When temperatures rise, leggings can feel a little too warm. Yet, loose-fitting workout shorts don't give you quite as much movement freedom. The solution? Bike shorts.
Not to be confused with cycling shorts, these bottoms are mid-thigh-length shorts that fit like a legging. And you can use them for just about any kind of workout! Browse our top trainer-approved picks.
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The Best Bike Shorts for All Your Workouts
- Best Overall: Lululemon Align High-Rise Short ($64, Lululemon.com)
- Best for Hiking: Endeavor Dryforce Training Short ($88, Endeavorathletics.com)
- Best for Layering: Nike Pro Dri-Fit Shorts ($25, Nike.com)
- Best for Yoga: Alo 7" High-Waist Biker Short ($68, Aloyoga.com)
- Best for Strength Training: Adidas TechFit Tights ($48, Adidas.com)
- Best for Running: Brooks Moment 8" Short Tight ($48, Brooks.com)
- Best for Daily Wear: Everlane's Seamless Bike Short ($20, Everlane.com)
How We Chose
We polled several personal trainers to find out what kind of bike shorts they rely on for their own workouts. From there, we narrowed down the top styles based on the following criteria:
We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to gender. While more brands now carry gender-neutral workout clothes, you’ll still typically see clothing brands market their biker-style shorts to men or women.
The main difference between most women's and men's shorts is the fit: Men's versions tend to be longer in length and roomier in the front due to physical differences. However, fabrics, quality and comfort should be the same between gender-labeled pairs. We encourage everyone to purchase the products that feel right for them.
1. Best Overall: Lululemon Align High-Rise Short
High-waisted fits with a thicker fabric are a bike short must-have, according to D'Annette Stephens, CPT, a certified personal trainer and coach. And Lululemon is one of her favorite bike short brands.
Like Lulu's beloved Align leggings, these shorts have a buttery-soft feel and are perfect for just about any activity. Plus, you can get these in a variety of lengths, including 4, 6, 8 and 10 inches.
"I wear the shorter 6-inch length around the house and for quick errands," Jessica Campbell-Salley, LIVESTRONG.com's Senior Fitness Editor, says. "And I love the 8-inch length for brisk walks or even leg day workouts."
Buy it: Lululemon.com; Price: $64
2. Best for Hiking: Endeavor Dryforce Training Short
One of the best things about bike shorts? They're versatile, according to Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift to Get Lean.
"Bike shorts are great for pretty much any activity," she says. And this pair from Endeavor is high on her "to try" list.
These shorts have a secure, high waistband that stays in place as you climb up uneven terrain. And they have plenty of pockets, including one on each side of your legs and a zipper pouch behind your back (ideal for valuables).
Buy it: Endeavorathletic.com; Price: $88
3. Best for Layering: Nike Pro Dri-Fit Shorts
These shorts from Nike are the perfect compression layer under looser bottoms. The compression offers enough support for more explosive exercises without limiting your range of motion, thanks to the stretchy fabric. Plus, they come in five different colors with tall sizes, too.
The fabric on these shorts is super lightweight and they dry quickly, so you don't have to worry about damp bottoms after your workout.
Buy it: Nike.com; Price: $25
4. Best for Yoga: Alo 7" High-Waist Biker Short
For Tatiana Lampa, CFSC, CES, creator of the Training with T app, Alo's 7" biker shorts are a favorite. And considering the hundreds of positive reviews on Alo's website, she's not alone.
These bike shorts have a four-way stretch, so they won't hinder your vinyasa flow. And the moisture-wicking, odor-control fabric helps keep your body dry no matter how intense your workout gets. Another bonus? They come in 12 different colors.
Buy it: Aloyoga.com; Price: $68
5. Best for Strength Training: Adidas TechFit Tights
The last thing you need during a high-intensity session? Distractions. But these high compression shorts help keep everything in place as you burpee, tuck jump and sprint.
Built for strength training, these also have heavy-duty seams, which stay intact even if they get snagged on a weight. Since these are a lightweight fabric, you may want to layer them under a pair of looser shorts or pants.
Buy it: Adidas.com; Price: $48
6. Best for Running: Brooks Moment 8" Short Tight
Yep, bike-style shorts can be running shorts, too. We've found 8-inch bottoms are the perfect length for both long runs and speed sessions — and Brooks has the perfect pair. These bottoms won't ride up as you stride and the high and wide waistband offers just enough compression.
These also have deep side pockets for your cell phone or keys.
"I love these for when the weather gets a little chilly," Bojana Galic, LIVESTRONG.com's Associate Fitness Editor, says. "And the length is convenient for when I want to hop onto a spin bike, too."
Buy it: Brooksrunning.com; Price: $48
7. Best for Daily Wear: Everlane Seamless Bike Short
One thing all of our experts agree on? Bike shorts are comfortable, convenient and fashion-forward, making them an ideal go-to for your daily walks and errands.
The biggest priority for day-to-day shorts? You want a snug, comfortable waist with a soft fabric. These shorts from Everlane are seamless, too, so you can go from a yoga class to the grocery store with zero chafe.
Buy it: Everlane.com; Price: $20
4 Factors to Consider Before You Buy
Bike shorts come in several different lengths, which is why they're so convenient. But you want to choose your length carefully, depending on the type of activity you're doing.
Usually, you can find bike shorts anywhere from 4 to 8 inches long. For most activities, Lampa likes a 6-inch length. These land at about the mid-thigh, so they offer plenty of coverage while still giving you some ventilation.
Generally, for activities that involve a lot of high-intensity exercises, longer shorts (6 to 8 inches) are better to prevent them from riding up. Shorter lengths (5 inches and below) are great for lower-intensity activities, like walking or Pilates.
Unless you prefer a lower-cut waist, Lampa recommends you look for a high-rise waistband that won't shift around while you exercise.
"Find a band that feels comfortable by your waist and find something that doesn't constantly ride up," she says. "That's one of the biggest issues I've kept coming across when shopping for bike shorts."
Test several pairs and read the product info to make sure you're getting a higher rise waistband.
Look for a bike short that's made with a moisture-wicking fabric, like nylon or polyester. Although cotton pairs can be comfortable, this material (and cotton blends) absorb moisture and dry pretty slowly. Translation: Your shorts stay damp even after your workout.
When you find a pair of shorts you like, double check that they're moisture-wicking or quick-drying.
Many biker shorts are made with either side or rear pockets, which are a great added feature. For those who want their shorts for a run or bike ride, having a place to stash your keys is a huge bonus.
Pro tip: Before you buy, double check that the pockets are either deep or zippered, so you don't have to worry about your valuables falling out.