“Do you wear underwear with bike shorts?” That’s a common question, especially with newbie cyclists.
Here’s a straightforward answer: No!
And don’t beat yourself if you’ve made that mistake in the past. Most people are guilty of this when they’re new to cycling.
This article will help you understand why it’s not a great idea to wear underwear with bike shorts and how to wear bike shorts properly.
But first, let’s look at the different types of bike shorts you can wear if you want to enjoy cycling without worrying about chafing, rubbing, excessive moisture, or any other discomforts.
Types of Bike Shorts
Cycling-specific shorts come in a few different varieties. Most of the basic types will go down to just above the knees and come up to the waist.
3/4 bike shorts are a great pick if you want extra protection from cool weather and the sun.
Ultimately, the type you choose will depend on the kind of cycling you do and your personal preference.
Here are the major types of bike shorts.
This is what readily comes to mind when most people think of bike shorts. Typically, these are road cycling shorts made from elastic polyurethane fiber or spandex.
Lycra shorts usually come with sewn-in padding known as chamois (pronounced “shammy”).
They fit like gloves, thanks to their highly stretchable properties.
You’ll find Lycra shorts with leg grippers and waistbands that keep them in place, so you don’t have to worry about the shorts pulling away from your waist.
If you plan to go mountain biking, you’re better off with a pair of baggy shorts.
Typically, these are loose-fitting and rugged-looking bike shorts made from lightweight nylon. You can opt for a design that comes with built-in chamois or choose one with a separate liner.
Mountain bike shorts or baggy shorts are a great pick for riding in cold weather conditions. But if you prefer one without a built-in chamois, you should probably wear padded underwear.
Wearing padded underwear makes sense if you already have bike shorts that don’t come with built-in chamois.
You can also wear this with your regular pants or shorts. Just avoid using this cycling brief with a pair of shorts that comes with an inner lining or chamois.
You should consider bib shorts if you plan to take cycling more seriously. This type of cycling-specific shorts is commonly worn by professional road racers and cyclists because of the additional comfort they provide.
Unlike the waistbands on regular shorts, you’ll hardly experience any pressure or discomfort around your waist with bib shorts.
Also, you’ll get extra coverage with these types of bike shorts.
That means you can bend over as much as you want without worrying about your outfit riding up and showing off your plumber crack.
Technically, this is not a pair of shorts and is obviously not an option for men.
All the same, many ladies like to wear cycling skirts. This is especially a good pick if you’ll like to look chick or feminine when you stop mid-ride for whatever reason.
Similar to baggy shorts, some cycling skirts are available with sewn-in chamois while others don’t have the inner padding.
How to Wear Bike Shorts Properly
Find the Right Type of Bike Shorts
Cycling-specific shorts come in a variety of fabrics, with different designs when it comes to inseams, fits, pockets, elastics, and more.
Consider all of these features and how they can improve your riding experience before choosing a bike short.
Whether you pick polyester or nylon material is a matter of personal preference. Polyester is softer and tends to come in more colorful options.
Nylon offers an overall great fitting and is usually very comfortable, thanks to its abrasion-resistant property.
Choose the Correct Size
Next, you want to pick a pair of bike shorts that fit you correctly.
Of course, you already know the importance of wearing right-sized outfits but you might not be aware that sizing can vary between brands.
The best way to find something that truly fits is to try them on.
Make sure that the fabric is taut and stretches very smoothly all over your thigh and backside. You don’t want any sign of bunching or sagging.
Also, make sure the chamois pad is positioned correctly and fits snuggly against your skin.
If something is not right from the very first time you try on the bike shorts, it is best to return them. You shouldn’t endure any form of discomfort and put up with a wrong-sized outfit for any reason.
Your rides will be less than pleasant and even uncomfortable if you settle for less.
And one more thing: don’t wear anything under when trying out bike shorts (more on that in a bit).
Straps Go Under Your Jersey
If you opt for bib shorts, you’ll want to put the straps under your cycling jersey.
Many cyclists find bib shorts a bit awkward, especially during mid-ride bathroom breaks. However, you can find newer models designed to make things a lot easier without needing to disrobe altogether.
Bibs are better at eliminating fabric bunching. Using them also means you don’t have to worry about the waistband digging into your waist, particularly when you assume the bent-over riding position.
Besides, wearing your jersey over the straps means you don’t have to worry about any off-putting straps on your cycling outfit.
Use Leg Grippers
If the design of your preferred bike shorts doesn’t include leg grippers, you will want to buy them.
Leg grippers or bands will keep your shorts from riding up to your thigh during cycling. If you don’t have them on, your shorts will bunch up in the chamois pad.
Besides being really annoying, you will have to frequently struggle to pull your shorts down during rides. Additionally, the situation can cause discomforts such as chafing.
Use Anti-Chafing Lotion for Extra Protection
Applying chamois cream is great, but you only need it if you plan to go on long rides in wet conditions.
The anti-chafing lotion can also reduce friction if you’re going to be shifting around a lot in the saddle. This is especially the case if you are riding on rough unpaved surfaces.
Apart from riding in these extreme circumstances, you may not need to smear any lotion or balm to prevent friction.
Normally, good-quality bike shorts should protect your skin against chafing, even if you don’t use chamois cream.
Keep Your Bike Shorts Clean
Lastly, you want to wash your bike shorts after every ride, particularly longer rides.
Sweat and dirt can quickly build up in chamois and that’s a health risk.
Consider rinsing your shorts if you only take short trips. But make sure to thoroughly wash the shorts after using them two to three times.
Whether you hand wash or put your shorts in the machine depends on the manufacturer’s instructions. And whether or not you dry them on the line is up to you.
But you don’t want to bake them in the sun!
Your shorts fabric can start to age prematurely if you expose them to UV light.
What about Underwear?
You want to skip wearing underwear if cycling is on the agenda for the day.
Yes, it is best to “go commando” if you to get the full benefits of your bike shorts while in the saddle.
First, underwear under your bike shorts adds seams. That’s the last you want when cycling.
Seams will cause chafing! That’s an experience you want to avoid at all costs, especially if you plan to ride over long distances. The friction is very uncomfortable.
And it doesn’t end there.
Wearing underwear means you have to deal with excessive moisture since the fabric typically holds in moisture.
You don’t have to be a pro cyclist to know that sweat causes terrible odor due to the presence of bacteria.
Besides, what’s the point of having chamois if you’ll still wear underwear?
Chamois prevents chafing. It is also great at wicking away moisture or sweat and dries up pretty quickly. That means less buildup of bacteria.
Bottom line: ditch the underwear!
If you must go cycling, do yourself a world of good and avoid wearing anything under your bike shorts.
“Do you wear underwear with bike shorts?” There’s no need to feel embarrassed about asking that question.
No one expects you to have all the answers, especially if you’re new to cycling.
Chamois is your friend and should take care of your skin right next to your bike shorts. That means you don’t need to wear anything underneath.
So, go ahead and get good-quality cycling-specific shorts today! You deserve all the comfort you can get while cycling.
Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic