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How to Buy Men's Bike Shorts

Home > How to Buy Men's Bike Shorts
How to Buy Men's Bike Shorts

Men's Padded Bike Shorts - An overview of Styles and Types

The best way to know about bike shorts is to understand your options available in today's marketplace. If you are reading this, you probably love to ride and want the best deals possible on cycling apparel. Here is some expert advice to help you pick the short that meets your individual needs. There are many choices because there are so many opinions on what is best for all the types of riding that goes on out there. We love to ride and hope to see you on the road....

* Comfort with Freedom of movement for cycling motion (stretch)
* Anti Chafe design between the legs and on saddle area
* Padding for the ischial bones (sit bones)
* Elastic to keep shorts in place
* Fabric that can abrade without damage
* A snug fit so it stays in place and doesn't flap in the wind.

Aero Tech Designs gel padded chamoisMost bike shorts have a padding sewn into the saddle area.

The padding in a pair of bike shorts will range from thick to thin. The thickest pads act as shock absorbers with layers of thick foams or gel inserts. The chamois padding that is inside a pair of bicycle shorts also will reduce abrasion and cushions the butt. If you are just starting to ride, or the longer your ride, the more density you need in a chamois pad. The elite pads are dense and designed for long distance riders. The pads are also distinguishing between gender in the higher end cycle shorts. The pads that have a line or compression through the center of the chamois are engineered for the male anatomy. The women's chamois have more of a pillow. There are also unisex pads that both men and women enjoy. A more seasoned bicycle rider may want a thin pad in their bike shorts so that it prevents abrasion and yet feels invisible. Using a thin chamois pad is also popular in triathlon shorts where the short is worn for swim, bike, run. More information on Chamois pads for cycling.

Bike shorts are worn without underwear (especially cotton).

The padding in the saddle area of a bike short is often called the chamois pad even though the pads are rarely ever chamois leather anymore. In the 1970's and 1980's bicycle shorts had a leather chamois pad sewn into the saddle area for the sole purpose of preventing abrasion. Back then the chamois was lubricated with an oil to create a "slip" so the cycling motion was smooth against the skin. The use of anti-chafe creams and lubricants continue to be an important part of cycling as these creams combined with snug bike shorts do wonders to enhance the comfort of a cyclist. See our video on Chamois lubricants.

Today, most chamois pads are made from high performance synthetic fibers like Coolmax brand polyester or polyurethane fibers. The surface of a chamois pad is usually hydrophobic which means they stay dry. The chamois pad is often treated with an antibacterial or silver ion finish to diminish the growth of bacteria which may lead to saddle sores. A clean chamois pad is an ideal way to prevent saddle sores. Today's synthetic chamois pads are machine washable. Machine washing of a chamois pad is important to remove all bacteria.

Categories of Men's Bike Shorts - Thick and Thin Padded Cycling Shorts

The shorts below show different types available that are typical when shopping for a pair of cycle shorts.  Each individual who rides has a different opinion on what makes up a good pad and bike short. With all of the different preferences, you can see there is a short developed for all types of riders. Here are some Cycle Short Categories:

Spandex Road Short

Tri - Swim-Bike-Run

Under-Liner Short Casual Commuter Padded MTB Short Bib Shorts
Thick and Dense Pads in Road Bike Shorts These pads are in the elite category and are best for high mileage and century rides over 50 miles. Thin padded Bike Shorts are great for experienced cyclists who are comfortable on their saddle or for triathletes who want one garment for swim, bike, run. Underwear and Liner Shorts These garments are worn under your normal looking shorts or pants, they are usually mesh with a chamois pad, Casual shorts are ideal for bicycle lifestyle.  They are ususally a woven stretch fabric for lots of short around town rides.  They are for daily use and double as casual short. Baggy / MTB - Baggy or loose fitting bike shorts are often called ATB or MTB as they are Mountain bike shorts. They are often sold as two shorts in one, a padded liner inside an outer short. Bib Shorts - are compression bike shorts without a waist held up with straps or suspenders. This is most often used by elite and most experienced cyclists.

How to choose a size (They are snug for a reason).

Fitting into spandex shorts is very easy for most everyone because the shorts are very stretchy. This means you could wear a size too small or a size too large and still be comfortable while cycling. Bike shorts usually have a chamois pad sewn into the saddle area of the garment. This pad needs to be stretched smooth across the crotch area to maximize it's performance to protect the rider. With a pair of bike shorts on your body, you should be able to run your hand across your crotch area and feel smoothness without any bunching. Bike Shorts work best when they fit snug with the chamois pad held close to the skin. When bike shorts are too large, the chamois pad moves around and may create an opportunity for rubbing or abrasion.

