9 Bike Shorts That Will Take You From SoulCycle to Brunch

Plus, Gen Z’s favorite pair from Girlfriend Collective are as good as you hear

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Various women models wearing bike shorts

Girlfriend Collective/ Torrid/ Lululemon

While you may think of bike shorts and sweatshirts as a fashion statement to the likes of Princess Diana stans everywhere, the ever-popular bottom is just as important in the athletic world as it is in the fashion world. And don’t you dare forget about the importance of athleisure. Regardless of your activity level, a pair of bike shorts equals endless opportunities when it comes to how to wear them, and workout in them. What else are you supposed to hot girl walk in?

For NYC-based Personal Trainer Taylor Almonte, pairing bike shorts with a sleek bun and simple sports bra is her go-to for working out. Stylist Becky Akinyode told InStyle about how she is currently styling bike shorts to fit her own look. “I’ll pair my bike shorts with tops that are either super feminine or have a sort of renaissance style. If I’m wearing bike shorts, I like to pair them with a top that is more elegant or sexy,” she said, making the comfortable basic go with her fun style. While there are fashion-specific pairs, there’s no saying you can’t wear bike shorts every day, and some pairs, like the High Rise Bike Short from Girlfriend Collective, are great enough overall to do that. No matter the occasion, there are bike shorts to wear.

Related: What to Wear With Biker Shorts, the Wardrobe Essential That Makes Summer Outfits Easier

These are the best bike shorts to buy right now:

Best Overall: Girlfriend Collective High Rise Bike Short

Girlfriend Collective High Rise Bike Short

Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective

What We Love: How versatile these bike shorts are.

What We Don’t Love: They run small and are very compressive.

Just because it’s trendy, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good product. But we promise these shorts are definitely a very good product. The eco-friendly brand, Girlfriend Collective, launched in 2020 with a pair of black leggings and quickly evolved to have a cult-like following. With sizes up to 6XL, this size-inclusive and sustainable option was an easy choice as our overall pick. Not only are they compressive, meaning good for working out, but their high-rise fit is flattering for casual wear as well. Plus, the shorts come in 5 essential colors – including black, navy, and white – while offering rotating, fun seasonal colors like pink. If there's one pair that is good for everything from running to hiking to wearing with a fun top, it’s these.

Size Range: XXS to 6XL | Length: 8.5” Inseam | Colors: 5 Essential, 4 Limited | Materials: Recycled Plastic Bottles (RPET), spandex.

Best Value: Old Navy High-Waisted PowerSoft Side-Pocket Biker Shorts

Old Navy High-Waisted PowerSoft Side-Pocket Biker Shorts

Old Navy

What We Love: The inclusion of side pockets makes them particularly useful for workouts.

What We Don’t Love: They run a little small, so can be tight around the legs.

Featuring a classic eight-inch inseam, two deep pockets, good compression with a sleek feel, and sweat-wicking material, this pair of bike shorts from Old Navy checks all our boxes. New York-based personal trainer Sydney Sherman appreciates the soft fabric, which feels nice on her skin — and the $27 price feels good on her wallet. The bike shorts were designed with everything in mind, regardless of the intensity of your workout or activity outside the gym. Even better, they feature a flat-lock seam (aka the seams lay flat against your skin) to prevent chafing and a gusset, so nothing rides up.

Size Range: XS to 4X | Length: 8” Inseam | Colors: 10 | Materials: Polyester, spandex

Best Splurge: Anine Bing Blake Biker Short

Anine Bing Blake Biker Short

Anine Bing

What We Love: The ribbed material is moisture-wicking.

What We Don’t Love: They’re very long.

While spending a lot of money on biker shorts might seem silly, Akinyode promises you there are some good pairs out there that are well worth the splurge. We have our eye on these shorts from Anine Bing. The moisture-wicking, ribbed material makes them functional enough to workout in, yet throw on an oversized sweatshirt or vintage t-shirt, and you’ll look a touch more elevated. The subtle “AB” logo on the hip adds a nice detail without screaming logomania. And while we like this clay color, it also comes in navy and black for those more interested in neutrals.

