Best women's cycling shorts reviewed

A good pair of women's cycling shorts can make all the difference to your comfort on the bike - here's what to look for and some of our favourite pairs

best womens bib shorts
(Image credit: Cycling Studio)

As one of only three contact points with your bike, the comfort of your derriere is paramount when bike riding and a good pair of women's cycling shorts can make all the difference.

While a large proportion of your comfort on the bike will come from finding a quality women's bike saddle that suits you, the what sits between that and the most delicate part of your body is just as important.

With a plethora of cycling shorts on the market, finding the best women's cycling shorts for you can be a minefield. It's not just the chamois that matters when it comes to comfort - you'll want leg grippers that sit well and fabric that provides ample, but not over, compression.

We’re here to help you find that pair that allows you to freely ride your bike without the worry of sore bits or a builder's bum making an appearance.

Many of the best women's cycling shorts will come with corresponding women's cycling jersey.  It's another area that warrants a female specific design to take account of the different physical forms. 

Some riders also swear by a women's specific bike, and if you are debating a purchase, our guide on the best women's bikes will help you find the right one for you.

We've gone into detail about exactly what to look for in women's cycling shorts below - but first, here are some of our favourites. You'll notice we have included mostly bib over waist shorts, largely because if the improved performance they do offer - which is explained below.

Our alternative guide on the best cycling shorts also includes options that have a female version. However, as the shorts tested on that page were the men's version, we can't absolutely vouch for the women's equivalent, hence dedicated this page to the best female ridden and rated cycling shorts.

It's worth bearing mind that some of our hand curated list of the best women's cycling shorts will also have a men's version too, but again we won't be able to totally vouch for the shorts unless we've tested the male equivalent pair.

If you're specifically looking for more wallet friendly kit, our page rounding up cheaper cycling clothing is well worth a visit.

Ridden and rated: the best women's cycling shorts

dhb Aeron bib shorts

(Image credit: Wiggle)

dhb Aeron bib shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for performance on a budget

Specifications
Sizes: UK 8-16
Colours : Black, black/pink, black/white, navy
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable fit+Great chamois +Bib strap design+Ideal for performance focused riding +Wallet friendly price+Fabric ethical certification 
Reasons to avoid
-Sizing comes up small

In a world where bib shorts costing eyewatering figures is commonplace, it’s refreshing to see a top quality retailing for significantly less. Dhb makes its Aeron shorts from Italian M.I.T.I. fabric designed to shrug off abrasion and maintain it's elasticity over a hard life, and best of all it's made from recycled yarns. It doesn't quite match the Alé Green Road Lady pair standards, but it's great to see environmental considerations becoming a high priority for big brands. 

Inside is an Paris HP Elastic Interface chamois, it's a highly regarded option and crosses over several cycling disciplines, which give the shorts great versatility from short races, to all day in the saddle rides. 

We found there was very little to fail with the dhb Aeron shorts,  with our tester saying they were the best shorts she'd worn in a long time. Available in male and female fits.

Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts

(Image credit: Alé)

Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts

Best women's cycling shorts made from recycled fabric

Specifications
Sizes : XS - XXXL
Colours : Blue/fluro pink, black/ charcoal, blue/ light blue, cyclamen, fluro yellow
Reasons to buy
+Recycled fabrics+UPF50+ protection +Performance women's specific fit +Secure leg gripper +Minimal seams +Breathable fabric +Wide straps for comfort+Lightweight shorts
Reasons to avoid
-None!

Designed and tested at the highest level with the professional riders of the Alé-Cipollini team at the Giro Rosa, the Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts prove that it's possible to marry performance and environmentally friendly in a single package. 

We found these to be one of the best women's cycling shorts for offering supreme comfort and performance, they're also made from fabrics that are Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified, giving them top marks and a Cycling Weekly Editor's Choice Award. 

The shorts offer great elasticity, which maintain a solid black colour even when stretched,  and muscular compression, and combined with super wide 8cm of laser cut leg grippers which spread the compression, make for a fantastic fit which stay firmly put all ride. 

Highly breathable and impressive SPF protection the shorts are ideal for hot sunny days in the saddle.

The 12mm foam pad is on the more simple side, especially when compared to the likes of the Santini Legend pair (below), but is well balanced, women's specific, and provides plenty of support on long rides. 

