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The top 16 best padded cycling bibs

With this article I’m going to share what I feel to be the best padded cycling bibs for long distance comfort.

Arguably the number one priority of cycling bibs should be their ability to prevent saddle soreness and other discomforts from riding long hours in the saddle.

Sure, nice looks, an overall great fit, and heat management characteristics are important as well, but no matter how well a cycling bib scores in those apartments, you won’t care if you end up with a sore bum.

So in this blog I’ve researched the very best cycling bibs big brand names in the industry have to offer. I have created a mixture of both affordable but good and top-of-the-line premium product offerings.

So with that out of the way, let’s dive into my list of the best padded cycling bibs.

Pearl Izumi Men’s Expedition Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Men's Expedition Bib Short
Pearl Izumi Men's Expedition Bib Short

The Pearl Izumi Men’s Expedition Bib Short is a cargo short with plenty of storage meant for road and gravel riders.

The bib short features a dual-density Men’s ELITE Escape 1:1 chamois. Its top layer can move independantly from its foam layer, which reducing friction and chafing. It means that these shorts are perfect for your average dry ride and will proof to be comfortable for a number of hours in the saddle.

The short is made from compression fabric and has 2 large thigh pockets. This means you can store larger objects, like your phone, as well as smaller ones like multiple energy bars or small tools. The compression fabric ensures a snug, yet comfortable fit.

Furthermore, the short has breathable mesh straps and a large mesh back panel. Silicone printed hems to keep the short in place.

For anything but ultra-distance riding, these shorts are a fantastic option, that doesnt hurt your wallet too much, offers good storage options, look the part, and are durable as well.

Pearl Izumi Men’s INTERVAL Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Men's INTERVAL Bib Short
Pearl Izumi Men's INTERVAL Bib Short

The Pearl Izumi Men’s INTERVAL Bib Short are high-quality cycling bibs offering a wealth of comfort for long rides.

The shorts has the dual-layer ELITE Escape 1:1 chamois, which sits one level below their pro offerings. It means there are dual layers with different densities to spread load away from the sit bones. Attached front and back they can move independant from each other, offering flexiblity while riding while at the same time reducing friction.

The Elite chamois does not have an added soft top layer for the longest of rides. But the pad does offer tapered edges sealed seamlessly where it connects to the bib.

The INTERVAL bib short is made from ELITE Transfer In-R-Cool fabric, which is a cool name to describe a material that transfers heat and adds added sun reflectiveness.

The hems are laser cut and seamless, so the short chave, but do stay in place thanks to the silicone gripper.

Pearl Izumi Men’s PRO Air Bib Short

Pearl Izumi Men's PRO Air Bib Short
Pearl Izumi Men's PRO Air Bib Short

The Pearl Izumi Men’s PRO Air Bib Short is their premium offering made from PRO Transfer fabric compression fabric.

The cycling bib has an amazing fit with fantastic cooling capabilities, thanks to the coldblack technology, which reduces the buildup of heat, is UV resistant, and transfers heat better than traditional fabrics.

The soft PRO transfer fabric might feel a little tight when pulling on the shorts, but this feeling is gone once you’re in the saddle. What remains is an overall great feel with the same fabric being used in the back panel and straps as well.

The chamois is the top-of-the-line PRO Escape 1:1, the best they have to offer, with a total of 3 distinct layers distributing pressure away from the sit bones across a larger area. Logically these chamois are purpose-built for long hours in the saddle and they perform brilliantly in that respect, reducing chances of saddle sores.

Premium fabrics, a top notch chamois, in an overall great package make these compression cycling bibs hard to beat.

Giordana Men’s FR-C Pro Bib Short

Giordana Men's FR-C Pro Bib Short
Giordana Men's FR-C Pro Bib Short

Well made and hard-wearing is what the Giordana Men’s FR-C Pro Bib Short is.

Made from HC50 High Compression Power Lycra, it basically means they used more treads per inch than in your standard material. As with other well-made compression fabric, the cycling bib feels tight initially, but is soon forgotten after you start pedalling.

Their top-level Cirro-S chamois ensures comfort for long distance touring, with an incredibly thin 4-layer construction. This cycling bib offers an ultra-soft top layer followed by an open-cell foam layer for moisture management, and memory foam for pressure relief.

Soft elastic leg cuffs keep the short in place, and elastic straps attached to a mesh back ensure perspiration can evaporate quickly and effectively. Reflective elements finish the bib.