Size Range: XXS to XL | Length: 7 inches | Colors: 3  | Materials: Nylon, spandex

Best Plus-Size: Torrid Performance Core Bike Shorts

Torrid Performance Core Bike Shorts

Torrid

What We Love: The fabric is both smoothing and supportive for any activity level.

What We Don’t Love: They are a little wide above the knee, depending on size and body type.

Essie Golden, a plus-size model, and body positivity advocate pointed us to these performance core bike shorts from Torrid. “Torrid does high-quality basics extremely well. The fit is consistent and the sizes are more than what most brands offer,” she says. And fashion content creator known anonymously as April described them as “not only comfortable, but completely opaque, so there are no worries of that nature. They pair wonderfully alone, or under a dress.” The nylon-based fabric with two side pockets allows for a great stretch, while remaining supportive.

Size Range: M to 6X | Length: 8 inches | Colors: 5 | Materials: Nylon, spandex

Best for Workouts: Beyond Yoga High Waist Biker Shorts

4.5
Beyond Yoga High-Waist Biker Shorts

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Love: The fabric feels softer than any other athleticwear.

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t wick away sweat as well as other bike shorts.

For L.A.-based design director Danielle Williams-Eke, the Spacedye High waisted biker shorts from Beyond Yoga are perfect for everyday wear and workouts. “The fabric is so soft and has the perfect amount of stretch giving you the ability to move with ease,” she tells InStyle. Not only is the fabric great for working out, but you can choose from eight different colors — and three of the core colors go up to size 4X. Golden also considers herself a fan of Beyond Yoga, calling the brand a “game changer” for her. “The feel of their bike shorts is like a second skin, the quality and material is top notch. I have almost every bike short style in multiple colors,” she says. But InStyle senior commerce editor Chloe Anello notes that even though the brand labels the material as sweat-wicking, it still absorbs more sweat than most other brands. Considering how comfortable the shorts are, though, she thinks it’s a very easy quality to look past.

Size Range: XXS to 4X | Length: 7” Inseam | Colors: 8 | Materials: Polyester, lycra

Best Ribbed: Year of Ours Ribbed V Waist Biker Short

Year of Ours Ribbed V Waist Biker Short

Year of Ours

What We Love: The flattering waistband shape.

What We Don’t Love: The size range is pretty limited.

Almonte, named these ribbed bike shorts from Year of Ours as some of her favorites to work out in. When it comes to picking a pair of bike shorts for exercise, Almonte makes sure that “that they’re not too tight (especially around the legs) and that the waistband is flattering.” The V-shaped waistband is one of the most flattering we’ve seen, and even though the ribbed texture may not look it, the pair offers a lot of compression, another must for Almonte when picking a pair to work out in.

Size Range: XS to 2X | Length: 7” Inseam | Colors: 5  | Materials: 85% Nylon, 15% Spandex Active Rib

Best Seamless: Everlane The Seamless Bike Short

Everlane The Seamless Bike Short

Everlane

What We Love: The minimal and sleek design.

What We Don’t Love: The sizing is limited.

When it comes to comfort, seamless shorts feel like the way to go. Everlane created these eight-inch shorts from organic cotton blended with recycled nylon. Together, the two materials form the perfect ribbed material that stretches just enough to feel comfortable and allows for the seamless look.

Featuring an extra-high rise, ribbed waistband, these work best for low impact exercise, but we also suggest wearing it with a blazer or lounging around the house, since you’ll probably never want to take them off. Unfortunately, the sizing leaves much to be desired; it only goes up to an XL and is dual sized, coming in a XS/S, M/L, and XL/XXL, making it difficult to know what would fit you best without trying them on.

Size Range: XS to XXL | Length: 8” Inseam | Colors: 4  | Materials: Cotton, nylon, elastane

Best Maternity: Beyond Yoga Spacedye All For Run Maternity Short

Beyond Yoga Spacedye All For Run Maternity Short

Beyond Yoga

What We Love: They provide gentle support for extra comfort.

