Let’s breakdown the best padded cycling shorts available in 2016. If you’ve ever ridden a bike for more than a few miles, you probably already know the importance of cycling shorts. Padded shorts are an essential purchase for any cyclist, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete.
The best padded ones have built-in padding and are designed to be worn without additional underwear. Many cyclists like the sleek and professional appearance of shorts, but you can wear normal shorts over the top if you prefer a baggier style. A great pair can provide a comfortable, enjoyable ride, while poor quality ones can lead to pain and frustration.
Don’t make the mistake of buying the first pair in your price range. There are several factors to consider, such as the number of panels and breathability. The quality of material also varies greatly, and there are specific types for men and women.
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Top 3 – Best Padded Cycling Shorts
Note: The first two reviews are shorts designed for men. The third review details shorts designed for women.
The comparison table above uses the, “Our Rating” score (out of 100 points) to rank the cycling shorts based on our review. The individual reviews you read below may not be in order. We’ve added them in an effort to give you a better sense of each product’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
Pearl iZUMi Quest Cycling Shorts
Pearl iZUMi shorts are made with nylon and designed to be highly breathable. These are available in five different sizes, and are constructed with six panels for a superior fit. Other features include a male-specific design, for reduced chafing in delicate areas, and silicon grippers to make sure the shorts don’t slip out of place.
An interesting feature of the iZUMi is that the padding becomes thinner towards the groin. If you race or sit in an aggressive position while riding, this may mean that these aren’t as comfortable as other options. For beginners or people with more relaxed riding positions, this padding configuration is ideal.
Santic Cycling Shorts
If you’re looking for a stylish pair of shorts with a range of different color options, then Santic shorts are one of the best choices. They are made from a mixture of nylon, spandex and Lycra, and have a reflective logo on both sides for safer riding. Other features include a breathable mesh, attractive design and anti-bacterial pad for extra comfort.
Santic recommends buying a size bigger than you normally would. This can make sizing more difficult than others. Fortunately, there is a range of different sizes and colors available, so you will almost certainly be able to find a size that fits.
Champion Women’s Double Dry 7
The Champion Double Dry 7 is one of the best biking shorts available for women. Features include built-in moisture control, “Double Dry” technology to reduce or even prevent skin irritation, and a flexible design made from cotton and spandex.
Champions are designed for a snug and tight fit – so you may want to buy a size down from your regular size. The main downside of the Champion Double Dry 7 is that the product is only available in black. This is a shame, as some riders like to choose a certain style or color. Considering the excellent performance and value for money, however, most people would agree that this isn’t a major problem.
Cycling Shorts Buyer’s Guide
One of the main decisions is whether to choose regular or bib. Bibs are held in place by shoulder straps, and most cyclists find them more comfortable. If you ride long distances, and can deal with a few strange looks from friends and family, bib shorts are probably the best option. For casual riding or shorter journeys, traditional ones are still a good choice.
Even though cycling shorts are essential, you probably don’t want to spend hours looking for the best option. To make choosing as easy as possible, we’ve searched through hundreds of products online to find the top three rated. All three of these are comfortable, durable and provide excellent value for money. They have also received hundreds of positive reviews from buyers.
Cycling shorts are probably the most important piece of clothing or accessory a cyclist can buy. Once you start riding with padded styles, you will never consider riding without them again.
The main consideration when choosing a pair of top rated cycling shorts is whether to buy bib or regular. Most casual cyclists don’t need bibs, although they can often be more comfortable. If you aren’t sure which to buy it’s usually best to stick with regular.
Other things to think about include fit, panel construction and breathability. The ideal pair provides a secure fit without being too tight, and is breathable for extra comfort.
If you’re having trouble choosing a pair, look no further than the Pearl iZUMi. They are comfortable, built with six panels for reduced chafing and even provide UPF 50+ protection from the sun. They are available for less than $50 for the basic version, making them our top recommended cycling shorts.