How to Wear Cycling Shorts7 March 2023
The clothes you wear in the saddle can make or break your ride. While the right outfit will help to keep you cool and comfortable, the wrong gear can leave you sweaty and saddle sore. So what should you look for in your cycling outfits?
Cycling shorts are a great place to start. Coming between you and your main point of contact on the bike, they provide friction control and cushioning. But how important are these pieces of kit, and what’s the best way to wear them? Keep reading to find out.
Are cycling shorts worth it?
When you’re deciding whether to add specialist shorts to your list of cycling must-haves, think about the distance and frequency of your rides. If you tend to make short journeys, for example trips of under five miles, and you don’t typically climb into the saddle more than once or twice a week, you can probably get away without stocking up on cycling shorts; ordinary clothes might be just fine for your needs.
However, if you spend longer on your bike, you’re bound to feel the benefit of carefully chosen cycling shorts. And the longer and more frequent your rides, the better your cycling shorts will need to be.
There are various styles of shorts to choose from, but for sheer comfort and practicality, it’s hard to beat bib shorts. The go-to legwear solution for many cyclists, these garments offer all the benefits of classic cycling shorts combined with a set of shoulder straps that prevent them from slipping down when you’re on the move.
Here are just some of the reasons to make sure your cycling wardrobe includes high-quality shorts:
These garments feature an integrated chamois, also called a seat pad, which provides cushioning for those vulnerable parts that come into contact with your saddle.
Cycling shorts are also designed to minimise any chafing caused by the constant movement of your legs against the saddle. For maximum effect, you can apply chamois cream before a ride. This forms a barrier between your skin and seat pad, reducing chafing further. You can either apply the cream to the seat pad area of your shorts or directly to yourself.
Good cycling shorts are made from highly breathable materials that help you to stay cool even on a demanding ride. They also wick moisture away for added comfort.
Designed to stay in place
The inclusion of elasticated internal leg grippers prevents these shorts from creeping up your thighs as you’re cycling, ensuring they stay in place throughout your ride.
The tight-fitting design of cycling shorts means they’re significantly more aerodynamic than looser styles of legwear.
What to wear with cycling shorts
So, we’ve been through some of the main benefits of cycling shorts, but what is the best way to wear them? For the purposes of your ride, you can team them up with other high-performance garments and apparel, including everything from moisture-wicking merino wool base layers, to cycling jerseys, lightweight waterproof jackets, arm and neck warmers, cycling caps and more. There’s plenty of kit out there to keep you comfortable in all conditions.
When it comes to mountain biking, where aerodynamics aren’t all-important, it’s common to wear baggies over the top of cycling shorts. So if you prefer the looser, more relaxed aesthetic this offers, you can combine the benefits of a tight, padded under layer with baggy shorts on top.
There are also cycling undershorts that are specifically designed to be worn under other legwear to offer extra comfort in the saddle. For example, at Planet X, we offer high-stretch, seamless padded undershorts that are perfect for recreational rides. You can slip them on under regular clothes such as jeans. No one will even know you’re wearing them, but you’ll benefit from the extra comfort they offer while you’re in the saddle.
Do you wear underwear with cycling shorts?
The short answer here is no, you should never wear underwear with cycling shorts. The seams in your underwear are likely to cause chafing, defeating the purpose of wearing the shorts. So, for maximum comfort in the saddle, keep things simple and just wear your cycling shorts of choice.