Wearing underwear under your cycling shorts: do or don’t

Wearing underwear under your cycling clothing

The most commonly asked question is, “Should I be wearing underwear under my cycling shorts?” Well, the answer is right in front of you; read and make a decision for yourself. However, the outcome is pretty obvious.

There are some basic ‘do-nots’ of cycling, which every cyclist knows, but if you don’t, then there is some news for you; you don’t wear underwear under cycling shorts. Point blank, you just DO NOT. I know how it would seem to a newbie cyclist; it seems uncomfortable to even think of it, right? So, if you are still skeptic about not wearing underwear under padded cycling shorts, then here are a few reasons to convince you otherwise:

agu padded bib shorts
Agu padded bib shorts

The Chamois and its Advantages

The reason is pretty obvious; it’s because padded cycling shorts and biker shorts are already designed in a way to accommodate you without an extra layer of cloth underneath. They usually have a chamois, or in simple words, inner padding to protect your lower regions from the saddle. In addition, the padded area also prevents sweat and moisture from clotting on your skin, which lowers the chances of chaffing or any hotspots. Furthermore, the material used is anti-bacterial, which totally, or largely, eliminates the chances of getting a urinary tract infection. Pretty cool, no?

Underwear under your cycling shorts is not made for wicking

So now imagine wearing underwear under padded cycling shorts -these special-purpose shorts. It would totally defeat the purpose of its existence now, wouldn’t it? Wearing underwear does precisely the opposite of what you would want while cycling. The reason for that is the fabric of the underwear is not made for wicking. Due to which the moisture is absorbed in the material, which makes it wet, sticky, and clammy, not an ideal combination. Also, not to mention, the contact between the damp material and your skin loosens and softens your skin enough to make it vulnerable to bacteria and saddle sores.

However, there is an exception to this; Padded underwear. You can wear padded underwear, but only if your cycling shorts don’t have padding already, which is highly unlikely. Brands offering padded underwear are Giro, Odlo, Endura, Club Ride & Craft

Club Ride padded underwear for women

Underwear and its Contribution to Chafing

Let’s move on to chafing and how wearing underwear under biker shorts contributes to that. There is no lie in saying that chafing can be a real bump in the road, be it cycling or doing something else, so it’s better to avoid it altogether. Regular underwear doesn’t fit the body quite well as compared to Lycra; padded cycling shorts does due to the fact that it’s stretchy and specially made to conform to the cyclists’ body type. The loose underwear has a high chance of bunching up in one place, which has an adverse effect on chafing. 

Saddle Sores

Saddle sores; are probably the most uncomfortable consequences of cycling and something which should not be ignored since it can get to the point where medical assistance and meds are needed to cure it. So, please don’t take them lightly unless you want to waste your time going to a doctor for that, which, let’s be honest, no one wants to. Because of all that, just wearing padded cycling shorts isn’t enough; it’s more important to select the perfect pair of shorts along with a comfortable saddle that makes the cycling experience worth it for you. 

Saddle, Know Your Saddle

Peanut butter to the jelly, that’s how the saddle is to the cycle. Getting the right saddle can either make or break your motivation to cycle for continuous days. Every person is different from a different physique, which is why there is no saddle that is perfect for everyone; it depends on individual to individual. Yet that doesn’t mean that it’s not in your hands to select the perfect one; you just need to have an idea of the main design and features of different saddles so you can narrow down your vision into choosing the one that’s most suitable for you. 

The most important thing to note, the width of the saddle matters more than you think. If it’s too narrow, the weight would be unevenly distributed among the saddle and the soft tissue of your body, and yet if it’s too wide, it can cause chafing in your inner thigh along with sloppy paddling.

Choosing the right saddle is of crucial importance (Selle Saddle)

Tips to Select the Perfect Pair of Shorts

To make it simple for you, here are some tips to help you select the perfect cycling or biker shorts so you can flawlessly ride that cycle alongside your friends.

  • Firstly, biker shorts should not be too baggie as it would bunch up, causing chafing and irritation on your skin; on the other hand, it should not be too tight because that will risk the material digging in the wrong ways in the skin.
  • Secondly, since there are countless options, it’s better always to research beforehand and try different options to see which one suits you the best, in order to avoid uncomfortable situations.
  • Thirdly, keep in mind that there are obvious anatomical and bodily differences between a female and a male, so select gender-specific biker shorts to make sure they fit your body.
  • Last but not least, there are different densities and thickness of chamois pads, so if one type of biker shorts isn’t helping you prevent sores, then it’s best that you try another one.

The cycling aesthetics: your panty line

If all the aforementioned reasons couldn’t convince you, then this surely would; visible panty line. Yes, all the health and hygiene reasons aside, wearing underwear under padded cycling shorts can cause a very clear and visible line, which is obviously mortifying. It wouldn’t be comfortable for you if strangers could tell what kind of underwear you are wearing that day, would it? Which is why this is the perfect example of why you should avoid such thing at all costs. 

Padded underwear under non-padded cycling clothing: DO
Padded underwear under non-padded cycling clothing: DO

Conclusion: wearing underwear under your cycling shorts

To conclude, if you prefer to cycle comfortably and in an absolutely non-harmful way, then you should look into getting biker shorts with good padding instead of wearing your regular underwear under it. We’ve given you every detail on why it is a horrible idea to wear underwear under padded cycling shorts; it really is; the rest is up to you. 

Frequently asked questions

  • Should I wear underwear under cycling shorts?

The short answer is NO. Try to avoid it at all times and choose some good padded bike shorts instead. It will save you a cycle ride and après cycle ride experience with less saddle sores, irritations and chafing.

  • Why not to wear underwear under your cycling shorts?

We could sump up a long list of reasons but let’s focus on the most important ones. Wearing underwear under your bike pants can lead to irritation caused by chafing since underwear isn’t that body-fit as the lycra of your bib shorts. The chamois of cycling shorts is perfectly designed to take over your underwear tasks. Chamois’ nowadays are not only “ass-saving” but they are also breathable, anti and sweat/moisture preventive. Besides, there is also the visual aspect; the visible panty line. You don’t want your whole cycling team to know what underwear you are wearing.

  • What if my bike shorts are not padded?

In that case you could choose to go for specifically designed padded underwear. Perfect examples of this padded underwear can be found at brands like Giro, Odlo, Endura, Zib & Craft. They are both available for men and women.

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