Best Cycling Pants

It’s a refreshing time of year when the leaves begin to change color and the weather begins to cool down. But as a seasoned or begging cyclist, and as the months dip deeper into winter from Fall, you may need to swap out your trusty compressive bike shorts for some warmer cycling pants.While cycling pants don’t always come at the cheapest price as far as your overall attire is concerned, it is a worthwhile investment to make sure that your legs are warm and protected from the piercing cold air of winter’s chill.

Well, in short, like any athlete, being a cyclist means that you have specific needs that need to be met, so that you can easily enjoy your activity. Not only do you want to feel comfortable on the bike trails or roads, but you need to make sure that the pants you are wearing offer you optimal freedom of movement, air flow, warmth, and compression. The list of what you are looking for in a pair of quality pants might seem a bit overwhelming, but not to worry, that is why we are here. We have researched the best top ten cycling pants on the market to ensure that you have a good base when selecting pants to hit the roads or Tour de France with.

Last Updated: July 20, 2018
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By Melissa Coleiro:

This list of cycling pants has been put together to show you the best researched and reviewed cycling pants to keep you comfortable on your next cycle. A pair of cycling pants to keep your eye on is the Gore Element Wind Stopper. We love this addition, because it is highly rated, provides great weather protection, durable, protective, and comfortable.

Gore Element
  • Gore Element
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
Showers Pass Transit
  • Showers Pass Transit
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable
  • Good protection
  • Price: See Here
Baleaf Thermal
  • Baleaf Thermal
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Compressive
  • Warm
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Cycling Pants

Gore Element Wind Stopper

Gore Bike Wear’s Element Pants are made to give you ample amounts of weather protection while you are on the-go. They are also lightweight and designed to provide a lot of comfort whenever you are busy on your bike.
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Materials:

Made to be both waterproof and breathable, these pants feature 2.5 layers of weather protection. You’ll get 100% polyester pants designed with a Gore-Tex membrane, and the stitches are fully seam sealed.

Fit:

These cycling pants are designed to be lightweight and include an active shell. They are designed to be flexible and won’t restrict your movement.

Features:

You get a lot of freedom to move with these pants and some cushioning that will also help your rides feel more comfortable. The knees in these pants are reinforced, and you also get Velcro straps so you can better adjust the fit.

Value:

These pants are not too expensive, and fall into the average price range. So, you get a good value and a lot of durability for the price.
Pros
  • Great weather protection

  • Good fit

  • Durable

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could come in more colors and styles

 

Showers Pass Transit

The Showers Pass Transit Pant comes ready with a lot of weather protection, and ripstop fabric for extra durability. These pants are affordable and meant to give you the long-lasting durability you’ll want for your rides.
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Materials:

These pants are designed with breathable waterproof technology, and are comprised of 100% nylon materials. Also, there are 3 layers in these pants, and the outer shell uses Artex Hard-shell rip stop fabric.

Fit:

These pants are designed to be lightweight and offer a very comfortable fit and feel. Ankle zippers on the sides of the pants make the pants very easy to get on and off.

Features:

The Showers Pass Transit Pant features articulated needs for extra mobility, and you can also purchase suspenders if you want them. You’ll get a lot of options if you decide to purchase these pants.

Value:

These pants are pretty affordable considering what they’ll give you. They are very durable, and won’t burn a hole in your pocket book.
Pros
  • Good weather protection

  • Durable

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Might feel stiff

  • Could come in more color options

 

Baleaf Thermal Cycling Tights

These Baleaf Thermal Cycling Tights are a fantastic option if you are not only into cycling, but running, too. It's nice to have gear that is versatile, and as tights, these pants fit that bill. Not to mention, they are also thermal, so they will keep you super warm in colder months.
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These tights are made of both polyester and spandex. The spandex in them allows for comfort, so there is no feeling of being too tight. They are also breathable, so that you can work those quads in an uphill climb, but still feel cool. The fabric wicks away sweat, to keep you even cooler.

