Best women's cycling shorts 2022 ridden and rated

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 women's cycling shorts
(Image credit: Future)

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, 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 fabrics that provide 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. Below are all the favourite shorts we've ridden and rated. The first four pairs have recently been reviewed for summer 2022, so feature the latest innovations and fabrics from manufacturers. 

If you're here just for the advice on what makes a great pair of cycling shorts, you can just jump straight to the bottom of the page for that.

Ridden and rated: the best women's cycling shorts

Assos UMA GTV Short C2

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Assos Women's UMA GTV Bib Shorts C2

Premium fabrics, outstanding performance and easy bio-breaks.

Specifications

Sizes: XS-XLG
Colours: Black
Chamois: Elastic Interface featuring GoldenGate, 3D Waffle Foam and 9mm Superair Microshock
Easy pee design: Yes (Bisclick)

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable
+
Moderate compression
+
Endurance chamois
+
Well-made

Reasons to avoid

-
Clasps may irritate if you stop in a cafe

In their 2022 UMA GTV shorts, Assos have moved the easy-pee access from the front to the rear, and used two clasps rather than one. It all makes for a simpler comfort break and helps distribute any strain on fabrics more evenly. Our tester found it to be one of the easier-to-use designs she's experienced.     

It's not surprising that the shorts feature Assos' classic X-frame and the chamois boasts Golden Gate; both are winning features and make for a supremely comfortable short.

The Elastic Interface chamois is exceptionally supportive - certainly suited to endurance riding.

Fabrics are robust while still remaining light and breathable, the medium pair only weigh 35g more than Velocio's Ultralights (opens in new tab). Odour control and active cooling are integrated into the fabric, rather than via any kind of treatment. The overall finish is a deep, dark black, and UPF 50 protection. We loved that the leg grippers anchor the shorts firmly in place without over-compressing the thighs.

While anyone who appreciates quality and comfort will enjoy using these shorts, we think that out of the four we've tested (this year) these are the best choice for performance orientated endurance riders.

Read out full review here (opens in new tab)

Cafe du Cycliste Adeline Fade Bib Shorts

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Cafe du Cycliste Adeline Fade Women's Bib Shorts

Unique styling, comfortable fabrics and a quality chamois, ideal for those who prioritise pleasure over performance

Specifications

Sizes: XS-XL
Colours: Denim Black, Denim Navy
Chamois: Elastic Interface
Easy pee design: No
:
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Reasons to buy

+
Unique design
+
Quality chamois
+
Soft fabrics
+
Colour options

Reasons to avoid

-
Ineffective leg grippers
-
Mesh upper not so breathable
-
Potential fit issues with full bib

Out of the four pairs of shorts in the test, the Adelines proved to be a favourite for 'casual' riding. Thier unique styling, super soft fabrics and quality chamois made them an ideal choice for gentle cafe rides and long, lazy days with friends. They certainly turn heads when lined up against conventional black shorts. 

Our tester didn't find the fit of the full bib to her liking; the Adelines are better suited to those with a shorter than average body. Fabrics here are not overly breathable either, so these aren't the best shorts for deep, sweat-inducing efforts. 

While leg length is about average, you'll likely end up with a short-short - the grippers aren't so effective. Due to the fabrics being silky soft, gliding over the body, you won't notice this is happening.

We felt that these shorts were ideal for those not so keen on donning traditional, compressive lycra but who refused to compromise on comfort in the saddle, or style. Unfortunately, the price isn't as inclusive as the design. 

Read our full review here (opens in new tab).

Velocio Ultralight Bib Shorts

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Velocio Women's Ultralight Bib Short

Ideal for warm weather and indoor riding

Specifications

Sizes: XXS-XXXL
Colour: Black
Chamois: Proprietary Signature Chamois developed with Elastic Interface
Easy pee: Yes (FlyFree)

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Breathable
+
Understated
+
FlyFree

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be prone to transparency
-
Not inline with Velocio's eco-credentials

Understated comfort jumps to mind when you pull Velocio's Ultralight Bib Shorts. The medium we tested weighed just 150g, the lightest pair on test, making them perfect for those who enjoy warm weather training on a regular basis, or who ride indoors a lot. 

