If you’re new to road cycling, wearing cycling shorts might not even cross your mind. But this sports require you to wear specific clothing–that is if you aim for performance. But why should you wear them? Do they make a difference? Read our guide to find your answers.
Are you in a hurry? Click the links below to check out specs and characteristics of the best cycling shorts for road riding.
|Sponeed Men's Cycling Shorts||$$$$|
|SANTIC Cycling Men's Shorts COOLMAX Padded||$$|
|Sportneer Men's Cycling Shorts 4D COOLMAX Padded||$|
|Przewalski Men’s 3D Padded Cycling Bib||$$$$$|
|Sponeed Men's Biking Pants||$$$|
When observing professional cyclists at work (aka on tours), it’s easy to notice they all wear super-tight Lycra or Spandex shorts and matching jerseys. This specific clothing, as weird as it might seem, is designed for performance and there is a reason all pros wear similar shorts.
Yet, newbies are often reluctant to dressing in such a hasty manner. Add that these shorts should be worn without underwear, and the most bashful enthusiasts might already run away.
Now, cycling shorts will not turn you into a Tour de France pro on their own. But they will improve your cycling experience, helping in keeping you motivated. Still wondering why you need a pair? Check these reasons out.
5 Reasons To Invest In Cycling Shorts
Plain and simple, you should wear cycling shorts because they are comfortable. Padded in just the right places and tight enough to provide a super-comfy fit, cycling shorts will make you feel better in the saddle. Unlike denim or other sports garments, road cycling shorts don’t have stitches in the crotch area and are designed to comfort your privates on long-haul rides.
But there are loose cycling shorts too, I hear you screaming. That’s true, but check out the other reasons to understand why loose shorts aren’t a good choice.
Lycra and Spandex are the choice materials for road cycling shorts for a reason. They are highly breathable. This allows a better management of the sweat and controls the growth of bacteria, minimizing rashes.
Strategic padding keeps your privates protected while the lack of stitching prevents rubbing and skin damage.
Tight-fitting materials reduce air resistance, improving your motion range. An improved motion and less resistance translate into less fatigue to reach your objective. This keeps you motivated, ultimately improving your performance.
4. Heat Management
Breathability doesn’t only dries sweat and minimize rashes, it only helps you manage heat better. And when you’re cycling under the summer sun with no shade at the horizon, that’s an important thing.
A better heat management has a positive impact on your performance because the sensation of comfort will keep you going for longer.
Ultimately, there is style. And it matters. Cycling is a social sport and you don’t want to be the only one in the gang looking differently. Road cycling shorts and all proper road cycling gear will make you feel part of a group.
It’s odd how clothing can help someone integrate with other athletes. When other cyclists will see you dressed that way, they’ll just know you’re one of them.
Do Cycling Shorts Really Improve Performance?
Cycling shorts on their own are unable to improve your performance. It’s the associated benefits that boost your mood and keep you motivated to indirectly improve performance. How? Just imagine, how far would you cycle in a pair of uncomfortable pants? Probably not too far. But how far are you willing to push your limits if there is nothing to jeopardize comfort?
Like in any sport, comfort matters. Road cycling is a hard sport. It’s painful enough on its own. Don’t make things even harder by wearing inappropriate garments.
How To Choose The Best Cycling Shorts
If you’re now convinced that cycling shorts are your best bet, you’d better find out how to choose the right pair for you.
We’ve already explained why tight is better than baggy. But you should also check how the shorts fit you. Choose the right size even if it might look tighter than what you’re used to right now. Another important thing is to choose gender-specific garments. Men and women have different body types and shorts designed for the opposite gender may not provide the desired comfort.
Padding is usually made of chamois, a synthetic material that provides sufficient cushioning. Designed to protect your most intimate parts, padding is also designed specifically for men and women. After all, we’re pretty different down there. And that’s another important reason you should choose gender-specific shorts.
The thickness of the padding is another thing to consider. Road cycling shorts usually have thick paddings to protect athletes during the long hours in the saddle. But if you want to use the same shorts for various sports, let’s say swimming and running, a model with thinner padding is recommended.
