What to look for in cycling clothing

As you can see, we’re big fans of cycling, and we hope you are, too. If you are a beginning cyclist, all the clothing and equipment available can seem overwhelming — and expensive. Many beginners just want an understanding of the basics of cycling clothing. If this is you, you’ve come to the right place. This post outlines the essentials for getting dressed to ride.

What to Look For in Cycling Clothing

Cycling clothing should keep you comfortable and be convenient to wear. You don’t want heat, cold, or rain to put stress on your body or distract you from your ride. Look for high-quality materials that match your specific needs.

The number one choice for cycling clothing material is Lycra® spandex. Its form-fitting nature reduces drag and the material wicks away moisture to keep you comfortable and dry.


Shirt material, sleeve length, and special features can vary based on your individual situation. For instance, a denser weave of fabric and longer sleeves will keep you warm for winter riding, and reflective accents keep you visible and safe while riding at night. Some features, however, come in handy no matter where or when you’re riding:

  • A collar to protect your neck from sunburn
  • Ventilation
  • Shoulders and sleeves shaped for the forward-leaning position of your body
  • A longer cut in the back for coverage while leaning forward
  • Pockets for easy access to keys, etc.


Bike shorts are specially designed to allow full freedom of movement and to reduce friction. Try on multiple styles to see what you find most comfortable. Some features to look for:

  • Leg grippers keep pants from riding up.
  • More panels usually make for a more comfortable fit.
  • Different types of padding have different pros and cons and different uses.


When you’re first starting out, you can get away with wearing pretty much any athletic shoes you like. However, the difference between your typical athletic shoes and cycling shoes is in the sole. A cycling shoe’s sole is stiffer, which makes the transfer of energy from your body to the bike more efficient.

The type of cycling shoe you choose depends largely on your bike’s pedals. For more information on choosing bike shoes, check out REI’s page on cycling shoes.

Utah Bicycle Lawyers

As Utah’s Bicycle Lawyers, we want as many people to get involved in cycling as possible. However, we know that even with the best equipment, accidents happen, and people get hurt. If you get injured while cycling, contact us and see how we can help you get a fair settlement. We’ll do everything we can to help you get back on your bike and back to the sport we all love.

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