Velocio's FlyFree makes comfort breaks possible, though we'd advise sizing-up to make things less of a wriggle-affair. 

The pad's breathability matches the fabric's, so it's ideal for intense workouts while still offering decent support for longer rides.

Unlike most of Velocio's range, the Ultralights don't use recycled fabrics. We thought the shorts felt rougher than the others we reviewed, though it wasn't noticeable once we were riding in them. Velocio claim that the fabric is only 140 grams per meter, yet totally opaque. Our tester had a few issues at a side seam, thankfully none at the rear, so we'd definintely recommend sizing-up if you think your hips are bigger than average - Velocio's chart only uses height and weight, no hip or waist metrics. If you are concerned about potential transparency Velocio's own Signature Bibs (opens in new tab) might be worth considering, though they won't be quite as breathable.

Read our full review here (opens in new tab)

Endura FS260-Pro Bib Short DS

(Image credit: Emma Silversides)

Endura Women's FS260-Pro Bib Shorts DS

Comfortable farbics and chamois, plus bio-break convenience for a modest price

Specifications

Sizes: XXS-XL
Colours: Black, Kingfisher, Neon Pink
Chamois: 600 series: Italian 3D multi density stretch pad with Silver Dry® antibacterial technology
Easy pee: Yes (DropSeat™ (DS))

Reasons to buy

+
Modest pricing
+
Soft fabrics 
+
DropSeat™ doesn't compromise shorts
+
Colour options

Reasons to avoid

-
No compression
-
Not as breathable as some

The FS260-Pro's really impressed when lined-up with the other 3 shorts, they are less than half the price of them and still have a lot to offer.

Our tester felt that there were very few compromises with chamois comfort; the pad (using gel inserts) might be marginally weightier, wider and less breathable, but its pressure relieving capabilities just as good as the others. 

The fabrics are exceptionally soft, with hardly any sign of compression. However, unlike Cafe du Cycliste's Adeline (opens in new tab) (which also offered very little compression), the FS260 Pro's didn't budge thanks to some very effective leg grippers. 

Endura's DropSeat™ function is one of the only zip/clasp-free systems that doesn't put excess strain through seams and fabrics. However, there's trade-off in terms of breathability; you might well suffer from a sweaty lower back in warmer conditions due to the layered fabrics that make up DS. It's worth knowing that Endura also have a zip-verson (opens in new tab) of the FS260-Pros though. 

We felt that these were the most inclusive pair of shorts in our test; ideal for new-comers to the sport with their modest price tag, three colour options, a decent chamois and an easy bio-break system. Only compression and breathability fell short, elements that aren't necessarily everyone's priorities. 

Read our full review here (opens in new tab).

Here are more short that we've tried in recent years and think highly of...

Raphas womens detachable bibs

(Image credit: Rapha)
(opens in new tab)
High end, easy comfort breaks

Specifications

Sizes: XXS-XL
Colours: Black
Chamois: Rapha's own pre-moulded, size-specific chamois pad
Easy pee design: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely comfortable chamois
+
Detachable bib strap works well
+
Minimal seams lessens the chances of chafing

Reasons to avoid

-
They are pricey
-
Our tester found the minimal panels on the legs caused the chamois seam to become more visible

Rapha was a little late to the party with a 'comfort break solution', but the magnetic clasp it arrived at works extremely well.

The chamois is also a work of art - being fully moulded, to suit your body. Our tester put these through their paces during a 750 km week in Denia, Spain, and of the pairs she took, these were the shorts she opted for on days where the mileage was starting to "bite". 

The legs are made from a soft material, and quite long - in keeping with fairly traditional Euro styling.

Rapha has opted for minimal seams, and minimal panels - which means that there's just one panel at the front and one at the rear. This means there's just the seam around the chamois, and we did find this created a bit of a "mid thigh sausage leg", regardless if we sized up. However, other than that minor aesthetic gripe, these were great. 

dhb Aeron bib shorts

(Image credit: Wiggle)
Best women's cycling shorts for performance on a budget

Specifications

Sizes: UK 8-16
Colours : Black, black/pink, black/white, navy
Chamois : Elastic interface Paris HP
Easy pee design : No

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.