Assos UMA GT half shorts - Best women's cycling shorts reviewed

(Image credit: Picasa)

Assos UMA GT half shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for padding in a no-bib design

Specifications
Sizes : XS - XLG
Colours: Black only
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable but compressive fabric+Excellent chamois
Reasons to avoid
-Waist band dips down at the front

Most of the comfort in these shorts comes thanks to the 8mm of memory foam chamois and S7 'waffle design' alongside the 'goldenGate' - which means the pad is attached at the front and rear, allowing for movement and 'float'. It's the same chamois that's used in the much loved Assos T.Laalalai bibshorts and Habu Laalalai S7 tights

The leg grippers are also really wide and graduate towards the centre, meaning they stay put without digging in round the thighs. 

While the waist rises up at the back to ensure no bare skin is ever exposed, the front did dip a bit too low, and was slightly too compressing for optimal middle comfort.  

Since we reviewed these, waist shorts have seen a bit of a renaissance, thanks to most of us spending at lot more time cycling inside, or shorter commutes, which make bib shorts seem a little OTT. 

When compared to other waist short options these certainly share top spot with the Oldo Element shorts (below). 

Velocio Women’s Signature Bib Short

(Image credit: velocio)

Velocio Women’s Signature Bib Short

Best women's cycling shorts for comfort breaks with bibs

Specifications
Sizes: XXS - XXXL
Colours: Black, navy blue
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful, understated design+Minimal branding+Close body hugging fit+Mesh bib for modesty+FlyFree design for easy comfort breaks+Chamois comfortable for long rides
Reasons to avoid
-Premium price range

 

With an understated design and minimal branding, the Signature shorts from the American brand Velocio are stylish in their subtly, yet highly functional. 

The top notch performance is delivered thanks to a chamois pad that is designed to provide comfort on long rides and Lycra that is both figure hugging and breathable. 

Practicality isn’t overlooked with the FlyFree design allowing you to go to the loo without having to take all your layers off, and the mesh front panel which is an additional highly breathable layer, ideal for added support when un-zipping your jersey on a hot ride. 

They aren't the cheapest on test, especially when compared to the likes of the dhb Aeron bib shorts, but we feel that the performance and practicality of the shorts easily justified the splurge. 

Gore C7 women’s long distance bib shorts+ - best women's cycling shorts reviewed

Gore C7 women’s long distance bib shorts+

Best women's cycling shorts for long rides

Specifications
Sizes : 0-2 (EU34) - 16-18 (EU24)
Colours: Black, blue
Reasons to buy
+Good fit, true to size+Comfortable chamois
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive price tag-No comfort break solution 

These top end race shorts are designed with the rigours of long distance riding at front of mind.

 The cuffs are wide with silicone dots to hold them in place, and sit very flat against the skin with no pinching. With a 20cm inside leg measurement, they are on the longer side than most shorts, great for holding legs together and helping to battle fatigue, but if you're used to a more 'race' cut these will take some getting used to. 

The pad plays a key part to these short's performance, with the chamios being designed first, and the rest of the shorts around it. It's what the brand calls 'Central Core Architecture', and a male version of the Gore C7 long distance bib shorts use a men's specific version. 

It's a duel density pad, so has volume where you need it most. Teaming with a panel of highly rated GORE Windstopper fabric to block cold wind slicing through means than the shorts significantly reduce their front bulk. 

The shorts fabric is soft to the touch and we found these to be a joy to wear and the ideal women's cycling shorts for long distance performance seeking riders, but expect to pay for the privilege.

Odlo Element waist cycling shorts

(Image credit: Odlo)

Odlo Element Cycling shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for versatility

Specifications
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours : Black only
Reasons to buy
+Minimalistic design +Lightweight shorts+Breathable and sweat wicking+Quick drying+Comfortable waist+Supportive chamois+Reflective detailing
Reasons to avoid
-Sizing is generous 

Easy to wear and a versatile pair of shorts that will be a great addition to any cyclists wardrobe. Balancing both comfort and practicality, the exceptionally well made shorts punch well above their price bracket when compared to their peers, potentially allowing you to buy two sets for the price of one pair of the Assos UMA GT half shorts (above).

We loved the Odlo Element shorts for their easy to wear nature, with their lightweight, breathable and quick drying qualities and minimal design made them perfect for under non-cycling clothing.

They go against the grain in terms of the lack of wide leg cuffs, but don't let that put you off as even on long rides on mixed terrain they held firm. 

The wide waist band is comfortable round the middle, with a slightly higher back preventing any drafty jersey to shorts gaps.  