While not the most expensive in Giordana’s lineup, this short does make sure you get pro peleton worthy apparel from the Italian brand.

Giordana Men’s SilverLine Bib Short

Giordana Men's SilverLine Bib Short
Giordana Men's SilverLine Bib Short

The Giordana Men’s SilverLine Bib Short is an extremely durable bib short with a great fit for a reasonable price.

It has their 3-layer 13 mm. Cirro chamois. It’s a top-of-the-line chamois for male cyclists. While I’m unsure whether it actually heals skin, courtesy of the Aloe Vera layer, the comfort of various waffle-textured open cell layers is unmistakable. And as with other high-end chamois, it has tapered edges seamlessly connected to your bib.

The straps are wide and comfortable and end in a large back panel to ensure a smooth and comfortable fit without any rideup.

The hems are made from an elastic woven fabric to keep them in place without digging in, and they do so perfectly.

For a respectable price the Silverline bib short is a great choice to obtain characteristics of quality, durability and comfort in a fashionable package.

Giordana Men’s Fusion Bib Short

Giordana Men's Fusion Bib Short
Giordana Men's Fusion Bib Short

The Giordana Men’s Fusion Bib Short offers their thicker 3-layer 13 m. Cirro chamois.

It has wide straps ending in a comfortable large back panel, with tall laser cut hems.

The chamois has an Aloe Vera infused layer that prevents bacteria build-up and offers cooling factors. It’s sewn atop a tick 8mm. layer of memory foam. This open waffle-textured layer offers excellent moisture-wicking and ventilation properties.

A bit less performance oriented for the casual rider, these shorts will still amaze when staying many hours in the saddle.

Castelli Superleggera Bibshort

Castelli Superleggera Bibshort
Castelli Superleggera Bibshort

Yes there are cycling bibs for weight weenies, and one of the best is the Castelli Superleggera Bibshort.

Weighing in at less than half of more traditional cycling bibs, the short still delivers the best-of-the-best in terms of comfort.

It does so with the help of Castelli’s top-tier Progetto X2 Air chamois, which is a multi-layered, multi-density pad with added inserts for pressure relief.

Made from the same compression fabric as it’s heavier brother, the Premio Black bib short, the fabric has varying levels of thickness. The further down the leg you move the thinner it becomes, without becoming akwardly transparent in the back.

It also has the same innovative leg gripper, with an elastic band woven into the fabric itself.

Maximum levels of moisture-wicking and breathability in an extremely lightweight package made from the best compression fabric worth your money. The Castelli Superleggera Bibshort is the ultimate hot weather cycling bib.

Castelli Competizione Kit Bibshort

Castelli Competizione Kit Bibshort
Castelli Competizione Kit Bibshort

The Castelli Competizione Kit Bibshort is an almost perfect combination of design and functionality.

My favorite Italian cycling apparel brand offers the excellent KISS Air2 chamois into an awesome-looking cycling bib. This pre-shaped pad has multiple layers with varying densities to spread out pressure and increase shock absorption across a larger area. It’s topped off with a non-chaving incredibly soft skin layer.

Mesh straps are connected to compression fabric, with aerodynamic Vortex BLC textured panneling on the outside of the legs. Even if it might not actually make you faster, it at least makes you look faster because of its stylish look. A laser-cut GIRO4 leg gripper let the bibs end smoothly.

Probably the best-looking bib of the more moderately priced cycling bibs, that performs fantastically for the majority of road cyclists.

Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort

Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort
Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort

The Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort is a cycling short meant for riders who appreciate added level of protection in case of a crash.

It features Castelli’s top-of-the-line Progetto X2 Air chamois made for comfort for ambitious cyclists. Men’s specific pressure points are more supported with an added layer of perforated padding, besides a skin layer, and dual density foam layer. This means a further reduction of saddle soreness when riding for many hours.

Mesh straps are attached to bibs made from compression fabric and having strengthened side panels made from DyneemaComposite Fabric, which is stronger, lighter, and more abbrasion resistant than comparable nylon fabrics. So should you ever fall with this fairly expensive piece of cycling apparel, chances of you actually tearing them are significantly reduced.

If you take your riding and safety serious and you want a exquisitely designed cycling bib, the Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort should be at the top of your list.

Sportful Supergiara Bibshort

Sportful Supergiara Bibshort
Sportful Supergiara Bibshort

The Sportful Supergiara Bibshort is a more traditional bib short from the Italian brand, which also caters to the gravel community by offering bibs with pockets.

