Reviews You Can Rely On

The 4 Best Bike Shorts for Women of 2023

We tested women's bike shorts from Pearl Izumi, SUGOi, Louis Garneau, and more to find the best models
Best Bike Shorts for Women of 2023
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper
Thursday December 8, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

Our radical female experts researched 50 models of the best women's bike shorts before buying 12 of the market's finest to test side-by-side. Whether you're clipping into the pedals for the first time or have thousands of miles under your belt, we know the perfect short makes all the difference. Putting each short through the wringer, we gravel biked, road cycled, and mountain biked many miles for each pair. Testing on the eastern side of the Sierras and in the Rocky Mountains, we experienced a large range of temperatures and varying conditions. In order to assign an objective score, we take into account our real-life experience and lab results. We offer our favorite recommendations that'll have you logging miles with comfort, without breaking the bank.

We've also published a separate best men's bike shorts and bibs review. If it's the best women's mountain bike shorts you're after, we've tested those too. Our bike categories are sure to have what you're looking for no matter what kind of cycling accessories you may need.

Editor's Note: We tested an entire fleet of 12 new products for this review, publishing our findings on December 8, 2022.

Related: Best Bike Shorts and Bibs for Men

Top 12 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
Price $144.95 at Backcountry$220 List
$149.73 at REI
$159.99 at Amazon$199.99 at Backcountry$270 List
$270.00 at Backcountry
Overall Score Sort Icon
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84
82
78
65
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Pros All-day comfort chamois, super soft fabric with minimal seams and raw edge straps, easy bathroom breaksSupportive chamois for long rides, comfy and compressive fabric, easy bathroom breaksVery comfy bib fabric, soft chamois, easy bathroom breaksSuper soft fabric, very supportive chamois for long rides, easy bathroom breaksThick and comfortable chamois, easy bathroom break
Cons Runs a bit snug, expensiveDouble-layered chamois can be annoying for some people, expensiveNot the most padding, leg openings can be tight on someChamois feels kinda hard when not on bike, cross back design digs into armpitsDesign digs into sides and stomach, fabric around midriff is not stretchy, clips are a hassle to put back on
Bottom Line Plush fabric and all-day chamois comfort in a durable and stylish designAn extremely comfortable, high-performance bib for long ridesA great pick for medium-long rides for those who prioritize comfort and valueHigh-quality bibs for the woman who wants extra support and coverage for long ridesGreat design ideas but lacking in functionality and comfort
Rating Categories Pearl Izumi Pro Lim... Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short Sugoi Evolution Bib... Endura Pro SL Bib S... Assos UMA GTV C2 Bi...
Comfort and Fit (30%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Padding and Protection (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Breathability and Fabric (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Style (10%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Pearl Izumi Pro Lim... Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short Sugoi Evolution Bib... Endura Pro SL Bib S... Assos UMA GTV C2 Bi...
Main Fabric 46% nylon, 38% polyester, 16% elastane Firo (78% Nylon 22% Spandex) Evoplus (81% Nylon 19% Spandex) Elastane 15%, Polyester 40%, Nylon 45% 80%PA 20%EA
Inseam Measurement 8.5 in 8.5 in 8 in 9 in 9 in
Number of panels 8 9 8 8 5
Chamois Women’s Levitate PRO Chamois Formula FX RDC Pro 800 Series Conform EGM Pad Shock absorbing
Weight (size Small) 6 oz Unavailable Unavailable Unavailable 10 oz
Fit Type Form-fitting Form-fitting Form-fitting Form-fitting Form-fitting
Other Features Drop-tail design for nature break convenience, minimal seaming and raw-edge straps enhance feel, center bib clip allows for customizable front strap position Pitstop bib straps, seamfree chamois Pitstop bib straps Water repellent finish, physiologist designed chamois with medical-grade silicone elastomer Magnetic clips in back to facillitate "natural breaks", ZeroPressure belly panel to support comfort and deep breathing


