The 10 Best Bike Shorts of 2023

We love the sweat-proof fabric and flattering fit of lululemon’s Wunder Train Shorts

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Best Biker Shorts

Health / David Hattan

Whether you’re planning a long bike ride on the trail or just looking for a cute pair to wear around the house, bike shorts are a comfortable staple to have in your wardrobe.

Bike shorts might seem pretty straightforward, but there are actually a lot of features to look for when you’re shopping around—especially if you’re planning to wear them on a long bike ride. 

The best biker shorts won’t ride up, restrict movement, or cause chafing, says Audrey Bowman, a personal trainer and creator of Audrey Bowman Fitness. If you need a pair of bike shorts for a long ride or an intense cycling workout, you’ll also need to look for bonus features like cell phone pockets, sweat-wicking fabric, and extra padding.

To find the best bike shorts, we interviewed experts to learn what features make the perfect pair. Then we sorted through the most popular options to collect our list of the best bike shorts for a wide range of uses, from maternity to mountain biking.

Best Overall

Lululemon Wunder Train High-Rise Short 6"

Lululemon Wunder Train High-Rise Short 6"


Why We Like It: These shorts are amazing at wicking away sweat during intense workouts.

It’s Worth Noting: The side pockets aren’t big enough for your phone.

Lululemon’s Wunder Train Shorts are our pick for the best overall bike shorts for women. We love that they're designed for training, have a high-rise waist for a flattering fit, are made from fast-drying fabric, and are available in three different lengths. 

The shorts have a few extra features that make them stand out. The drawstring cord allows you to tighten them to your liking, and the hidden pocket in the waistband has space for your card and keys. 

The two biggest downsides are the size of the pocket and the lack of padding. The hidden pocket won’t fit a phone, which isn’t convenient for long rides. And although we love these shorts for a variety of workouts, including indoor cycling classes that are less than an hour, if you’re going on a long bike ride, we recommend finding a pair with more butt padding (such as the Pearl Izumi PRO Shorts) or using a bike seat with extra support. 

Price at time of Publication: $64 

Product Details:

  • Size range: 0-20, Length: 4”, 6”, 8”
  • Material: Lycra
  • Features: Sweat-wicking, breathable material; four-way stretch

Best with Extra Padding

Pearl Izumi Women's Pro Short

Pearl Izumi Women's PRO Shorts

Pearl Izumi

Why We Like It: These bike shorts provide comfort and high-tech fabric to keep you focused during long rides.  

It’s Worth Noting: The shorts are meant for serious cyclists and are designed with extra padding.

Pearl Izumi Women’s Pro bike shorts come in a variety of sizes and patterns and are ideal for long rides. If you’re logging long hours on your bike, you’re going to want extra padding. That’s why bike shorts for serious cyclists usually include a chamois or extra padding in the crotch and butt area. 

The shorts are made from Italian fabric designed for maximum comfort, with minimal seams. We like that the 8.5-inch inseam provides more coverage and fabric that doesn’t budge when you ride, but the chamois and extra coverage are a bit much for athleisure wear.

Price at time of Publication: $185

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XS-2XL
  • Material: Nylon, polyester, lycra
  • Features: High-density chamois pad for comfort; wide waistband; reflective details for safety

Best Budget Bike Shorts

Old Navy Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Hidden-Pocket Bike Shorts

Old Navy Extra High-Waisted PowerChill Hidden-Pocket Biker Shorts

Old Navy

Why We Like It: You get two great-looking pairs of bike shorts for a fabulous price.

It’s Worth Noting:  These aren't as short as typical bike shorts, and fall around mid-thigh.

We like that Old Navy has a “BodEquality” standard for their clothes, which means you’ll pay the same price whether you’re buying XS or 4X size bike shorts. These wallet-friendly bike shorts for women come in a two-pack, including a black pair and another color like blue, pink, or brown. 

The shorts are breathable but offer the perfect amount of compression for exercise, lounging around the house, or running errands. The extra high waist and 6-inch inseam provide a lot of coverage, so if you prefer shorter shorts or a lower waistband, they probably aren’t for you. 

Price at time of Publication: $40

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XS-4XL
  • Material: Cotton, polyester, spandex
  • Features: Hidden internal pocket for cards and keys; four-way stretch; moisture-wicking fabric

Best Maternity

Girlfriend Collective Seamless Maternity Bike Short

Girlfriend Collective Seamless Maternity Bike Short

Girlfriend Collective

Why We Like It: The shorts are soft, lightweight, and made from recycled materials.

It’s Worth Noting: They could use more belly support.