The features built into bike shorts often are built around the function of the cyclist who is riding. There are many types of cyclists on the road, so there is a similar variety of padded bike shorts. Leg grippers or some type of leg compression is essential for cycling shorts to stay in place. With the constant motion of the muscles during exercise, the shorts tend to ride up if they don't have some type of compression or grip on the legs. Below are some examples of men's cycling shorts with their prices and chamois pads. email us with questions:

Men's Bike Shorts: The Chamois Pad Design

campagnolo sportswearYou can see from the images below of different chamois pads there are a variety of prices and thicknesses available. Beginners want a thicker pad, triathletes use a thinner pad, long distance riders have several choices but generally prefer a dense breathable pad. 

Padded cycling shorts are designed for men who ride bicycles. If you study the chamois padding, you will note that they are engineered for the placement of the bones on the saddle. The different densities and thicknesses are designed to provide shock absorption where it is needed. Men's bike shorts typically have a groove or cut out in the center of the pad for the male anatomy to sink into to take pressure off the Ischia and perinea area.

Bicycle seat neuropathy is a common injury for avid cyclists. It is related to vascular and neurologic injury to the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve runs below the pelvic bone, and can create numbness and discomfort if too much pressure is placed. The problems associated with the pressure on the pudendal nerve can cause a lack of blood flow to the entire pelvic region and the genitals. The lack of blood flow into this region can also lead to numb limbs and fatigue. To relieve pressure from this nerve, many men's bicycle saddles and bike short's chamois pads have a cutout in the center, to reduce the pressure and thickness in this nerve area.

bike short layers MLPMulti-Layer Chamois Padding - A thin cycle pad with the correct seams will fit tight into all of the curves of your crotch area. The torso is very deep and round, combined with the curvature of the thighs, it is impossible for a seamless pad to fit "up an in" snug to the crotch without seams. The baseball type stitching provides an excellent fit when chafe is an issue.  Most of the chamois pads are made from a polyester surface that has an antibacterial finish like Hygienic. It is is a permanent finish which prevents premature fabric decay and prevents the growth of bacteria and odors so giving a healthy micro climate between the body and fabric which is ideal for bike short. Think of it as a type of polish that smooths the fibers so the ridges cannot trap moisture or bacteria.

oil gen insertsgel bike shortThick Padded Shorts - Layers of Foam or Gel with "density added" Gel filled chamois pads are the thickest and ideal for absorbing shock and adding comfort to a sore butt.  The gel provides a gentle layer that softens the bike ride's shock that is absorbed into the ischial butt bones.  Gel adds a layer of comfort for new cyclists and those who are moving up in their mileage.  It is good for all rides long or short.  If you are comfortable on your saddle, you might not need the thickness and weight of a gel padded bike short.

Men's Bike Shorts: Thick and Dense Chamois Pads:

The high end chamois pads are highly engineered for peap performance on bicycle rides. The Support is built into the pad with the understanding of how the body sits on the saddle and where the pressure points are in contact with the bike saddle. The pads are quick drying, antibacterial and are loaded with features for each unique type of rider. The pads are engineered with layers of foam shapped to conform with the contact points between the Iscial bones where there is an extra layer of dense padding to absorb the shock and abrasion. The bicycle saddle you use needs to support your bones and pelvic region without nerve pressure.

Men's Elite Short
Long Distance
Men's Printable Shorts Gel Padded Spandex
Touring Short
Men's Century Thick Padded
Cycling Short
Men's Gel Padded
Bike Shorts
men's black cycling short with 3m reflective gel padded touring short men's gel padded shorts

gel chamois pad
century thick pad gel padded mens short
3M Reflective, 15 mm total thickness on sit bones
3 Dimensional, 10 mm High Impact Foam, 6 mm Air Mesh, 4 mm Open Cell
3M Reflective, pad is a high impact perforated 10 mm thickness on sit bones 3Dimensional
Side Pockets and Gel Pad for extra comfort and long distance Men's Century Thick Padded Short stays dry and is very stretchable Gel Chamois Pad with soft wicking fabric face
Thickness: 15 mm plus four
Engineered Densities
Thickness: 10 mm 6 mm 5 mm
Puzzle construction
Thickness: 12 mm with Gel Insert Thickness: 10 mm Elastic CyTech pad Thickness:  12 mm with Gel Insert

