Do Padded Bike Shorts Really Help or Not Necessary?

When it comes to cycling, one can’t fail to think about the correct gear, especially if you have to make a long ride. Having the right gear or costume for any sport means a lot. However, do padded bike shorts really help?

Padded bike shorts help in making cycling comfortable by damping the pressure from the saddle. In addition, cycling shorts prevent chafing as you constantly pedal. 

Consequently, the shorts also absorb vibrations from the road that could reach the rider through the seat. The tight-fitting spandex material that makes the shorts significantly affects the rider’s aerodynamics.

do padded bike shorts really help

In a rush? below are my top recommended padded bike shorts available on amazon

8 Best Padded Bike Shorts For Cyclists.

Padded Bike Shorts For Men

  1. Przewalski Men’s 3D Padded Bike Bib Shorts: Best comfort and sweat diffusion
  2. Sponeed Men’s Cycling Shorts: Best bike shorts for long-distance riding
  3. BALEAF Men’s Padded Bike Shorts: Best padded shorts for mountain bikers

Padded Bike Shorts For Women

  1. Berry Women’s Bike Shorts: Best for Long rides
  2. Eco-daily Cycling Padded Bike Shorts: Best sweat-wicking
  3. NOOYME Padded Women Cycling Shorts: Best for aggressive riders

Why Do Cyclists Wear Padded Shorts? 

1. Shock Absorption

Cyclists mainly wear padded bike shorts to protect the sit bone and crotch from saddle pressure. Actually, the shorts have paddings that act as shock absorbers.  

The padding, also called chamois, sits against the crotch and the saddle forming a barrier between the two.

2. Fewer Chances Of Chaffing

The other reason cyclists wear padded shorts is to prevent chaffing that comes from friction. Actually, the bike shorts have minimal seams that are strategically placed to avoid any possible skin irritation.

In addition, rather than the shorts rubbing against the skin, their material makes them move with the cyclists’ legs as they pedal. As a result, riders get fewer irritations from the costume.

3. Better Moisture Management

The other major reason cyclists wear padded shorts is that they have a better moisture-wicking mechanism than ordinary pants.

The materials used to make cycling shorts enhance movement as well as promoting sweat evaporation.

4. Less Air Resistance

In competitive cycling, riders want to be as efficient as possible. Since cycling suits fit closely to the skin, they help to reduce air resistance. At the same time, power output will increase as compared to riding in ordinary baggy shorts.

Without a doubt, the choice of costume will affect a rider’s aerodynamics. Baggy clothes will have a higher drag than tight-fitting bike shorts.

Are Mountain Bike Shorts Padded

What Types Of Padded Bike Shorts Are There?

There are two main types of padded bike shorts. These are the bib shorts and waist shorts. There are several pros and cons to each kind, but which is the best for you?

1. Bib Bike Short

First, let’s talk about the bib short style. Bib shorts are just like they sound; they have shoulder straps that go over the shoulders. A good example is the Przewalski Men’s 3D Padded Bike Bib Shorts, which are comfortable for long distances and have a high sweat-wicking ability.

The shoulder straps help the shorts stay up, but sometimes this presents a problem because riders can have a hard time getting them off. This is usually a challenge to riders in case they want to pee.

All the same, there are bike shorts that come with a zipper making it easy for women in case they want to relieve themselves.

2. Ordinary Bike Short

On the other hand, there are padded bike shorts that snuggly strap on a rider’s waist, similar to an ordinary pair of shorts. A good example of a padded bike short without a bib is the Eco-Daily Padded Cycling Shorts For Women.  

These shorts which are designed for women are light in weight and can be worn under any other favorite riding gear when commuting or riding for leisure.

Notably, both the bib shorts and biking shorts come in varying leg lengths. There are ordinary biking shorts that extend to the lower thighs.

On the other hand, there are ¾ shorts (nickers) that are slightly longer such that they reach below the knees. The latter is ideal when you want to protect your legs from the sun.

Do Padded Cycling Shorts Make A Difference

Are Mountain Bike Shorts Padded?

Mountain bikes are also padded to avoid the bruising effect that can be caused by riding on bumpy trails. The padding is usually made of foam which is attached inside the chamois (the part that rests against your crotch), although some models feature removable foam inserts.

Actually, mountain bike shorts are designed for comfort, support, and ventilation. They are mostly preferred over spandex shorts because the former gives you the ability to move freely while also providing breathability.