It’s an age-old question: should maternity bottoms fit over your bump or under it? Even if you normally prefer an over-the-bump fit, if you’re wearing maternity shorts or bottoms in the summer that extra fabric on your belly can feel hot, which is why we recommend these seamless bike shorts from Girlfriend Collective. They fit over your bump, but the fabric is lightweight, moisture-wicking, soft, and as seamless as possible. 

The shorts are also made from recycled fishing nets, making them a sustainable option. We love wearing them during prenatal workouts, on long walks, or under a lightweight maternity shirt or dress on hot days. The stretchy material is quite lightweight, however, so they might not be the best option if you need extra belly support. 

Price at time of Publication: $58

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XXS-6XL
  • Material: Recycled nylon, spandex
  • Features: 7.5-inch inseam for more coverage, four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric, UPF 50

Best for Men

Sportful GTS SHORT

Sportful GTS SHORT

All 4 Cycling

Why We Like It: The bib and seat pad are great for road cyclists, especially men.

It’s Worth Noting: They are currently only available in black. 

Many serious cyclists prefer bib shorts for long riding sessions on the road. Bib shorts are basically shorts connected to a “bib”, which looks like a pair of suspenders, so you don’t have a waistband cutting into your midsection during rides. Sarah Sung, an indoor cycling instructor, and avid road cyclist says Sportful bibs are a staple item for many long-distance cyclists due to their quality and comfort. 

We chose these shorts for men specifically because they also feature a TC Pro seat pad, which offers more support and comfort in the groin area during long training rides. The range of sizes is also a pro, although the one downside is the lack of color options. The shorts are currently only available in black. 

Price at time of Publication: $150

Product Details:

  • Size Range: S-3XL
  • Material: Polyamide, polyester, elastane
  • Features: TC Pro seat pad

Best Mountain

Specialized Women's Trail Shorts with Liner

Specialized Women's Trail Shorts with Liner


Why We Like It: These high-tech shorts could be worn after your bike ride to run errands or have lunch in a restaurant.

It’s Worth Noting: They may run small.

At first glance, these mountain bike shorts might look like board shorts. That’s because they’re designed to allow cyclists to get up out of the bike seat as they take on trails. The shorts have an 11.5-inch inseam that hits above the knee, so there’s lots of room for riders who prefer to wear knee pads on the trail. The shorts are also super cute, so you can go straight from the trail to the grocery store or coffee shop. 

Mountain bikers will appreciate the zippered pocket, as well as the waist adjustment tabs that allow you to easily customize the fit without the shorts cutting into your side. A removable liner with a chamois provides extra padding for maximum comfort. The shorts do run a bit small, so be sure to check the sizing chart before you order.

Price at time of Publication: $120

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XS-XXL
  • Material: Polyester/Spandex
  • Features: Zippered pocket; UPF 50; removable liner

Best with Pockets

Athleta Salutation Stash 5 Short

Athleta Salutation Stash 5 Short


Why We Like It: These shorts are made with super-soft fabric.

It’s Worth Noting: They aren’t the best choice if you want extra coverage. 

These are some of the most popular shorts on Athleta’s site and for good reason. The buttery-soft bike shorts are great for wicking sweat away from your body during tough workouts or hot yoga sessions. The high-rise waistband is flattering and provides waistline support. And although the shorts provide less coverage than other options on our list, they feature two large side pockets that are big enough to hold your phone and other necessities like gel or snacks.  

Price at time of Publication: $69

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XXS-3XL
  • Material: Nylon/lycra
  • Features: Soft performance fabric; lots of pockets

Best Compression

Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity 9" Bike Shorts

Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity 9" Biker Shorts

Sweaty Betty

Why We Like It: These flattering bike shorts feature a longer inseam to keep chafing at bay on long runs or rides.

It’s Worth Noting: We wish they were available in more colors and lengths.

The Sweaty Betty shorts have a high-waist fit for a flattering silhouette, as well as compression technology that makes them great for running, cycling, and workouts. They have an adjustable waistband and the legs won’t shift or move while you exercise. The sweat-wicking fabric dries quickly, and the bum-sculpting design provides a lot of coverage so you won’t  have to worry about tugging your shorts down as you run or work out. 

Although we love the 9-inch inseam option, it would be great if these shorts were available in different lengths, as well as a few more color options (although the Blue Triangle print is super cute!). 

Price at time of Publication: $88

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XXS-2XL
  • Material: Polyamide, elastane
  • Features: Side pocket and back zip pocket; sweat-wicking fabric; UPF 40+

Best Sustainable

Nike GO Women’s Firm-Support High-Waisted 8” Bike Shorts with Pockets

Nike GO Women’s Firm-Support High-Waisted 8” Biker Shorts with Pockets


Why We Like It: The shorts feature six pockets.

It’s Worth Noting:  The fit is small, so order a size up.

