Best cycling shorts for women: Padded, lightweight and bib options to ride in comfort

·7-min read

Whether you fancy yourself as a Tour de France contender or you’re just looking for cycling shorts that don’t ride up during your next spin sesh, we’ve got a selection of the best shorts.

When you’re out on the road or trying your best to get through an intense class the last thing you want is to be tugging at your cycling shorts or feeling the sweat trickle down your leg. So sweat-wicking materials, with sturdy waistbands should be high on your agenda when looking for the best cycling shorts.

Some shorts have bibs attached to them, which act as straps, helping to keep the shorts in place. Others have practical well-placed pockets, to keep keys or phones in, while many are now made from recyclable material - making them a great sustainable choice.

If you love long country rides or you’re training for a race, unless you want to end up with saddle bum, you’ll need to invest in a pair of shorts with chamois inserts sewn into them. This padding, which is placed where your bum would sit, prevents any chaffing or sores the next day.

Not sure which brand is for you?

We take a look at the best cycling shorts for women - to help you ride off into the sunset in comfort.

Rapha’s Women’s All-day shorts

Rapha is one of the go-to brands if you’re serious about getting on your bike and clocking up those miles. As these shorts suggest they’re designed to go from bike to brunch (or just the couch) without feeling like you need a shower. Made with nylon fibres it means the shorts are sweat-wicking and quick-drying, keeping you cool during and after a session in the gym or outdoor on your bike. The shorts also have a contouring fit and a high waist with a double layer waistband, to stop that annoying rolling, which some shorts can do. Plus, the design, complete with the company’s logo on the side, shouts cycling pro, without even having to step on the bike.

Also available at Rapha.

Buy now £60.00, John Lewis

Pocket Sport Claude Cycling shorts

Bored of tugging up your shorts as you work out? These cycling shorts by Pocket Sport are made with squat-proof fabric and are also stretchy enough to get you through that spin class without feeling restrictive.

The high-waisted Claude shorts also come with the brand’s trademarked waistband gripper and a key or card pocket in the waistband - handy if you’re going out for a jog and you’re not sure what to do with your house keys.

Available in an array of colours, we love the bright yellow versions - which will definitely get you noticed at the gym or in your local park.

Buy now £15.00, Pocket Sport

Castore active elite shorts

If chafing is your biggest bugbear when cycling these shorts from Castore have flatlock stitching for increased durability and to reduce chafing. The high-rise shorts are also made from moisture-wicking fabric so you can work harder and faster while on the bike, without feeling sweaty afterwards. The cycling shorts, available in four colours, including sage, also have storage at the back and front - making it easy to carry valuables with you as you run, cycle or just pop out to run your daily errands.

Buy now £60.00, Castore

PEARL iZUMi Women’s Attack Short

Let’s be honest - bike saddles are very rarely comfortable, so finding cycling shorts with extra padding is a blessing in disguise. If you’re one for long country rides then the update on PEARL iZUMi’s cycling shorts, with a more comfortable chamois, will be like music to your ears. The shorts, made from recycled material, also have a redesigned waistband to help with short compression through the sides and back, while reducing pressure on the stomach area. Available in two colours they also have BioViz reflective elements for riding at night or in low visibility weather.

Buy now £49.99, PEARL iZUMi

Lorna Jane Weekender Lounge Bike Short

Made from a cotton blend these Lorna Jane cycling shorts are designed for low impact workouts or, as their name suggests, lounging around the house. Available in two bright colours, lilac and off-white, the high-waisted shorts have a soft fold, meaning they stay up but also feel comfortable. Breathable and lightweight they have a snug fit while allowing you to move freely during yoga stetches or going up a set in your weights class. With matching sports bras and jumpers you can get the while look - for the gym or just picking up your favourite coffee.

Buy now £46.00, Lorna Jane

Brooks Method 8-inch shorts

Some cycling shorts feel restrictive, but this lightweight fabric has the sort of compression which feels supportive but also smooth and stretchy against the skin- - whether you’re mid-spin class or running around your local park. The shorts, which are available in classic black and brighter colours, also have a DriLayer® HorsePower fabric which helps them to stay dry as you push yourself to get that PB. The dotted and flat-locked stitching design will get some attention on your bike, and its side pockets are perfect for storing your phone. If you’re looking for shorter versions they also come in 5inch lengths.

Buy now £45.00, Brooks

Under Armour Women’s Meridian Bike Shorts

These shorts are designed with performance in mind but don’t skimp on comfort. Made with fabric that is lightweight, breathable and can wick sweat away. You can also really move in them, without feeling constricted, this is down to its 4-way construction which allows you to move direction quickly - whether that’s transitioning from bike to run or during one of those demanding spinning classes. The wide, flat waistband, with a built-in pocket on the left side, means they sit well on the hips and stay put while storing any valuables.

Buy now £42.00, Under Armour

Pour Moi Energy Colour Block Cycling Short

If you’re bored of black shorts then these colour block cycling shorts will look good on the road or during your next HIIT class. With sizes 8 - 18 the flattering high-waisted shorts will work with you as you work out, staying in place and not riding up. Soft to touch the shorts are made from stretchy material, plus have a well-designed zip pocket at the back - perfect for storing smaller items. On the lower end of the price scale, they’re a good pair to start with if you’re a cycling or gym novice.

Buy now £14.40, Pour Moi

Stronger Chase Paradise Pink Bike shorts

Inspired by the 90s, these shorts, made with recyclable material, definitely take us back to a time where Gameboys and pokemon were all the rage. Available in the stand-out paradise pink colour, or a more solemn black the shorts are super stretchy and breathable. Made with a wide waistband they’ll withstand a tough spinning class or a class full of squats and burpees, while the quick-drying material will make sure you stay sweat-free for that brunch date afterwards. The shorts have a hidden back pocket, plus a longer length for less chaffing as you work out.

Buy now £45.00, Stronger

TRI-FIT Skyl Pro Skin Bib Shorts

When you’re out on the road the last thing you want is your shorts slipping down.

So, these bib shorts, which act as straps to keep them up, are perfect as they feel like a second skin and, most importantly stay up when you’re tackling a hill or trying to beat your friends.

If you’re worried about chaffing the shorts have precision laser-cut leg grippers, which reduce the movement of it, while if sustainability is on your mind TRI-FIT’s built-in chamois is made with 100 per cent recycled inserts.

Buy now £149.00, TRI FIT


If you’re serious about cycling, or you’re just after some seriously stylish shorts for the gym then Rapha’s Women’s All-day shorts are your best bet.

Sweat-wicking, they’re designed to keep you feeling fresh, even after the most intensive workout. The double-layered waistband and contoured fit make sure they stay put - meaning you can get on and enjoy your ride.

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