It's worth noting that these do come up bigger than other shorts on the market, so might be worth going down a size if you're looking for for a  super sleek profile, but having worn a slightly oversized pair, it doesn't prevent performance, and could actually contribute to the comfortable middle, especially in comparison to the Assos UMA pair.  A great buy that won't disappoint.

 

Specialized SL R women's bib shorts

(Image credit: Specialized )

Specialized SL R women's bib shorts

Best women's shorts for balancing performance and practicalities of bike riding.

Specifications
Sizes: XS - XXL
Colours : Black, black/aqua, black/pink
Reasons to buy
+Wide leg grippers+Comfortable pad+Well thought out comfort break clasp+Compressive fabric 
Reasons to avoid
-None!

Extremely comfortable shorts with a racing pedigree and a comfort break system that actually works without having any negative impact on fit or performance.

In fact not only do we love these shorts enough to give them full marks but also a Cycling Weekly Editors Choice Award. 

The triple density foam padding was perfect for sampling the cobbles of Paris Roubaix, giving these shorts the versatile for being ridden on all terrains. 

Like the Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts, the leg cuff measures 8cm, which nicely distributes the pressure  over pinching or digging in.  

Made from 'Action elasthan' the shorts compress legs in to a supportive hug, greatly reducing fatigue, especially when hitting the rougher terrain. 

They're not the cheapest on the market, but you can be sure you are investing in a pair of the best women's cycling shorts, offering performance that surpasses premium brands.

Santini Legend bib shorts

(Image credit: Santini)

Santini Legend bib shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for multi features

Specifications
Sizes: XS - 2XL
Colours: Black, navy
Reasons to buy
+UV protection+Muscle compression  +Adjustable bib length+Secure leg gripper+Long distance comfort+Aerodynamic optimised fit+Wallet friendly price tag
Reasons to avoid
-Over head strap design-Chamios won't suit all riders 

The women's specific Santini Legend bib shorts are all about long days in the saddle for great value. The fabric, fit and padding are all geared this way, enabling the rider to crack on with cranking the pedals round. Perfect for long distance cycling - though some may find the eight hour ready chamois a bit too thick.

Like the  Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts it's great to see the offering of UV protection and muscle compression. Although much like the Assos T laalalai shorts s7 bib shorts below, they are the reverse design of the Specialized SL R women's bib shorts, meaning that you have to not only remove your outer top layers to nip to the loo , but your helmet (and therefore sunglasses) too in order to get them off - making the comfort break kit juggle more of a handful. 

The Legend bib shorts do however pack a lot in to a fairly priced package making these a pair of great women's cycling shorts for lots of riders.

Assos T laalalai shorts s7 bib shorts

(Image credit: Assos)

Assos T.laalalai shorts_s7 women's bib shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for long term investment

Specifications
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Chamois comfort+Long term investment+Leg gripper compression 
Reasons to avoid
-Clasp should be at the rear

An oldie but still a goodie, the Protective 'type.439' fabric offered compression and abrasion resistance, but they've been dipped in an 'IceColor' dye that helps to reflect sunlight - providing a cool ride even on super hot days.

Wide, 4.5cm leg grippers have been used and a clasp at the waist can be disconnected and swing over the head, but if, as mentioned in the review of the Santini Legend pair above, if they just swopped the clasp to the back of the shorts, as per Specialized SL R women's bib shorts it would make them so much easier to use for comfort breaks. 

With the S7 pad that we know and love and featured in the Assos UMA shorts above and others you can guarantee that these will be one of the most comfortable pairs of shorts that you will ever own. 

Most of us here at Cycling Weekly have pairs of Assos shorts which date several years, if not longer and are still going strong, so while the price is towards the higher end . Ideal women's cycling shorts for anyone looking for long term keepers.

Café du Cycliste Women’s Sophie bib shorts

(Image credit: Café du Cycliste )

Café du Cycliste Women’s Sophie bib shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for classic black bibs

Specifications
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours : Black, navy
Reasons to buy
+Breathability of shorts+Leg grippers integrated +Length of shorts+Comfortable chamois
Reasons to avoid
-On the pricey end-Central clasp doesn't serve much purpose 

These bib shorts feature Café du Cycliste's 'quick release design' for all important pee breaks and the mesh top keeps the bib in place well, while providing plenty of breathability.

The major USP for our tester was the 'integrated gripper' – there’s no harsh elastic to cut into your legs and no stitching to chafe, yet these stayed put with no riding up.

Its chamois sits between the bulk of endurance models and the limited protection of race options, resulting in a pain free ride on both long rides, and hard and fast shorter training sessions. 

