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When you’re biking to work in warm weather, it’s natural to want to get some air to your legs by wearing shorts.
Bike-specific shorts are often more comfy when cycling, though regular shorts may also work on a quick commute. There are lots of garments to choose from, whether you’re wrapping up in Lycra or sporting a more casual look.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best bike commuting shorts you can buy, based on a range of criteria.
- Assos Cento EVO Men’s Bib Shorts (Best Overall)
- Terry Bike Bermuda Shorts (Best For Women)
- Endura Men’s SingleTrack Shorts (Best Non-Lycra Shorts)
- Endura FS260-Pro Bib Shorts (Best For Men)
- ARSUXEO Men’s Loose Fit MTB Shorts (Best Budget Option)
Top 21 Best Bike Shorts For Commuting
Below are 21 of the best cycling shorts you can buy for different reasons and at different price points.
1. Assos Cento EVO Men’s Bib Shorts (best overall)
• Materials: 73% nylon, 17% elastane, 10% polyester
• Inseam measurement: 9.5” (24.1 cm)
As one of the best items of cycling wear you can buy, Assos Cento EVO Bib Shorts might be overkill for your commute. But not if your commute is lengthy and you value lasting comfort on the bike.
An important feature in these shorts is the 3D waffle layer of the pad. This comprises three layers of perforated foam to enable breathability. Patented goldenGate technology lets the chamois pad move with you rather than the shorts by omitting side stitching.
Absurd by name but not nature is the “kukuPenthouse” frontal insert in the pad. The insert supports male anatomy whilst eliminating pressure and retaining breathability. Penthouse aside, much of this technology exists in Assos bib shorts for women.
2. Terry Bike Bermuda Shorts (best for women)
• Materials: 75% nylon, 25% elastane
• Inseam measurement: 11” (27.9 cm)
Comfortable for commutes or leisure riding are the Terry Bike Bermuda Shorts. These have a 6-panel construction with flat-seam stitching to avoid any discomfort at the joins. The “Bermuda” design is in keeping with modern knee-length bike shorts.
Adding to comfort is Terry’s Fleet Air Chamois, incorporating Elastic Interface® Technology. This allows freedom of movement with 4-way stretching. Despite being waist shorts, a 2-inch non-elastic waistband helps to avoid pressure around the midriff.
A handy commuting feature of these shorts is the side pocket, which easily holds a phone and more.
3. Endura Men’s SingleTrack Shorts (best non-lycra shorts)
- Materials: 100% nylon
Made from durable nylon with stretch panels, Endura Men’s SingleTrack Shorts are ideal for casual commutes. The shorts have a water-repellant finish and include two zippered hand pockets, a phone pocket, and a rear pocket.
The waistband on these stylish shorts includes Velcro adjusters for on-the-fly comfort tweaks. These are light and breathable shorts that are ideal for summery commutes as well as some MTB action if that’s a pastime.
Endura Men’s SingleTrack Shorts are compatible with Endura Clickfast liners if you feel you need to add padding to a longer commute.
4. Endura FS260-Pro Bib Shorts (best for men)
- Materials: 78% nylon, 22% elastane (main fabric)
Endura’s top-selling bib shorts are the FS260-Pro Bib Shorts, which offer comfort and high-quality at an appealing price. The price makes it easy to build a bike-commuting wardrobe with a cost-effective wash rotation.
Comfort in these shorts comes from an excellent 600 series computer-cut pad with an antibacterial finish. A Continuously Variable Profile (CVP) supplies support where it’s needed most and avoids any needless material. Gel inserts add to the plushness.
Made with Italian materials, the fit of these shorts is pre-curved, which optimizes them for a riding position. Some reflective trim on the rear hem adds to your safety on dark commutes.
5. Castelli Cycling Entrata Bib Shorts (best value)
- Materials: 100% elastane
From one of the most revered brands in cycling attire, the Castelli Cycling Entrata Bib Shorts offer superb value for money. These shorts are a bit more rugged than some of Castelli’s race-oriented clothing, making them perfect for daily commutes.
A Kiss Air 2 chamois provides comfort in these shorts. The pad places soft, stretchy fabric next to your skin to avoid chafing. Dual-density thickness gives extra padding where you need it most: in the ischial zone where your body meets the saddle.
An 8-panel construction helps these shorts conform to your body shape. Flat-lock seams maintain comfort at the fabric edges. And there are reflective panels on the lower rear leg that help with visibility after dark.
6. Gore C5 Optiline Men’s Bib Shorts (most comfortable)
• Materials: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane
• Inseam measurement: 9.84” (25 cm)
Thanks to their flatlock seams and a variable-density chamois pad, Gore C5 Optiline Men’s Bib Shorts offer excellent levels of comfort.
An unusual feature of these shorts is Gore’s “Windstopper Cup Technology”. This insulates the male groin against wind chill and makes the shorts suitable for a wider range of commuting temperatures.
