One way to maximize your ride is to wear comfortable clothes that enhance your performance and keep you cool through that gruesome sweat session. Considering that cycling is a seated workout, we recommend focusing your attention on finding the right pair of bottoms.
For women, we recommend wearing long pants while cycling. This prevents the seat from rubbing against your upper thigh. Each brand we recommend has a variety of long pants (leggings) that are suitable for cycling. The characteristics of the leggings are similar across all of the brands: tight, breathable, and sweat-wicking fabric that is durable and does not pill. If you do decide to wear shorts, make sure they are of the longer variety, to avoid potential skin irritation.
For men, shorts are typically long enough to protect your upper thighs. That being said, if you are feeling any discomfort, Lululemon has men’s leggings that can be worn under shorts for added coverage and protection.
Below we’ve listed our favorite brands and specific products that we like best for cycling:
Lululemon offers a variety of leggings that work well for cycling workouts. These leggings can also be worn for other high-intensity, sweaty workouts, like running, HIIT training, etc. The names of the leggings are: the Fast and Free Tight, Speed Up Tight, and Tight Stuff Tight. All of these pants come in a variety of lengths: cropped, 7/8s, or full length, which allows you to customize your fit.
They offer a number of men’s products that are compatible for cycling. Their shorts include: the Surge Short, T.H.E. Short, and the Switch Up Short. Their men’s leggings are called the Surge Light Tight. All of the shorts and the leggings come in a variety of lengths.
Outdoor Voices does not offer as many products that are suitable for cycling as Lululemon does, however, their TechSweat Collection has a variety of matching sets. The best part of these leggings is their high waistband that does not slip while during intense movement. Outdoor Voices offers a matching sports bra that has the same “holding in place” capability as the leggings.
Athleta carries a number of women’s tights that are great for cycling. The names of the tights are: the Velocity Tight, the Contender Tight, and the Spar Tight. These tights come in many unique patterns. Aesthetically, this sets Athleta’s leggings apart from Lululemon and Outdoor Voices more monochrome leggings.
Although Athleta does not offer any men’s clothes, they do have a sister brand (or in this case a “brother brand” 🙃) called Hill City. The brand boasts shorts that are abrasion resistant, moisture wicking and quick drying - two options include the X-Purpose Short and Train Short.
Like Athleta, Sweaty Betty only offers women’s clothing. As a brand, Sweaty Betty is less well-known. If you are looking for a unique legging, these leggings are right for you. Many of their leggings are suitable for cycling and other high-intensity workouts, including the Contour Crop Leggings and the Zero Gravity Run Leggings.
Right now, Sweaty Betty is promoting their Power Legging Promise, a 30-day “love them or leave them” money back guarantee. With 20 varieties of Power leggings, they are “sweat-proof, bum-sculpting, and squat proof.” Sweaty Betty is a London-based company with a limited number of stores in the United States. Knowing that, ordering online may be the only way for most people to get their product.
Bonus: Tavi Noir Socks
Okay, we’ve got you covered with your athletic wear, but socks can be just as important for a good workout. Tavi Noir is a sock brand with a collection of socks for barre and everyday wear, and they recently added a Sports Collection focused on cycling. With two options (a thin or more cushioned option), we are big fans of the Taylor Cushion Cycle Socks. These socks have a cushioned heel and “feature quick dry performance, a compression arch band and a cooling vented top and sides for your best ride yet.”
In order to optimize your workout, it is important to have functional gear. Further, feeling good in your workout clothes can also improve performance. All of the leggings and shorts we have recommended are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, making them the perfect investment!