Inside of these pants, you will find warm fleece, which will mean you can cycle all winter long in comfort.

To keep these pants super convenient, there are leg zippers to allow for easy on and off. Not to mention, the legs sport reflective strips to make sure ongoing traffic sees you.

All in all, if you want pants that offer you versatility, breathability, warmth, but still allow for compression, these are the ones for you. Because of their make, these pants will keep your muscles supported and aid in your recovery time.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Good weather protection

  • Compressive

Cons
  • Some testers fond that the ankle opening isn't even on both ankles

 

4ucycling Windproof Athletic

4ucycling Windproof Athletic
4ucycling’s Windproof Athletic Pants provide you with an affordable option and decent comfort for all of your cycling needs. You’ll love the baggy fit and freedom of movement.
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Materials:

These pants are made from fleece and also feature a double-layer synthetic material that is comprised out of 75% polyester and also helps to repel water. The pants do a good job of protecting you from the weather while still feeling breathable.

Fit:

Made to have a baggy fit, these pants will bring you plenty of flexibility and mobility. You won’t ever have to worry about feeling restricted when you wear these pants.

Features:

You get a lot of additional padding and ventilation in these pants, which will certainly help you out if you tend to sweat a lot. Plus, these pants also come with a thermo-lined fleeced interior to help keep you warm when the temperature drops.

Value:

These pants offer you a decent value for their price, and are very affordable. In fact, they are one of the lowest-priced pants on our list.
Pros
  • Warm

  • Comfortable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Can run small

  • Could be more breathable

DuShow Warm Fleece

DuShow Warm Fleece
If you are looking for some very warm and comfortable pants that come at an affordable price, then you might like DuShow’s Cycling Pants. Made to be flexible and provide great insulation, you’ll stay toasty warm even when cycling on cold days.
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Materials:

DuShow’s Cycling Pants are made with micro polar fleece fabric, and designed to be both warm and windproof. However, they aren’t totally waterproof, so if you’re looking for that type of weather protection, these might not be the pants for you.

Fit:

These pants come with a great fit, and are also very easy to adjust so that you get the correct feel each time you hit your bike. Made with a drawstring stretch elastic waistband, you’ll be able to get the right level of comfort when you adjust them.

Features:

These pants include a zipper on the ankle strap so that it is easy for you to get them on and off. They are also designed to be stylish, and have an ice appearance.

Value:

These pants are very affordable, and do offer a bevy of great features if you want to stay warm this winter when you are cycling. With a great fit and nice flexibility, you’ll feel great 3each time you hit the road wearing these pants.
Pros
  • Very warm

  • Comfortable

  • Adjustable

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Could have better weather protection

Baleaf Windproof

Baleaf Windproof
Designed with comfort in mind, you’ll get a lot of weather protection designed into these affordable pants. If you need something warm and flexible while shopping on a budget, these might be the pants for you.
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Materials:

These pants are comprised out of 100% polyester material and also feature an outer coating to help protect you from the wind and water. While these pants are not fully waterproof, they do a good job of giving you a good amount of weather protection.

Fit:

These pants have a slim fit but are also baggy around the knees, so you get a lot of flexibility. Plus, they also come with an elastic waistband that has an inner drawstring so you can adjust them to fit correctly each time you wear them.

Features:

You’ll get three deep zip pockets with these pants, and reflective elements for when you ride in low-light conditions. So, you get an added safety benefit if you decide to purchase these pants.

Value:

For what these pants offer you, they come with an affordable price tag. So, if you are shopping on a budget, they are an excellent option.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Comfortable

  • Good fit

Cons
  • Not fully waterproof

  • Could be more durable

Showers Pass Club Visible

Showers Pass Club Visible
Showers Pass Club Visible Pant brings you cycling pants that offer a lot of weather protection and also provide you with extra reflective features. You’ll like the large pockets and the flexibility designed into these pants.
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Materials:

Showers Pass Club Visible Pants are made to be both waterproof and breathable, and feature 3 layers of Artex fabric. Plus, they are totally seam sealed and have a waterproof rating of 10,000 mm and a breathability rating of 10,000 g/m2.

