Do a search on Amazon for women’s bike shorts, and Baleaf comes up as the bestseller. But do these bike shorts actually live up to the hype?
The answer is yes–for women on a budget. The Baleaf bike shorts (as well as their cycling underwear and tights) are super affordable and reasonably comfortable.
Where they fall short (no pun intended) is in quality of construction and durability. If you are just looking to get started in cycling and want to purchase a pair of padded cycling shorts, or are looking for some padded underwear to wear under your gym shorts for spin class, I’d recommend Baleaf. If you are looking for a high quality pair of shorts to put lots of miles in, I’d recommend spending a bit more to get a higher end pair of shorts.
Baleaf Video Review
Balaef Women’s Bike Shorts
- Comfortable chamois (pad)
- Run true to size
- UPF 50+ protection
- Thinner material, less durable construction
- Bands at waist and legs may rub or pinch
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2023-10-06 at 18:41 – More Info)
Comfortable Chamois For A Happy Bottom Side
The Balaef women’s bike shorts were surprisingly comfortable. The chamois, in particular, worked well for me and didn’t cause any weird rubbing or chafing.
The chamois was dual layer and there were no seams around the egdges to irritate that sensitive area. In terms of thickness, it was pretty moderate–it’s probably not the chamois you want to wear for an 8 hour ride, but it can certainly get you through 2 or 3 or 4.
Silicone Grippers Keep Legs From Riding Up….But The Bands On Both The Leg and Waist
The only areas of concern in terms of comfort were the bands around both the waist and legs. The waist band is held up by a thin elastic band at the top.
While I didn’t have any discomfort on it during several 2 hour rides, it’s not as comfortable as some of the wider, stretcher waistands on more expensive shorts, and it did cause a bit of a muffin-top effect. Similarly, the legs have an elastic band that may cause the dreaded sausage leg and could be an issue for ladies with larger thighs.
We did appreciate the silicone grippers on the leg band that help keep the shorts in place and prevent them from riding up.
Overall, I was pleased with the comfort of these shorts–particularly for a “budget” short and if you are simply looking to upgrade from unpadded shorts, you’ll be happy with these.
Durability May Be A Concern
I hadn’t even put the Balaef bike shorts thru a wash cycle before there were multiple threads coming loose. This is certainly a red flag in terms of durability.
The material itself is also a little thinner than more expensive bike shorts, and I’d expect it to wear faster. If you plan on washing your shorts multiple times a week, I’d spend more money to get a more durable short. If, however, you plan on pulling these out for the occasional bike ride, they should last quite a while.
You May Want To Cut Out The Tag
My favorite bike clothes come without tags. (I have sensitive skin). If that’s you, you’ll want to make sure to cut out the tag before wearing.
Run True To Size
It’s always a gamble when buying bike shorts online. Fortunately, they have an easy to use size chart, and the fit was spot on. I’m 5’6″, 130 lbs and got the size medium.
Balaef Cycling Underwear
- Comfortable Chamois
- Waistband doesn’t dig
- Seams May Rub
Price: $21.99 (Last updated: 2023-10-07 at 09:58 – More Info)
I’m a big fan of cycling underwear. These bottoms are padded and can be used under baggie mountain bike shorts, regular gym shorts, or leggings.
Because I ride my bike every day, I have LOTS of pairs of padded undies. The only problem is that they are usually pretty dang expensive.
The Balef cycling underwear worked really well for me at a much more affordable price. In fact, they were just as comfortable as some of my MUCH more expensive chamois.
The chamois (or padding) is moderately thick. It may be overkill for spinning class if you like really minimalistic padding, but other women may find it’s just enough.
The stitching seemed around the chamois seamed durable and I didn’t have any issues with threading coming loose like I did with the Balaef shorts.
The waistband is wider and less restrictive than the elastic on the Balaef shorts and I didn’t have any issues with it digging into my mid-section.
The only negative about these bottoms is that their not seamless. There are several seams that could rub if you have sensitive skin.
I also thought the chamois was a little wider than I would prefer, but that’s largely anatomical. If you have wider sit bones, you should be fine.
Overall, I’d recommend these for anybody who wants more affordable padded cycling underwear. They’ll work well under baggie mountain bike shorts (how I used them), under regular clothes for bike commuting, or under gym shorts for use at spinning class.
Balaef Fleece Lined Leggings
- Reflective details
- Small zippered pocket
- Good for cool weather riding
- Not padded
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2023-10-08 at 19:54 – More Info)
Cycling leggings can be prohibitively expensive. (Even I don’t like to spend that much money on them). Instead, I often like to use a chamois or padded underwear (like those above) to wear underneath a pair of leggings for colder weather cycling. This is a much more affordable winter riding “hack” I always like to share with women who think they can’t afford cold weather cycling gear.
The Balaef leggings work well for this purpose. They are relatively warm and good for shoulder season riding. (They aren’t warm enough for true winter riding in my opinion).
I wore the Balaef padded underwear under them for some cooler spring rides and was quite comfortable.
The leggings have a rear zippered pocket large enough for a gel packet, as well as zippered at the bottoms of both legs. They also have reflective details which make them nice for lower light riding.
I also used the leggings for running–bonus when you can use pieces for multiple uses. They weren’t as compressive as more expensive running leggings, but again, they’re affordable!
Bottom-Line: Good Cycling Pieces For Women New To Biking Or On A Budget
If you are new to cycling and looking to up your comfort level in the saddle, both the Balaef women’s bike shorts and their padded cycling underwear can help. The chamois were comfortable and certainly better than none at all!
More Stuff You Might Like
- Don’t Wear Underwear With Bike Shorts & 5 Other Tips About How To Wear Bike Shorts
- 9 Best Women’s Bike Shorts
- 5 Best Women’s Cycling Underwear & Mountain Bike Chamois
- What to Wear To Spin Class (and What NOT to Wear)
About The Reviewer
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.