Best Overall For High Style and High Miles


Pearl Izumi Pro Limited Edition Bib Short - Women's


89
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Padding and Protection 9.0
  • Breathability and Fabric 9.0
  • Durability 8.0
  • Style 9.0
Inseam Length: 8.5 in | Panels: 8
REASONS TO BUY
All-day comfort chamois
Soft fabric with minimal seams
Easy bathroom breaks
REASONS TO AVOID
Runs a bit snug
Expensive

The plush, comfortable, and stylish Pearl Izumi Pro Limited Edition Bib takes the cake for long days in the saddle. Its cushy chamois feels almost luxurious (not something we often say about bike shorts) and the seamless construction of the bibs makes it feel like nothing is there. The bibs have a center clip so that you can customize the fit - we preferred to ride with the bibs clipped to stay out of the way of our shoulders. We also really appreciated the drop-tail bib design for easy bathroom breaks.

The downsides of these bibs are few, but they certainly aren't the cheapest. If you're looking for an intro-level piece of equipment, perhaps you'd like something easier on the wallet. However, we think the plush comfort and fun colors they come in make up for it. The cut of the Pearl Izumi Pro bibs was also universally flattering on our testers. Overall, these were some of our favorite bibs we've ever tested. If you prefer to spend hours in the saddle not knowing you're wearing bike shorts, these might be the bibs for you.

bike shorts womens - best overall for high style and high miles
Fun colors, smooth seams, and buttery soft fabric make this bib a favorite.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

Best Bang for Your Buck


Sugoi Evolution Bib Short - Women's


82
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 8.0
  • Padding and Protection 8.0
  • Breathability and Fabric 8.0
  • Durability 9.0
  • Style 8.0
Inseam Length: 8 in | Panels: 8
REASONS TO BUY
Very comfortable bib fabric
Soft chamois
Easy bathroom breaks
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the most padding
Leg openings are tight on some women

The Sugoi Evolution Bib Short was no surprise in marrying the best of technical, comfortable bibs without breaking the bank. It brings design, high-quality materials, and execution to the table, making this short not only comfortable but high performing in the saddle. Our testers loved how soft and stretchy the bib material was. Also, these bibs were amongst the easiest to use for bathroom breaks - a necessity for any ride. While it isn't quite the cheapest short in our lineup, it is the Goldilocks of bibs at the perfect intersection of high-scoring and reasonably priced.

This model only lost some points because the leg openings were a little tight on our testers. This is truly fit dependent though so we don't want to discourage you from trying this gem of a bib. While it's true that its chamois wasn't the *most* padded in our line-up, it was still one of our favorites and was wonderful for rides over two hours. These bibs were among our top performers - despite their incredible value. If you're seeking a short that won't break the bank but offers plenty of performance for long rides, you may have met your match.

bike shorts womens - best bang for your buck
Style, comfort, and durability are highlights of these bibs.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

Best Overall for Looking Fast and Going Faster


Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short - Women's


84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 9.0
  • Padding and Protection 8.0
  • Breathability and Fabric 8.0
  • Durability 9.0
  • Style 7.0
Inseam Length: 8.5 in | Panels: 9
REASONS TO BUY
High-quality, breathable fabric
Supportive chamois for longer rides
Easy bathroom breaks
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Double-layered chamois can take getting used to

The streamlined, aerodynamic design and excellent quality of the SUGOi RS Pro Bib short exceeded our expectations. Not only did we enjoy the fit and comfort of this technical bib, but we were thrilled with the fact that it never chafed us. We were big fans of the breathable fabric and also the stretch in the shoulder straps that allowed for more convenient pit stops than traditional bibs. This bib could be a better option for taller riders since it's a little longer, but all of our testers were dazzled by the RS Pro Bib.

