Do Women Wear Underwear Under Cycling Shorts?

Going commando is an evergreen topic in cycling. Beginners delay the decision until they dare to remove the underwear and finally make their intimate parts breathe. At least men do, but what about women?

Women don’t wear underwear under cycling shorts. Underwear is made of sweat-absorbing material, so panties chafe the skin and cause pain. The padding on cycling shorts eliminates that, as it wicks away the sweat. It’s also made from antibacterial material, so it’s more hygienic to go pantyless.

It’s hard to remove underwear for the first time. You feel like you’re naked. We have all been there. But once you get used to it, cycling becomes much more enjoyable. So read further and I will do my best to explain why you definitely should not wear underwear under cycling shorts.

If you’re interested in the best cycling shorts for women, you can find them by clicking here.

Wearing underwear under cycling shorts is a bad idea

Men don’t have problems with not wearing underwear when cycling, but let’s say that men’s intimate parts are a bit less sensitive than women’s.

Women have more problems removing their underwear before cycling, as they feel there can be some problems, one way or another. However, once they commit to going commando, they stay that way forever.

Cycling becomes much more enjoyable when you don’t have underwear. No more dealing with pain that underwear seam provides, no more pulling your knickers out of your bottom and no more sore skin after the ride. Finally, you can enjoy cycling.

Maybe surprisingly, removing underwear is not an aero thing as all staff in cycling are. It’s also not a made-up thing from men to get you to remove the underwear. It’s purely a health and comfort thing, but many beginners don’t understand that right from the start.


When cycling, you sweat from all body parts, your pants included. The underwear is commonly made from cotton, one of the most comfortable materials to wear, but it has a bad habit of soaking in sweat. Once the panties get wet, they start rubbing the skin and soon abrasions appear. When sweat gets on the wound (and it definitely will), the whole thing becomes quite stinging.

I have never met a girl that wears underwear when cycling.

If you’re doing shorter distances, chafing won’t be so bad that you can’t finish the ride. However, when the wound starts healing, every additional chafing becomes painful and most people opt out of riding until the wound heals.

It’s stupid to miss beautiful rides just because you don’t dare to remove your underwear. I swear nobody will notice a difference and you will enjoy cycling much more.

Underwear seams

Underwear seams are your worst enemy when riding.

As if underwear doesn’t have enough material that causes a problem, they also have accentuated edges. More material = more problems.

Underwear seams are usually quite firm, meaning they can rub you even harder. Most of the time, the seam will give you the biggest wounds.

Another annoying habit of seams is that it is positioned at the meeting point of the saddle and your skin. You’re basically sitting on it all the time and in a sport, where you spend most of the time sitting, you really don’t want to sit on hard seam. It’s uncomfortable as hell.

Padding is your friend

You probably noticed that cycling shorts have padding. It’s there to make your rides more comfortable. It’s also made to be used without underwear. So, by having it, you kind of defeat the purpose of padding. Sure, it will still make your ride more comfortable, but not as much as it could.

Padding is made from a soft material – foam or gel – which must fit the body as closely as possible. Only then does it serve its purpose. You probably figured it out that by having underwear, you prevent it from doing that.


If I haven’t convinced you by now, let me try one more thing. You and I both know girls care about how we look on a bike and wearing underwear doesn’t help us with that.

As we’ve already discussed, most underwear has pronounced seams that are visible through the cycling shorts. While this is not the end of the world, some girls have problems showing underwear (even through another layer) to the world. So another reason to not wear underwear when cycling.

Are you wondering if the same rules apply to a bra? Do you have to remove it as well? You will find all the information in this helpful article.

Cycling without underwear is more hygienic

Leaving underwear at home when cycling is not only more comfortable but is also more hygienic. It might sound weird, but hear me out.

Underwear is made from material that absorbs sweat. They get soaking wet in a matter of minutes on a hot day, so you’re doomed to soak your private parts in sweat for a few hours. Not only is it not the most pleasant feeling, but it can also cause health problems. Women’s private parts are very sensitive and can quickly become inflamed. This leads to some uncomfortable days when cycling is not possible.

Riding without underwear helps prevent inflammation of the private parts.

But padding can also become sweaty, you might say. But you would be wrong.

Yes, padding will not be completely dry after the ride on a hot day, but it won’t be soaking wet either. It’s made from materials that wick away the sweat, thus preventing any chafing or inflammation.

Padding is added for a reason. Let it do its job.

Even more, padding is usually made from antibacterial materials, which further help prevent possible infections. In all my years of cycling and talking with other cyclists, I never heard any women had inflamed private parts after riding without underwear.

One important thing to keep in mind.

Wash your shorts after every ride. That’s the only way to prevent any health issues. There isn’t a material in the world that would be antibacterial and protect your intimate parts if it’s not clean.

Wash your shorts after every ride.

Going commando has another benefit, especially if you’re using bib shorts. It’s much easier to pee during a ride if you’re wearing only cycling shorts. You can read more about the technique women use to pee in another article and see why going commando eases the call of nature.

Underwear alternative for cycling

I’m well aware that not all women will ride without underwear, at least not right from the start. Clothing manufacturers are aware of this fact as well, so they developed some alternative pieces of clothing for us to use.

If your ride is shorter then 30 minutes you can wear normal clothes.

Padded underwear

Padded underwear is the perfect solution for an easier transition from riding in underwear to riding without it.

If you don’t want to ride without underwear, getting padded underwear is better than riding with cycling shorts and underwear. It removes the possibility of chafing, it wicks away the sweat and is more hygienic. It’s doing everything cycling shorts are supposed to do.

However, padded underwear requires another layer over them, usually leggings or mountain bike pants. I recommend you select the leggings, as mountain bike pants are loose and you get more wind resistance, resulting in a lower speed at the same power.

There is another piece of clothing you can wear over padded underwear. It’s a cycling skirt. However, I don’t like it and don’t recommend it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just stupid.

It’s made to look good on a bike, but it makes your ride less comfortable. The skirt can get stuck on a seat, exposing you to potential danger. And don’t forget that the wind will lift the front part of the skirt when you’re riding. It really isn’t a way to go, use leggings or mountain bike shorts instead. Even those popular super short pants are a better solution than the skirt.


Cycling can be overwhelming when you first start. There are many little details you need to pay attention to and rules you need to follow. Not having underwear under shorts is one of them.

While some rules are made up and don’t have any real value, that can’t be said for the usage of underwear. Removing it makes your rides more comfortable as you won’t face chafing, sweaty pants and inflammation of your private parts.

Riding without underwear is also more hygienic as padding in cycling shorts is made from antibacterial material. But you have to wash them after every use, otherwise, all hygienic benefits of cycling shorts are waisted.

If you really don’t want to ride without underwear, at least swap regular underwear with padded ones. It will make your cycling experience more comfortable, but you will have to wear some pants over it.

Barbara Tekavec Stular

Hey there! I was a beginner cyclist like you not that long ago. It was my husband (yes, the one you see in the sidebar) that dragged me into this sport. I was facing all the problems you're facing right now. Hack, I was probably an inspiration for a majority of posts here. Now that I'm past that phase, I want to help you by answering the questions no one else does.

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