The 12 Best Cycling Shorts for a Smooth, Seamless Ride

“It’s as easy as riding a bike.” We’ve all heard that ubiquitous phrase some time or another, and for most, I’m sure it’s applicable. I, however, have characteristically managed to prove it false. It was summer 2020 when my friends coerced me to bike along a desolate West Side Highway. I hadn’t hopped on a bicycle in years, far too many for me to remember. But taking that expression to heart, I thought, “Hey, I totally got this.” As you can imagine, it didn’t go very well. I was the embodiment of clumsy. Not only that, but I was completely ill dressed for the exercise. The thought of wearing cycling shorts didn’t even register in my brain, and it went downhill from there.

I wore a pair of denim short-shorts, a tee, a linen cardigan, and sandals. This fit would have been great if I was leisurely riding around my neighborhood. But no, the plan was to bike from the top of Harlem all the way down to Battery Park. That’s about 10 miles, give or take, and with overachievers, no less. A mile in, my legs began to quiver, my ass just couldn’t handle the rigidity of the seat any longer, and I started to chafe between my thighs. I was also visibly drenched in sweat. To say that I was a complete mess is an understatement. Still, the whole debacle didn’t entirely rest on my inability to actually ride a bike. Much of the problem stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t wearing cycling shorts. I know that now.

To really go the long haul, it is important to consider the factors that go into the best cycling shorts. First is the fabric, which should always be made of a moisture-wicking textile. Next is the silhouette: The style tends to be super fitted and fall just above the knee. But some guys like it loose, and there are standalone liners that you can wear underneath, say, gym shorts, for that. Just make sure it covers the scope of your inner thigh, cause chaffing is the worst. Last is built-in padding. Some shorts have it, others don’t. But if you’re like me, and just can’t handle sitting on that tiny seat for an extended period of time, some cushioning is a lifesaver.

Now that you know all that, you can avoid looking like a complete dunce on the Westside Highway, or wherever your bike takes you. From brands like Castelli and Rapha that cater to cycling enthusiasts to activewear giants like Nike and REI, the market is filled with options for pros and beginners alike. I want to say that getting your hands on these shorts is as easy as riding a bike, but you already know how I feel about that.

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Triathlon Short

CANARI amazon.com

$25.49

Canari’s selection is as durable and versatile as it gets. Case in point: Should you get hot while biking and want to hop in pool, pond, or any cool body of  water, these Triathlon shorts, as the name suggests, are built for that. 

Pro Shorts

Nike amazon.com

$34.95

Nike’s signature sweat-wicking technology, along with a double-layer mesh pouch, make these shorts a must for any aspiring cyclist. 

Padded Liner Shorts

REI rei.com

$34.95

REI offers some top-quality goods from brands for every kind of exercise. The same sentiment applies to its in-house label, which offers padded shorts perfectly suited for biking. 

Gel Cycling Shorts

Louis Garneau dickssportinggoods.com

$39.99

Louis Garneau’s cycling shorts come complete with silicone leg grippers to keep everything in place, along with active gel cushioning to keep you comfortable throughout your ride.

Select Liner Shorts

Pearl Izumi llbean.com

$50.00

The sweat-wicking elastic fabric of this liner by Pearl Izumi is built for all-day riding. It also has a smooth-faced surface, so you can easily wear it under baggy shorts, too. 

Premium Liner Shorts

Zoic amazon.com

$50.00

Speaking of baggy shorts, Zoic’s Premium liner shorts are specifically made to be a base layer. The quick-drying fabric and form-fitting silhouette will keep everything in check, while the topper can stay looking good. 

Essentials Unisex Logo Biker Shorts

FEAR OF GOD ESSENTIALS nordstrom.com

$60.00

Fear of God is slowly by surely taking over. The brand made sweats legit, and now it is doing the same with bike shorts.   

The Quests Athletic Shorts

CHUBBIES nordstrom.com

$69.50

The top layer of these shorts is all seriousness: navy hue, water-repellent fabric, and handy pockets. But the print on the compression lining packs a party. 

Quantum Fitness Bike Shorts

Bontrager dickssportinggoods.com

$70.00

Bontrager’s bike shorts are nondescript enough to wear out and about with no bike in sight, but when the time comes to hop on that seat, you’ll be glad you invested in a pair with removable padded liners. 

Cycling Entrata Short

Castelli amazon.com

$89.95

Castelli’s shorts feature plush cushioning and plenty of support for every type of cyclist, no matter the skill level involved.  

Core Shorts

Rapha rapha.cc

$95.00

Rapha commands a good deal of clout in the cycling community, largely because the brand’s premium take on classic bike gear doesn’t disappoint.  

ADV Endur Cycling Shorts

Craft craftsports.us

$109.99

From the four-way elasticity to the mesh interior lining to the C2 pad, these shorts are meant for high-intensity rides.  

Barry Samaha is the style commerce editor at Esquire, where he covers all things fashion and grooming.

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Source : Esquire