Read more: dhb Aeron women's bib shorts full review (opens in new tab)

Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts

(Image credit: Alé)
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
Chamois: Ale's Green W4H
Easy pee design: No

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. 

Read more: Alé Green Road Lady bib shorts full review (opens in new tab)

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

(Image credit: Picasa)
Best women's cycling shorts for padding in a no-bib design

Specifications

Sizes : XS - XLG
Colours: Black only
Chamois: Assos' UMA GT
Easy pee design: Yes

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). 

Read more: Assos UMA GT half shorts full review (opens in new tab)

Velocio Women’s Signature Bib Short

(Image credit: velocio)
Best women's cycling shorts for comfort breaks with bibs

Specifications

Sizes: XXS - XXXL
Colours: Black, navy blue
Chamois: Velocio proprietary Signature Chamois developed with Elastic Interface
Easy pee design: Yes

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. 

Read more: Velocio Women’s Signature Bib Short full review (opens in new tab)

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

Best women's cycling shorts for long rides

Specifications

Sizes : 0-2 (EU34) - 16-18 (EU24)
Colours: Black, blue
Chamois: Expert 3D Gore chamois
Easy pee design: No

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.

Read more: Gore C7 women’s long distance bib shorts+ full review (opens in new tab)

Odlo Element waist cycling shorts

(Image credit: Odlo)
Best women's cycling shorts for versatility

Specifications

Sizes: XS - XL
Colours : Black only
Chamois: Odlo Bronze
Easy pee design: Yes

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 draughty 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.

Read more: Odlo Element Cycling shorts full review (opens in new tab)

 

Santini Legend bib shorts

(Image credit: Santini)
Best women's cycling shorts for multi features

Specifications

Sizes: XS - 2XL
Colours: Black, navy
Chamois: Santini'sC3W chamois
Easy pee design: Yes (although the execution could be better)

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.

Read more: Santini Legend bib shorts full review (opens in new tab)

Café du Cycliste Women’s Sophie bib shorts

(Image credit: Café du Cycliste )
Best women's cycling shorts for classic black bibs

Specifications

Sizes: XS - XL
Colours : Black, navy
Chamois: Elastic Interface
Easy pee design: Yes

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.

Read more: Café du Cycliste Women’s Sophie bib shorts full review (opens in new tab)

Lusso Women’s Adventure Bibshorts

(Image credit: Lusso)
Best women's shorts for carrying cargo

Specifications

Sizes : S - XL
Colours : Black
Chamois: Elastic Interface
Easy pee design: No

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. 

Read more: Lusso Women’s Adventure Bibshorts full review (opens in new tab)

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 clothing (opens in new tab)kit 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 (opens in new tab) or best turbo trainers (opens in new tab) can help answer all your questions and recommend the ideal indoor riding experience for you.

Bib shorts

(Image credit: Michelle Arthurs-Brennan)
Best women's cycling shorts for keeping cool

Specifications

Sizes : XS - XXL
Colours: Green, light grey, purple
Chamois: TBC

Reasons to buy

+
Breathable fabric of shorts
+
Moisture-managing chamois  

Reasons to avoid

-
Gel ice packs require pre-planning

In a time 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.

Read more: NoPinz SubZero shorts full review (opens in new tab)

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

Best women's cycling shorts for wicking sweat

Specifications

Sizes: 8 - 16 UK,
Colours: Black
Chamois: Elastic Interface NICE HD Super Air pad

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. (opens in new tab) 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. 

Read more: dhb Aeron Turbo indoor women’s shorts full review (opens in new tab)

What to look for in a set of women's cycling shorts

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.


Best women's cycling shorts

(Image credit: mike prior)

What's the best way to prevent saddle sores?

To add to the gel-versus-foam chamois 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 pedalling.

Best women's cycling shorts

(Image credit: mike prior)

What's the difference between the chamois in women's and men's cycling shorts?

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.

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.


Women's bibshorts versus waist cycling shorts

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 type will 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.

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 wit