We found little cause for complaints with the RS Pro Bib. We did notice that some of the seams showed a very small amount of wear and tear, and we wish these bibs were available in more color options. All in all, we think cyclists seeking breathability and ultimate comfort on lengthy rides will find this bib to suit them well. Please take note if you are an endurance rider or racer; in our opinion, this is one of the best bibs we've tested.

bike shorts womens - best overall for looking fast and going faster
This bib nearly outperformed all other shorts and bibs included in this review - and at a fraction of the cost.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

Best Lifestyle Cycling Short


Terry Hi-Rise Holster Short


46
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort and Fit 6.0
  • Padding and Protection 5.0
  • Breathability and Fabric 3.0
  • Durability 3.0
  • Style 5.0
Inseam Length: 9 in | Panels: 5
REASONS TO BUY
Looser fit
Longer length
Wide and high waist
REASONS TO AVOID
Thinner chamois
Top of shorts can dig into stomach

Some riders want to look ultra-fast while racing, while others are looking to take a scenic tour of the countryside in the comfort and function required for a slower-paced day. Hence, the less racy Terry Hi-Rise Holster. We found both the comfort and coverage we desired for shorter road rides. Aside from the built-in chamois, these shorts don't scream, "I cycled here". Their longer length, spacious side pocket, and looser fit make them a little more discreet. Don't be fooled though, they still have full coverage and a comfortable chamois.

We wouldn't recommend these for rides or races longer than a few hours, as the excess fabric may bunch and lead to unpleasant chafing. Also, they're held in place by a waistband (rather than suspenders, like bibs) which we found dug into some of our tester's stomachs if they were even a little too tight. Luckily, these shorts are high-waisted which means they dig in less than other shorts styles we tested. Still, for shorter rides, commutes, or rides that also consist of grabbing a coffee afterward, our testers highly recommend this style.

bike shorts womens - huge pockets can easily fit a phone, snack, and more.
Huge pockets can easily fit a phone, snack, and more.
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
89
Pearl Izumi Pro Limited Edition Bib Short - Women's
pearl izumi pro limited edition bib short for women bike shorts
$225
Editors' Choice Award
84
Sugoi RS Pro Bib Short - Women's
sugoi rs pro bib short for women bike shorts
$220
Top Pick Award
82
Sugoi Evolution Bib Short - Women's
sugoi evolution bib short for women bike shorts
$173
Best Buy Award
78
Endura Pro SL Bib Short - Women's
endura pro sl bib short for women bike shorts
$200
65
Assos UMA GTV C2 Bib Short - Women's
assos uma gtv c2 bib short for women bike shorts
$270
59
Specialized SL Bib Short - Women's
specialized sl bib short for women bike shorts
$150
55
Rapha Core Cycling Bib Shorts - Women's
rapha core cycling bib shorts for women bike shorts
$130
46
Terry Hi-Rise Holster Short
terry hi-rise holster short bike shorts womens
$130
Top Pick Award
43
Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 Short 2 - Women's
louis garneau fit sensor 7.5 short 2 for women bike shorts
$100
38
REI Co-op Junction Bike Shorts - Women's
rei co-op junction bike shorts for women
$60
38
Pearl Izumi Attack Short - Women's
pearl izumi attack short for women bike shorts
$80
33
Louis Garneau Optimum 2 Short - Women's
louis garneau optimum 2 short for women bike shorts
$60

bike shorts womens - these shorts are so comfortable you likely won&#039;t mind taking a nice...
These shorts are so comfortable you likely won't mind taking a nice relaxing break in them before hopping back on the bike for the next leg of your adventure.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Why You Should Trust Us


Reviewing the best women's bike shorts began by researching the best products on the market. We researched over 50 different models and purchased the top contenders to start hands-on testing while riding smooth pavement, gravel roads, and technical single-track trails. We thought about the function of women's specific bike shorts and tested comfort and durability by logging lots of miles. The tests became particularly informative past the 2-hour mark on any given ride. We tested breathability and drying times and took a detailed look at the varying chamois designs. Finally, we considered style, with many of the best-looking shorts coincidentally also being high performers in other metrics.