It’s meant for race-day with a tight compression fabric but still holds their impressively comfortable gravel-specific DMS chamois. Such a pad does make a difference when traversing less than ideal road conditions for longer periods. With a firm section in the back for rough sections and minimal padding up front for going into the drops on smoother tarmac, they’re perfectly suited for gravel riding and feel amazingly comfortable.

The entire back panel and front straps are created from mesh fabric, with a large side section connecting front and back. Together with the fabric you get a pair of shorts that stay in place, look the part and feel comfortable.

There are 3 pockets. One located at the left leg and two in the back, measuring 10 x 13 cm each, with the one on the leg being 16 x 11 cm. With today’s huge phones, especially when sleeved, you might still opt to place them somewhere else. But they perform adequately for energy bars.

The shorts are beautifully crafted and fit your average built perfectly. So if you’re looking for maximum comfort for your next gravel ride the Sportful Supergiara Bibshort should be one to consider.

Sportful Total Comfort Bibshort

Sportful Total Comfort Bibshort
Sportful Total Comfort Bibshort

In every category there are products that sit at the right end of the specific spectrum and the Sportful Total Comfort Bibshort does this in the area of their chamois. The biggest question that needs answering when offering a product that promises unparalleled levels of comfort, is whether it performs as expected. The answer to that question is yes, with a slight caveat.

With the 18 mm. Total Comfort W pad it’s by far the thickest and widest pad on this list, which will suit riders who failed to find comfort in other premium offerings. So for those who prefer triple-digits rides, these are the perfect shorts for you. There’s loads of comfort to be found in a pad that feels like your riding on a pillow.

To ensure a design that doesn’t look like you’re wearing diapers, the incredibly thick pad is strongly tapered and has a variable thickness. Once in the saddle they don’t feel any different from pads that are almost half this one.

These are not shorts for men who like to ride aggressively in a forward position for longer stretches. The thickest area of the pad is located at the back, preferring a more upright position. So not only will these shorts provide high levels of comfort in a more relaxed position, they’re also a perfect choice for gravel afficionados, where damping features are more highly appreciated.

The rest of the shorts are of a quality appropriate for it’s steep price, with the entire upper part of the shorts and wide straps made from breathable mesh. It all means these shorts targets a distinctive audience with specific needs, but it does so excellently.

Gore C5 Opti Bib Shorts+

Gore C5 Opti Bib Shorts+
Gore C5 Opti Bib Shorts+

The Gore C5 Opti Bib Shorts+ are unique in that the Swedish brand offers temperature protection for your groin.

While this might sound trivial at first, it totally isn’t. Anyone who’s ridden in chilly or windy conditions knows how cold this area can get, with constant winds sapping heat away from your body. Obviously this leads to energy otherwise used for cycling being diverted, and an allround uncomfortable feeling where you don’t want it to.

The Men Advanced chamois features an extended cup at the front of a double-layered pad, made from GORE WINDSTOPPER fabric. Suffice to say this significantly reduces the risk of numbness in the genital area because of cold. The multi-density foam furthermore is anatomically shaped with open-cell foam padding to negate pressure points.

A serious chamois innovation worth consideration.

POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts

POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts
POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts

The POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts sits at the top of the Swedish brand’s cycling bibs.

The VPDS Contour pad has all the bells and wistles other pads provide as well, including added sillicone pads for maximum shock absorption and road buzz reduction. It means that these shorts are meant for those who like long hours in the saddle with possibly less than ideal road conditions.

The long leg grippers in combination with the large back panel makes sure the short always stays in place.

The cycling bibs get’s bonus points for it’s design, with the ceramic reinforced material, not only being abbrasive resistant, but also featuring a delicate ringed pattern. POC claims that should you ever find yourself in a crash, this helps to slide the material along instead of ripping. Truth be told I haven’t tested this.

POC is known for making high-quality products and these shorts certainly look and feel that way, as it should for the price they charge for these premium cycling bibs.

POC Essential Road Vpds Bib Shorts

POC Essential Road Vpds Bib Shorts
POC Essential Road Vpds Bib Shorts

The POC Essential Road Vpds Bib Shorts are comfortable shorts for longer rides.

The Swedish brand offers cycling shorts with silicone inserted chamois. The inserts are cleverly located to relieve pressure for a male specific anatomy, and sit seamlessly atop a perforated base layer. Though these inserts are not unique to the brand, as POC claims, they do a good job of keeping you comfortable for long distance touring.

