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Blame the Kardashians or the world’s never-ending obsession with stationary bikes, but bike shorts have become an activewear staple akin to leggings and sports bras. A bridge between fashion and fitness, they’re one of the few activewear items that work for an Instagram photo one day and a boxing class the next. They’re also so popular that finding the very best can be a difficult pursuit — luckily, this list can help.
Here are the 13 best bike shorts for women in 2021, according to customer reviews.
Every bike short on Shape’s roundup meets basic criteria: Each pair is form-fitting, opaque (aka squat-proof), and stretchy, plus has a waistband that won’t roll down during a workout, according to reviewers. And each selection has a unique feature that makes it a standout to suit individual shoppers’ particular needs. (Warning: These bike shorts are stylish and functional, but not padded. Cyclists should check out this roundup of the best padded bike shorts instead.)
For example, some people may be seeking a high-waisted option that hits above the belly button, while others may prioritize a longer inseam that hits just above the knee. This list covers it all, with styles in several lengths, fits, fabrics, and prices. Plus, shoppers seeking options from popular activewear brands won’t be disappointed; best-selling styles from Alo, Girlfriend Collective, and GymShark all made the list.
Below, shop all the best bike shorts, from the best high-waisted pair to the most affordable design.
Most Reviewed: Baleaf High-Waisted Biker Shorts
These moisture-wicking shorts have snagged the coveted title of Amazon’s favorite bike shorts with more than 28,000 five-star ratings. Customers love that the style is “not see-through at all” and has an extra-high waistband that’s actually comfortable. It’s loved by style-minded folk and athletes, with one ultramarathoner giving it their stamp of approval. Plus, convenient side pockets allow you to stash your phone, keys, and credit card when you’re on a run or headed to brunch. Available in dozens of colors, two inseam lengths, and a few multipack options, the style is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune for a trusty pair of bike shorts.
Best High-Waist: Joyspels Athletic Biker Short
Best Mid-Rise: GymShark Flex Shorts
If you’ve ever scrolled through TikTok, chances are you’ve noticed more than a few users rocking this brand. With a slightly shorter length, seamless fit (no chafing here!), and contour shading that flatters curves just right, these sweat-wicking shorts are a total no-brainer. They come in nine colors, so you can stock up if you fall in love with them. (Related: Amazon’s Best-Selling Anti-Chafe Cream Is the MVP of My Marathon Training)
Best Cotton: Hanes Stretch Jersey Bike Short
Bike shorts are just as important for lounging as they are for lunging, which is why some people eschew compression. This pair from Hanes is made from stretchy cotton jersey and has a perfect rating from more than 8,300 shoppers, who rave it’s extra-soft and lightweight. Less spandex means you might want to size down for a tighter fit, according to a few reviewers, but it all depends on your intended use — and for some, that’s a night in watching Netflix.
Best Short Bike Shorts: Colorfulkoala 6″ Bike Shorts
Most people imagine a knee-length style when someone says bike shorts, but inseam length can vary. A 6-inch style, like this popular pick from Colorfulkoala, is a great choice for anyone that’s new to the bike short world or under 5′5″. It doesn’t cut off the leg visually and still gives the added coverage of bike shorts. Shoppers say these high-waisted shorts are basically a cropped version of the brand’s best-selling leggings.
Best Long Inseam Bike Shorts: Year of Ours Ribbed Bike Short
A great choice for those who don’t love the short-short look, these bottoms feature a 9-inch inseam and a wide waistband for extra coverage and support, ensuring they don’t fall down or ride up. Reviewers on the brand’s site rave that they are extremely comfortable. (If you plan to sport them solely with a sports bra, opt for the Year of Ours V-Waist Bike Short, which has a trendy, visually interesting waistband but still keeps a low profile.)
Best Cheap: Tnnzeet 3-Pack Biker Shorts
This multipack (with three pairs of high-waisted shorts for just $23!) lets you stock up for sunny weather without spending a fortune. Designed to feel like a second skin, they’re made with a buttery-soft fabric that has plenty of stretch; one reviewer says it “feels like Lululemon.” But they don’t just feel good: Shoppers say the squat-proof shorts stay in place even during high-impact workouts like running.
Most Size-Inclusive: Girlfriend Collective
Everyone deserves a good pair of bike shorts, and Girlfriend Collective delivers with sizes XXS to 6XL. But it’s not just the sizing options that are stacked; the compressive shorts, which are made from recycled water bottles, come in six essential colors (like black and moss green) as well as limited-edition hues, so there’s always something new to add to your collection. Another reason to be obsessed? They’re designed with high-impact workouts in mind, so you’ll spend less time adjusting your clothing and more time working hard. (P.S. The brand’s sporty skirt is another athleisure alternative that’s perfect for summer.)
Best Squat-Proof: All Access Center Stage Bike Short
Ashley Graham is a fan of these bike shorts — even going as far as to call them “baller” — if that tells you anything. They effortlessly mix style and performance, making them ideal for workouts, running, and just hanging around the house. They come in five colors, two textures (shiny and matte), and two inseam lengths. The supermodel swears that they’re squat-proof and pass the no-visible-underwear test.
Most Comfortable: Free People Seamless Rib Bike Short
If you’re looking for a colorful option, these Free People bike shorts will do the trick. Available in 15 shades, including bright neons and neutral hues, the soft, seamless shorts are comfy enough to sweat or lounge in. Not to mention, the cooling fabric is perfect for hot summer days. Reviewers are calling them a “wardrobe staple.”
Best Printed: Onzie High Rise Bike Short
These animal-print bottoms are super versatile since they can be worn with almost any other color. The high waistband, mid-length, and compression fabric will make them your go-to for everyday wear. Leopard print not your style? Choose from eight other eye-catching patterns, including camouflage and snakeskin.
Best White Shorts: Alo High-Waist Bike Short
Summer is the perfect time to experiment with white workout bottoms if you’ve never tried them before. These are made with high-quality fabric that’s moisture-wicking and anti-odor — so you never have to worry about embarrassing sweat stains or smells. Plus, the shorts have a front-smoothing panel, meaning you can go commando with no fear. Many shoppers tout these for being “the best bike shorts” they’ve ever worn. Don’t trust yourself with white? Grab one of the brand’s other four colors.