The 13 Best Bike Shorts in 2021

Ride in comfort whether you are embarking on a long or short cycling trip

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Most Stylish: Lululemon Align Short at Lululemon

"Great for short bike rides or cycling classes."

Most Stylish for Men: Wolaco North Moore Short 6" Inseam at Wolaco

"These shorts have two water-resistant pockets that pack tightly to your body."

Best Bib for Men: Louis Garneau LGneer Bib at Backcountry

"A great choice for all men's body types with the Endurexx fabric that has square mesh technology for ventilation and quick drying."

Best Bib for Women: Louis Garneau W FitSensorTx Bib at Garneau

"Comes with a soft grip at the side of the shorts and anti-chafing technology at the inner thighs."

Best for Women: PEARL iZUMi Sugar 5” Short at Backcountry

"Cuts high in the back for rear coverage and features breathable polyester and mesh material."

Best for Travel for Men: Giant Race Day Bib Short at Giant Bicycles

"Comes with built-in SPF 50 sun protection and reflective details around the bib make it safer to cycle in low light."

Best for Kids: Joah Love TD Biker Shorts at Joah Love

"Each set of tie-dye shorts are unique and comes with a matching face mask so your little one can ride in style safely."

Best for Road Cycling Men: Sponeed Men's Padded Cycling Shorts at Amazon

"Leg grippers keep shorts in place and there's 3D gel padding in key areas."

Best for Road Cycling Women: Women’s North Moore Biker 7” Inseam at Wolaco

"The shorts are constructed with nifty flat-locked stitching for true form-fitting material so that your shorts stay put"

Best for Travel for Women: Samsara Performance 9” Short at Samsara Cycle

"The Samsara construction technology eliminates chamois stitch lines across the bum."

Best Padding: dhb Aeron Bib Shorts

The main body of the short is made from a stretchy, compressive fabric to help support your muscles and aid recovery.

Best for Mountain Biking Men: Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 Cycling Bib

Packed with compressive technology with the CB Carbon + Lycra and Endurexx fabric.

Best for Mountain Biking Women: Machines for Freedom Essential Cycling Short

The brand designed the waistband from yoga-inspired cuts in order to eliminate uncomfortable pressure on the waist. 

If you’re planning a cycling trip or maybe just want to experience the outdoors on shorter bike rides, one of the most important parts of your kit is bike shorts. Experienced riders make sure they ask questions like, do the shorts ride up? Do they have a hygienic pad? Or can they comfortably handle long days in the saddle? These answers can determine the difference between a solid day in the saddle or an infamous suffer-fest.

"When looking for cycling shorts for a long-distance tour, comfort is the most important factor," says Barb Hoyt, owner of Timberline Adventures, a bike tour company based in Boulder, Colorado. “Make sure the cut fits your body—snug but not too tight, the padding is cushiony but not too bulky, and the waistband stays comfortable in any position."

Here are the best bike shorts we recommend, whether you are embarking on a long or short cycling trip.

Most Stylish: Lululemon Align Short 6"

Lululemon Align Short

Courtesy of Lululemon

What We Like
  • Weightless

  • Soft

  • Has pockets

  • Great for short rides or cycling classes

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include extra padding

This new short by Lululemon is constructed with proprietary Nulu fabric, designed to feel weightless and super soft. The 6-inch Align Short is great for short bike rides or cycling classes since there is no chamois. However, they look great and have clever features like the waistband pocket that can fit a card or key.

Most Stylish for Men: Wolaco North Moore Short 6" Inseam

North Moore Short 6"

Courtesy of Wolaco

What We Like
  • Has water-resistant pockets

  • Durable

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Sizes run small

Need some compression shorts that you can rely on for short-distance cycling? The North Moore Short with a 6-inch inseam has two water-resistant pockets that pack tightly to your body, to easier carry car keys and a phone during your ride. The reinforced stitching and durable waistband will help keep you comfortable while on your road or mountain bike. While we dig the sweat-proof pockets, note the North Moore Short is similar to the Lululemons above—no seat padding. Bums beware.