Fit:

You’ll get a nice fit with these pants, which bring you articulated knees for extra mobility. You’ll also get a gusseted crotch, and a lot of flexibility whenever you wear these pants.

Features:

These pants feature reflective materials so that you are always visible, even if you prefer to ride when the light is low. You’ll also get optional suspenders and large pockets with these pants.

Value:

These pants are priced in the average range, so they aren’t a steal, but for what they offer, they are a good value. They are a solid investment overall.
Pros
  • Good weather protection

  • Fit nice

  • Reflective features

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Can fit baggy

Showers Pass Refuge

Showers Pass Refuge
Showers Pass Refuge Cycling Pants bring you a waterproof and breathable option that provides a lot of weather protection. You’ll get a great range of motion and a lot of excellent features if you decide to purchase these pants.
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Materials:

Showers Pass Refuge Cycling Pants are made with waterproof and breathable materials including 100% nylon and 3 layers of Elite waterproof-breathable hardshell fabric. These pants also come fully seam-sealed to give you plenty of weather protection.

Fit:

These pants fit very well and feature a reinforced seat for extra protection. They are flexible and offer plenty of freedom of movement whenever you hit your bike.

Features:

Developed with articulated knees, you also get a reinforced seat and zippered vents if you need extra ventilation. You can also purchase additional suspenders if you feel you need them.

Value:

These pants run on the expensive end, and aren’t as affordable as some of the other options on our list. If you are shopping on a budget, you might want to consider some other options.
Pros
  • Great weather protection

  • Good comfort

  • Good fit

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Could be more durable

Castelli Meccanico Rain

Castelli Meccanico Rain
Castelli’s Meccanico Rain Pants bring you an affordable option that offers you good all-around protection. Made to help you hit your bike and also allow you to walk comfortably, you’ll love both the look and feel of these pants.
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Materials:

Castelli’s Meccanico Rain Pants come with a nylon and spandex combination of materials that also features a water-repellant coating. These pants aren’t totally waterproof or windproof, but they do a decent job of protecting you from the elements when you need it.

Fit:

These pants fit a bit baggier than your usual cycling pants, and that is mostly because they are made for both cycling and walking. So, they are comfortable, and feature articulated knees.

Features:

These pants provide a lot of comfort features and also come with six pockets. You’ll get an elastic waist band and narrow cut ankles as well.

Value:

These pants are some of the most affordable options we’ve provided on our list. While they aren’t as durable as some of the other products on our list, if you are looking for a decent pair of pants to get you started or if you are shopping on a budget, these pants are a great option.
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Decent weather protection

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Not fully waterproof

Proviz Nightrider Waterproof

Proviz Nightrider Waterproof
The Proviz Nightrider Waterproof Trousers provide you with the opportunity to get an affordable pair of pants with plenty of safety features. Designed for comfort and mobility, you’ll love the amount of flexibility you get with these pants.
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Materials:

The Proviz Nightrider Waterproof Trousers are made with a waterproof and breathable nylon fabric. While the pants are not totally weather proof, they do offer a decent amount of weather protection.

Fit:

These pants come in both male and female styles so that they are designed to fit correctly. You’ll also get a lot of flexibility and a wide range of movement when you decide to use these pants.

Features:

You get an elastic drawcord with these pants so that you can more easily cinch them up. Also, they have a lower leg and ankle zip so they are easy to get on and off.

Value:

These pants are priced affordably, so if you are shopping on a budget, they might be a good choice for you. You’ll get a lot of excellent features combined with flexibility.
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Weather protection

  • Reflective trim

Cons
  • Could be more durable

  • Not fully waterproof

  • Cinch velcro straps to keep them out of your chain

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

When you’re doing your research to find the best pants for cycling to suit your needs, there are a few criteria points you’ll need to consider. We used these criteria points to analyze all of our products on our list above, but knowing more about these criteria points can also help you evaluate your choices a bit better and make a more well-informed decision. So, to help you understand what you’ll need to think about when you make your choice, we’ve provided you with the criteria points we used to evaluate the products, including materials, fit, features, and value. We’ll examine each one of these points in a bit more detail below.

