9 Best Women’s Cycling Pants & Tights (2022)

Whether it’s cold outside or you just prefer wearing long pants, cycling tights can be a great alternative to shorts. A good padded cycling tight or pant should keep your bum happy and provide some compression and support to your leg muscles. They should also be well constructed, comfortable, and able to withstand a bunch of wash cycles.

We’ve tested, reviewed, researched, and surveyed our community to put together a list of what we believe are the 9 best women’s cycling pants on the market. We’ve further divided these into tights, winter bottoms, capris/knickers, traditional pants, and rain pants.

Read on to learn more about each, and also what to consider when making a purchasing decision.

Photo credit: Machines For Freedom

Women’s Cycling Tights

Cycling tights can provide extra warmth during shoulder season riding as well as more coverage for women who simply prefer a legging to shorts. They can also provide some compression which can feel good on tired legs.

All of the tights we’ve listed here include a chamois (padding). If you don’t need padding, just about any pair of leggings will work well for riding.

Machines For Freedom Essential Cycling Pant

machines for freedom essential cycling pant

Machines For Freedom makes some of our favorite women’s cycling apparel. They only make gear for women, so you can rest assured they are focused on creating the best products for women, not just pinking and shrinking the men’s versions.

The Machines For Freedom Essential pant is highly compressive (just like their shorts), and has a comfortable waist band. It comes in both regular and plus sizes, so everybody can find a size that fits them.

Finally, the chamois is well padded, providing plenty of comfort for all-day rides. For shorter rides, or spin class, however, the chamois may be overkill.

Price & Where To Buy:

Terry Breakaway Tight

Terry is another company making great cycling apparel for women. The Terry Breakaway Tight is a medium-weight bottom that is ideal for shoulder season riding. Or, even cooler summer days where you want some extra sun protection.

The chamois is well constructed, and intended for long-ish rides. The waistband is wide and doesn’t have any elastic to dig in to your belly.

Price & Where To Buy:

Pearl Izumi Attack Cycling Tights

The Pearl Izumi Attack Cycling Tights are the long version of their best-selling Attack Short. These are not thermals, so are best for fall and spring days.

The chamois is thinner than some of the other options here, which makes them best suited for women who like a more minimalistic feel or for shorter rides. For the price, these are a great pick.

Price & Where To Buy:

Women’s Thermal Winter Tights

When the mercury drops, there’s no need to automatically head inside to ride. With the right clothing choices, you can ride comfortably all winter long. (Well, as long as the roads are dry).

Terry Winter Bike Tights

Ready for some serious winter cycling? Get yourself a pair of the Terry Winter Bike tights.

These babies are warm thanks to Polartec fabric with DWR wind and water treatment. They are highly windproof and water resistant, and will keep you toasty on the worst weather days.

Additionally, they have the Terry Flex chamois, which will keep you comfortable in the saddle for a long time.

Price & Where To Buy:

Castelli Meno Wind Bib Tight

castelli meno wind womens cycling bib

Prefer a bib tight? The Castelli Meno Wind Bib tight has all the comfort you traditionally love from a bib as well as the ability to keep you toasty warm.

Wind and water resistant on the outside, soft and fleecy on the inside, these bibs are the perfect combo of cold-weather protection and comfort. Speaking of comfortable, we also really like the chamois which provides plenty of cushion without feeling like a diaper.

Price & Where To Buy:

Women’s Cycling Capris & Knickers

Cycling capris (also known as knickers) are the perfect option for spring riding or for your indoor cycling class. We like ones that have a chamois (padding) and also a bit of compression.

Terry Hi Rise Holster Cycling Capri

There’s lots to like about the Terry Hi Rise Holster capri. Most specifically, the comfortable high waist (no more plumbers crack!) and the large pockets.

These capris have just enough compression to provide support but won’t make you feel like you’re being squeezed like a sausage. Finally, they have the very popular Terry Flex Air Chamois that will keep you comfortable in the saddle.

Price & Where To Buy:

REI Co-op Junction Padded 3/4 Tights

The REI Co-Op Junction 3/4 Tights feel like a more expensive tight at a fraction of the cost. They have a comfortable chamois, stay in place while you ride, and are durable enough to withstand many wash cycles. (This can’t be said of other tights at this price point).

We particularly like the nice deep pockets that are big enough to fit even a largish cell phone. Finally, if riding in traffic or low light, you’ll appreciate that these capris have reflective accents as well.

