Honestly, I thought my days of wearing bike shorts were over in high school. You see, I went to a Catholic all-girls' school where plaid skirts were the norm. Also commonplace? Wearing spandex shorts underneath so you could go about your day without worrying about flashing your underwear. So I had quite a few spandex bike shorts in my high school wardrobe, but I said good riddance to all of them when I packed my bags for college.
But 13 years after I graduated from high school, bike shorts are everywhere I look. I'm seeing them on Instagram and all over my favorite activewear sites. Friends have texted me, wellness editor that I am, to ask what the deal is with this bike-short resurgence.
Well, I can tell you from an activewear perspective why they're back in style—they're comfortable, they have great compression, and they're great for all different kinds of workouts, especially when it's hot out and you can't bear to wear leggings. Plus, a lot of us have been spending more and more time at home these days, and these shorts are just made for lounging in.
From a style angle, they are back in full force. Fashion girls are even wearing them with blazers and heels. Who What Wear senior market editor Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour says "shorts are the new skirts" and that the trend isn't going anywhere (and isn't just for lounging at home).
Well, there you have it. I'm starting to come around to the trend, and if you are too, I've rounded up some worthy picks to try below.
1. Girlfriend Collective Smoke High-Rise Bike Short
We love Girlfriend's activewear pieces because not only are they well-made and comfortable, but they are also made from recycled water bottles. These shorts have 21% spandex and a UPF 45+ rating, meaning they can provide some protection against UV rays.
2. Outdoor Voices Techsweat Flex Shorts
These are on the shorter side with a 3.5-inch inseam, which makes it perfect for running or any activity where you're going to get hot. They come in a variety of colors, including yellow, green, gray, and even a floral print.
3. Nike Air Bike Shorts
Consider this pair your classic bike shorts. They've got enough stretch with spandex plus ribbed panels.
4. Athleta Ultimate 5" Short
Best for medium- to high-impact workouts, these shorts are made with recycled nylon, which offers just the right amount of compression. They're also breathable and sweat-wicking.
5. Vaara Millie Half Short
These shorts have a wide waistband for extra comfort, so you don't have to worry about the fabric digging in. They're mid-rise and mid-length.
6. Sweaty Betty Seamless High Waist Bike Shorts
If you really want to stand out, you'll have no problem in this lime-green pair. The shorts have a wide waistband and just the right amount of stretch.
7. Lululemon Fast and Free Short 10" Non-Reflective
You won't feel like you're wearing anything with this lightweight pair—in the best way possible. The shorts are designed for running so they're sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and even have pockets.
8. Onzie High-Rise Bike Short
Tie-dye is another activewear trend that isn't going away anytime soon. These bike shorts are high-rise and hit just above the knee.
9. Alo Yoga High-Waist Lace-Up Glitter Short
Add a little sparkle to your workout routine with these shorts that have a glitter finish. The fabric has a four-way stretch and is moisture-wicking and antimicrobial. Isn't the lace-up detail pretty cool, too?
10. Athleta Mesh Me Up 8" Short
The mesh-detail trend first made its way to leggings, and now it's on bike shorts. You can wear these to yoga or studio classes—the fabric is so soft, quick-drying, and breathable. Plus, they have pockets, too.
11. Zella Live In High Waist Pocket Bike Shorts
Things to be thankful for: One of our favorite legging brands, Zella, also makes a pair of bike shorts. These are exactly like the popular Live In High Waist Leggings (with pockets and quick-drying fabric) but in shorts form.
12. Electric & Rose Cali Biker Shorts
In bright-pink tie-dye, you definitely won't be blending in during your workout. These are made of nylon and spandex, so they're both stretchy and formfitting.
13. Lululemon Invigorate High-Rise Short 10"
These are designed for training and high-intensity workouts because they're made of Everlux, Lululemon's super-fast drying, breathable fabric. They have side pockets and a hidden waistband pocket, too.
14. Live the Process V Crossover Shorts
With a unique crossover waistband, these shorts are extra comfortable and easy to move in. They have just enough stretch with 10% lycra.
15. FP Movement Good Karma Bike Short
The fabric on these high-rise bike shorts is super soft yet supportive enough for any kind of workout. Pinhole details on the sides make everything breezy.
16. Adidas Originals Bike Shorts
With the classic Adidas stripes, these are inspired by '90s street style. The stretchy shorts are great for fitness classes and running errands.
Next up: The 25 Best High-Impact Sports Bras, According to Our Readers
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.
Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.
In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).
She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.
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