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What to Wear To Spin Class (and What NOT to Wear)

About to take your first spin class? Take a deep breath. It’s easy and you really can’t do anything wrong.

That said, if you want to be super prepared we’re here to help you.

We’ve picked out some of our favorite spinning clothes for indoor cycling including padded shorts, spinning pants, and lightweight, breathable tops.

But first, what NOT to wear…..

what to wear to spin class

What NOT To Wear to Spin Class

Despite the scary headline, you can’t screw this up to much. Make a mistake the first time, nobody will make fun of you, and you’ll learn what works for next time.

First the obvious stuff: don’t wear street clothes like jeans. Don’t wear your nice work clothes.

That’s a no-brainer, right? Spinning is athletic and you’ll be moving around a bunch so you want to make sure your clothes are stretchy and forgiving.

What else not to wear? I wouldn’t recommend sweats unless you really, really like to sweat. Even in the middle of winter, a bike studio is HOT and you’re going to get soaked if you wear sweats.

In this same vain, we prefer not to wear anything made of cotton. When you sweat in cotton it gets wet and you’re gonna feel gross.

So What Should I Wear?

Wear whatever you would normally wear to the gym. Yoga pants, gym shorts, a tank top: they all work great. In fact, if this is your first spin class, I’d recommend wearing something that you already have.

That said, if you go to spinning a lot and you want to invest in some clothes specifically for spinning class, we’ve got some suggestions below.


Padded Shorts for Spinning

If you suffer from a sore bum, or saddle sores, after an indoor cycling class, you might want to consider investing in a pair of padded spinning shorts. These shorts have a thin pad covering your sit bones and crotch that can help reduce soft tissue bruising and chafing.

One thing to keep in mind is that many cycling shorts on the market have a thick chamois (pad) intended for long rides outdoors. Since most spin classes are around an hour, you don’t need a very thick chamois. In fact, a thick chamois can cause additional issues (saddle sores and a sweaty bum). Instead, look for a pair of shorts with a very minimalistic chamois (pad). Those marketed for spinning are usually pretty good about this.

Pro tip: Don’t wear underwear with your padded shorts.  Underwear will only increase chafing, discomfort, and moisture down under.


Our Top Pick: Pearl Izumi Sugar*

Want even more short recommendations? Check out our list (and reviews) of the best cycling shorts for women.

Spinning Pants

Prefer a little more coverage? There are padded cycling pants you can use for spinning class as well.

You’ll want to choose a pair of bottoms that are tight fitting or capri length. That’s because baggy pants can get caught on the bike seat or on the cranks.

Remember, the same tips we gave for shorts apply here as well–choose a spinning pant with a thin (not thick) pad, and wear them without underwear.

Our Top Pick: Terry Spinnaker Bike Capris*

More Options: 9 Best Women’s Cycling Pants & Tights

Padded Underwear

If you already have gym shorts you love but want some extra cushion, consider a pair of padded underwear. These can go under looser fitting shorts or even under regular leggings.

Just look for a pair that’s minimalistic so you won’t feel like you’re walking around in a diaper. You don’t need a particularly thick chamois for an hour long spin class.

baleaf cycling underwear

Our Top Pick: Baleaf Padded Underwear

For more padded underwear options, check out our list of the best women’s padded cycling underwear.

Spinning Tops

Look for a top that is breathable, wicks sweat, and has minimal stitching to reduce skin irritation. Chances are you already have a gym tank that will work great without buying anything new.

Our Top Pick: Terry Studio Bike Top*

For more options, check out our list of our fave women’s cycling jerseys.

What About Shoes?

If it is your first time to spinning, you’ll be just fine in a pair of gym or tennis shoes.

When you are ready to upgrade, you can get indoor cycling shoes. These are shoes specifically made for spinning. They have a stiff sole to transfer power efficiently to the pedals and cleats that can “clip in” to the spin bike.

shoes for spinning

If you’re ready to upgrade to cycling shoes, read this guide: 5 Best Women’s Indoor Cycling Shoes

In addition to cycling shoes, you might also want to invest in a pair of cycling socks. They are thinner and wick sweat better than regular cotton gym socks.

More Reading to Make Sure You’re Prepared for Your First Spin Class

Now that you know what to wear, read our guide to your first class. You’ll learn what to bring to class, how early to show up, and how to adjust your bike.

About The Author

kristen bonkoski

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.

IG: @femme_cyclist

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