When you think of padded bike shorts, the image of racing cyclists (fully decked-out in tight neon shirts and shorts) comes to mind, right? But why shouldn’t you have the comfort and ability to move freely while riding your bike, even if you’re a casual e-bike rider?
And the truth is, even if you’re riding an electric bike for recreation, you’ll likely be riding frequently and/or long distances because it’s so easy and fun to do. But if you’re putting in long hours and distances on your bike rides (or just want to be comfortable and cool for your daily ride), then finding the right padded bike shorts is essential.
So, I’ve researched and compiled a list of the ten best casual and affordable bike shorts for women e-bikers. Typically, professional cycling shorts cost $100-$200. But there are plenty of comfortable cycling shorts to choose from that are well under $100 (although bib shorts are hard to find under $100).
|Women’s Bike Shorts||Type of Bike Short||Price|
|BALEAF Women’s Bike Shorts 4D Padded Cycling||Regular, 8″ inseam||From $27|
|Beroy Womens Bike Shorts with 3D Gel||Regular||From $20|
|Louis Garneau Women’s Gel Cycling Shorts||Regular||$40|
|Bontrager Circuit Women’s Cycling Bib Short||Bib Shorts||$99|
|100% Airmatic Women’s Mountain Short||Mountain Bike Shorts||$89|
|BALEAF Women’s 5 Bike Shorts Padded||Regular, Short 5″||From $20|
|THRLEGBIRD Women’s Cycling Underwear 3D Padded||Cycling Underwear Briefs, 2-pack||$33|
|Louis Garneau Women’s Cycling Capris||Capri Length||$40|
|NOOYME Women’s Bike Shorts||Regular||From $23|
|CATENA Women’s Bike Shorts 3D Padded Shorts with Skirt||Regular with Skirt Over the Short||$31|
Take a look at my list of ten women’s padded bike shorts to find the perfect casual ones for you, without spending a ridiculous amount of money or buying cheaply made ones only to find out that they chafe your legs or dig into your waist.
Learn more about each of them below. Read to the end of the article to find out more about what you need in a bike short as a woman!
Here’s the top 10 list of affordable ladies’ bike shorts.
1. BALEAF Women’s Bike Shorts 4D Padded With Pockets
These bike shorts have a lot to love thanks to the two pockets that fit your mobile phone, e-bike keys, or credit cards, and the super stretchy material that’s not only moisture-wicking but has great compression.
They’re plenty long to cover your thighs, have 2-inch wide-leg grips (to keep you comfortable and make them stay in place), and have a UPF of 50+ to protect you from the burning sun.
And, thankfully the 4D gel padding is made just for women riders. So, it protects a lady’s front and rear from bruising.
When out for a long ride on your electric bike, these cycling shorts have all of the features you need (including reflective logos)! So, this is why they’re first on my list!
Buy These: BALEAF Women’s Bike Shorts 4D Padded With Pockets from Amazon.com, from $27
2. Beroy Womens Bike Shorts with 3D Gel
These are probably the most casual padded bike shorts for women and are much needed when starting out riding electric bikes. Although they’re pretty basic, they’ve earned a “#1 Best Seller” ribbon on Amazon. Based on buyer reviews, there are several reasons for this:
- Long-distance riding (or simply spending hours on your electric bike) is much more comfortable
- Padding is enough but not too much
- They stay put on your thighs and don’t ride up
- They come in more colors and prints than you can count
- They’re super affordable: You just can’t get a more functional bike short for the price!
Note that the manufacturer suggests buying a bigger size than usual.
Buy These: Beroy Womens Bike Shorts with 3D Gel from Amazon.com, from $20
3. Louis Garneau Women’s Cycling Shorts with Gel Pad
These gel padded cycling shorts have enough cushion to make your e-bike ride comfortable (but not make you feel like it’s bunching up).
In addition to increasing your visibility with reflective logos (for safety) on sleek-looking black shorts, you can easily wear these under other leggings, pants, or loose shorts.
But not only are they flexible as to how you wear them, they even have a UPF/SPF rating of 50+, which gives your legs more protection from the sun.
Buyers state that these are “super comfy”, “fit great”, and that they “felt comfortable the whole time” on their “first long-distance ride”.
