In the market for some women-specific cycling shorts? Look no further
© Chris Lanaway

10 of the best women's cycling shorts you can buy in 2020

Tired of wearing uncomfortable bottoms that don't offer support in all the right places? These waist and bib shorts have been designed specifically with the female anatomy in mind.
Written by Katherine Moore
7 min readPublished on
A good pair of padded cycling shorts are an essential in any road or off-road rider’s wardrobe, and can make all the difference between a great ride and a memorable (for all the wrong reasons) one.
With so many options of the market these days it can seem like a bit of a minefield though, and that’s before you have to contend with cycling jargon such as ‘bibs’ and ‘chamois’.

Why women’s cycling shorts?

Unlike a lot of bikes, equipment and clothing, there’s a big difference between men’s and women’s cycling shorts, for quite an obvious reason – we’ve got pretty different anatomy down there. The shape, position and support level of the seat pad, also known as the chamois, is therefore very different for women’s shorts to accommodate this.
There’s then the choice between ‘bibs’ and waist shorts. The former have brace-like straps over the shoulders to help keep the shorts in place while you ride and tend to be more expensive, while simpler waist shorts tend to make loo stops much easier.
Still not sure where to start in your search for the best women’s cycling shorts? Here are 10 of the top sets currently available on the market, whatever your budget.

1. Dhb Moda Classic Women’s Bib Shorts

Dhb Moda Classic women's cycling shorts
The quality of these bib shorts belies its entry-level price
Price: €60
A little more pricey than Dhb’s entry-level women’s bibs (€40) but still a very modest €60, the Moda Classic Women’s bibs are great value for money. The chamois is designed for a less aggressive riding style, so will be better suited to beginners, commuters or tourers with a more upright riding position.
The shorts feature soft mesh bib straps that criss-cross over the back, utilising a design inspired by gymwear. The shorts come in black or navy and pair up nicely with one of Dhb’s vibrant jerseys.

2. Morvelo Overland Women’s Bib Shorts V2

Morvelo Overland Women’s Bib Shorts V2
Cargo pockets at the rear means you can say goodbye to the cycling jersey
Price: €100
Although part of its off-road Overland range, Morvelo’s bib shorts are a great choice on or off tarmac. They feature a sleek and simple design with minimal branding, and have two large mesh pockets on the lower back that are perfect for your snacks and spares if you’d rather opt for a tee rather than a cycling jersey.
Wide leg grippers on these bibs help to give a secure-yet-comfortable fit, which is complemented by multiple panels over the legs and breathable mesh bib straps up top. These are an understated choice, but also good value.

3. Assos UMA GT Half Short

Assos UMA GT Half Short
£95 might seem steep for waist shorts, the chamois is worth every penny
Price: €105
Waist shorts have pros and cons; they can make going to the loo much easier, and are generally cooler on the hottest summer days, but cheaper models sometimes can be uncomfortable around the abdomen, especially when in the tucked-in road riding position.
ASSOS’ UMA GT half shorts don’t suffer from these drawbacks. The set features a wide and sculpted waistband, which when combined with the brand’s notoriously plush chamois yields top quality, comfy cycling shorts. Euro white, bright red or blue might not be to everyone’s taste, but thankfully there’s the staple black colourway to choose from too.

4. Attacus Cycling Foundation Bib Short

Attacus Cycling Foundation Bib Short
The Foundation shorts' colourway puts the fun into pedal-powered propulsion
Price: €110
Based in the UK and founded by a couple hooked on cycling, Attacus Cycling has been making quality women’s clothing from the start, including its reasonably-priced Foundation Bib Short.
Besides the supportive light compression fit, women’s-specific chamois and comfortable leg grippers, they’re available in a really exciting range of colours and designs, from standard black and navy to bright teal, blue, deep red and this fun limited-edition khaki sketch print. Who said cycling shorts had to be boring?

