Florals for spring are old hat, so why not pedal a new look into your spring and summer wardrobe?
We’re talking about bike shorts, which have rolled quite quickly onto the trendy bodies of celebrities and actual cyclists this year.
When it comes to styling the shorts, you could go for a basic black look like trendsetter Chrissy Teigen, opt for some golden Versace opulence like Bella Hadid or go all out on your wedding weekend with a white bike shorts set that only Zoë Kravitz could pull off back in 2019.
For the rest of us, bike shorts are the hybrid between comfy leggings and showing some leg for spring, that have now moved beyond the workout lane and ridden into the world of fashion.
As in past roundups of leggings and joggers, we wanted to know which brands offered the best selection of bike shorts — so we tested them all. Since I don’t have a bike in my New York City apartment, I improvised a bit on my home workout machine, but hey, it still counts and didn’t affect the fashion aspect.
Keep scrolling for the best brands of 2021 that fit most every booty and budget, as well as some outfit options for how to ride out this trend in style.
Kicking things off with an oldie but a goodie, these basic black bike shorts are anything but average when it comes to fit and style-ability.
The high-rise version comes in a huge array of colors, including wardrobe staples and fun seasonal shades named after spring’s delights, such as pond, ivy and rosebud to name a few. However, nothing beats black, especially when it is a size-inclusive style ranging from an XXS all the way up to a 6XL. They have an 8.5-inch inseam, hitting just above the knee on most, including myself with a 5-foot-3-ish frame.
Styling these is like styling a little black dress: anything goes. The model went with an athletic ensemble, which I copied for the first outfit, but toned it back to an athleisure look with a black long-sleeve top and a pair of black sneakers to match. After getting a monochrome moment out of my system, playing with some fun prints and colors is a great way to play up a pair of black shorts, so I threw on a bright yellow pair of Franco Sarto loafers and a floral embroidered jacket perfect for spring.
Spanx is back with yet another reason to rock faux-leather looks.
I was already a huge fan of their faux-leather joggers and leggings, so naturally the bike shorts were the next needed addition to my collection. The shorts range in size from an XS to a 3XL, and while I can wear both the large and the XL, I actually chose the bigger size for these, so that I could wear them comfortably all day. Don’t worry, regardless of what size you choose, the shapewear benefits still work like magic, smoothing your tummy and sides no matter how you style them.
Speaking of styling, while the model opted for a casual look with sneakers and a cropped sweatshirt, these are too fun not to dress up. For my first look, I went office chic, with a pair of Lucky Brand heels and a blazer from Anthropologie. Then for a crazier look for a night on the town, the graphic printed men’s Urban Outfitters top worked well over a basic black tank top, and the hot pink Kat Maconie sandals put this look over the top.
Bike shorts? Where?
Camo jokes are pretty silly, but these bike shorts don’t mess around. lululemon is known for all things activewear, and while these shorts are great for working out, they are also super versatile for styling for the street. The shorts are made from some of the most breathable fabric: lululemon’s Everlux fabric wicks sweat and keeps you cool. Also cool are the two side pockets and an expertly hidden waistband pocket in the back for a credit card or mask. They range in size from zero to 14, and I tend to wear a 10 comfortably, or 8 for a workout if I need more compression.
These can really be styled any way you like, for a run or a day spent running errands. For the former, I went with a white sports bra from Spanx and some sneakers. For a daytime look, pair the camo shorts with an army-green top from Lulus and an orange Fjällräven backpack for a pop of color.
Anyone who read my review of leggings knows I am already obsessed with Wolven’s crossover waistband. Now that I know they make bike shorts with the same design, I need to rave about these, too.
Released in new colors for the spring, the spice-inspired hues include the pictured eucalyptus color, as well as a darker green “Thyme,” a brown “Chai,” black “Onyx,” and a non-crossover straight band pair in an orange “Turmeric,” red “Cayenne,” Wolf Gray and Indigo navy blue. No matter the color you choose, when you make a purchase at Wolven, they remove one pound of trash from our oceans — think about that the next time you jog along the beach or pier.
To style these green shorts, make it easy on yourself and grab a matching sports bra, which really smoothed my sides which are usually a problem area. I wear a large in both the bra and shorts, but the new basics collection goes up to an XXL and as small as an XS with plenty of stretch. Also, I have one more thing to say: pockets.
Yummie is only one of the many positive adjectives to describe how these shorts make you (and your “tummie”) feel.
The shapewear brand is back again with another curve-loving item you need to have for summer. The Mel bike shorts also come with my favorite accessory already built in — pockets. They are deep enough to hold a cell phone in one and a credit card and mask in another, should you want to go for a run or ditch your purse at home. They are also made of super breathable cotton, another perk for the hotter spring and summer months.
Should you want to bring your purse, these shorts are also fun to dress up, as they double as a pair of spandex to hold you in. For a more casual night out, throw on a pair of black heels, your favorite crop top (mine is from Calvin Klein) and a denim jacket. During the day, pair with a flowy blouse and a pop of color for the bag, something Kate Spade is known for.
If you haven’t heard of a groutfit, listen up.
There’s something extra cozy about an all-gray set, so much so that a term was created to honor the monochrome outfit. While the Free People set does come in other colors such as blue, black, red and peach, the gray one makes me want to curl up with my kitten and a good book.
The set is made of organic cotton, an added perk for breathability if you choose to wear it to bed. It includes a super oversized tee, which on my 5-foot-3-ish frame could double as a dress, and a pair of long bike shorts. The set ranges in size from an XS to an XL, and on me, the large was perfect (well, huge, but that’s the goal) and the elastic waistband has plenty of give should you want to size down so that the shirt isn’t as large.
