What to wear under padded cycling shorts

Two women riding bikes in a field.

When it comes to cycling comfort, one essential item that every cyclist should consider is padded cycling shorts. These shorts are specifically designed to provide cushioning and support to your sensitive areas during long rides. However, have you ever wondered what you should wear underneath your padded cycling shorts

In this article, we’ll explore the options and considerations for what to wear under your padded cycling shorts to maximize comfort and performance. We’ll discuss the benefits of wearing cycling-specific underwear, the importance of moisture-wicking fabrics, and the potential drawbacks of going commando. 

We’ll also provide tips on finding the perfect fit for your padded cycling shorts to ensure a comfortable riding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to the sport, understanding what to wear under your padded cycling shorts will help you ride with confidence and enjoy every pedal stroke. So, let’s dive into the world of cycling apparel and find out what’s best to wear under your padded cycling shorts.

What to wear under padded cycling shorts

Nothing at all. Yes, you read that right! Most seasoned cyclists will tell you that the best thing to wear under your padded cycling shorts is simply… nothing. Cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear. The reason lies in the padding itself, often referred to as the chamois. This chamois is engineered to fit right against your skin to wick away sweat and reduce friction.

Why consider wearing something under padded cycling shorts?

However, there are still some cyclists who prefer wearing something underneath due to personal preference or health reasons. If that is the case, the best option would be a seamless, moisture-wicking pair of underwear that doesn’t bunch up or cause discomfort. Material matters too; opt for those made with breathable fabrics like bamboo or synthetic materials that can evaporate sweat quickly and keep you dry.

The importance of comfort and hygiene

Comfort and hygiene are the most compelling reasons for choosing what to wear under padded cycling shorts. When cycling, you want to avoid discomfort at all costs; you don’t want any seams irritating your skin or any fabric bunching up. 

This means jeans or boxers are a big no-no! With regards to hygiene, it’s crucial to wear clean shorts and ensure that you change out of them as soon as possible after your ride to prevent any potential bacterial infections.

Here’s a quick summary in terms of what to wear under padded cycling shorts:

NothingPadded cycling shorts are designed to be worn alone, with the chamois providing necessary comfort and sweat-wicking capabilities.
Seamless, moisture-wicking underwearIf personal preference or health reasons demand undergarments, ensure they are seamless and moisture-wicking to provide comfort and dryness.
CleanlinessEnsure your shorts are always clean and change out of them as soon as possible after your ride to prevent potential bacterial infections.

Remember, it’s all about what makes your cycling experience enjoyable and allows you to perform at your best!

Considerations for Underwear Options

Cycling is a wonderful sport. You can ride on your bike for hours on end, travel to new places, and there is no better way of getting from point A to point B. However, there are some challenges that come with the sport. One of the more challenging aspects of cycling are the undergarments needed to wear under your form-fitting cycling shorts. It is important to find the right balance of comfort, wicking ability, and modesty.

Choosing the right fabric for optimal comfort

The material of your underwear is key. Many cyclists prefer not to wear anything under their bike shorts as the shorts’ purpose is to provide maximum comfort. But if you’re one who can’t do without an extra layer, then you need to choose breathable fabrics. Aim for underwear made of natural materials like cotton or technical fabrics that are designed to whisk moisture away from the skin.

Benefits of moisture-wicking materials

If you ride for long hours, opting for moisture-wicking fabrics play a significant role. Underwear crafted from moisture-wicking materials can provide a buffer against sweat. These materials draw moisture away from your skin and push it to the exterior for faster evaporation. This helps to keep your skin dry.

Avoiding chafing and irritation

When it comes to cycling, chafing and irritation can be your worst enemies. The friction from the continuous movement against materials, particularly when they’re sweat-soaked, can cause discomfort and ruin your day. If you decide to wear underwear under your padded shorts, ensure they are seamless or have only flat seams. Also, consider using anti-chafing creams like chamois cream to reduce friction. They create a silky barrier on your skin.

