Bike Talk: Breathable Padded Bike Shorts For Women

I’m starting off a new series here on Ding Ding Let’s Ride called “Bike Talk”  for posts  based on recent cycling-related topics brought up by or with conversations I’ve had with other cyclists . Got topics you want addressed in a Bike Talk? Send your thoughts my way here, or to me on Twitter, or even my Facebook page, and I’ll reach out to other cyclists and round up some feedback for a Bike Talk post.

My inaugural topic is breathable bike shorts.  At our June biking brunch, someone asked about good padded bike shorts – not just supportive, long-lasting and comfortable, but ones that offer some breathability for women, so that when you’re out on day-long rides, you don’t end up so hot and sweaty and destined for a yeast infection.  Dori, one of our brunch attendees praised the bike shorts + liner combo that she has, and promised to send along some photos.  Which she did!   Below are the photos she sent me of her padded biking shorts made by Trayl. 

Like some of the other more breathable shorts I found, tthe short is actually made of two components – an inner short that’s a breathable, padded mesh short, and an outer short  made of moisture-wicking material.  The key is that you want the chamois (aka , the pad) to be made of very breathable material.

Trayl bike short s- the outer shorts

Trayl bike short s- the outer shorts


Trayl bike shorts - padded inner short

Trayl bike shorts – padded inner short


Trayl bikes shorts - up-close look at the mesh inner short.

Trayl bikes shorts – up-close look at the mesh inner short.

When the issue is breathability,  you don’t feel like you want to be encased in Spandex or Lycra. At the same time though, if you’re doing a day-long or multi-day ride, you don’t really want a fabric like cotton either, that’s going to hold the sweat and leave you feeling like you’re biking in a wet towel. You also want the support and correctly-placed seams that shorts specifically made for biking offer. It seems like most cycling apparel makers try to solve this issue by making the short itself of some polyester-based technical wicking fabric, with the chamois/pad made of a breathable material that won’t hold the heat it.  Often it is a liner short made of more breathable mesh – which is also a great option for those of us looking for lightweight bike shorts to wear under our summer dresses – with an outer short of moisture wicking material to keep the sweat away. The shorts plus liner combos are also great for distance rides and cyclists who don’t like the look of tight bike shorts when biking.

Check out the links below – I did find one brand of padded bike short liner that is not made of mostly polyester – check the Giro shorts below, made of merino wool.

Links to some bike short options: 

  • Trayl Bike Shorts:  The shorts here on their website are the same (I believe) as the ones Dori has. This is also the same link I posted above.
  • Giro Boy Shorts:  These are the only non-100% polyester I’ve seen. These are a merino wool liner short.
  • Eastern Mountain Sports Shorts – these are similar in style to the Trayl shorts -a  casual short with a liner.
  • Terry Bicycles bike shorts –  This is a link to the page of all the bike shorts in regular and plus sizes that Terry sells.  They use a special “Flex-Air” chamois that they had specifically designed with “small perforations expedite air flow to aid in wicking moisture and increasing breathability on long hot rides.”
  • Team Estrogen Women’s Bike Shorts – This is another page of a variety of regular and plus-sized bike shorts for women that go beyond just those made by Terry Bicycles. They’ve got short+liner combos and others.


Got a favorite brand of bike short for either short city rides on long-distance cycling? Let us know!

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