A Look at Women’s Cycling Shorts

When I first started cycling, I quickly learned the importance of a good pair of cycling shorts. The right pair can guarantee more comfort in the saddle (and afterward). But go with the wrong pair, and well let’s just say you can end up with a lot worse than just a sore butt. This post reviews a few pairs of shorts that have become my favorite for everything from long rides to multisport activities.

As a woman, I found it tough to find a short that wasn’t overly padded but still offered enough protection in all the right places. Thankfully, I came across a great company just for the female cyclist—Terry (http://www.terrybicycles.com/). Terry offers everything from jerseys and shorts to a great selection of female-specific saddles (a post on this coming soon).

For longer training rides, I’ve become a fan of Terry’s T-Short (http://www.terrybicycles.com/Apparel/Cycling-Bottoms/T-Short-Regular_2). The fabric is super breathable and quick drying but still offers plenty of support. Terry’s Flex Air chamois is soft, reduces pressure in all the right places, and provides plenty of protection against chafing. I also love that these shorts never seem to shift during the ride, so I don’t feel the need to pull and tug to get them back into place.


While not a short, I also fell in love with Terry’s Coolweather Tight (http://www.terrybicycles.com/Apparel/Cycling-Bottoms/Coolweather-Tight-Tall_2). I’m 5’9”, so I tend to have a lot of trouble finding tights that cover my entire leg (most simply turn into capris on my frame). Terry’s “tall” length is perfect for me and fits like a glove. I used these throughout the cooler months last year—several rides in 50 degree temps—and have no complaints. However, since this tight is still a bit thin, I would likely recommend a slightly warmer fabric if you’re in a harsh northern climate.


As for a tri-short, I really like Orca’s 226 Kompress Tri-Tech Pant. I’ve found these shorts to offer excellent support as well as full range of motion in the water, on the bike, and on the run. The fabric is highly water repellent and the short’s pocket placement is convenient for tucking away an extra gel or two. I originally purchased these shorts last season, and since then it seems like Orca has further improved them (http://www.orca.com/product/226-kompress-tri-tech-pant-female). One thing I’m pleased to see is that Orca advanced their women-specific chamois, which is now perforated for improved breathability. This was really my only criticism of the short, so hopefully Orca has solved this problem.


I’m currently a little over four months pregnant, which also means that I’ve begun to explore the world of maternity cycling shorts (from my indoor trainer, of course). While still in the experimentation stage, I recently purchased my first pair of shorts from a company called BornFit (http://www.bornfit.com). I went with the Lucille Bike Short (http://shop.bornfit.com/maternitybikeshort.aspx). I have yet to put in serious trainer time with these shorts, but so far I’m pleased with the fit. While some of my shorts still fit at this point in my pregnancy, I’ve found the waistband on the BornFit short to be much more comfortable these days.


I’d love to receive comments from other female triathletes/cyclists on their finds for the best shorts out there. And for my fellow preggo triathletes, I’ll no doubt be reporting back in future posts with additional information and reviews.

4 responses to “A Look at Women’s Cycling Shorts

  1. Hi there, just purchased a pair of Orca 226 Tri-Tech pants for an
    Ironman at the end of the month. Wondering if you think these
    would suffice for the IM distance? Alternatively I would change into more substantial cycling shorts for the cycle and back into running shorts for the marathon. many thanks. Sophie

    • Hi Sophie!

      Best of luck on your upcoming IM. Unfortunately we have never taken the Orca 226 pants beyond an Olympic distance, and while they have done fabulous at this distance, it is tough for us to give a recommendation for a full IM at this point. Additionally we subscribe to the maxim that you should always stick to what you know on race day and being that you are only a month out it may be cutting it close. However if over the next 30 days you can get some long bricks in on them you might be able to find they were the right ones for you. Good Luck and let us know how you do!

  2. I’m in the vortex of buying much needed new shorts. Went super high end so am now spoiled but trying to be responsible and not break the bank as I up my cycling. I’ve sold one kid already.
    Big ride coming up and the cracks are showing if you know what I mean. Appreciate your comments.

    • Hi Anna – That’s a great question. Here at AG, we’re big fans of Terry’s cycling apparel, including their lineup of shorts. We’ve found Terry’s Breakaway short to be a great short for an equally great value (they go for only $79). Terry’s T-Short is another good option at $90. While we know they’re not for everyone, have you ever considered bib shorts? Tracy, our Multisport Editor, recently reviewed Betty Designs’ Pink Betty kit and absolutely loved Betty’s bib shorts. In fact, she’s thinking she might not go back to shorts again–they were that comfortable. Betty’s bib shorts will set you back about $119, but we can tell you that they’re absolutely worth the price. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our review of Betty Designs’ gear, check it out here: http://aerogeeks.com/2013/07/08/betty-designs-betty-cycling-kit/. Hopefully that helps get your started. Happy shopping!

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