Material

When you’re searching around for the best pants, you’ll want to take a look at the material. Since pants for cycling are made to be worn when the weather is at its worst, you’ll want to make sure you get enough weather protection designed into the materials. So, you want to make sure you get something that can keep you warm and dry, as well as providing plenty of ventilation so that you don’t overheat or wind up sitting in your own sweat as you ride. The material becomes important with these types of pants to help with both weather protection as well as ventilation, and sometimes, this can be a bit of a balancing act.

So, you need to make sure that the pants for cycling you decide upon are both waterproof and breathable. Many styles of waterproof pants for cycling are made to be worn over cycling tights or regular pants, and that means you can wind up perspiring a lot if you are wearing layers. That’s why you need some ventilation. If your pants don’t breathe, then your legs will wind up getting soaked with sweat as you ride, which can be a very miserable experience when the weather outside is very cold. That’s certainly an issue you’ll want to avoid.

The best materials used in pants for cycling will help keep the rain from coming into the interior, while pushing water vapor from your perspiration out of the interior of the pants. That means the best pants for cycling are made from materials that offer you plenty of weather protection as well as ventilation. You want to make sure your pants have some pores in the fabric for ventilation, so that water vapor can escape that way, but are also not so large that rain can trickle into the interior of the pants. Again, if you wind up with pants that can’t keep the rain out, you’re likely to get soaked with a lot of cold rain, and that can be another miserable experience for you.

Gore-Tex Waterproofing

Gore-Tex waterproofing offers you some of the best technology to help your pants keep both the wind and rain out while you are on your bike. Invented in 1978 by the W.L. Gore Corporation, this waterproofing method is considered the best on the market, and it’s also more expensive than most other waterproofing techniques used to make pants good at protecting your legs from the weather. Gore-Tex fabrics give you a fully waterproof type of pants, and many other brands have attempted to create generic versions of this waterproofing technology. Gore-Tex technology is known to make outdoor garments both breathable and waterproof. While Gore-Tex is not the only company known to do offer great weather protection for outdoor wear, they are the best known manufacturer and their brand ensures that the pants you purchase are totally waterproof, and not just water-resistant.

Outer Layer

When you’re examining the type of fabrics and materials that are designed into your pants, you’ll want to take a look at what makes up the outer layer. The outer layer of your pants will usually be comprised out of a polyester or nylon shell. The outer layer itself won’t be waterproof, but what you’ll find with most of these pants is that some kind of waterproofing treatment is placed over the top of the shell. Sometimes, manufacturers use DWR (durable water repellent) which helps make the material water-resistant, and causes the water to bead off of the outer shell of the pants and keeps them from being absorbed into the interior fabric of the pants. So, if you have some kind of waterproof coating, like DWR, that’s been used to treat the outer layer shell of your pants, you’ll notice that your pants won’t get overly wet. Many of these laminate treatments, including DWR, are not totally waterproof, but still give you some level of protection against the elements when you are out on the trails.

Middle Layer

The middle layer of your pants can sometimes feature a coated or laminated membrane, sometimes made up of Teflon or Polyurethane. What is nice about this usage of the middle layer is that you can get good breathability out of these types of materials, but they also give you waterproof protection. So, middle layers are sometimes used to provide you with great breathability and protection from the elements, especially the rain.

Inner Layer

Some brands will also use a tri-coat mesh that you’ll find on the inner layer of the pants. If you see mesh on the interior of the pants, know it’s there to help increase both ventilation and breathability, and that will help give you a lot of help with staying dry, even if you sweat a lot. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your pants getting wet with your own sweat and clinging to your legs, which can be a very uncomfortable experience. Many pants for cycling use several layers of ventilation and waterproofing protection to provide you with the best durability and weather protection. That being said, however, pants that come with multiple layers typically cost more, although they will do a better job of protecting you from any adverse weather conditions you might encounter.