What We Don’t Love: There are limited color options.

Style expert Jasmine Snow recently welcomed another baby into her life, making these maternity shorts a recent favorite of hers. “During pregnancy, I always show off my bump and love feeling sucked into a great fitting pair of leggings,” she says. These shorts from Beyond Yoga have been her “favorite way to feel on trend”, while still feeling comfortable — they don’t compress her belly, yet offer her gentle support for additional comfort. For some styling tips, Snow tells us: “I usually knot a t-shirt into a crop top to show off the bump for day and layer an oversized blazer and pile on accessories to dress up for mocktails with friends at night.”

Size Range: XS to XL | Length: 3 inches | Colors: 3 | Materials: Polyester, lycra

Best Option That Comes in Multiple Lengths: Lululemon Wunder Train High-Rise Short 6"

4.9
Lululemon Wunder Train High-Rise Short 6"

Courtesy of Lululemon

What We Love: You can customize the length.

What We Don’t Love: These shorts run small.

The Wunder Train Shorts from Lululemon are high-rise, designed for cross-training, and come in 4, 6, and 8 inch inseams. The fabric is sweat-wicking and breathable, featuring both compression and stretch, perfect for any type of workout, and with the different length options, are truly a great pair of bike shorts to be familiar with. While Lululemon has not always been the most size friendly, they have recently expanded their sizing up to a size 20, making these a great plus-size option as well.

Size Range: 0 to 20 | Length: 4”, 6”, and 8” Inseam | Colors: 11| Materials: Nylon, Lycra, elastane

What to Keep in Mind

Length

Bike shorts come in all different lengths and inseams — though, typically anywhere from 3 to 9 inches — so personal preference plays a huge part in what to pick. For biking, a longer length reduces chafing, and many prefer a shorter inseam for running in order to not feel compressed or slowed down. Of course, if you buy bike shorts just to lounge around the house, any length will do.

Fabric

Bike shorts meant for exercise typically feature some kind of compression for added support, especially when doing a high-intensity workout. Typically, they’re made from spandex-type materials in order to give you that stretch and sucked in feel. But the shorts come in fabrics, like cotton, for anything more along like the lines of lounging or running errands.

Color

A solid black pair of bike shorts are a closet staple because they’re versatile and easy to care for. If you intend to workout in bike shorts, just remember that lighter colors, like white or tan, are more likely to show sweat or your underwear.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you style bike shorts?

Bike shorts are one of the most popular items of the past two years, and thankfully, they are both comfortable and stylish. Due to the number of options out there, there are almost endless ways to style bike shorts, whether you’re wearing a matching set to go for a hot girl walk, layering a fun top for going out, or casually throwing a tank top on when it’s too warm to wear anything else. Williams-Eke loves to throw an oversized top over bike shorts, describing it as “full on Princess Diana vibes.” For others, like Akinyode, pairing bike shorts with a more elegant, or sexy, top is a fun way to style them.

How do you decide on length?

When it comes to the preferred inseam length, personal trainer Sydney Sherman suggests that it should accommodate the workout you're doing. “If you're running or biking, you'll probably want shorts that are a bit longer to make sure you're avoiding any uncomfy thigh chafing, which happens to all of us,” she told us. “A 7-inch inseam is usually a safe bet for this.” She also suggests going with whatever length and cut feels the best on your body. “Shorts are notoriously tricky for some of us to feel confident wearing, so when you find a cut that feels flattering, stock up,” Sherman said.

Why Trust InStyle

As a New York City-based freelance writer and NYU graduate, Brooke LaMantia has written for New York Magazine's The Cut, Cosmopolitan, W, and more. Not only did she try out a few pairs of bike shorts herself, but she also interviewed a plethora of style and fitness experts, including personal trainer Sydney Sherman, plus-size model Essie Golden, fashion content creator known anonymously as April, style expert Jasmine Snow, trainer Taylor Almonte, L.A.-based design director Danielle Williams-Eke, and stylist Becky Akinyode. Each expert shared their favorite bike shorts and provided key styling tips.

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