Choosing the Right Cycling Shorts

15 May 2020


Whether you’ve just taken up cycling or increasing the amount you’re riding on the turbo trainer, one of the first purchases we’d recommend are a pair of good quality, cycling-specific padded shorts. No matter the distance you’re riding, padded shorts will help to keep you comfortable on the bike making your ride experience far more enjoyable.

At Liv, we have a wide range of women’s specific shorts with different fits and padding to help keep you comfortable during your rides. The padding in cycling shorts is called chamois and can come in different thicknesses, shapes and with different seams. They also have breathable and antimicrobial technology working to prevent any irritation from sweat whilst you ride. As with saddles, it’s important to choose the right cycling shorts to fit your body and riding style. What might work for one woman, may not be comfortable for the next. 

Why Are Padded Shorts So Important?

If you’re increasing your mileage during quarantine, you’ll be spending a lot of time putting pressure on your sit bones and perineum. Combine this with the constant friction of pedalling, sweat from exertion and a reduction in blood flow, then you quickly realise that your groin area needs a bit of protection!  A chamois pad is specifically created to sit in your shorts to distribute your weight more evenly and reduce pressure points on your saddle. Our women’s-specific chamois are designed to be the only layer between your rear and the saddle (that’s right, no underwear needed!)

Chamois Choice

As with shorts, there are a wide selection of women’s chamois on the market. With all of them, there are some key points to look out for:

3D/Ergonomic Fit

This is where the chamois is designed around the contours of the human body, rather than a flat profile. With our women’s specific padded shorts, we’ve created a design that contours to the female anatomy and delivers the highest standards in protection. It improves the way the chamois fits around your body and improves the comfort level.


As we’ve mentioned, one of the key factors in chamois choice is the ability to wick away sweat and let your more sensitive areas breathe. This prevents irritation and chafing.

Antimicrobial Fabric

No matter how good the chamois is at moisture wicking, it’s inevitable that sweat will eventually build up; especially during a long, hot day in the saddle or sweaty indoor sessions (better chamois will last longer). Therefore, having an antimicrobial layer is helpful to prevent any issues that may be caused from bacteria build up; namely, saddle sores.

Vibration Damping/Shock Absorption

During a ride, your bike picks up vibrations from bumps and imperfections on the road, which channel to you via your contact points on the bike (handlebar, saddle etc.). Vibration is a key factor in rider fatigue and increasing discomfort so having a chamois with good shock absorption will help you ride for longer.

The Liv range has 3 different types of chamois fitted in our padded shorts range that will be suitable for different women and their different riding styles. For example, the Liv Race Day and Signature range both have ProComfor chamois that provides triple density protection — with Carbonium fabric at the surface to stop bacteria in its tracks and prevent saddle sores, ideal for those longer rides.

Choosing your shorts

There are a wide variety of cycling bottoms on the market, so this would be the first choice you would need to make. There’s waist shorts (no straps) and bibshorts (straps that go over the shoulder to help keep the shorts in place). We also have a selection of different length bottoms including shorts, knickers (¾ length) and tights. For our non-bibbed bottoms, our range starts with the Mossa shorts, knickers and tights at £39.99 which are an excellent option for any cyclist and are plain so they go with any cycling jersey.  We then have the Race Day range which offers short, bibshort and knicker options which has our highest-quality women’s chamois, ProComfor.

Bib shorts tend to be more expensive due to the additional material and the processes involved in their manufacture but are of great benefit if you are planning to ride longer distances or train indoors. The straps ensure that, as you work harder, the main body of the shorts stays in place such that the risk of irritation is greatly reduced. We have a great range of high-performance bib shorts in our gear range, including the Signature, Spectra, Fisso and Race Day ranges. Whilst initially all these shorts might appear to be the same, there are significant differences in regards to the material used, fit, breathability and construction technique.

We hope this information helps you to choose the right shorts and chamois for you! If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you!

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