Our bike shorts testing is divided into five rating metrics:
  • Comfort and Fit (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Padding and Protection (25% weighting)
  • Breathability and Fabric (20% weighting)
  • Durability (15% weighting)
  • Style (10% weighting)

This review is brought to you by Rebecca Eckland and Madison Botzet. Rebecca is a former marathoner and Ironman triathlete turned cyclist who competed as a USAC Cat 3 road racer on the Clean Powered by Tesla team. She was the first woman from Nevada to win the California Triple Crown Stage Race. Rebecca also holds several course records in the Silver State 508. Madison commutes every day via bike (not a small feat when it's snowing) and has made a pact not to drive anywhere less than 5 kilometers away. Being a youth mountain bike coach and having ridden thousands of miles herself, she has the experience to understand the importance of bike shorts' functionality. Both women spend a lot of time on two wheels and love it.

We also tested these shorts with our bike on a trainer to see...
We also tested these shorts with our bike on a trainer to see exactly where they shine and where they fail.
Our reviewers really liked the look of the Pearl Izumi Escape Quest...
Our reviewers really liked the look of the Pearl Izumi Escape Quest. After about an hour in the saddle, though, we weren't as thrilled about this short.
We put in the miles to learn everything we could about these bike...
We put in the miles to learn everything we could about these bike shorts.

Analysis and Test Results


Through riding nearly 1,000 miles in the shorts in this review, we assess each model across six different metrics: Comfort and Fit, Padding and Protection, Breathability and Fabric, Durability, and Style. We've ranked these metrics according to their relative importance to us, but if one metric is especially important to you, we encourage you to check out the specific rankings of each model in that category. We compiled all our notes and findings throughout this review to help you find the perfect short for your cycling needs.

bike shorts womens - the louis garneau optimum 7 is super comfortable and very reasonably...
The Louis Garneau Optimum 7 is super comfortable and very reasonably priced.
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Value


We usually have to make tradeoffs when purchasing any type of gear, and bike shorts are no different. Therefore, we test a range of models price-wise to be able to recommend great products across the spectrum. While more money doesn't always get you a better product, we found that in this category, it does tend to get you a more comfortable chamois. Style, however, seems to be less tied to a dollar sign. While the best-performing products win our top awards, our best-value awards are granted to products that offer the best performance without breaking the bank. The Sugoi Evolution Bib Short was a clear choice for best value. It performed near the top but costs less than many high-performance models. In our experience, the much cheaper models are shorts that just don't feel as comfortable. If you do prefer shorts, our highest performing model, the Terry Holster Hi-Rise Cycling Shorts costs less that the Sugoi.


bike shorts womens - we found the sugoi rs bib useful in all kinds of situations. you get...
We found the SUGOi RS Bib useful in all kinds of situations. You get the benefits of a bib, but with the convenience of a short (due to the stretchy upper).
Credit: Rebecca A. Eckland

Comfort and Fit


Wearing comfortable bike shorts is the difference between an enjoyable ride and chafing so badly that you have to walk your bike home. In our testers' opinions, it is one of the most important metrics to consider when looking at different models. We also balanced this metric across each model's intended use. A sporty bib with a plush chamois designed for multi-hour rides isn't designed for the same thing as a casual, short-style commuter model. And yet, both should be comfortable enough that you enjoy wearing them for their intended purposes.


A major factor to consider in picking out bike shorts is how well they fit your body. They should feel compressive and supportive, but not overly tight. The way this is generally achieved is by using six or eight panels in the construction of the short. The multi-panels are meant to contour to your body to match the unique body position of cyclists. This doesn't necessarily determine how comfortable a short is, but rather, it determines how well the short moves with your body.

bike shorts womens - most shorts have either silicone around the leg openings or a...
Most shorts have either silicone around the leg openings or a stickier fabric - like the REI Junction Shorts shown here - to keep the shorts from riding up.
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