If you like a longer-style bike short that is made with recycled fibers, this high-waisted bike short from Nike might be a good option. We like that the flattering fit has a high, wide adjustable waistband, making the shorts ideal for longer bike rides. The fabric has a good opacity, meaning it’s squat-proof and provides great coverage on your bike or while lifting weights. There are six pockets that are large enough to hold your phone, lip balm, tissues, headphone cases, keys, and cards. These shorts are made with at least 50% recycled materials—in this case, recycled carpets and used fish nets. The seamless leg holes and gentle compression make these shorts comfortable and practical for long days in the saddle.

Price at time of Publication: $65

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XXS- 2XL
  • Material: Nylon/ Spandex
  • Features: Sweat-wicking technology; compressive fabric

Best Seamless

Alo Yoga 5" Seamless Ribbed Favorite Short

Alo Yoga 5" Seamless Ribbed Favorite Short

Alo Yoga

Why We Like It: These comfortable shorts have a flattering fit and stay put during any activity.

It’s Worth Noting: The size options are limited.

These seamless shorts are designed to move with you. They have a flattering high waist and a front-smoothing panel, as well as the soft fabric Alo Yoga is known for. The 5-inch inseam makes them great for everyday workouts, walking, yoga, and hanging out at home. We also love them under dresses and skirts, especially on windy days. 

The shorts are seamless for added comfort, and the ribbed fabric is both breathable and cute. We just wish they were available in sizes beyond a large.  

Price at time of Publication: $58

Product Details:

  • Size Range: XXS-L
  • Material: Ribbed performance fabric
  • Features: Four-way stretch performance fabric, seamless style

How We Selected

To choose the best bike shorts, we interviewed cyclists and asked for their favorite brands to wear on and off the bike. We read articles and researched the best materials, design, and fit. We also considered factors like size inclusivity and extra performance features, such as pockets, bibs, and and chamois. 

We interviewed the following experts to put together our final list:

  • Audrey Bowman, creator of Audrey Bowman Fitness workouts
  • Sarah Sung, indoor cycling instructor and avid road cyclist
  • Elle Linton, a UK-based fitness professional who loves to cycle and run

What to Know About Bike Shorts


Bike shorts should be tight enough to compress and support your muscles, but not uncomfortable, says Linton. Some mountain biking shorts like the Specialized Trail Shorts on our list have a looser fit, but they also include a padded liner for additional comfort and tightness. Just make sure they’re not too loose, says Sung, since this can cause chafing. 

Bike shorts used for serious cycling should have some compression, but shorts for athleisure or casual wear don’t need quite so much support. If you’re wearing your shorts on long cycling trips, a chamois is a good option for additional padding. 

Keep in mind bike shorts tend to run small, so you might want to size up if you’re looking at traditional cycling brands. 


The best material is breathable and sweat wicking to prevent chafing and provide maximum comfort, says Linton. The fabric should also allow for free movement. Sung says she likes to wear head-to-toe spandex or a similar material on her long rides. Make sure the shorts have enough opacity and can pass a squat test so you know they aren’t see through.


If you’re looking for high-performance bike shorts to wear on long bike rides, most of the quality cycling brands start at $30 and up, but it’s not uncommon to spend $100 or more per pair. You can find bike shorts to wear during training workouts and runs starting around $20. Many of the high-quality bike shorts with performance fabrics start around $40.

Your Questions, Answered

Why do people wear bike shorts? 

Many people wear bike shorts because they prefer the tight fit, especially for workouts or yoga. Others like to wear them for indoor cycling workouts since they’re cooler than capris or leggings. 

Cycling outdoors is different from indoor biking, says Sung. Whereas an indoor cycling class usually lasts an hour or less, biking outdoors might require several hours, with additional factors like hills and the elements to consider.

For this reason, it’s common to wear bike shorts with a chamois (padding) on long outdoor rides. A chamois provides maximum comfort for the crotch and butt area, as well as added protection against chafing. Sung says bike shorts with a bib are also great for long bike rides because they have straps to hold shorts in place and eliminate any restriction from the waistband.  

How tight should bike shorts be? 

Bike shorts should be tight and may even have compression fabric, but they shouldn’t cut into your waist or legs. Road cycling bike shorts tend to be tighter than regular bike shorts you might run in or lift weights in. Linton suggests investing in the best quality shorts you can afford if you’re doing cycling workouts. “If you’re going for a padded pair, you want a good chamois that won’t cause any irritation and will keep you comfortable on the bike,” she adds.

Who We Are

Diana Kelly Levey is a fitness writer who rides an indoor cycling bike for workouts a few times a week, as well as her hybrid bike for casual rides around her neighborhood. Her favorite pick from this list are the Pearl Izumi bike shorts.

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