Now, to summarize:

Choosing the right fabricAim for natural (like cotton) or technical fabrics designed to whisk moisture away from skin. Avoid synthetic materials.
Moisture-wicking materialsGo for underwear made from moisture-wicking materials, especially if you plan to cycle for extended periods.
Avoiding Chafing and irritationEnsure the underwear has seamless or only flat seams. Consider using anti-chafing creams to reduce friction.

In conclusion, the ideal set-up perhaps may be to wear nothing under your cycling shorts. But if that’s not your cup of tea, the solutions have been provided. Choose the right fabric, ensure it’s moisture-wicking, and most importantly, it shouldn’t cause chafing or irritation.

Option 1: Commando (Going without underwear)

If you are a cycling enthusiast, you know that your attire goes a long way in determining your comfort during the ride. And one of the frequent questions posed by many cyclists is what to wear under padded cycling shorts. The trend currently is taking the commando route, that is, going without underwear. 

This approach may seem odd at first, but many experienced cyclists swear by it. Here’s what you need to know before hopping onto the saddle in your padded cycling shorts, sans underwear.

Pros and Cons of Going Commando Under Padded Cycling Shorts

Pros: You’ll avoid the added layer which often translates to less sweating and chafing. This can be a blessing on those hot rides or challenging routes. Also, good-quality padded shorts are designed to fit your body contours perfectly, optimizing your comfort and cycling efficiency.

Cons: There is always some risk of unwanted friction and saddle sores. To some, the feeling of freedom may feel a little too loose for their preference.

Factors to Consider Before Ditching the Underwear

Your Comfort: If going commando enhances your comfort and cycling experience, then go for it! Conversely, if you find the idea uncomfortable, consider wearing a pair of cycling-specific underwear.

Quality of the Shorts: Ensure your padded shorts are of high-quality, providing you perfect fit and comfort even without wearing additional layers underneath. Cheap or ill-fitting shorts can lead to discomfort and chafing.

Tips for Maintaining Hygiene and Preventing Saddle Sores

Wash Regularly: Sweat and bacteria can accumulate quickly, leading to skin irritations. Hence, make sure to wash your padded shorts after each use.

Proper Care: After the wash, dry them properly, and avoid bundling them up in a dark, damp place. Remember, bacteria love to multiply in such conditions.

Use Creams: If you experience chafing, consider using chamois creams. These creams form a layer between your skin and the shorts, reducing friction.

In a nutshell, the decision is highly individual. What matters at the end of the day is your comfort. Test various set-ups and decide what suits you the best in different conditions. Enjoy the ride!

Option 2: Traditional Underwear

A group of cyclists riding bikes on a road.

So, you’re considering wearing traditional underwear under padded cycling shorts. There are actually a few good reasons why a cyclist might consider this. However, it’s critical to know the advantages and potential downsides, so you can make an informed choice.

Benefits and drawbacks of wearing traditional underwear under padded cycling shorts

The benefit of wearing traditional underwear is that it creates an additional inner layer that can improve comfort and alleviate chafing issues. On the other hand, the downside is that it might compromise the very purpose of your cycling shorts. That is, to provide a seamless layer between you and your bike seat. This is because traditional underwear commonly has seams that may create unwanted pressure points and cause discomfort during long rides.

Selecting the right underwear for cycling

When it comes to biking, not just any countdown will do. Opt for made-for-cycling underwear if you choose to wear some. These are usually designed with flat seams and quick-drying, breathable fabric—which are both essential to keeping you comfortable on your bike. Also, they tend to integrate padding, which can provide additional butt comfort. Avoid cotton underwear as it retains moisture and could potentially lead to saddle sores or bacterial overgrowth.

Avoiding seams and excess fabric

If you choose to go with traditional underwear under your padded cycling shorts, avoid those with seams and excess fabric. That’s because these could bunch up and cause chafing, discomfort and even saddle sores. Instead, select underwear with minimal seams and light, breathable fabric.