Road cycling shorts come in two styles, with waistband or bib. The latter is more comfortable for performance cycling, as it’s more comfortable to wear for a long time while sitting in a bent position. Yet, we can’t say one model is better than another and it’s all a matter of preference.
While cotton might be a good material for your office shirts, it’s not for your sports shorts. Cycling shorts are usually made of spandex or Lycra, but there are other synthetic materials to consider. Just pay attention to choose a breathable material that doesn’t retain moisture.
Another thing to consider is the climate in your area. If it’s mostly cold weather, choose neoprene or another material that feels comfy at low temperatures.
Classy black isn’t the only way to go. There is a rainbow of colors to choose from. Patterns, brand names, bright colors, you name it! Everything’s accepted when it comes to this, so let your personality shine.
Best Cycling Shorts For Road Riding
1. Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts
Boasting moisture-wicking and antimicrobial properties, Sponeed Men's Cycling Shorts are made of 80% polyester and 20% Spandex Lycra. Designed to provide ultimate comfort to cyclists of all levels, these shorts boast a quick-dry and breathable feature that improves comfort.These quality shorts are designed for men. The 6-panel anatomic design provides superior chafe-free comfort, while the 4-way performance stretch ensures a perfect fit. They come in all sizes from Small to XX-Large.Check Price on Amazon
Thick padding designed specifically for road cycling protects the crotch area and improves cycling experience. The product is also easy to maintain. To clean the garment, simply wash in lukewarm water either by hand or, if placed in a laundry pocket, in the washing machine.
Coming with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, these shorts are available in three vibrant colors.
Things We Liked
- Style: these half pants are designed to provide a superior breathability and a great moisture management. Featuring antimicrobial properties, they prevent rashes.
- Anatomic design: 6-panel fabric, a thick padding, and anatomic design increase comfort minimizing fatigue in the long run.
- 3D gel pad: the padding is made of gel and is placed in key areas to provide protection while riding. Designed for road cycling, the shorts also improve mountain biking experience.
- Silicone leg grippers: leg grippers keep the shorts in place, ensuring a comfy, smooth fit throughout the ride.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The shorts are a bit too tight on the legs.
2. SANTIC Cycling Men’s Shorts COOLMAX Padded
SANTIC Cycling Men's Shorts is a budget-friendly alternative to consider. Coming in all sizes from Small to XXX-Large, the product is ideal for most cyclists. The only thing to consider is that the manufacturer used an Asian measurement chart and you might have to order one size larger for a perfect fit.These shorts are made of 82% nylon and 18% spandex and Lycra. They have a 9-inch inseam that is long enough to provide a comfortable fit, while the fabric also provides UPF 50+ protection.Check Price on Amazon
Manufactured for performance, these shorts boast a 12-panel anatomic design and comfortable silicone leg grippers that keep the shorts in place. Reflective logo on both sides also makes you more visible when riding in low light conditions.
Breathable mesh on both sides of the waistband ensure a better sweat control and increase breathability. Moreover, the 4D Coolmax padding has antibacterial properties, provides a superior temperature regulation of your delicate parts and increases comfort.
Things We Liked
- Design: the 12-panel anatomic design provides superior comfort. Silicone leg grippers also keep the shorts in place.
- Breathable mesh: for a better breathability and a superior temperature regulation, the product features mesh on both sides of the waistband.
- Padding: breathable and comfortable, the anatomic padding is antibacterial and designed to prevent rashes.
- Reflective logo: coming in multiple colors, the shorts boast a reflective logo on both sides, making you more visible on roads.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The manufacturer used an Asian chart size and the measure might not always fit.
3. Sportneer Men’s Cycling Shorts 4D COOLMAX Padded
Designed to provide a 'second skin' fit, Sportneer 4D COOLMAX impress with their excellent stretch. Once on, the shorts give that “sculpted-to-skin” feel that maximizes comfort and aero efficiency. Made of no-sweat nylon and spandex blend, the product provides an optimal moisture transfer keeping you dry and chafe-free.Fitted with three layers of high-performance sponge cushioning, the products also provide maximum comfort during the long hours spent in the saddle. Breather holes in the design also keep the saddle dry during strenuous training.Check Price on Amazon
To provide a perfect fit, the shorts are also equipped with silicone leg grippers. The result is a stay-put fit that ensures a greater freedom in the saddle. A cat eye reflector makes you more visible on dark roads.