Best Bib for Men: Louis Garneau LGneer Bib

Louis Garneau L’Gneer Bib

Courtesy of Garneau

What We Like
  • Dries quickly

  • Has a UPF 50 rating

  • Compressive

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The stretchable Louis Garneau LGneer Bib Short is a great choice for all men's body types. We love the Endurexx fabric which has square mesh technology for ventilation and quick drying. Cycling multiple days at a time? The fabric can be washed or rinsed and dried quickly in-between rides. The inseam is a comfortable 10.5 inches and has a laser-style finish and integrated grip in the thigh area. A bonus: The bib comes with a UPF rating of 50 to protect you from rays.

Best Bib for Women: Louis Garneau W FitSensorTx Bib Short

Louis Garneau W FitSensorTx Bib

Courtesy of Garneau

What We Like
  • Anti-chafing technology

  • Has reflective logos

  • Has a UPF 50 rating

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Louis Garneau's W FitSensorTx Bib Short for women packs a lot of punch—from functionality to tech-savviness. Once you strap on the convertible straps, you will feel a soft grip at the side of the shorts and anti-chafing technology at the inner thighs. If you like to ride at dusk or night, the reflective logos at the front and back will help keep you safe, while the SPF rating of 50 will help deflect sun rays during the day.

Best for Women: PEARL iZUMi Women's Sugar 5” Short

Women's Sugar 5" Short

Courtesy of PEARL iZUMi

What We Like
  • Has great rear coverage

  • Comes in various colors

  • Machine-washable

What We Don't Like
  • Sizes run small

Perfect for hot cycling classes or summer days, the Sugar 5-inch shorts from Pearl iZUMi are cut high in the back for rear coverage and offer breathable polyester and mesh material. “I like these shorts for their shorter length, better tan lines, and the fact that you can get them in a color other than black,” says Hoyt of Timberline Adventures. “Pearl iZUMi always has great quality gear and they are headquartered in the Timberline Adventures hometown of Boulder, Colorado.”

Best for Travel for Men: Giant Race Day Bib Short

Giant Race Day Bib Shorts

Courtesy of Short Race

What We Like
  • Has a UPF 50 rating

  • Has reflective details

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

From proprietary TransTexture fabric with UPF 50 protection to a coated rear panel for reducing sogginess from back tire splash, the Giant Race Day Bib Shorts have a lot to like. Reflective details around the bib also make it safer to cycle when the sun starts setting. "My favorite bib shorts are Giant’s Race Day bib short,” says Todd Starnes, owner of Bicycleadventures.com, a bike tour company. “The pad is comfortable and long-lasting and the mesh bib is breathable and fits comfortably over the shoulder. They have a wide band around the quad that stays in place but does not bind or pinch.”

Best for Kids: Joah Love TD Biker Shorts

Joah Love Biker Shorts

Courtesy of Joah Love

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Comes in various colors

  • Machine-washable

What We Don't Like
  • Mask sold separately

When you need a good pair of high waist bike shorts for your child aged two to 14, the Joah Love TD Biker Shorts are a great option for cycling trips at home or while traveling. Kids will love that each set of tie-dye shorts are unique and have a separately sold matching face mask so your little one can ride in style and be safe during bike stops. Made with 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, the stretch material will mold to many body types.

Best For Road Cycling: Sponeed Men's Padded Cycling Shorts

What We Like
  • Non-slip

  • Excellent padding

  • Comes in various colors

  • Machine-washable

What We Don't Like
  • Sizes run small

Boasting a four-way performance stretch, the Sponeed Men’s Padded Cycling Shorts also feature leg grippers that keep the shorts in place and 3D gel pads in key areas. For cyclists on the go, the shorts are also moisture-wicking and will dry quickly after sweating or washing. “One of my highly recommended bike shorts would be Sponeed's Men's Padded Cycling Shorts,” says Mark Stephenson, editor at How to Shoe, a footwear review website. “They are designed with sublimation print, have excellent padding, and provide optimum comfort. It fits well, is breathable, and the color never fades.”