Some of the most comfortable shorts (and bibs) in this metric, such as the SUGOi RS Pro Bib, utilize eight panels to conform to a women's shape by adding extra give in the hips and securing the legs with silicone. The eight-paneled Pearl Izumi Pro, a tie for top comfort, utilizes seamless edges to reduce the amount of friction from seams. This means less chafing overall - which we are always in favor of for long rides.

bike shorts womens - seamless edges were tester favorites because they are less likely to...
Seamless edges were tester favorites because they are less likely to chafe - as shown on the Pearl Izumi Pro bibs.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

One of the most important factors that our testers considered in ranking bike shorts for their comfort was how easy it is to take a nature break. Even the most comfortable bibs become a pain when you have to strip off all your layers to use the bathroom. The best bibs these days are designed specifically for women's anatomy so that we can easily hop off the bike and *go*.

bike shorts womens - bathroom breaks are a breeze with the evolution&#039;s stretchy bibs and...
Bathroom breaks are a breeze with the Evolution's stretchy bibs and a low back for pitstops.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

Our favorite bike shorts in this category - such as the SUGOi RS Pro, Pearl Izumi Pro, and SUGOi Evolution - utilize a smart but simple solution to a women's specific bathroom predicament. The bib straps are super stretchy (yet durable) and are designed so that you can just sit down and pull the back down. Other models, such as the Specialized SL and the Assos UMA GTV C2, are innovative but complicated. Both of these bibs use magnetic clasps at the back of their suspender straps so that you can unhook and go. However, our testers found that you need extreme shoulder flexibility to re-hook them again because they tend to ride up your back. While we have our favorite pairs for ease of use, we would recommend any with bathroom capabilities (even the finicky ones) over a model that doesn't support nature breaks, like the Rapha Core Cycling Bib.

bike shorts womens - while we appreciate the ingenuity of these bibs, it takes incredible...
While we appreciate the ingenuity of these bibs, it takes incredible shoulder flexibility to re-fasten the clip on the Specialized SL after a bathroom pit stop.
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

The best design for bathroom breaks is obviously the shorts-styles. However, we found that these models were less comfortable overall because they are held up by a tight waist rather than bibs. This means that when you bend over on a bike, the waistband digs into your stomach - which isn't fun for long rides. Notably, we found that the Terry Hi-Rise Holter was more comfortable than most other bike shorts because of its high-waisted design that didn't dig in as much.

Bibs - such as the Specialized SL shown here - are generally more...
Bibs - such as the Specialized SL shown here - are generally more flattering and comfortable than shorts due to being held up by straps vs a waistband.
Bibs are generally more flattering and comfortable than shorts -...
Bibs are generally more flattering and comfortable than shorts - such as the Terry Hi-Rise shown here - due to being held up by straps vs a waistband.
While shorts are easier to take on and off, they aren't quite as flattering as their bib counterparts.

Padding and Protection


While athletic shorts come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, the cycling short has one feature the others lack — a chamois. The chamois is a cushioned pad that protects your sit bones from the hard saddle and from chatter, a.k.a. the vibrations from bumps, stress cracks, and other irregularities of the terrain you ride on. The chamois is arguably the most crucial part of a cycling short for this reason. Without it, you'll likely be sore and potentially miserable, so the right kind of padding and protection is key to finding the proper cycling shorts for you.


Here's a little history about bike shorts: the chamois used to be a strip of leather (like the kind you use to dry off your car, hence the name "chamois"). Innovations in technical fabrics have fortunately come a long way. These days, cycling chamois employ foam compounds and other synthetic materials to maximize the amount of padding where you need it most (again, under your sit bones). They also help keep other areas well-ventilated to avoid an excessive build-up of moisture and sweat that can lead to uncomfortable chafing or sores, especially during hours-long rides.

bike shorts womens - a variety of chamois shown here.
A variety of chamois shown here.
Credit: Madison Botzet

An important aspect to consider is whether a chamois has a 2D or 3D design. If a chamois is 2D, it has a single, flat plane; if a chamois is 3D, it has various depths and dimensions to it. Both the Pearl Izumi Pro and the Endura Pro SL had plush, supportive 3D chamois that provided comfort all day long. At times, we even forgot we were wearing them. The SUGOi bibs were amongst the top performers in this metric too.