A thing we don’t like is the poor color choice. This isn’t a major drawback, after all, quality is more important than looks. However, if you don’t like black shorts, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Things We Liked
- Breathability: made of 82% nylon and 18% spandex, these shorts are highly breathable and provide an optimal moisture transfer.
- Silicone gripper: designed to stay in place, the shorts are equipped with silicone leg grippers that offer a stay-put fit.
- Saddle support: the product boasts three layers of high performance COOLMAX cushioning that provides maximum comfort.
- Reflector: a cat eye reflector makes you highly visible on dark roads. The reflective material is used on the logo.
Things We Didn’t Like
- The garment is available in only one color and the size chart refers to Asian body types.
4. Przewalski Men’s 3D Padded Cycling Bib
Przewalski Padded Cycling Bib is an excellent product to consider if you’d like a more comfortable fit in the saddle. The lack of a waistband makes bibs more comfortable for long-distance road cycling. This product is made of a breathable blend of polyester and elastane.The material has a great stretchability and is highly breathable. Designed to keep you cool in an intense hit and during a long-lasting workout, the fabric is also highly durable.Check Price on Amazon
Providing an effective moisture diffusion and featuring wicking properties, the fabric won’t stick to the skin when wet. This cool and crisp wearing comfort, as well as the dry-touch material, will boost your confidence even when you’re sweated and will also increase comfort.
Last, but not for importance, the 3D molded pad boasts an ergonomic and anatomical design. COOLMAX padding comes with perforated layers that absorb shock and reduce skin irritation. Featuring an anti-bacterial effect, the layers also reduce the uncomfortable humid feeling provided by traditional pads.
Things We Liked
- Style: the bib style with shoulder strap provides a perfect fit without the annoyance of using a waistband.
- Anatomical padding: designed for male cyclists, this product features an ergonomically-designed anatomical perforated COOLMAX pad with antibacterial properties.
- Dry effect: designed to keep you dry during long road rides, the fabric provides an effective moisture management for up to 8 hours.
- Back mesh construction: to improve breathability, the manufacturer introduced a back mesh construction in the design. This detail improves heat management.
Things We Didn’t Like
- Padding is rather thin and the inseam is short.
5. Sponeed Men’s Biking Pants
Another great pair of cycling shorts to consider is Sponeed Men's Biking Pants. Made of 85% polyester and 15% spandex, these shorts are comfortable, highly breathable and resistant to wear and tear.With a 9-inch inseam, the product is perfect for most road cyclists and comes with a COOLMAX silicone pad that is highly breathable. The shorts boast an excellent moisture management. They dry out quickly and make you feel more comfortable in intense heat.Check Price on Amazon
We also like the 3D chamois that has an anatomic and non-chafing design, with sufficient padding in all key areas. Furthermore, the product is available in a range of attractive colors.
What we like less is the Asian chart design used by the manufacturer. Ordering the right size is sometimes confusing but in broad terms, ordering a one size larger garment should do the trick.
Things We Liked
- Choice: the product comes in three attractive colors, and we also like the aggressive pattern that inspires speed.
- Fabric: these shorts are made of a blend of spandex and polyester which is highly breathable and provides an excellent moisture management.
- Padding: the COOLMAX padding improves breathability and increases comfort, minimizing rashes and overheating of your privates.
- Easy to clean: the product is machine washable in cold water or it can be washed by hand with mild detergent.
Things We Didn’t Like
- Sizes are inaccurate.
Conclusion & Final Pick
SANTIC Cycling Men’s Shorts is our top pick. These shorts come at a great price, they are available in all sizes from S to XXX-Large and are made of a breathable nylon and spandex blend. Made for performance, they boast a 12-panel anatomic design with comfortable silicone gripper and high-quality COOLMAX padding.
A reflective logo on both sides makes you more visible on darker roads, while the material dries fast to ensure a long-lasting sensation of comfort.
The only drawback is the use of an Asian size chart during manufacturing. But in most cases, it’s enough to just buy one size larger. We like everything else about this product and in our opinion, it’s the best entry-level road cycling shorts on the market.