Mountain bikes are also long because they should cover you up to 1 to 3 inches over your knees. If you need one, you can consider going for VAYAGER Men’s 3D Padded Mountain Bike Shorts, which is light in weight, dries easily, has a zipper, and has 6 pockets. in addition, the short is ideal for most outdoor sporting activities.

Do Padded Cycling Shorts Make A Difference? 

For people who like going on long rides, padded bike shorts are a must-have item. They make cycling more comfortable, and many cyclists claim they wouldn’t want to go for longer than 2-3 hours without them.

As a result, the rider experiences less resistance drag making every stroke of the pedal count.

Also, padded bike shorts have antimicrobial chamois that help to prevent saddle sores. First, padded shorts prevent chafing, which could lead to infection. Secondly, the shorts material wicks sweat away, which discourages the growth of bacteria.

Consequently, reduced skin chaffing and bacteria growth prevent the formation of saddle sores.

On the trails, the rugged surface sends vibrations to the rider’s body, specifically through the seat.

Therefore, in recent years, mountain bikers have gradually embraced padded bike shorts since they help to dampen trail shockwaves.

In addition, the use of padded cycling shorts significantly affects a rider’s psychology, especially when riding in a group. It would feel weird showing up for a group ride in your jeans while every other member is in a chamois.

The other notable difference brought by padded bike shorts is that they significantly affect the riders’ speed. The shorts enhance the rider’s aerodynamics making it possible to achieve high speeds, especially on the road.

Can You Bike Without Padded Shorts

Do You Wear Shorts Over Padded Bike Shorts?

You can wear shorts over your padded bike shorts with no adverse effects. Actually, mountain bikers are fond of donning MTB baggies over padded bike shorts.

On the other hand, when going out for a road biking competition, an additional piece of cloth may work to your disadvantage by increasing air resistance. As a result, you will have to use more energy to keep up with the other riders.

Actually, going through bike forums, you will realize that most uncompetitive cyclists and mountain bikers always wear shorts over padded bike shorts.

For beginners, having nothing else other than padded bike shorts feels uncomfortable at first. So, is it okay to wear shorts over padded bike shorts?

Yes, wearing shorts over your chamois is okay. The only thing you shouldn’t ever do is wearing anything under the bike shorts.

Can You Bike Without Padded Shorts?

You can ride a bike without padded shorts, especially for short distances and around the neighborhood or when commuting to work. Actually, bikes shorts are not a necessity for one to enjoy bike riding.

On most bike forums, the question of whether one can ride without padded shorts happens to be one of the most asked questions.

All the same, a lack of padded shorts shouldn’t stop one from riding.

However, cycling is all about having fun and enjoying nature. But see, there’s that one problem: comfort.

While other cyclists simply grin and bear it, we know that there must be a better way which using padded shorts.

Actually, the advantages of using chamois are made most racers opt for them. Notably, riding for over 100 kilometers can be a punishing experience. Therefore, the added comfort from the chamois comes in handy.

So, can you bike without padded shorts? Yes, you can ride without them, especially when riding for leisure. However, padded bike shorts help a lot, especially when one has to ride for long distances.

Do padded bike shorts really help? A woman cycling in a dress

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do You Pee In Bib Shorts?

Men usually pull down the front of the bib and relieve their bladders. However, bib shorts are tricky for women when it comes to responding to calls of nature.

Manufacturers have come up with shorts with zippers that make it easy for women to pee without lowering the bib shorts.

2. Do You Wear Undies Under Bike Shorts?

You don’t wear padded bike shorts with your underwear under them. Actually, biking shorts are designed to rest directly on the skin.

Having underwear between the chamois and your skin negates all the benefits of padded bike shorts.

3. What Is The Difference Between Men’s vs. Women’s Bike Chamois

The chamois in men and female bike shorts are different due to the difference in body structures. Those for women are broader to accommodate wider sit bone while those for men have are narrower but have an inlet the middle to the front.

4. Are Padded Cycling Shorts Worth It?

Padded shorts are worth every thought and coin if you want to have the best riding experience. Though you can ride for short distances without padded shorts without an issue, riding for more than 1 hour could leave you with injuries.

You can read more on “Are Cycling Shorts Worth It?” from one of the articles we had earlier written.

Final Word:– Do Padded Bike Shorts Really Help?

Padded bike shorts help in making cycling comfortable by damping the pressure from the saddle. Cyclists mainly wear padded bike shorts to protect the sit bone and crotch from saddle pressure. Indeed, padded cycling shorts make a difference in a ride’s quality.

There are two main types of padded bike shorts. These are the bib shorts and waist shorts. Though you can ride a bike without padded shorts, but you will feel more pain than with them on.