The above-mentioned wind protection is part of Gore’s “Advanced Road Seat Insert”. Unwanted frontal compression is also alleviated by the cup.
Gore’s C5 Women’s Cycling Bib Shorts also use Windstopper technology to increase their usefulness in all weathers.
7. Velocio Signature Cycling Bib Shorts (best bib shorts)
- Materials: 78% polyamide, 22% elastane
Also available in a women’s version, Velocio Signature Cycling Bib Shorts are a premium garment with an understated design. There is minimal branding. More importantly from a commuting perspective, they’re durable and comfortable.
Again, this is a product you’re more likely to buy if your commute is long or if you’re a cyclist in your spare time.
Comfort in these shorts comes from a 5-panel design and the Velocio Signature chamois. This has an anti-vibration, super-high-density layer. Use of recycled Italian compression Lycra helps reduce muscle fatigue during and after a ride.
Reflective logos give you a bit more visibility on a dark commute.
8. Pearl Izumi Men’s Escape Quest Shorts (best lycra waist shorts)
• Materials: 88% nylon 12% elastane
• Inseam measurement: 9.5” (24.13 cm)
Waist shorts tend to be cheaper than “bibs” and are useful for convenience breaks if you ever need that on a commute. The Pearl Izumi Men’s Escape Quest Shorts use a SELECT Escape 1:1 chamois that is ideal for rides to work of typical length.
Contributing to comfort is a 6-panel anatomic design. A notable feature is the use of Select Transfer fabric, which offers exceptional wicking and breathability. This fabric is a trickle-down benefit from the manufacturer’s high-end gear.
A reflective logo in these shorts helps you to stay visible on low-light commutes.
9. Endura Hummvee MTB Cycling Shorts II with Liner (most durable)
- Materials: 100% nylon
Some of the most durable bike shorts you’re ever likely to buy are the Endura Hummvee MTB Cycling Shorts II with Liner. The shorts are made from robust mini-ripstop nylon and have a DWB (durable water repellant) finish. They should last you for years.
Like the preceding product, these shorts are compatible with Endura Clickfast liners, except in this case they come with the liner. The 200 series pad in the liner is good for rides of an hour or so, thus it’s ideal for a longish commute.
Comfort is further helped by a seamless seat panel, an adjustable belt, and zipped thigh vents that offer ventilation via mesh inserts.
These MTB shorts also include zippered hand and cargo pockets, and large rear map pockets. There is plenty of secure space for your phone, keys, and bank cards.
10. Rapha Core Cargo Cycling Bib Shorts (best for pockets)
• Materials: 82% polyamide, 18% elastane
If you don’t need to carry lots of stuff on your bike commute, pockets may be all you need for bike tools and personal items. This is one of several ways the Rapha Core Cargo Cycling Bib Shorts excel.
These Rapha shorts are made to a high standard. They include two mesh pockets on the legs and two more at the rear. That’s aside from any further pockets you may have in your jersey or jacket.
Other attributes include a good chamois, long leg length, and a high-stretch material that caters to various rider heights. Discreetly cut seams and soft silicone leg grippers add to the comfort.
11. GEVJON Men’s Cycling Underwear Shorts (best undershorts)
- Materials: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
If you want the freedom to wear regular shorts when riding, or cycling shorts without a pad, check out GEVJON Men’s Cycling Underwear Shorts. You can even wear these with pants.
One potential benefit with these undershorts is a saving in money, as you can buy several pairs of these rather than multiple pairs of bike shorts with built-in pads.
The GEVJON Men’s Cycling Underwear Shorts are ideal for bike rides of typical commuting length. They include a 3D anatomical pad and are made from quick-drying fabric that wicks moisture away from your body.
Stretchy fabric in these undershorts allows for complete freedom of movement on the bike. The stitching is flat and smooth, so the seams aren’t noticeable on the skin.
12. Proviz Sportive Men’s Padded Cycling Shorts (best reflective shorts)
- Materials: 82% polyamide (nylon), 18% elastane
An outstanding product from innovative UK company Proviz is the Sportive Men’s Padded Cycling Shorts. They offer great visibility day or night with their bright yellow sides and reflective details.
The shorts include a padded chamois that will keep you comfortable on any commute, regardless of length. This endurance pad is micro-perforated and anti-bacterial.
Warp-knitted fabric in these shorts ensures they are strong, durable, and highly breathable. A silicon thigh band gently grips your leg and prevents the shorts from slipping upward with movement.
13. 7Mesh Revo 4-Season Shorts (best waterproof shorts)
- Materials: Gore-Tex
In practical terms, waterproof material cannot be penetrated by rain, no matter how heavy. Waterproof garments like the 7Mesh Revo 4-Season Shorts also have taped seams to block the ingress of water through the stitching.
One reason to wear these breathable shorts is to stop your underwear from getting soaked during changeable weather. You can also combine them with water-resistant leg warmers and rainproof shoe covers if you want full lower protection.
Features of the 7Mesh Revo 4-Season Shorts include hand pockets with drainage holes, integrated waist adjusters, belt loops, and an articulated over-the-knee length. There are reflective details to help you on dark commutes.
14. Velocio Ultralight Cycling Bib Shorts (best for extreme heat)
• Materials: 78% polyamide, 22% elastane
In extreme heat, the very least you want from shorts is breathability. The Velocio Ultralight Cycling Bib Shorts offer that with their featherweight Swiss-milled Lycra. Despite their thinness, the shorts are opaque in use.
Adding to the extreme-heat capability of these shorts is their use of Coldblack technology. This is a dye treatment that prevents dark clothes from becoming overly hot by reflecting a proportion of UV rays.
Extremely well made; the Velocio Ultralight Cycling Bib Shorts are perfect for commuting in a heatwave. Again, they include reflective details for night riding.
15. Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants (best zip-off shorts)
- Materials: 100% nylon
For sheer versatility on your bike commute, it’s hard to beat a pair of pants that converts easily to a pair of shorts. That’s what you get with the Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants, which you can unzip at the knees when temperatures rise.
These pants/shorts wick moisture and block UVA and UVB rays. Pockets include a zippered side security pocket, hook-and-loop side and rear pockets, and hand pockets.
Thanks to their use of ripstop nylon, the Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pants are tear-resistant and durable.
16. ROCK BROS Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts (best extra features)
- Inseam measurement: 12” (30 cm) large
You get a lot for your money with the ROCK BROS Men’s Mountain Bike Shorts, which are made from a fast-drying, breathable material. The MTB shorts come with detachable 4D padded underwear, so you can wear them with regular underwear if you’d prefer.
The shorts come with deep hand pockets and a zippered security pocket on the lower leg (concealed). The fabric on these shorts is stretchy, allowing for your movement on the bike.
The waist and the ends of the legs are adjustable for width using the built-in Velcro strips. These ROCK BROS shorts are even water repellant, so they’ll hold off light rain for modest durations.
17. POC Road Thermal Bib Shorts (best thermal)
- Materials: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane
The beauty of thermal shorts lies in their versatility. You can wear these POC Road Thermal Bib Shorts in low temperatures with a pair of thermal leg warmers. Or, use them as regular shorts during warmer spells.
Windproof material used at the front of the shorts protects you from the wind chill effect that is significant when cycling in the cold. The material is also water-resistant, so you should stay dry under moderate rainfall.
A vital feature of these shorts is their POC VPDS Multi D-pad. The manufacturer says this is better at absorbing road vibrations than traditional foam pads.
18. Giro Chrono Sport Men’s Bib Shorts (most eco-friendly)
- Materials: 78% recycled nylon, 22% elastane
Garments from the Giro Renew series use a high proportion of recycled fabrics made from reclaimed fishing nets and ocean debris. The Giro Chrono Sport Men’s Bib Shorts are an example.
These shorts are ideal for commuting, too, thanks to a rear cargo pocket for extra storage and reflective strips for any dark journeys.
These lightweight shorts also include leg grippers and a Chrono Sport chamois that is comfy enough for rides of commuting length.
19. Troy Lee Designs Men’s Skyline Shorts (best men’s MTB shorts)
• Materials: 95% Coolmax polyester 5% elastane
• Outseam measurement: 22.75” (57.78 cm)
From a well-known name in MTB apparel, these Troy Lee Designs Men’s Skyline Shorts are stylish and functional in equal measure. They’re made from eco-friendly Bluesign-certified fabric.
The fabric in these shorts uses warp & weft weaving for stretchability and excellent movement during cycling. These breathable shorts have a relaxed cut and include two discreet Velcro adjusters at the waist for on-the-fly tweaks to comfort.
Zippered front pockets provide a secure place for your valuables during a bike commute.
20. ZOANO Women’s MTB Shorts with 3D Liner (best women’s MTB shorts)
• Materials: 92% polyester 8% elastane
• Inseam measurement: 8.5” (21.6 cm) medium
A stylish pair of commuting shorts for women is the ZOANO Women’s MTB Cycling Shorts. These come complete with a removable padded liner for extra saddle comfort. The pad is a thick 3D high-density foam pad.
The ZOANO shorts have a button closure and are constructed mainly from breathable polyester. They are stitched with flat seams to avoid discomfort against the skin. The liner uses silicon leg bands to keep the material in place when cycling.
Extra features include two deep side pockets, a zippered front leg pocket, and reflective strips to help you stay visible in poor light.