Best For Road Cycling: Women’s North Moore Biker 7” Inseam

Specialized RBX Shorts with SWAT

Courtesy of Jenson USA

What We Like
  • Has sweat-proof pockets

  • Flat-locked stitching prevents ride up

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have built-in sun protection

There's a lot to like about Wolaco's Women's North Moore Shorts. For one, the shorts feature a sweat-proof phone pocket. The shorts are also constructed with nifty flat-locked stitching for true form-fitting material so that your shorts stay put. The waistband is also top-notch with infinity construction that keeps the shorts on your hip without pinching or shifting. 

Best for Travel for Women: Samsara Performance 9” Short

Samsara Performance 9” Shorts

Courtesy of Samsara

What We Like
  • Hides chamois

  • Comes in various colors

  • Great leg coverage

  • Has a UPF 50 rating

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

For a blend of a trendy look and performance, the Samara 9-inch shorts are made of Italian fabric with Elastic Interface Chamois material. The Samsara construction technology eliminates the chamois stitch lines across the bum for a more discreet chamois. The 9-inch length ensures that there is adequate leg coverage.

Best Padding: dhb Aeron Bib Shorts

dhb Aeron Bib Shorts

Courtesy of wiggle.com

What We Like
  • Has a UPF 50 rating

  • Great for long cycling rides

  • Excellent padding

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have built-in sun protection

If comfort is what you seek for those long scenic bike rides, you need a bib short like the dhb Aeron Bib Shorts. They were constructed with a chamois made specifically for at least seven hours of riding. The product also features comfortable mesh bib straps with carbon fiber to boost moisture transfer and a mesh back for ventilation. The main body of the short is made from Italian fabric called Granfondo, which is a stretchy, compressive fabric to help support your muscles and aid recovery.

“As a keen cyclist, I’ve owned several different bike shorts over the years,” says Nick Minor, manager at Bikepush.com, a bike accessory review website. “My current favorites are the dhb Aeron Bib Shorts. I’ve tested them on long cycling days. These shorts have excellent padding that helps to stop you from getting sore sit bones.”

Best for Mountain Biking for Men: Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 Cycling Bib

Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 Cycling Bib

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Excellent padding

  • Has a UPF 50 rating

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Louis Garneau CB Carbon 2 Cycling Bib features 4Motion integrated chamois and ample ventilation with the bib’s vented mesh back. For those needing extra support, the Carbon 2 is packed with compressive technology with the CB Carbon + Lycra and Endurexx fabric. “My favorite bike short is the Louis Garneau Men's CB Carbon,” says Von Collins, editor at Complete Tri, a website that provides guidance, tips, and gear reviews for triathletes, cyclists, runners, and other fitness enthusiasts. “The shorts are not cheap, but they are high-tech and you get what you pay for. The fit is excellent, the contact points in the leg grips and waist are comfortable, and the length on the legs is just right.”

Best for Mountain Biking for Women: Machines for Freedom Essential Cycling Short

Machines for Freedom Essential Cycling Short

Courtesy of Machines for Freedom 

What We Like
  • Non-slip

  • Has a UPF 50 rating

  • Moisture-wicking

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The mid-thigh fit you’ve been looking for arrived with the Machines for Freedom Essential Short that comes in an 8.5-inch inseam. The brand designed the waistband from yoga-inspired cuts in order to eliminate uncomfortable pressure on the waist. Bonus: The chamois was made and tested for at least six hours in the saddle and bacteriostatic for reducing odors.

Final Verdict

Choose a pair of bike shorts that work well for your body and comfort. This includes comfy leg bands that won't ride up; waistbands that don’t pinch; and cushioned pads that are not too bulky but provide comfort for longer cycling trips.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Adrienne Jordan is a frequent cycler and loves to try out the best bike shorts on the market for quick rides in her neighborhood, to 20+ mile trips through U.S. National Parks. She understands that having the right shorts can make a biking experience more enjoyable and comfortable.

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