5. Machines For Freedom Essential Cycling Short

Machines For Freedom Essential Cycling Short
These waist shorts come in a huge array of sizes
Price: €130
Designed by women, specifically for women, the Essential Cycling Short from Machines For Freedom was the first in its new size-inclusive range, with fits from XS to XXXL. Rather than approach waist shorts as a choice only for beginners, Machines For Freedom set about creating a high-performance option that features the same chamois as its Endurance bib shorts.
The waistband was inspired by yoga apparel and has enough compression to stay in place without cutting into the stomach while in the riding position for prolonged periods of time. At the other end, sleek silicone leg grippers help keep the shorts in place, without any pinching or constrictive leg grippers.

6. Signature Bib Short II Signature Bib Short II
The first release was so popular, Iris quickly set about making a second
Price: €131
Named after the Dutch ex-pro (Iris Slappendel) that established the brand, women’s specific clothing line I-ris blends technical design and contemporary style.
The first generation of its Signature bibs were so popular that Iris made this second iteration (also available in a men’s cut). The range includes some gorgeous colours including this deep red ‘cinnamon’, deep purple, indigo and of course, black.
Their bonus feature is a magnetic clasp on the middle back, which helps to make toilet breaks easier without affecting the supportive bib construction.

7. Alé Women’s Stones Cargo bib shorts

Alé Women’s Stones Cargo bib shorts
Cargo pockets are handy for storing snacks, spares or gloves
Price: €155
Designed with the off-road rider in mind, the Stones Cargo bibs from Italian brand Alé feature thin mesh pockets on either thigh that are perfect for stashing small items like snacks or gloves. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a further two mesh pockets on the lower back, leaving you free to wear a more casual t-shirt if you wish rather than relying on a cycling jersey for its pockets.
The fit is snug and the material has a UPF50+ rating, which should keep you safe from the sun over many hours in the saddle.

8. GORE Women’s C7 Long Distance Bibs

GORE Women’s C7 Long Distance Bibs
The Long Distance bibs are perfect for all-day action
Price: €195
The C7 bibs are the kind of shorts that are so comfortable that you don’t even notice that they’re there, making them perfect for big days out. At the very top end of GORE’s performance offering, the shorts are beautifully soft and sculpted specifically with a women’s fit.
You’ll love these if you usually find the tight fit of elasticated leg grippers or harsh silicone too restrictive; they’re held in place by a thin strip of light gripper, like the kind that you usually find on aero jersey sleeves.
The subtle black finish with an oil-slick logo is a fun twist on a classic, or there’s the option of a classy navy if you're looking to expand your monochrome wardrobe.

9. Rapha Canyon//SRAM Pro Team Bib Short

Rapha Canyon//SRAM Pro Team Bib Short
Although team kit gets bad rep, this is one design we can all get behind
Price: €215
Want to wear the same shorts as arguably the best-dressed team in the women’s pro peloton? Now you can with Rapha’s Canyon//SRAM team kit, available in either their top-end Pro Team shorts or the more budget-friendly Core shorts (€90).
Beautifully styled in deep purple with flashes of pink and blue, yet technically built to cope with the hardest women’s racing conditions in the world, these women’s bib shorts are hard to beat.

10. Velocio Luxe Bib Short

Velocio Luxe Bib Short
The FlyFree feature means toilet breaks without having to remove everything
Price: €230
The Luxe bib shorts from forward-thinking American brand Velocio are at the higher end of the budget for this range, but for good reason. Truly luxurious (hence the name), compressive lycra-blend fabric is combined with soft microfibre bib straps for a close, chafe-free fit.
The FlyFree design is something of a revolution in women-specific shorts; very stretchy bib straps on the back allow you to simply pull down the shorts without having to take any layers off for mid-ride toilet breaks, meaning no more getting half-undressed at the roadside.
Available in a wide range of sizes from XXS to XXL, the Luxe shorts come in a range of colours including black, grey, navy, khaki and burgundy.