Welcome. Understanding how to size & fit padded bike pants is an important part of your bike riding experience. Your pants will only provide you with the protection and comfort they are designed for if you have the right size.
Padded Pant Size
To get the right size padded bike pants you must measure.
This is an important part of your online shopping experience. It’s better to take the time now to measure so you can make more informed decisions. Where you need to measure will depend on the type of bike pants you are considering buying. Most will require a waist and hip measurement to be taken.
The best way to measure is with a tape measure. If you don’t have a tape measure use a piece of string or some wool then lay this out along a ruler.
Firstly you will need to find your waist.
To find the natural crease line of your waist, stand straight with hands at the side. Then bend sideways running the hand down the outside surface of the leg. This movement will produce a crease at the waist so place your measuring tape on this crease. Return to standing straight and place the tape measure around your waist at your crease point (usually the narrowest part of your torso).
Your hip measurement is found… approximately 18cm down from the waist. Let the measuring tape fall down your body to the floor to find the 18cm mark. Move the measuring tape to this point then wrap it around your body. Make sure it is straight all the way around.
Putting your padded bike pants on correctly
Once you have a pair of padded bike pants to try on it is important to put them on correctly so you can test out whether they will work for your body shape. This involves getting the chamois in the right place and making sure your waistband is level
- Hold the front & back of the pants rather than the sides. This stops the padding (chamois) from sliding backwards and will place your waistband evenly at the front & the back and therefore your padding gets well positioned. Pulling at the sides of your padded pants won’t get them in the right position.
Padded Bike Pant Fit
There are different types of waistbands on different types of padded bike pants. One particular style of waistband may suit you better than another. For example a fabric waistband can be more comfortable than an elastic waistband for some body shapes. Consider the height of the waistband and how it feels
- check that the band or elastic is not too tight or pinching in
- as you bend forward does the waistband slide too far down your back
As you go up in size the waistband will increase in diameter and will sit on your body at a higher point.
The padding/chamois should feel like it is being held in place, not sliding around or hanging/dragging down at the back. It will feel a little odd between your legs but it should not restrict your movement in any way. At the front it is designed to protect your pubic bone as you lean or tilt forward on your bike seat. At the back the chamois is shaped to provide padding & support under your sit bones.
The idea is to get the right amount of compression/stretchy tightness in the bike pants fabric to hold the padding (chamois) in place without it being uncomfortable to move. So do a bit of jiggling around, moving your legs, bending forward, going into a squat position – what does all the moving do to the position of your padding? It should be held in place.
Again it is important that the leg area of your padded bike pants is not too tight. You should be able to move freely with no restriction or pulling from seams or hems. Some riders who spend a lot of time on the bike and do a lot of moving up & out of the seat, changing position when reacting to the terrain, like to have elastic grippers around leg bands to hold their pants firmly in place.
Your leg band or hem should not restrict movement. Check this by moving the part of your body that the band is closest to. For 3/4 pants (capris) rise up and down on your toes to move your calf muscles & also bend at the knee joint.