Ask FGG: "Are There Any Padded Plus-Size Bike Shorts?"
Posted by Angela in Ask FGG,Sports + Recreation
Padded bike shorts protect you where it counts. (Image by L. Marie)

Summer is prime cycling time, so it seems only fitting that FGG's very own Tee posed this week's question in the comments of a recent Guide:
Iíve got an Ask FGG question of my own. Are there any padded plus-size bike shorts? Iím taking a spinning class that hurts my rear end, and I canít seem to find those.

It's ironic, isn't it? Despite the padding many of us carry in that area, it often still hurts like crazy to sit on a bike and pedal. I'll be honest -- when I saw this question, I fully expected the answer to be "nope!" But it turns out my inner skeptic was only half right; padded shorts do exist in extended sizes (thanks, athletic apparel manufacturers!), but you shouldn't expect to find the pads in the buttocks of your shorts.

The primary functions of chamois padding in bike shorts are 1) to wick moisture away from the body and 2) to provide a buffer between seams and stitching and your skin, thereby protecting delicate body parts and minimizing chafing. For this reason, the placement of the pad runs from the crotch area back through the tailbone -- in short, the shape of the pad mirrors that of an extended bike seat.

Designed for women by women, the Shebeest Triple S Shorts ($80) are available in plus sizes 1X-3X. In addition to offering extended sizes, Shebeest equips these shorts with SheLasticTM Chamois Plus pads, which are customized to accommodate the size and pressure of a bigger biker. The company's Pedal Pusher Tights are also offered in the same sizes, with the same padding.

For a less expensive ($44.95), more colorful ride, Aero Tech Designs offers women's Pro Bike Shorts in sizes 3X (22/24) and 4X (26/28) and in five different colors. Aero Tech's sizable catalog of plus-size cycling gear includes triathlon shorts, a wrap-around skirt and jerseys. But for our money, the† maximum padding comes in the form of Aero Tech's thick-padded Century Short, designed with extra "butt pillow" (sold!) cushioning for long-distance bike rides.

Whether you're planning a leisurely ride along the bike path or on sweating through a spinning class, be sure to follow the accompanying care instructions on your new pair of padded shorts to ensure maximum garment life and moisture-wicking properties. And check out our Guide to Cycling for tips on finding a comfy seat and ride. Happy riding!

Any cyclists or spinners in the readership? How do you stay comfortable in the saddle during long rides?