The fit isn't as race focused as the Assos T.laalalai shorts_s7 women's bib shorts or the Specialized SL R women's bib shorts , so a great alternative for riders looking for a little more give in their shorts. 

The price is high but it's worth it for this pair of on of the best women's cycling shorts.

Lusso Women's Adventure Bibshorts

(Image credit: Lusso)

Lusso Women’s Adventure Bibshorts

Best women's shorts for carrying cargo

Specifications
Sizes : S - XL
Colours : Black
Reasons to buy
+Robust and secure thigh pockets+Comfortable leg grippers+Overall fit matches online measurement guidance
Reasons to avoid
-You'll pay a premium for a pair of pockets over similar shorts from Lusso

The quality women's cycling shorts from UK based Lusso fit well and are comfortable for short and medium length rides. The pockets are perfect for storing your phone or quick access to ride snacks, similar to that of the Rapha Cargo Pro bib shorts.

Overall our tester found these to be pretty comfortable, with the traditional wide straps and 4.5cm wide leg gripper doing a good job at holding the shorts in place even when loaded up. 

There's a similar fitting pair in the Lusso line up, which if you can do without the pockets will save you around forty percent, so well worth considering your priorities before you buy. But if you are looking for the extra storage, then these are around half the price of the Rapha ones, so potentially a great deal. 

Turbo/ exercise bike specific women's cycling shorts

With the huge rise in the number of riders heading inside, some brands have dedicated ranges, and we’ve even selected our best indoor cycling clothingkit for indoor sessions in a separate buyers guide.

These generally come with slightly more padding, to counter more time in the saddle, are designed to be more breathable and sweat-wicking than standard shorts.

If you're wondering about the best home training set up then our guides on the best exercise bikes or best turbo trainers can help answer all your questions and recommend the ideal indoor riding experience for you.

Bib shorts

(Image credit: Michelle Arthurs-Brennan)

NoPinz SubZero shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for keeping cool

Specifications
Sizes : XS - XXL
Colours: Green, light grey, purple
Reasons to buy
+Breathable fabric of shorts+Moisture-managing chamois  
Reasons to avoid
-Gel ice packs require pre-planning

In a year that has seen us take to indoor cycling way more than we ever expected, the NoPinz SubZero shorts have come up with an innovative way to stay cool, thanks to frozen gel packs. 

When administered with ideal timing, the gel packs that set the SubZero shorts apart are useful, and they do make tough sessions feel that tiny bit easier.

The pad is comfortable and, clearly, the fabric is breathable, though the near-naked appearance means you’d not be able to get additional use from these by wearing them outside.

A great option for anyone undertaking indoor racing and looking for every performance gain possible. There aren't really a lot of options for indoor specific kit on the market just yet, but with the huge popularity in on-line racing, we suspect that will grow. 

In the mean time they are certainly a rival for the more expensive Wahoo X Le Col pair that was awarded near full marks, and defiantly beats popping some frozen peas down your shorts.  

There are three colours available and both a female and male fit options in sizes XS to XXL.

dhb Aeron indoor Women's shorts - Best women's cycling shorts

dhb Aeron Turbo indoor women’s shorts

Best women's cycling shorts for wicking sweat

Reasons to buy
+Quick dry fabric is effective+Comfortable chamois
Reasons to avoid
-Waist band is annoying

To avoid drowning in sweat when training indoors, dhb's Aeron turbo waist shorts are constructed from a lightweight, breathable fabric, with an even lighter fabric along the quads.

It's Elastic Interface Paris HP Super pad by Cytech is geared to deal with sweat – featuring perforations to allow for greater air flow. Our sweat test found that these shorts were true to its word and kept our tester dryer than a pair of 'non-turbo' waist shorts from Assos. The firm but protective chamois was effective in providing comfort too.

As mentioned above, there's not lots on offer in terms of specific indoor cycling kit yet, and we do expect more on the market soon to offer a better comparison, but if you are a sweaty betty when training inside, these could be just the ticket for you. 

What to look for in a set of cycling shorts

As one of only three contact points with your bike, the comfort of your derriere is paramount when bike riding and a good pair of women's cycling shorts can make all the difference.

While a large proportion of your comfort on the bike will come from finding a quality women's bike saddle that suits you, the what sits between that and the most delicate part of your body is just as important.