Buy These: Louis Garneau Women’s Gel Cycling Shorts, Dicks’s Sporting Goods, $40
4. Bontrager Circuit Women’s Cycling Bib Short
Ultra casual and comfortable, this functional black bib short is perfect for long rides. The long straps that go over your shoulders hold the shorts in place and keep the shorts from digging into your stomach.
There’s also a “comfortable 4-way stretch chamois” and most importantly, has straps that elongate and stretch, thus making it easy to use the bathroom! This is a huge plus since worrying about bathroom breaks while in bib shorts is no fun!
This might be the number one reason why many women prefer bibs.
What else is cool about this bib short? Two important things:
1. It actually comes in an Extra-Small size for a smaller woman and goes all the way up to an XX-Large, so it’ll fit just about anyone.
2. Because it’s made from Bontrager, it has a 1-year warranty! So you can be sure it’s of great quality and will last.
Buy These: Bontrager Circuit Women’s Cycling Bib Shorts, Trekbikes.com, $99
5. 100% Airmatic Women’s Mountain Short
The 100% Airmatic Women’s Mountain Short found at TrekBikes.com is perfect for regular or electric mountain bike (eMTB) riding thanks to its tougher material that stretches with every movement.
Typically, bike shorts made for mountain bike riding have a looser fit to help you over bumps and around tight corners. And these shorts have 15% Spandex and 85% Nylon to help that happen.
Whereas a traditional inseam in shorts made for cycling is around 8inches, these shorts have inseams over 13 inches for a more relaxed fit.
However, these bike shorts don’t have a chamois (that is, they aren’t padded shorts).
I wanted to include these as an example of mountain biking shorts, which generally don’t have any padding. This is since mountain bikes and electric mountain bikes tend to have full suspensions which already protect you from hard bumps. Plus, it’s easier to maneuver around corners and twists and turns without all that padding interfering!
Buy These: 100% Airmatic Women’s Mountain Short, Trekbikes.com, $89
6. BALEAF Women’s 5″ Bike Shorts Padded
With high customer ratings, these “short” cycle shorts are best for the woman who doesn’t want too much material in the way! With only 5 inch inseams, they leave a lot of legs exposed to the elements.
With anti-slip leg grips, however, they should stay in place. Further, the wide waistband is designed for more comfort and is less restrictive.
Even though it has 3D gel pads, these cycling shorts are easy to put under regular shorts or can be used as a liner for other pants. Because of their casual nature, comfort, and affordability, it might be worth buying multiple pairs for a quick throw-on!
Buy These: BALEAF Women’s 5 Bike Shorts Padded, Amazon.com, from $20
7. THRLEGBIRD Women’s Cycling Underwear 3D Padded Bike Shorts
Forget traditional bike shorts! Let’s talk bike briefs! This is pretty revolutionary for ladies who want to keep it comfortable and unrevealing.
Women who are casual e-bike riders will love going out for a recreational ride in these. Plus, these bike short briefs can be worn under regular shorts or any other pants.
The high waist and “flat” pads protect where they need to so you can comfortably complete your ride without saddle sores! And for added padding, you could even wear these bike briefs under other bike shorts.
Many previous buyers (and the manufacturer) suggest buying one size up for greater comfort. This product received a 4 1/2 stars rating from hundreds of buyers.
Buy These: THRLEGBIRD Women’s Cycling Underwear 3D Padded, Amazon.com, from $20
8. Louis Garneau Women’s Cycling Capris
The absolute best thing about the bike capris is that they cover way more of your legs than any short would. So they’re perfect for cooler weather, protecting your skin from the sun, or for just hiding legs that don’t want to be seen.
And, yes, they even have a UPF/SPF rating of 50+.
They also have “HugFit” waistbands that are “extremely comfortable” and strong bands that fall around the shin to keep them in place. Plus, they’re complete with a proprietary “Coolmax Silver Chamois that wicks moisture effectively.
But they’re still casual and affordable at around $40, even though they use way more material than shorts do!
Buy These: Louis Garneau Women’s Cycling Capris, Dick’s Sporting Goods, $40
9. NOOYME Women’s Bike Shorts for Cycling with 3D Pads
Not only are these cycling shorts super affordable, but they also have a 4.5 out of 5 start rating from over 6,000 purchasers.