21. ARSUXEO Men’s Loose Fit MTB Shorts (best budget option)
• Materials: 92% polyester 8% elastane
Decent commuting shorts on a low budget are a realistic prospect, as the ARSUXEO Men’s Loose Fit MTB Shorts prove. They are made with a 4-way stretch fabric that doesn’t resist your movements on the bike.
These shorts are breathable and water-resistant, so they’ll withstand regular rainfall on an average commute. The soft, lightweight fabric is comfortable against the skin. You can make quick adjustments to the elasticated waistband as you ride.
Other features include a two-buttoned and zippered closure, two hand pockets, and four zippered leg pockets.
Features To Look Out For When Choosing Bike Shorts For Commuting
The shorts you’ll wear when bike commuting aren’t very different from those you’d use for regular cycling, but certain features are useful for a commute.
Short Styles & Materials
The way bike commuters look on a bike is often a big deal to them. Depending partly on the type of bike you ride into work, you have two options: casual or athletic.
Commuters who ride on road bikes will often wear tight-fitting clothes that complement the speed and efficiency of their bike. Lycra (aka Spandex or elastane) waist shorts or bib shorts are aerodynamic, lightweight, and breathable.
Many bike commuters prefer a casual look for their rides to and from work.
For the non-cycling-specific look, you can forgo Lycra gear and wear loose-fitting regular shorts or MTB shorts. The latter will be better adapted to cycling with stretchable material in all the right places.
Video: Cheap vs Expensive Bib Shorts
Polyester vs Nylon vs Polyamide
The elastane (aka Lycra or Spandex) content in bike shorts is usually in the minority, but it’s largely what makes the fabric stretchable. It is blended into the primary material, which will likely be polyester or nylon.
While polyester and nylon are both specific types of material, a “polyamide” is a fabric group that nylon belongs to. A polyamide material used in bike shorts or other sportswear is likely to be nylon.
Polyester and nylon are both breathable and strong materials, but polyester is more breathable and nylon is stronger. Polyester is more colorfast, while nylon may be softer on the skin and more stretchable.
Even with tight-fitting Lycra shorts, you may find some pockets. You won’t find them on all-out racing attire, but on garments that focus on endurance or touring it’s more likely. They will be discreetly sited in the legs or at the back of bib shorts.
Of course, with loose-fitting shorts, you can take pockets for granted. The number and depth of pockets and whether they have zips will be variable.
For commuters who don’t need to carry much stuff to work, this ability to carry extra stuff in pockets might be important. It means you don’t have to attach any bag to the bike for bike tools, spares, keys, bank cards or even snacks.
The ability to carry effects about your person makes it easy to stop somewhere on your commute and leave your bike locked up on its own.
If you do need to carry a backpack or pannier on your commuting bike regardless, the number of pockets in your shorts becomes a side issue.
Padded Liners & Undershorts
Liners, or undershorts as they’re sometimes called, are underwear with a chamois pad built into them for cycling comfort. You’d wear these with loose shorts that don’t have a pad built in, or with long-legged cycling pants.
Subject to how long your commute is and how padded your saddle is, you may find you don’t need undershorts. If you do need them, buying several pairs is cheaper than buying an equal quantity of full-on cycling shorts with pads stitched into them.
As you may have noted from our product reviews, some shorts come with matching liners. You can easily remove these, either for washing purposes or to replace with standard non-padded underwear.
Video: Do You Need To Wear Cycling Shorts?
It’s always possible you’ll wear your shorts in the dark. It might be a balmy summer’s night, or maybe you’ll pair them with leg warmers for cooler night-time commutes. Either way, reflective details help you stay visible to motorists.
Commuter Shorts FAQs
Some questions will spring to mind when considering commuter shorts.
Should You Wear Bib Shorts?
Bib shorts are far from being a necessity, but they may be more comfortable around the waist and aid diaphragmatic breathing. They also keep the shorts hoisted up and the pad in place.
How Do I Choose The Right Size?
Choose shorts by their waist size, though with bib shorts you also have to be wary of your height and the stretchability of the shoulder straps. Inseam or outseam sizes tell you how far down the legs the shorts are likely to reach.
How Important Is Padding In The Shorts?
The importance of padding in commuter shorts depends on how far your commute is. Most chamois pads should be comfy enough for commutes of moderate duration (e.g., under an hour or two), but you can manage without padding for short rides.
To recap on our best commuter bike shorts review, Assos Cento EVO Men’s Bib Shorts take the top spot. They’re pretty much the gold standard for bike-short comfort in male or female versions. If you’re a cyclist in your spare time, you’ll justify the price.
Second spot in our review section goes to the Terry Bike Bermuda Shorts for women. Their long leg length is in vogue among cyclists, and the super-stretchy material with high elastane content is great for comfort. They have a deep pocket for a phone, too.
Whether you’re commuting in training mode or just rolling into work, our choice of best commuter bike shorts has you covered.
Read more: Our full guide to bike commuting