With a plethora of cycling shorts on the market, finding the best women's cycling shorts for you can be a minefield. It's not just the chamois that matters when it comes to comfort - you'll want leg grippers that sit well and fabric that provides ample, but not over, compression.

We’re here to help you find that pair that allows you to freely ride your bike without the worry of sore bits or a builder's bum making an appearance.

Many of the best women's cycling shorts will come with corresponding women's cycling jersey. It's another area that warrants a female specific design to take account of the different physical forms. Some riders also swear by a women's specific bike, and if you are debating a purchase our guide on the best women's bikes will help you find the right one for you.

Chamois AKA padded insert.

At the top of the check list for any of the best women's cycling shorts is the padded insert, otherwise known as a chamois. There’s a fine line between sufficient padding and too much bulk, and this also depends on the kind of riding you're going to be doing. Long days in the saddle will require more cushioning, but if you’re on and off the bike a lot, for example a quick commute or a cyclocross style ride, you may prefer much less.

A quick squish test can give you a rough idea as to the level of padding, but also take into account construction: is it made from foam, gel or both? As a rule of thumb the more variety and densities of layers, the more cushioning you will receive, especially over a longer time period (both in terms of riding time and age of shorts) when padding can compress flat – offering little in terms of support.

On the whole, the addition of gel inserts may help reduce some shock absorption, but can add weight and bulk to the shorts. Foam may give you a little more road buzz feedback, but will create a lighter, more streamlined and less restrictive pair of shorts.

To add to this gel-versus-foam conundrum is a myriad of construction fabrics, with a view to reducing the risk of saddle sores (of the infected hair follicle type). But try not to get too bogged down with this as most shorts' chamois now offer some kind of antibacterial properties, breathability, sweat wicking and quick drying capabilities.

To be honest, the best prevention of saddle sores is self help and chamois care by always wearing fresh shorts, using an antibacterial chamois cream, limiting chamois time when not on the bike and hopping into the shower asap post ride and of course knowing what's in your Chamois and how to look after it will help.

Areas of soft tissue need protection. This is often in the form of extra soft padding to help alleviate pressure points and the all-important avoidance of stitching in these regions. The design also needs to appreciate that women’s sit bones are wider apart than men's and position the thickest padding accordingly.

This attention to padding placement will also help you decide your overall chamois size requirement – bigger is not always better. Bear in mind that when on a bike your legs aren’t any wider than hip distance apart at the top, so too much padding overspill can create an un-natural leg position. While too much length at the rear may just be unsightly, too much at the front will potentially cause friction burns to the top of legs and groin when you start pedaling.

Best women's cycling shorts

(Image credit: mike prior)

A women’s specific chamois should be shorter and have sit bone padding wider apart and more central soft tissue support than a men's

One of the biggest causes for short discomfort can be the chamois-to-short interface. Unfinished edges and badly positioned stitching can irritate legs, buttocks and groin. A niggle, when multiplied by several thousand pedal revolutions, can swiftly turn in to full blown painful chaffing and skin loss. To protect yourself from this, the best women's cycling shorts will have flatlock sewing right at the edges of the padding and ensure that the unpadded fringes of the chamois flow a few centimetres below the groin to prevent irritation in creases.

Best women's cycling shorts

(Image credit: mike prior)

Flatlocked sewn right to the edges will minimize the risk of friction rubbing

Talking about other anatomical areas that need protection, you might find our guide on the best sports bras for cycling a helpful insight in how to find the best chest support for you.

How to dress for hot conditions

Best women's waist cycling shorts vs bibshorts

There are two kinds of cycling shorts: ones with bibs and ones without, and both have pros and cons. It’s very much horses for courses as to what typewill suit you and your riding needs best, and like chamois padding, this need may change depending on what riding you’ll be doing on any given day.

Best waist cycling shorts for women

The biggest benefit to plain and simple shorts is easy access, be it for the inevitable comfort break on long rides or just a bottom half change for quick rides to and from the office.

With no body upper, shorts can also be a cooler option on hot days or indoor training sessions. With less fabric, this generally makes them lighter weight and a cheaper option price-wise.

The downside is, unless you’re a unicycle rider, all forms of bike riding require you to bend in the middle – the exact point where a waistband sits. This can create a ‘digging in’ sensation when on the bike, which can range from merely an ‘awareness’ to ‘organ squeezing’!

Some shorts get round this issue with the creation of a low slung waistline, but that can give an unflattering pot belly illusion and create a gap between shorts and jersey at the back. The better option, and one that you'll find in the ideal women's cycling shorts is a wider waistband with a high back to counter the stretching effect on the bike.