Here’s a table summarizing what to consider:

Traditional UnderwearWear an additional inner layer that can improve comfort and alleviate chafing
Select Right UnderwearChoose made-for-cycling underwear or underwear with minimal seams and breathable fabric
Avoid Seams and Excess FabricSeams and excess fabric in underwear could cause chafing, discomfort or saddle sores

In the end, the best gear for you is what feels most comfortable and suits your style of cycling. Whether or not to don traditional underwear under cycling shorts is a personal decision and one that should enhance your cycling experience.

Option 3: Cycling-specific Base Layers

When it comes to what to wear under padded cycling shorts, one option that you might want to consider is using cycling-specific base layers. These specialized garments are designed to enhance your comfort and performance on the bike. Here are a few key points to consider about using cycling-specific base layers:

Benefits of using cycling-specific base layers under padded cycling shorts

Using a cycling-specific base layer under your padded cycling shorts can provide several benefits:

  1. Moisture Management: Cycling-specific base layers are made from materials that have excellent moisture-wicking properties. They are designed to pull sweat away from your skin, keeping you cool and dry even during intense rides.
  2. Breathability: These base layers are also designed to be highly breathable. The fabrics used allow air to circulate around your body, preventing overheating and keeping you comfortable throughout your ride.
  3. Enhanced Comfort: The smooth and lightweight design of cycling-specific base layers reduces friction and chafing, giving you a more comfortable cycling experience.

Materials that enhance moisture management and breathability

Cycling-specific base layers are typically made from synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon. These materials have moisture-wicking properties that effectively draw sweat away from your skin. Some base layers also incorporate mesh panels to enhance breathability and facilitate better air circulation.

Choosing the right compression level for optimum performance

Cycling-specific base layers come in a range of compression levels. Compression garments are known to improve muscle support and increase blood flow, which can enhance your performance and aid in muscle recovery. 

It’s important to choose the right compression level for your needs and preferences. Some cyclists prefer a higher level of compression for added support, while others may opt for a lighter level of compression for a more relaxed fit.

Ultimately, using a cycling-specific base layer under your padded cycling shorts can provide added comfort, moisture management, and breathability. It’s worth exploring this option to enhance your cycling experience and make the most of your rides.


When it comes to what to wear under padded cycling shorts, the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and riding conditions. While some cyclists prefer to wear nothing underneath, others may opt for a base layer or compression shorts for added comfort and moisture-wicking properties.

Consider factors such as weather conditions, duration of your rides, and personal comfort levels when choosing what to wear underneath your padded cycling shorts. Experiment with different options to see what works best for you.

Remember, the primary purpose of padded cycling shorts is to provide cushioning and reduce friction, so choosing a high-quality pair with a well-designed chamois is essential. Look for moisture-wicking materials that will keep you dry and comfortable during your rides.

If you’re unsure where to start, consider trying out different options and consulting with fellow cyclists or a specialized bike shop for recommendations. Ultimately, finding the right combination of padded cycling shorts and undergarments will enhance your cycling experience and keep you comfortable in the saddle.

Whether you choose to wear nothing, opt for a base layer, or prefer compression shorts, the key is to find what works best for you. Happy cycling!

Determining the best option for you

When deciding what to wear under padded cycling shorts, it’s important to consider factors such as personal comfort, weather conditions, and the duration of your rides. Some cyclists prefer to wear nothing underneath, while others find it more comfortable to wear a base layer or compression shorts.

Considering personal preferences and riding conditions

Your personal preferences and riding conditions will play a significant role in determining what to wear under padded cycling shorts. If you tend to sweat a lot or ride in hot weather, moisture-wicking materials such as a base layer or compression shorts can help keep you cool and dry. For longer rides, some cyclists may prefer the added support and compression provided by wearing compression shorts underneath.

Final thoughts and recommendations

Ultimately, the choice of what to wear under padded cycling shorts is subjective and depends on your individual needs and preferences. It’s a good idea to try out different options and see what works best for you. Consult with fellow cyclists or visit a specialized bike shop for recommendations on specific brands or materials that may enhance your comfort and performance on the bike.

Remember, the most important aspect is to find a combination that keeps you comfortable, dry, and allows for optimal movement and performance while cycling. So, experiment, listen to your body, and enjoy your rides with the right choice of undergarments for your padded cycling shorts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top