Fit

Fit is going to be an important thing to consider when you select your pants for cycling. You may wind up layering underneath your pants, so you need to have something that is baggy and offers a relaxed fit. You’re probably used to your clothes being form fitting when you hit your bike, but usually, cycling pants themselves have to fit a bit baggier since they are made to help you layer. We’ve noted what elements of the fit was like for each one of our products, and exactly how the pants fit. Along with fit, we also mentioned the pants that offered the most comfortable feel and also had things like drawcord to help adjust the fit of your pants. Make sure you search around for pants that offer you the ability to easily adjust them so you always get the best fit. Also, since fit can be hard to determine and a matter of personal preference, it’s almost always better to go to the store and try your pants on before you decide on them. That way, you’ll know you like the fit, and you’ll be able to pick the pants that are most comfortable for you. After all, if they don’t fit right, you’ll probably never enjoy wearing them, stop using them, and then you’ll wind up wasting your money. So, make sure you take a bit of your time to determine the best fit for you, and that way you’ll always feel comfortable when you ride your bike.

Features

When we reviewed each one of the products on our list above, we also covered the important features that each style of pants offered you. Features on each style of pants vary quite a bit from brand to brand, but there are two important features you’ll want to consider. First, make sure your pants for cycling are seam sealed, and second, also check to make sure your pants are easy to get on and off.

Seam-Sealed Pants

Needles in fabrics make tiny holes, which means that if manufacturers don’t seam seal those seams, they’ll wind up giving you a product that isn’t totally waterproof or windproof. That’s why many brands use seam sealing technology with their pants, which is also sometimes called seam taping. The holes from any sewing are sealed with either a fully taped or critically taped approach. If the pants are fully taped, then you’ll see that each seam that’s on the pants is actually taped and sealed, and this offers a lot of weather protection. If pants are critically taped only, then you’ll only see the seams taped in areas that are more prone to weather exposure. If you really need full water and wind protection in your pants, then you’ll want to focus on getting a pair of pants that is fully taped, and that will prevent any cold air or water from getting into the seam areas. If you live in a very moist climate, then fully taped seams are really a must-have to keep you feeling comfortable and warm when you venture outdoors on your bike.

Zippers And Velcro

Sometimes, pants designed for cycling can be difficult to get on and take off. The better quality pants for cycling should be easy to get on and take off, regardless of whether you have shoes on or not. You need to be able to get your pants over your shoes at times if you are bringing them along with you as an extra layer on the trail, or if you find that they are too hot and you need to remove them. You want to make sure the pants come with zippers or Velcro features on the bottom of the legs and ankle areas so that they can be removed easily when needed. Also, make sure the bottom area of the pants features something that you can adjust to fit correctly after you put the pants back on, because if the bottom of the pants are too baggy and can’t be closed back up with Velcro or a zipper, you’ll have a difficult time pedaling when you hit your bike. Also, if your pants are too wide at the bottom part of the leg, they might even catch in your chain and that can create further problems. To make sure you get pants that offer you a quality design, make sure you can get them on and off easily and look for the Velcro or zippers at the ankles and bottom of the pants legs.

Value

Value is another important factor to consider when you are purchasing a good pair of pants for cycling. Obviously, you’ll want to get the most for your money, so we’ve noted the value of each pair of pants we reviewed. Some pants on our list are more expensive than others, and in many cases, that has to do with the durability of the pants and how long they last. So, if you have the money to invest, you can probably actually make it go farther by purchasing pants that are very durable. If you aren’t able to afford pants that are a bit more expensive and more durable, then we’ve also listed plenty of affordable options that can still work well if you are shopping on a budget. Typically, when you are getting more affordable pants, you’ll be giving up some weather protection features and durability. So, if you are okay with taking that step and really do need to save money, then you can still get a decent pair of pants on a budget. We’ve covered some pants options that are extremely affordable, so you should be able to make the best choice for you. When you’re trying to decide on the right pants for cycling for you, there are a few other options you’ll want to consider. We’ll cover those in a bit more detail below.

