Saddle sores and chafing got you dreading your next century ride?
Put aside the bag balm and listen up, because the key to blissful long-distance cycling is finding the perfect pair of bike shorts.
We’re talking padded, breathable, and adjustable - the trifecta of comfort to keep you smiling on even the most grueling all-day adventures.
Whether you're training for a double century or just looking to extend your weekend ride, having the right cycling shorts makes those extra hours in the saddle downright enjoyable.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll equip you with everything you need to know to find the best women's cycling shorts that will go the distance.
Let’s kick things off by diving into the three must-have elements that transform average bike shorts into distance-riding superstars.
3 Essential Features for Long-Distance Comfort
1. Breathable Fabrics
When riding long distances, you want cycling shorts made of lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are common in high-quality bike shorts, as they dry quickly and help you avoid that clammy feeling on long rides. Look for shorts with mesh paneling in sweat-prone areas for extra ventilation. The best long-distance bike shorts will keep you cool, dry, and comfortable mile after mile.
2. Padded Chamois
A quality, comfortable chamois pad is crucial for pleasant cycling on long rides. It provides essential protection against saddle sores and chafing by cushioning your sit bones and perineal area. Look for pads with multi-density foam and grooved designs to relieve pressure on sensitive tissues. Opt for seamless, antibacterial construction to prevent irritation during your miles-long journeys.
3. Adjustable Waistband
Long-distance bike shorts benefit from an adjustable waistband for a customized fit, accommodating your body changes during training. Options like drawstrings, elastic, or velcro ensure the right tightness, preventing slipping and discomfort. Seek wide, compressive waistbands that stay in place without digging into your stomach, and consider silicone grippers to prevent sliding.
Top Bike Short Options for All-Day Rides
Pre-Dyed Daisy - Sleek Comfort
The Pre-Dyed Daisy Shorts from SheBeest offer sleek comfort, perfect for distance cycling. Crafted from lightweight micro nylon/spandex, these shorts offer a second-skin feel with excellent compression as you cycle.
The no-feel flatlock seam ensures ultimate comfort, and the seamless 4-way stretch chamois protects sensitive areas. Designed with silicone leg grippers, these slim shorts stay securely in place for miles.
With an aero-friendly streamlined silhouette, the Daisy Shorts provide exceptional comfort and freedom for long-distance riders seeking a non-restrictive fit.
Rachel Petunia - Comfort That Goes the Distance
The Rachel Petunia Shorts from SheBeest are designed for all-day riding bliss. The 4-way stretch chamois prevents saddle sores and chafing during long distances, enhanced by strategic perforations for excellent airflow. In addition, quick-dry fabric and flatlock seams boost comfort on extended rides.
Featuring a high-cut waist, optimal leg length, and gripper cuffs, these shorts offer a secure fit, eliminating chafing and bunching. Riders unanimously praise these versatile shorts for their perfect fit and enduring comfort mile after mile.
Best Cycling Bib Shorts
Pre-Dyed Tri Petunia Bib Short
The Pre-Dyed Tri Petunia Bib Shorts from Shebeest is designed for triathletes. It features a minimal, breathable mesh bib that stretches from the spine, under the arms and finishes behind the neck for quick removal. This smart halter-style construction allows for hassle-free breaks during a long ride without fully undressing. It has a contoured 7-inch inseam, trilastic chamois, and side-stash pockets. The triathlon-specific chamois has a laser-cut surface and ultra-thin perforated foam to provide support on the bike while remaining discreet for the run.
Pre-Dyed Petunia Bib Short
The Pre-Dyed Petunia Bib Short from Shebeest has an innovative bib design that avoids the chest area and finishes behind the neck, allowing it to be lowered without removing your jersey. This simplifies mid-ride restroom stops. It is made of Power Tricot (75% Micro-Nylon/25% Spandex) and has a bib upper made of 86% Polyester/14% Spandex Big Hole Mesh. It has an innovative comfort pattern with no outseam and a higher cutback. It features a tall, contoured waistband with an easy-access back pocket for smartphones. The chamois is Shelastic 2.0 with 4-way stretch to conform to your body and not interfere with pedaling.
Custom Fit for Maximum Comfort
Getting a custom fit on your padded cycling shorts is worth the investment for maximum long-distance comfort. Brands like SheBeest offer full custom options where you submit your body measurements, and they create shorts tailored specifically to your body shape and size. This precision fit eliminates sagging, bunching, tightness, and other discomforts over many miles.
Long-Distance Biking FAQ
How long do bike shorts last?
With proper care, high-quality bike shorts can last several years. Signs of wear include loose elastic, thinning chamois, sagging fabric, or faded colors. Discontinue use once chamois loses its padding or shorts no longer provide a secure, compressive fit. To get the most out of your chamois, we recommend using some chamois cream.
How tight should bike shorts feel?
Bike shorts should feel snug when standing still, almost to the point of feeling tight. When pedaling in a riding position, they should be comfortable without restriction. Shorts should not pinch, bind, or dig in. A compressive fit is needed to prevent movement and chafing.
How do I know which size to buy?
Refer to the size chart for your hip and waist measurements. Brands vary, so don't rely on standard clothing sizes. Shorts should fit snugly when riding on or off the bike. Assume shorts will relax slightly once worn during riding. Some brands recommend sizing down for a performance race.