Price & Where To Buy:

Women’s Cycling Pants

If you prefer a more relaxed fit than a tight, consider a cycling pant. These work well for commuting to work, but can be used on the road as well. For even more pant options, check out our list of the Best Mountain Bike Pants.

Club Ride Overland Pant

Club Ride Overland Front

Don’t like lycra? The Club Ride Overland looks just like a normal pant, except they are stretchy and comfortable for wearing on the bike.

The pant comes in a regular version as well as one that has a DWR treatment. The latter provides both water and wind protection.

Read Our Review: Club Ride

Price & Where To Buy:

Women’s Cycling Rain Pants

It doesn’t matter how warm a pair of cycling pants are, if it is raining (or snowing) outside, you need something with some serious DWR (water proofing). I like wearing these over a pair of cycling tights.

Shower’s Pass Transit Pants

shower's pass transit pants

The Shower’s Pass Transit Pants are the pants I wear in particularly wet and miserable weather. They keep you dry no matter how hard it’s coming down.

I also appreciate the reflective accents so it’s easier to be seen in low light conditions, and the fact that they are easy to cinch down at the ankles. If you’re riding to work, the pants also come with a small stuff sack so they’re easy to take a long.

Read Our Review: Shower’s Pass Transit Pant

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Bonus: Budget Tights

Baleaf Cycling Tights

Whether you’re brand new to cycling or just on a tight budget, we recognize that many of the pants listed here may be a bit too pricey. For women looking for something more affordable, we recommend the Baleaf Cycling Tights.

They don’t have the same level of durability or compression as some of the more expensive tights, but they are comfortable and warm.

Read Our Review: Baleaf Cycling Tights

Price & Where To Buy:

DIY Bike Tights

Bike tights can be awfully expensive. One of my personal favorite solutions is to use a detached chamois (padding cycling underwear) underneath cheap fleece lined leggings.

baleaf cycling underwear (2)
Put a pair of padded underwear like these ones from Baleaf underneath your leggings.

Fleece lined leggings can be picked up super cheap on Amazon or even at your local drug store. I’ve had a couple of pairs that have lasted around a decade, so they are durable too.

Put these on over a chamois, and oila–you have cycling tights on a budget! This is a particularly budget conscious option if you already have the padded undies.

Another Alternative: Knee or Leg Warmers

If you’re new to cycling, you might also not be aware that you can turn your existing shorts into either capris or pants by using knee or leg warmers. These have the added benefit that you can take them off when the temperature starts to warm up.

That said, warmers can be a bit of a pain when they start to slip down, and may not be as comfortable as a true cycling tight. Still, they are affordable and are great for shoulder season riding in particular.

Parleys

Things To Consider When Shopping

Type Of Riding

What sort of riding are you doing–road, indoor cycling class, or commuting? In each case, you might prefer a different type of pant. On the road, we prefer a full length tight. This protects against the sun and protect YOU in the event of a crash. It also provides additional compression.

winter tights

For an indoor class or trainer ride, capris are awesome. They generally aren’t quite as warm as tights, so can be good for sunny spring days as well.

Finally, for commuting, you might prefer a pant that looks like, well, a pant. In this case, it’s important to look for a pant that is plenty stretchy, particularly in the crotch. You also want something that won’t ride down when you’re bent over–nobody wants plumbers crack.

Outdoor Temperature

Everybody is a little bit different in there sensitivity for cold. Personally, I like a traditional tight when the temps are over 40 degrees, and a thermal, fleece lined tight any time the temp drops toward freezing.

And some women like tights even in the summer. They provide additional sun protection and coverage. In this case, a capri or very thin tight will be best.

Chamois

A great tight isn’t that great if the chamois isn’t comfortable. We recommend spending a little more to get a good quality chamois (like the tights on this list). More expensive chamois will have dual density designs, better stitching, and will last a lot longer.

Additionally, choose a chamois that is appropriate for the amount of time you will be riding. A thicker chamois isn’t always better!

The longer you’re riding, the thicker the chamois you will want. But even then, a good saddle can provide a lot of comfort with a minimalistic chamois. In fact, chamois that are too bulky can cause saddle sores. Never something you want!

Compression Level

Tights have the tendency of being, well, tight! Compression can provide a lot of support for your muscles, and can help keep your tights in place. If you haven’t tried a pair of compression tights yet, we totally recommend it.

Still, there are some women who might not like quite so much compression. In this case, look for a tight that fits a little looser.

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