For styling, this one is a no-brainer, as it comes with everything you need for a lazy day. The only thing I added were my fuzzy Apparis slippers and later on, my bed. If you do want to wear this out and about, it’s perfect as-is or with a sweatshirt until the weather warms up.
What’s easier to style than a pair of well-fitting basic black biker shorts?
Alo is the queen of yoga comfort as well, and the high-waisted shorts are no exception. Even with the super high-rise fit, when sitting and standing, the waistband sits comfortably over my belly while also holding it in as an added bonus. I got the black pair in a size large, but could have sized down for a tighter hold, as these babies have amazing stretch to them and move with your body, not against it. They also come in some other fun colors such as pink, orange and white.
Style-wise, the model on the site put these together with a cute cropped hoodie for that effortless “I just got back from the gym and don’t have a hair out of place” look, which is always a move. For me, I love it when a bike short has their logo at the bottom, perfect to peak through when wearing an oversized tee on top, or in my case, a men’s shirt from Rue21. Adding a pair of sneakers and a baseball cap can amp up the athletic look, or dress it up with a fun shirt and some kicks, and you have a stylish and Gen Z-approved look to hit the streets in.
These bike shorts really do go above and beyond.
Beyond Yoga knows two things to be true with their designs: The first is that athletic clothing should be made to fit all shapes and sizes and the second is pockets. The Spacedye biker shorts have both, as they range from an XXS to an XXL in straight sizing and from a 1XL to a 3XL in their extended size shorts. Both styles have a glorious pocket on each leg, with ample room for a phone in one and a mask, credit card and keys in the other.
There’s nothing easier than styling black shorts (they do come in hot fuchsia for more of a challenge), so you can really wear whatever you want with them. I decided to dress them up with two different blazers from Liverpool Los Angeles and a pair of red heels from Lulus. Blazers and biker shorts? Who would’ve thought?
Attention all Reformation lovers: the brand has a brand new activewear collection with your name on it.
RefActive was launched on March 1, and we are so glad they did before this review. They offer a few different styles of shorts, but I personally love the 7-inch inseam, as it covers my thighs but isn’t so long that it cuts off funny at my knee. The shorts are also size-inclusive, ranging from an XS to an XL in straight sizing and a 1XL to a 3XL in their extended sizes. They come in the above pine color, as well as a springy peach and two basics in black and a light pink beige.
Since the fabric is so soft (which is crazy since they are made from 79% recycled plastic bottles and 21% spandex), I first wore them around the house with an oversized Ivory Ella sweatshirt and slippers from Victoria’s Secret. For a more casual day look, pair with a tank top and simply tie a long-sleeve flannel shirt around your waist and slip on some white Adidas sneakers, and you’re good to go.
These shorts truly do it all, but we like them best for summer as the brand’s name suggests.
From Summersalt, these peachy shorts look super stylish for the warmer months, especially in the terracotta shade I have. They also sell the shorts in a minty color as well as a light blue and black to cover all the bases. They are silky soft to the touch, even more impressive once you find out they are made using recycled plastic bottles found in our oceans.
To style the reddish pair in particular, I went with some beach vibes, first throwing on a tube top, sandals from Tkees, a sunny yellow Calvin Klein bag and a pair of Ray Bans. The second look can be thrown over a swimsuit or worn any place in the summer, with a top from Brandy Melville and sandals from Rue21. You can also go for comfort, following the model’s lead with a matching sweatshirt and white sneakers.
Forget apple bottom jeans, these bike shorts are where it’s at when it comes to a great-looking peach.
Gymshark athletic wear is ideal for two reasons: working out and looking amazing while doing it. I had the pleasure of trying the Flex Cycling Shorts, and even on my less-than-perfect backside, they looked pretty great. While I love the lighter colors like the pictured gray and pink combo because they show the shaping lines under and above the booty, they also come in all black, as well as in light blue, light pink, light purple and an even lighter gray.
To style, both the model and I agreed that these give off a more athletic and casual vibe. While she went with a sports bra and Converse kicks (to work out in? Interesting!), I chose my trusty black Nike sneakers and a loose tie-dye top from Anthropologie.
Don’t get the hype around bike shorts? Let hype brand Kappa school you a bit.
The Football Eve shorts are some of the most fun bike shorts to rock on the streets, as they come in some super fun hues with bold colorblocking and the iconic Kappa logo all down the leg. Not only do they come in white with neon blue and black accents, but they also are available in the reverse with a black base, as well as in a light pink short with the same neon blue bands. They range in size from an XS to a 2XL, and I actually had to size down to a medium, as they are extremely stretchy.
For styling, really anything works, from just a sports bra and shoes to an oversized hoodie. I went first with a basic black long-sleeve top and white shoes to complement the pattern of the shorts. Then, I went the exact opposite, with a graphic oversized sweatshirt to amp up the fun streetwear aspect of the shorts. These are perfect to pair with any thrift-find jacket, too, or check the Kappa site for their own hoodies and tanks.
Feel like a champ, be it at the gym, on a bike or just out for a casual day in the sun.
Champion is synonymous with cute workout clothing, and now the same can be said about casual athleisure, too. The Everyday Bike Short is a best-selling item on the site, and comes in black and pink in addition to the gray pair in the photos. The first thing to note is the insanely soft jersey fabric that feels like bedsheets when pulling them on. They are 7-inches long, hitting about mid-thigh, which is also a perk to avoid dreaded chafing in hot weather.
These shorts pretty much style themselves. If you choose to wear a cropped tee with them, the waistband features the Champion logo, and if you want to wear a roomier sweatshirt, the logo runs down both legs. Throwing on a pair of running shoes and a cap make these great for a jog, and a crop top and denim jacket make a look for running errands or a Sunday morning coffee at an outdoor cafe.