However, construction of waist shorts varies hugely, so when trying on, make sure you try with a bike specific jersey and adopt an on-the-bike position to see how the waistband fits and feels.

Brands and retailers agree that waist shorts are currently the biggest sellers for women. However, in terms of performance, bibshorts to tend to offer a betterexperience when on the bike.

Best cycling bibshorts for women

Bibshorts more or less overcome this waistband issue as the shorts' leg fabric continues much higher up the torso before eventually transitioning into the bibstraps. A good pair of women's specific bibshorts will take account of a female's increased hip to waist ratio compared to a man's and ensure they fit snugly around the waist, preventing crafty gaps and sweat channels.

Unlike shorts, some bibshorts offer an element of skin protection if you’re unfortunate enough to end up sliding on tarmac - though the amount of coverage will vary depending upon the design.

This male/female fit difference also holds true for bibstrap design. Traditional up and over straps may work for some, but others find straps directly laying on breasts uncomfortable and/ or find the shorts no longer sit flush on the stomach, again creating drafts or sweat channels.

You may find the best women's cycling short bib straps for you take account of the female form by contouring either side of the chest, running directly down your middle or having another solution, such as the dhb halterneck design.

 

Best women's cycling shorts reviewed

dhb halterneck bibshorts

The other thing to look for on the straps is length: too short will become painful and sore on the shoulders, too long and shorts will sag and not hold the chamois in position. A good fit will feel slightly too short when standing, so again when trying on, adopt a riding position to get a better idea of how they’ll feel on the bike.

Many women are put off bib shorts because taking a 'comfort' or 'nature' break is made a little bit more difficult. However, almost all reputable brands have now come up with a solution for this, and you can find most in our Comfort breaks for women: best bib shorts for an easier pee stop buyers guide.

Popular options include halterneck bibs, which can be pulled over the head and threaded under a jersey (Ale), or simply pulled down at the back (dhb and Giro), as well as zips around the waist (Gore) and clasps that clip at the waist or back with a similar function to the halter neck (Gore again and Assos).

Though some women prefer to go with the standard bib strap design featured on most men's bib shorts, unzipping a jersey and removing the straps when it's time to 'go', the assorted options offers by those catering for women in this way do make bib shorts more accessible for those who might otherwise have opted for waist shorts.

Best women's cycling shorts

Twin zips at the back of the Gore Power 2.0 allow for easy access comfort breaks

Bibshort designswithout a quick pit stop drop will require you to remove your jersey first, so just watch out for dropping items from your pockets and if you’re wearing a race number, make sure its not pinned through your base layer too!

Legs on women's cycling shorts

While function is imperative, form isn’t far behind, with the links between looking good and feeling good on a bike being well documented.

As women generally having a higher fat percentage than men, skin tight lycra can be both friend and foe, with the ideal short legs being body contouring and muscle supporting, while avoiding over-compression.

Aim for a close, but not a restrictively tight fit on the legs, especially on the leg cuff. This is a particularly tricky area to get right, as they need to be snug enough to prevent the legs riding up when pedalling, without squeezing the thigh giving that ‘sausage leg’ look. Wide leg cuffs and raw edges often create the most flattering finish, and when teamed with silicone or other tacky fabrics on the leg gripper, will stay put when riding.

Best women's cycling shorts

Until relatively recently only the use of multiple fabric panels would deliver a close fit, and even now it’s a good way to ensure a simple lycra short contours the body.

With the advent of more technical materials that flow and cling to the skin, a snug fit can now be achieved using fewer panels. These fabrics often have multiple attributes, such as being incredibly lightweight and breathable, so expect a premium price tag on these shorts.

Trying on will allow you to see and feel the fit instantly, but unfortunately it’ll be difficult to judge the shorts' legs' staying power until you get out on the bike, so look out for women’s specific cycling shorts reviews to test that for you.

Hannah Bussey
Hannah Bussey

Hannah Bussey is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving Tech writer, having started with the Magazine back in 2011.

Bussey fell into journalism having hung up her road and track racing kit after a successful career that took her across the world competing at a national level in the UK, and UCI races in Belgium, France, Czeh Republic and China. 


When not reviewing cycling products, she can be found writing about the technical side of bike racing, having attended multiple Spring Classics, Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de France, Cyclocross, as well as UK based events and clubs 

over several years. 


Her bike collection is small but beautifully formed with her last team bike, a Kuota Kebel , her Scott Spark always taking pride of place.