Seam-free straps are connected to a large mesh back panel, and move all the way from the front to the back of the bib.

Seams are kept to an absolute minimum including ones for the laser cut hems, which have integrated silicone grippers. Small reflective elemenents on the legs make you more visible in low-light conditions.

Craft Essence Bib Shorts

Craft Essence Bib Shorts
Craft Essence Bib Shorts

The Craft Essense Bib Shorts are a great allround choice for budget-minded cyclists.

One of Craft’s most affordable cycling bibs feature their C3 chamois, which still provides ample levels of comfort with a hollow-fiber pad.

Craft displays a high degree of corporate responsibility, with this short being created with recycled polyamide. So if that’s something you value and look for in a product, Craft is definitely worth choosing.

The cycling bib has two front strap, which ends in a large back panel.

Highly affordable and with sustainability in mind, the Craft Essense Bib Shorts is a great choice for the recreative road cyclist.

Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts

Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts
Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts

The Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts are more than excellent shorts for a very reasonable price.

Beautifully designed, they offer a mesh back panel that wraps around your body into a high waist, ensuring a great look with comfortable straps at the front.

The C2 pad has three layers of various densities made in a way that reduces waste. The thickest parts sits at the sit bones offering necessary damping qualities.

The shorts themselves are made from recycled polyamide, so you know Craft is big into sustainability. The brand is know for creating very durable products.

It falls into the category of cargo bibs, sporting pockets at the legs and a single zip pocket in the back.

A great product for road and grael cyclists who can appreciate high-quality comfortable bib shorts for a great price.

Specifications best padded cycling bibs

NamePriceChamoisStrapsMaterialHemsPocketsDisciplineBuy at AmazonBuy at Ebay
Pearl Izumi Men’s Expedition Bib Short125 USDMen’s ELITE Escape 1:1straps w. back panelELITE Transfer compression fabricsilicone printed cuffs2 thigh pocketsgravel, roadlinklink
Pearl Izumi Men’s INTERVAL Bib Short150 USDMen’s ELITE Escape 1:1straps w. back panelELITE Transfer In-R-Coolsilicone leg grippersnoneroadlinklink
Pearl Izumi Men’s PRO Air Bib Short275 USDPRO Escape 1:1PRO Transfer fabric with In-R-Cool and coldblacklaser-cut w. siliconenoneroadlink
Giordana Men’s FR-C Pro Bib Short250 USDCirro SHC50 High Compression Power Lycraelastic wovennoneroadlinklink
Giordana Men’s SilverLine Bib Short160 USDCirroseamless straps w. mesh back panelelastic wovennoneroadlinklink
Giordana Men’s Fusion Bib Short130 USDCirroLoPro 0 straps w. back panelcompression Lycraintegrated leg bandsnoneroadlinklink
Castelli Superleggera Bibshort240 USDProgetto X2 Airstraps w. mesh back panelgradient stretch woven fabricintegrated gripper elasticnoneroadlinklink
Castelli Competizione Kit Bibshort140 USDKISS Air2mesh straps w. mesh back panelAffinity Pro Lycra and Vortex BLCGIRO4 leg grippersnoneroadlinklink
Castelli Free Protect Race Bibshort250 USDProgetto X2 Airmesh straps w. mesh back panelForza fabric w. Vortex panelsGIRO4 leg grippernoneroad, gravellinklink
Sportful Supergiara Bibshort195 USDDMSmesh straps w. mesh back panelstretch woven1 mesh cargo pocket on left leg and 2 mesh pockets on backroad, gravellinklink
Sportful Total Comfort Bibshort230 USDTotal Comfortperforated straps w. back panellaser cutnoneroadlinklink
Gore C5 Opti Bib Shorts+120 USDMen Advancedmesh straps w. mesh back panelGORE Selected Fabricsstretch wovennoneroadlinklink
POC Ceramic Vpds Bib Shorts250 eurosVPDS Contourmesh straps w. mesh back panelstretch wovennoneroad, gravellinklink
POC Essential Road Vpds Bib Shorts160 eurosVPDs Multi Dmesh straps w. mesh back panelstretch wovennoneroadlinklink
Craft Essence Bib Shorts90 eurosInfinity C3 Pad Menstraps w. back panelLycra Sport Energy compression fabricsilicone leg grippersnoneroadlinklink
Craft Adv Offroad Bib Shorts140 eurosC2mesh straps w. mesh back panelLycra Sport Energystretch woven1 thigh pocket, 1 zip pocket in backroad, gravellinklink