Men's Bike Shorts: Thinner - Mid Weight Anti-Chafe Pads

Men's bike shorts that have a thin pad are more multi-sport oriented and ideal for experienced riders who are comfortable on their saddle. The size and density of a thin pad make it ideal to eliminate chafe and abrasion between the legs. The bad is large enough to surround the entire saddle area without seams coming in contact with the saddle. If you have a saddle sore that needs to heal, try the pro bike short, it's pad is multiple layers for maximum performance. The triathlon shorts are also multiple layer as the image below suggests plus they are molded and engineered specifically for swim, bike, run. The construction of the pad, the type of perforated foam and the fabric face enable a comfortable light weight cycle short that is ideal for all types of moving around.
Triathlon Tri Shorts Classic Padded Bike Short Wild Print Spandex
and Men's Pro Bike Shorts
All American Bike Short
Men's Classic Padded Bike Shorts  red swirley bike shorts all American made bike shorts
tri short padding pro bike shorts padded bike shorts
Triathlon Pad Men's Classic Black
(Thick), 4 Colorways
Multi Layer Pad - Not Thick All American Black
Thickness:  3 mm Thickness:  10 mm Thickness:  7 mm thick Thickness:  10 mm

Men's Bike Shorts:  Baggy and Loose Fitting MTB Shorts

This category of bike shorts are actually two shorts in one. A baggy exterior and an internal liner or bike underwear. The baggy and loose fitting bike shorts are ideal for casual riders who do not want to wear spandex. Getting ready to choose a loose fitting (aka 'baggy") bike short is easy when you have choices. Most of the mountain bike shorts are two shorts in one. A loose outer shell made of nylon and an internal stretchy padded bike short. We have found that many people who want the baggy bike short look are not just mountain bikers. More often the buyers of the loose fitting shorts want a more casual and normal looking short. They are usually referred to as Mountain Bike Shorts or MTB shorts. Some refer to them as ATB or all terrain Bike shorts. There are many brands of shorts and the differences are subtle and significant, so you need a little time to find the right pair for you.

ATD Padded Cargo
MTB Shorts
Mountain Bike Shorts
ATD Mens Bicycle Commuter Multi-Sport Shorts MTB Touring Shorts ATD Men's Commuter Pedal Pushers - 3/4 Knicker
Men's Cargo Shorts - Padded Outlaw Mountain Bike Shorts Men's cargo multi-sport shorts Pedal Pushers for commuting
black pearl chamois
top seller
black pearl chamois Unpadded Unpadded
Black P.Chamois Pad
Mid density
Black P. Chamois Pad
Mid density
Stretch Woven Commuter Molded 3D Pad is light and breathable Stretch Woven Commuter
Thickness:  8 mm Thickness:  8 mm Not Padded Thickness:  6 mm Not Padded

Cycle Underwear and Padded Liner Shorts

Padded Cycling Underwear is a great way to transform your casual shorts into cycling apparel. Padded cycling underwear can be used for any activity high in impact. Other sports include rowing, motorcycling riding, and horseback riding, just to name a few. Aero Tech Designs Padded Underwear are available in many different options regarding the pad thickness and purpose.  Most liner shorts are a mesh fabric for coolness and ventilation. 

Men's Gel Padded Underliner Mesh Bicycling Underwear Impact Liner - Hip Crash Pads Gel Padded Mesh Cycle liner Short
men's gel padded underliner men's gel padded underliner gel padded bicycling underwear
air gel pad
top seller
tri short padding gel padded mens short

Thick and DenseElite Air-Gel Underliner

Thin - Breathable Perforated Elastic Interface Pad Very Cool Multi Layer Chamois Gel Chamois Pad
Thickness:  15mm Thickness:  6 mm Thickness:  6 mm Thickness:  12 mm

Unpadded Fitness Shorts and Exercise Shorts

This category of bike shorts are ideal for multiple sport activity. The spandex shorts offer compression - which reduces fatigue and helps you recover faster. The unpadded shorts offer up excellent range of movement without restriction. Ideal of multiple sports like running, soccer, yoga and general fitness.

ATD Unpadded Pro Compression
Skin Shorts
Men's Compression Workout
High Performance
Fitness Shorts
Men's Swimming Jammers

Men's compression shorts

fitness compression shorts mens swim jammer
Not Padded - Good for Recumbent Riders. Has Grippers Not Padded / 5 colors Not Padded  colors / prints FINA Swimwear

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