Bike shorts contain synthetic padding and lining, known as chamois, in the crotch area. They help reduce chafing and decrease irritation or soreness from sitting in the bike saddle.
Look for bike shorts that are cut high in back to keep you covered when you're in a bent-over riding position. Bike shorts are usually cut low in front so they don't impede you; if you have problems with your bike shorts sagging, try wearing bib shorts.
Look for a wide elastic band in the waist for increased comfort, and leg grippers that are snug but not tight.
The most critical part of the bike short is the crotch padding. Make sure it fits the contours of your body. Some shorts have removable padding that can be replaced with pads that are the right shape.
Look for shorts with eight or more panels, with flat-stitched seams that won't chafe you.
Always test the fit of your bicycle shorts in a bent-over riding position; this is what they're made for. Checking the fit while you're standing up may lead to an uncomfortable fit while cycling.
Article Written By Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.