In the sports world, all shorts are not created equal. As you shop for cycling shorts, you’ll find two major types – biking shorts and tri-shorts (short for triathlon shorts). Biking shorts are the traditional stretchy shorts cyclists often wear, with padding (also known as a chamois) to provide an extra cushion. Tri-shorts, on the other hand, are thinner and more streamlined than regular biking shorts in order to create less bulk when running or swimming.
Tri-athletes often wear tri-shorts because of the versatility offered between land and sea. But which is the best type of cycling shorts for you? It all depends on your needs and preferences.
Differences between Biking Shorts and Tri-Shorts
The primary difference between these two garments is the size and thickness of the padding. Cycling shorts typically feature a wider and thicker chamois to make riding long distances more comfortable. However, the thickness of the cushion makes the shorts much less functional for running and swimming.
With tri-shorts, the chamois is thinner and shaped differently for running. Tri-shorts also tend to be made of thinner fabric and not as long as regular biking shorts in order to reduce the potential for chafing. Because they’re made for swimming as well, they often feature greater moisture-wicking capabilities and will dry out more quickly.
While many cyclists prefer tri-shorts, the pair of cycling shorts you should wear is the one that is most comfortable for your body and budget. Give each kind a test run and make the determination for yourself.