Reflective Elements

If you ride often when the light is low outside, then you might want to consider getting a pair of pants that have reflective elements in them, or are also made up of a bright color, or even both of these features. Neon colors and pants with reflective elements make you visible to vehicles and help keep you safe from oncoming traffic or any other serious injuries or collisions. So, if you do tend to ride often when the sun isn’t out, then you really should consider getting pants with reflective elements in them. However, if you don’t ride often during the low light conditions, then you won’t need reflective elements.

FAQs

Q: What are the different levels of waterproof protection?

Not all of the products on our list are fully waterproof, so you’ll need to understand the levels of protection you’ll be getting. If pants are fully waterproof, they’ll say that, and they’ll also have taped seams. If pants are water resistant, then they’ll only help you out if you get trapped in a light shower, and won’t keep all of the water out. Also, pants with a water repellent can help keep water out, but won’t fully protect you from the water.

Q: What do I need to know about when it comes to ventilation?

Cycling is a sport that requires a lot of physical exertion, so you are going to get warm and sweat as you do it. While you might feel great when you first get going, when you get a little into your ride, you’ll feel your perspiration. If your clothes don’t ventilate well, then you’re going to feel like you are overheating and soaking in your own sweat, combatted by the feeling of cold, uncomfortable weather at the same time. So, you want to make sure that you pick a pair of pants that also ventilate well, so that you’ll stay comfortable each time you decide to ride.

Q: Should I focus on buying cycling pants based on gender?

Gender can be an important factor to consider when you are buying pants for cycling. Obviously, men’s bodies are different than women’s bodies, and many of these pants offer choices for each gender. To get pants that fit you well, it’s always a good idea to make sure you are making your selection based on gender so that you wind up with pants that fit you very well and always feel comfortable. If you don’t pay attention to gender needs when you buy pants, you may wind up with something that is too small or too large.

Q: Should I opt for tights or looser fitting pants?

In short, this is a matter of personal preference. However, many people who choose tights do so, because of their compressive qualities. Compression means that your muscles are supported, and this means that you are aided in recovery time. Looser fitting pants can still offer compression if they have a built in compressive liner, but not all do. Pants, however, can offer you more warmth in winter months.

Q: Is it important to have reflective elements in my pants?

If you know you’ll be riding often when the light is low outside, it would be a good idea to buy pants with reflective elements in them. Reflective elements add an extra layer of safety each time you ride, because they make you visible to oncoming traffic even when the sun isn’t totally out. That way, you won’t have to worry about any serious injuries because you aren’t visible. However, if you don’t ride often when the light is low, then you don’t necessarily need reflective elements on your clothing. Really, the choice is up to you, and depends on when you like to ride your bike.

Q: What do I need to know about durability?

The durability of cycling pants varies a lot depending on brand and style. You’ll need to make sure you focus on price if durability is really a necessity. Pants that are more durable and long-lasting typically cost more, but they are a great choice if you do have the money to spend. However, if you are shopping on a budget and need to save a bit of money, then you might need to sacrifice some durability.

Final Thoughts

When selecting the proper cycling pants you want to make sure your pants are going to feel comfortable when you are riding your bike. The pants we’ve included on our top ten best cycling pants list are all designed for this, and offer a lot of comfort. Make sure you have plenty of room to move, the right amount of flexibility, and some kind of zippers or Velcro at the ankles to help adjust the pants and get them on and off easily. Many of the pants on our list also come with articulated knees to allow you greater flexibility and a wider range of movement.

 

Sources

  1. Average Joe Cyclist, 7 of the Best Waterproof Cycling Pants, Informational Cycling Website, Jan 24, 2017
  2. Ama Perfect, Top 20 Best Men's Cycling Pants, Informational Cycling Website, Aug 12, 2017
  3. Tucker Bowe, Bike to Work , Informational Cycling Website, Oct 10, 2017
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