Even though these shorts don’t have fancy pockets, they fit well on the majority of reviewers of all different shapes and sizes, just like e-bike riders.
You might want to consider getting a few different pairs if you get on your electric bike frequently or take a spin class at the gym more than once a week. Thankfully, they’re inexpensive enough to add different colors to your bicycle wardrobe.
Bike Short Details:
- 80% Polyamide & 20% Spandex shorts
- Flatlock seams
- Padded chamois, multi-layer with breathable 3D structure
- Non-slip silicone leg grippers
- Reflective strip on the back
- Comes in 24 colors/styles and six sizes Small to 3X-Large
Buy These: NOOYME Women’s Bike Shorts, Amazon.com, from $23
10. CATENA Women’s Bike Shorts 3D Padded Cycling Skirt with Shorts
How about this unique and fun bike short design? It looks like you’re wearing a skirt, but there’s a nicely padded bike short underneath!
The skirt is light and airy so it shouldn’t add any heat. Plus, there’s a pocket on the inside short for your phone. This bike short and skirt set have all of the features as Catena’s other regular bike shorts. They use the same stretchy but silky nylon fabric, absorb sweat and have a 3D foam pad with smooth stitching.
So, this is a great option for women e-bike riders who like skirts but want the comfort of a regular bike short.
Buy These: CATENA Women’s Bike Shorts 3D Padded Cycling Skirt with Short, Amazon.com, $31
What Are the Best Women’s Padded Bike Shorts (for casual riders)?
The best padded bike shorts for women riding an e-bike recreationally have these features:
- Padding (a “chamois”) that is designed specifically for women, covering the front and the rear
- Pads that aren’t so bulky that they feel like you’re wearing a diaper but not too thin that they don’t protect from bruises
- Stretchy material, like Spandex, for flexiblity and comfort
- Moisture-wicking material to keep you dry
- A wide waistband that dips slightly in the front so it doesn’t dig into your waist while seated
- Comfortable silicone grips (not too tight or too loose) around the leg to keep your bike shorts from riding up and bunching
- They fit your body shape like a glove!
- They’re machine wash, of course
- They feel good under other regular shorts or pants (optional)
Finding the perfect bike short for you will make the difference between your love of or dislike of cycling shorts. In order to do this, you’ll probably need to try on at least a few pairs of shorts with different leg lengths and varying women’s padding.
But there’s also one more important question to ask yourself before you spend a lot of money.
Do Padded Bike Shorts Really Help (especially for women)?
Now that you’ve had a chance to take a look at the top 10 bike shorts for women, you’re probably wondering how much they actually help.
You can try riding without padded shorts but you’ll most likely find that the bike’s saddle puts too much pressure on your front and leaves your “sit bones” sore in the back after a long ride.
But you should consider how big your need really is for padding in your shorts before you buy 10 pairs!
How Much Bike Shorts Padding Do I Need?
Your need for padded bike shorts, and whether you need thicker padding, is really dependent on several things:
- type of electric bike you’re riding
- position in the saddle
- how often you ride
- body shape and size
- your own age and stamina
- cardiovascular health
- and getting the right amount of padding in your chamois
For example, if you’re a 70-year-old senior who takes shorter rides on an upright electric trike once a week to get some fresh air and exercise (but you’re not particularly fit), then a long ride might be 5 miles. Casual padded bike shorts will help because you don’t ride frequently enough to get used to the saddle and you’ll be putting more weight on your rear end by sitting upright.
However, if you’re a 45-year-old reasonably fit rider on an electric road bike (which tend to have narrower seats than hybrid e-bikes), and you ride 20-40 miles in a day, then you’ll want bike shorts with good padding in the front because you’ll be riding a long time with pressure in that area.
And, if you’re 35 and ride an eMTB (electric mountain bike), you might not need or want padded shorts at all . It may just get in the way. Further, your mountain bike may already have full suspension which will keep you comfortable over bumps.
I’m hopeful that this list of padded bike shorts for women helped you find what you need as a casual e-bike rider.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on bike shorts. Finding comfortable padded shorts that are affordable is easy to do. The hard part is finding the women’s bike shorts that are a perfect fit for you!