We also tested the "memory" of each chamois — its ability to "bounce back" to its original shape and form after a long ride. Memory indicates that a chamois has the resiliency to last for many rides spanning multiple seasons. The Endura Pro SL stands out for its physiologist-designed chamois with medical-grade silicone elastomer, which maintains its shape and support long after the first pedal stroke.

bike shorts womens - the comfort of a chamois is everything - we loved the all-day...
The comfort of a chamois is everything - we loved the all-day comfort of the RS Pro bibs.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

The way the chamois is connected to the short also contributes to its comfort. Flat-lock seams are most comfortable while raw edges around a chamois can cause trouble down the road. A raw edge may lead to chafing or, in the very worst cases, part of the chamois coming apart from the short. The Assos UMA GTV C2 is unique because the chamois isn't stitched into place on the sides, which allows it to move with your body. Some of our testers loved it while others weren't as convinced.

For a reasonable amount of protection and padding needed for a cycling class or work commute, the Terry Hi-Rise Short was comfortable for rides on smooth terrain with a soft chamois that had full front-to-back protection. The REI Junction Bike short also performed reasonably well on shorter trips with a chamois that was thicker than the Terry's but bunched up some. Both options have seams around the chamois and lack the "memory" of some higher-performing models. However, they are up to the task of protecting you from cracks, bumps, and other not-so-smooth things you might encounter on a beach cruise or lunch commute.

bike shorts womens - we took a spin in the terry hi-rise to test its chamois memory...
We took a spin in the Terry Hi-Rise to test its chamois memory, which we found is pretty good.
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

Breathability and Fabric


Cycling shorts are only as good as the fabric they use. If you don't believe us, put on a pair of cotton shorts, jump on your bike and ride around the block during the hottest part of the day. Most likely, the shorts will be wet and sticky against your skin. The reason to seek out technical fabrics: they dry quickly and wick sweat away to minimize chafing. Each manufacturer uses different fabrics that are a unique blend of materials, which means some feel soft and light, while others have a rougher and heavier feel.


We tested the fabric and breathability of each pair of shorts in two ways: by wearing them on long rides on scorching days (when it was 90+ degrees out) and by riding hard for one hour on a trainer indoors. Riding the shorts in high-sweat situations (on the trainer and during a hot day) allows us to gauge 1) how quickly the short absorbs sweat, 2) how fast it will enable that sweat to evaporate, and 3) how the fabric feels on your body when drenched.

bike shorts womens - we rode hard for an hour on either the trainer or stationary bike to...
We rode hard for an hour on either the trainer or stationary bike to do a sweat test in every pair of shorts - shown here testing the Endura Pro SL.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

It's no surprise to our testers that the higher-end bibs had softer, more wicking fabrics. All the high-performance models were reasonably comparable in their sweat-wicking abilities, so it really came down to what felt best on testers' skin. Bibs like the Pearl Izumi Pro, SUGOi RS Pro Bib, and the SUGOi evolution were among our tester favorites. The Pearl Izumi bib had smooth, buttery fabric that was continuous throughout the upper and lower and even when soaked with sweat was soft and flexible. The SUGOi bibs were so stretchy and compressive that we found ourselves reaching for them often. Unfortunately, some bibs weren't as up to snuff in the fabric department. Our testers found that while the bottom of the Specialized SL was comfy, the upper was rigid and itchy.

bike shorts womens - the best bibs are the kind that you forget you&#039;re wearing - such as...
The best bibs are the kind that you forget you're wearing - such as the RS Pro shown here.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

For the short models, the Terry Hi-Rise had soft, thick fabric that we enjoyed. The only potential downside is that it had many seams that could lead to chafing on longer, hotter rides. The Louis Garneau Optimum 2 was comfy, but some testers found the fabric to be see-through if the shorts were too tight.

The clip in the center of the Pearl Izumi Pro bib is great for clipping the straps together so they don't dig into your armpits


Durability


Bike shorts are an investment in a pleasant ride. Therefore, you want a product that will hold up over time and maintain its comfort and aesthetic. While our testing period isn't quite long enough to truly test the limits of the shorts included in this review, we read consumer reviews to get a better idea of general durability trends and we look for indications of wear that could be warning signs for future issues. After all, looking at these details – craft, fabric stretch, seam quality, how it feels, and looks after multiple washes — all help to answer one big question: is the garment built to last?


Considering the importance of durability, we scrutinized each model at the end of our testing period to look for every single detail for wear. However, several shorts showed resiliency due to their quality construction and mindful design. These include the SUGOi bibs, Assos UMA GTV C2, Pearl Izumi Pro, and the Endura Pro SL. These models each demonstrated robust construction through reinforced seams and high-quality fabrics, and all ended the testing period looking brand new. The Terry Hi-Rise has thicker fabric that will withstand the test of time, but some consumers expressed concerns over seam durability after lots of use.

bike shorts womens - we loved how comfortable and durable the endura pro sl bibs were...
We loved how comfortable and durable the Endura Pro SL bibs were, but we didn't love that the straps dug into our shoulders and armpits.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper

Style


While style is a subjective measure, we believe it is an essential indicator of a short's functionality, design, and sense of fun. While cycling shorts seem pretty limited regarding what style they can offer you, you might be surprised. Even in the lineup of shorts included in this review, there are subtle variations worth noting. These differences include length, the type of fabric the shorts are constructed with, and color options. It's great to have a functional garment and all, but who wants to ride a bike in something completely unflattering? And, let's be honest here: some shorts do look better than others. What is interesting, is that the better-looking models also ranked higher in other performance metrics, suggesting that style and functionality are linked. A short will usually look better if it's constructed from high-quality fabric with an appropriate chamois and a tailored, multi-paneled design.


No surprise here, the Pearl Izumi Pro scored highest on our style metric due to its sleek construction and availability in a patterned purple (also available in black). The purple was dark enough to hide our sweat stains and the pattern slyly covered dirt. The Louis Garneau Fit Sensor 7.5 was available in navy blue as well as gray. The gray failed to uphold the clean looks rule, however. Not only does this color show chain grease, but it makes quite a production out of your sweat. We'd recommend dark colors as a rule of thumb.

bike shorts womens - the pearl izumi pro bibs come in multiple colors, have seamless...
The Pearl Izumi Pro bibs come in multiple colors, have seamless edges, and great grip.
Credit: Ryan Wishcamper


Other notable runners-up include both of the SUGOi bibs, which are like the Chanel version of cycling shorts: simple, sleek lines are well-tailored to a cyclist's physique and avoid the cycling fashion faux pas of dumpy-butt and sausage thighs. The Terry Hi-Rise Holster is also worth mentioning in this metric; unlike other shorts in this review, Terry offers unparalleled modesty and coverage with a casual short that transitions easily between bike and coffeehouse. Granted, this model does have a chamois (a noticeable difference from casual shorts you might wear around in public), but the added length and looser fit make time off the bike feel slightly less awkward.

bike shorts womens - we love the navy color of the optimum 2 shorts - and it&#039;s a bonus...
We love the navy color of the Optimum 2 shorts - and it's a bonus that dark colors hide sweat.
Credit: Jeffrey Mogavero

Conclusion


Whether you're a competitive racer, a fairweather cyclist, a bike commuter, or an all-day endurance junkie, there's a short/bib out there that's suited to your specific goals. We'll be the first ones to tell you that not all shorts are created equal, but each one is designed for a particular purpose. We encourage you to consider which shorts align with your riding style and personal preferences.

Madison Botzet & Rebecca Eckland


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