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Are Women’s Padded Cycling Shorts Worth It?

Whether you are an avid cyclist already or just getting started, you may have been wondering if women’s padded cycling shorts is really necessary. Cycling is a fun and engaging way to stay in shape, but having the right equipment can sometimes make your workout more comfortable.

Although women’s padded cycling shorts are not necessary, they are usually worth it because of the comfort they provide while cycling. When padded cycling shorts of a sturdy and high-quality material are worn, cyclists will be able to cycle for longer periods and distances.

If you are serious about cycling, it may be worth it to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits these shorts can bring, along with some criteria you can use to determine which pair of padded shorts you should buy.

Why You Should Buy Women’s Padded Cycling Shorts

Whether or not you have tried padded cycling shorts, you have probably seen cyclists wearing them. These distinctive shorts are certainly a fashion statement, and although they may not be ideal for everyday wear, they are certainly worth it cycling.

The following are some of the benefits of wearing padded cycling shorts:

  • Comfort: This type of cycling shorts will provide a necessary buffer between your seat bones and the hard surface of the bicycle seat. Even if you are doing shorter cycling trips, the increase in comfort cannot be stressed enough and you will soon find that you can bike for longer limiting soreness.
  • Chafing reduction: Normal athletic shorts or unpadded cycling shorts will not prevent your skin from chafing against the seat or the fabric. Padded shorts, on the other hand, provide an additional layer that will keep your skin in good shape.
  • Breathability: Cycling is an aerobic activity, and you will work up a sweat. Most padded cycling shorts are made with sweat-wicking materials specifically suited for drying sweat and leaving you feeling comfortable and dry.

Cyclists can certainly make their cycling routines work without having these padded shorts, but they will make life easier for you, especially if you are serious about cycling and want to get into long-distance riding.

How to Know if You Need Padded Cycling Shorts

In general, you will probably want to invest in padded cycling shorts if you are someone who regularly cycles for exercise for longer durations of time. If you just use your bike to go to the grocery store or take a leisurely spin around your neighborhood, it’s not necessary to wear padded cycling shorts.

Additionally, if you have noticed pain and soreness as a result of your cycling, you are a great candidate for padded cycling shorts as these can help offset soreness and discomfort.

Can a Woman Wear Men’s Cycling Shorts?

Although it may be tempting to buy the most convenient pair of cycling shorts, it is not a good idea for women to wear men’s cycling shorts. Simply put, this usually comes down to a difference in design.

That being said, if you find men’s cycling shorts comfortable you certainly can still wear them. If you are considering buying a pair of men’s shorts, you should probably try them on first and make sure they have a good return policy in case you find them uncomfortable. However, proceed with caution before buying a pair of men’s shorts, and it is probably better to stick with women’s padded cycling shorts.

What is the Difference Between Women’s vs. Men’s Padded Bike Shorts?

The reason why men’s padded cycling shorts are different from women’s is that they are designed differently. Men’s shorts typically have the following features:

  • Longer inseam
  • Tighter hip sizing
  • Narrower through the seat
  • Differences in padding distribution

There is usually no significant difference in quality between men’s and women’s cycling shorts. If you are buying your shorts from a company that is committed to comfort and functionality, both the men’s and women’s shorts should be equally good options in terms of durability.

Things to Look for When Buying Women’s Padded Cycling Shorts

With the clear benefits of padded cycling shorts established, you may be wondering what to look for in women’s padded cycling shorts.

There are many different types and styles of women’s cycling shorts, and it can seem daunting to determine which one is right for you.

It is recommended to buy your first pair of padded cycling shorts in person at a local bike shop near you. You’ll want to try on the cycling shorts and see if it fits properly and will be comfortable for you. Beyond that, though, there are several considerations you can keep in mind when choosing a pair of women’s cycling shorts:

  • Price: Cycling shorts should be comfortable, but they do not have to break the bank. There are many types and brands of shorts available that will provide a quality experience at a lower price range. Balaef, for instance, is one example of a brand that produces low-cost bike shorts that still provide maximum comfort.
  • Material: In general, bike shorts will be made from a breathable material, such as dry-fit. Look for materials that are likely to be durable and breathable, and avoid materials such as cotton that may trap the sweat.
  • Stretch: Your padded bike shorts will be extra comfy if they have a good deal of stretch in them. Keep in mind that you need to buy shorts that will adjust to the movements of your body and not cause restrictions. For this reason, it is best to try on cycling shorts in person so you can see if they will work for you.
  • Reputation: Before buying a pair of shorts, take a moment to check out customer reviews. These can provide you with some insight into how happy cyclists typically are when they buy these shorts.

Keeping these things in mind, you will be able to find a pair of shorts that works perfectly for you.

Where Can I Find Women’s Plus-Size Cycling Shorts?

Many popular cycling shorts brands have plus-size options. Brands such as Machines for Freedom, Velocio, and Aerotech Designs have plus-sized options that are comfortable and stylish. If you cannot find plus-size cycling shorts at your local cycling store, turn to Amazon or online sports retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods to see if there is something that can work for you.
What Are Some Popular Women’s Cycling Short Brands?

The following brands are very popular in producing padded cycling shorts for women:

Most of these bicycling shorts brands can be found at general sportswear stores, or specialized cycling shops near you.


Padded cycling shorts may seem like a necessary part of a cyclist’s gear, but they can be pricey and cause you to wonder if they are truly necessary. In general, women should buy padded cycling shorts if they cycle frequently for exercise and/or find that they are experiencing general soreness in their seat bones and groin area when they ride.

Padded cycling shorts are a great option for avid cyclists because of the comfort and protection they provide. Beyond just a comfy seat, they can also reduce chafing and wick away sweat, two essential features for those who spend a great deal of time in the saddle.

When choosing your first pair of padded cycling shorts, keep in mind some considerations such as brand, quality, and price. With the wide variety of cycling shorts that exist on the market today, you are sure to find something that fits your needs and will have you comfortably enjoying your next ride.

Related Questions

Are Bib Shorts Worth It?

Bib shorts fit more comfortably and offer better support for your sit bones and your body as a whole. I find that bib shorts fit perfectly around my body which perfectly aligns in the right places and makes riding that much more enjoyable.

One drawback to having bib shorts for some is getting used to the shoulder straps made into the shorts. This can make going to the bathroom a real chore since you have to pull down the straps and shorts to use the bathroom. There is no quick access zipper in the front or back so you pretty much have to take the whole bib shorts off. That being said, bib shorts are still a must in my book.

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