Choosing a good pair of cycling shorts will ensure your bike rides are a success. Here’s all you need to know about how to choose your cycling shorts.
How to choose a pair of our cycling shorts
Although you may associate wearing cycling shorts with intensive practice or with cycling professionals, or you might consider them a matter of style, wearing them is really important for protecting the perianal area and they are an absolute necessity. In addition, even if you might only be a beginner or a casual cyclist, wearing shorts helps you feel comfortable on your bike and enjoy the experience. We don’t recommend cycling without them!
Are cycling shorts essential?
Wearing good cycling shorts is essential if you want to last in the saddle for a prolonged period of time without experiencing numbness, pain or discomfort and you want maximum comfort while enjoying your bike.
The cycling chamois pad protects underneath the perianal area. This is a padded, anatomical cushion that is especially designed to absorb vibrations and shocks and to reduce friction between the saddle and your ischial tuberosity when pedalling. Also known as “sitz bones”, these two bony protrusions of the pelvis, designed to support the weight of your body when you are in contact with the saddle, are really vital as they protect the pudendal nerve. This nerve provides the innervation to the external genitalia for both men and women, as well as the bladder and the rectum sphincters.
The quality of the chamois pad and the breathability of the fabric are crucial when choosing cycling shorts.
- The chamois should provide sufficient cushioning for the entire duration of your cycling session. You should also bear in mind that the thickest or softest chamois pads are not necessarily the most comfortable.
- They need to be hypoallergenic and expel sweat adequately, as well as being easy to clean.
Should you be naked underneath your shorts?
Yes! The technical features of gel shorts, both of the chamois pad as well as the fabric, have been designed for direct contact with your skin and body. The main purpose of cycling shorts lies in absorbing and expelling perspiration from the “inner thighs” outwards to keep the body dry.
Here are the 12 commandments for choosing your cycling shorts well.
1- Decide on a budget as prices vary between €50 and €200!
Between €70 and €90 is mid-range, where you’ll find a wide range of quality products for the occasional ride. You have to watch out for copies, as the fabrics will not offer the necessary breathable properties.
2- Cycling shorts are not unisex and there are shorts for men and women! So choosing a pair with cross-over shoulder straps will help women feel more comfortable.
3- Get the right sized shorts as per the manufacturer’s sizing chart as they should fit correctly.
4- Whenever possible, you should test them out by sitting in a saddle or in your normal cycling position and not when you are standing up. Otherwise, it’s likely that you’ll find that the shoulder straps are too short, the legs may be too wide due to folds on the hips and the chamois may be positioned incorrectly. If you bend your body like when you’re on your bike, everything should return to normal. 😉
5- Breathable mesh straps that stretch to the lower navel area are preferable for summer.
6- Cycling shorts should be long enough to cover almost all of your thigh to your knee. For summer, you can choose a light garment that covers a little less than half of your thighs. The muscular compression qualities are limited, but the chamois pads are effective for rides for at least three hours.
7- The chamois must adapt to your physique.
It should cover the surface area of your hip bones and your perineum. It should neither be too large nor too small, and neither too wide nor too narrow. It should neither be too high on the back nor too low, and should fit perfectly.
8- The thickness of legs is stated in grams and often determines if they are for warmer months or even for the middle of a season. A greater “weight” may be synonymous with a high standard of muscular compression and shorts that are intended for long rides over three hours.
9- The silicone grippers must be of good quality, so that they don’t squeeze your thigh to the extent that they cut off your blood circulation. In the main, cycling shorts contain strips of silicone or 4 cm areas of special fabric that provide greater compression.
10- The quality of the cut and the seams are also really important. After a few hours on your bike, the pieces of fabric and seams may end up feeling as sharp as a knife! If they are not sufficiently fine or flat, they may cause really painful burns from chafing.
11- The colour of cycling shorts is important too!
Fairly light for sunny, hot periods. Fairly dark for times when it’s cooler and the terrain is difficult. These days, eye-catching or reflective colours are recommended to improve your safety when cycling on roads with other vehicles.
12- The design
Don’t just buy a pair because you like them, even though it’s important they are to your liking and you enjoy wearing them. All of your senses count towards enjoying time on your bike.
Where can I buy a good pair of cycling shorts?
It’s important that you read the product description to find out if it’s the product you’re looking for and that you’re offered advice in the shop if you’re not familiar with the shorts brands or the design. You’ll find the greatest variety of designs, sizes and colours at Retto Cycling. As we’ve stated previously, it’s also really important that you choose the right design and sizing. To this end, Retto offers you the chance to exchange them for another size, delivered to your door.