be very comfortable bibs.

What We Wouldn’t Recommend

Specialized RBX Women’s Bib Short ($90): Our testing found these bibs are low at the waist, which most women won’t find comfortable; the compression is super light but hardly there; the straps on these are very loose and would only fit a very long torso; and the pad is huge and hard. Overall, pass.

PEARL iZUMi Escape Quest Bike Shorts ($54 and up): The price tag is enticing, but our testing found the chamois to fit very awkwardly with a low-cut waistband, thin fabric, and loose cuff at the knee, so the shorts were constantly riding up in all the places.

Alé Solid Corsa Cycle Shorts ($80): These shorts feature a thick, high-quality material that was comfortable to ride in, but we found the legs rode up during testing. Sizing up might help, but overall it was annoying enough for us not to recommend it.

Louis Garneau W FitSensorTx Bib at Garneau ($140): These bibs were comfortable enough but didn’t fit our tester well and could use improvements on the design for the price.

How We Tested

To determine the best padded bike shorts, we had a team of editors and writers test 35 leading options for men and women across the category. For each pair, a tester wore them for at least three 60-plus minute rides, both indoors and outdoors. Specifically, they looked to see the following:

  • Did the bike shorts ride up?
  • Was the waistband comfortable in all riding positions? Were the thighs comfortable in all riding positions?
  • Did they feel any chafing or saddle sores?
  • Was the padding comfortable and sufficient for the whole ride? How did it compare to the comfort of other padded bike shorts?
  • Did the bike shorts breathe comfortably and wick moisture effectively?

For each pair of padded bike shorts, they also considered the overall construction for the value and how well the bike shorts held up after washing.

What to Look for in Padded Bike Shorts


There are two main styles of padded bike shorts: bibs and shorts. Which is best depends on personal preference, riding style, and comfort.

Padded bike shorts are easier to get on and off (especially for mid-ride bathroom breaks), will fit more comfortably for people with shorter torsos for whom bibs might not fit well, and are usually a bit cheaper since they require less material and nuanced design. However, bike shorts will never be as secure as bibs, and you might have to try a few pairs before you find a waistband that fits comfortably.

Padded bike bibs, meanwhile, offer a more secure and comfortable fit for many people, as you don’t have to worry about shorts rolling down or being too tight around the waist. There’s no gap in the back when you’re reaching for your handlebars, which is excellent for protection from the sun. However, bike bibs are harder to go to the bathroom in, especially for women, and not all have adjustable straps to accommodate differently proportioned bodies.


Padded bike shorts, as a rule, should be long enough to cover where your thigh touches the bike seat when you’re sitting—usually at least 5 inches. Moreover, they should be long enough that they don’t curl up or ride up at the bottom of your body.

Outside of that, length is a matter of personal preference and style. Traditionally, indoor cycling and road cyclists wear padded bike shorts of a shorter length that hit about mid-thigh. Because mountain bikers fall more, they tend to wear longer shorts that come to the knee.


Padded bike shorts should be made from performance fabric—fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin and breathes well; otherwise, your shorts will hold onto your sweat and become heavy.

Padded bike shorts should also be made from a quality, stretchy material to envelop your lower torso and legs without feeling overly constricting.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I need to wear underwear with bike shorts?

    Although you can wear underwear under your padded bike shorts, they are designed to be worn without anything between the padding and your skin. Some people, namely women, like to wear underwear under their padded bike bibs for less exposure when they have to pull them down to use the bathroom. But if it’s not the right fabric, underwear can hold onto moisture from your sweat and it can cause chafing as it’s sandwiched between your skin and the tight padded shorts.

  • Do I need padded bike shorts?

    It depends on how long of a bike ride you’re going for and where you’re riding. Most people feel far more comfortable riding a bike outside for more than 30 minutes if they have padded bike shorts on, but some seasoned cyclists can comfortably go 60 minutes before they like to have a chamois on.

    Meanwhile, you can usually get away without padded bike shorts for an indoor cycling class because you spend a lot of time out of the saddle.

  • How do I wash and care for my bike shorts?

    Every pair of padded bike shorts will have different washing instructions so be sure to read the label. But generally, you can wash your padded bike shorts on cold, and then lay them flat or hang them to dry.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Rachael Schultz has been a health, wellness, and outdoor adventure writer for nearly a decade and a gear editor for five years. She has extensive knowledge of differentiating a high-quality, reliable product that supports the buyer’s needs and is worth your money. Additionally, she’s an avid mountain biker and, as a curvy person, knows how hard it can be to find padded bike shorts that fit well. In addition to Rachael, TripSavvy has a team of editors who all cycle regularly—including road biking, gravel biking, and mountain biking—who helped test products and lent their expertise to this piece.

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