Choosing the Best Cycling Tights – It’s a Matter of Degree.
Rain, wind, extreme cold, low light, or a mix of all are no problem with the right cycling tight. We scoured the cycling universe to bring you this collection of the very best cycling tights for all conditions.
We also put cycling tights to the test in some pretty extreme conditions from wet road surfaces to frigid temperatures. While the option always exists for layering a shell tight over bike shorts, our testers favor the integrated, dedicated cycling tights with chamois. The main reason is less bulk, and therefore a reduction in the potential for chafing at waist, back-of-knee, and through the crotch, where multiple fabric layers can be extra problematic.
Years of development and sourcing have resulted in what we think is a pretty comprehensive array of options – and the best cycling tights for female cyclists. If you’re a serious rider trying to eke out every rideable day possible, you’ll get your money’s worth out of any one of these bike tights choices.
Best Cycling Tights for Touring and 35º – 60º
Coolweather Tights $135-$140
Coolweather are our best cycling tights for mostly dry, above freezing conditions. Not only are these good for a wide temperature range, we make them for a wide variety of riders (petite, regular, tall and plus). They’re not thermal but the fabric is a densely knitted tri blend designed to wick extremely well. These are my personal go-to tights for winter mountain biking where I’m working hard and really need a tight that will provide good moisture transport.
A lightweight thermal option for mild to cool conditions. Features a combination of warm fleecy fabric, premium pad and technical details, with all-around visibility.
Sportful offers a sculpted fit in a lightweight, breathable thermal fleece with compression and stretch. Excellent chamois pad and plenty of reflective accents.
Wayfarer is new for the ’23 season, and carries our best-selling Wayfarer touring concept into a full length format. Generous pockets and satiny UPF 50+ compression fabric make this the supreme choice for an all-season touring tight.
Best Bike Tights for 30º – 50º
Thermal Tights, best cycling tights for mixed weather conditions
Lots of great choices here, all made of a fleece-backed fabric that adds loft and warmth. All three are five-star rated and offer slightly different fits as well as differences in chamois. Of course we’re biased toward our own Thermal Tight, one of our newest introductions, but the others are great options, too.
Terry Thermal $130
Recently updated with a handy leg pocket and our ridiculously comfortable soft wing chamois. Wind resistant, water repellent and warm.
Castelli’s top of the line, with a great mix of warmth, stretchy compression, windblock and water repellency. Reflective accents and all-day chamois seal the deal.
Sportful’s ultimate. Designed for riding in the depths of winter, it’s made of a heavyweight, brushed stretch fabric with 4-needle stitching, with wind– and waterproof paneling below the knee.
Best Cycling Tights for 20º – 50º
Windfront Tights, great for the coldest and/or wettest conditions
These are as good as it gets for the absolute coldest temperatures and the ones we recommend as the best cycling tights for the worst weather.
Terry Winter Tight $160
Our warmest tight yet, designed for the worst conditions. Up front, Polartec Hardface WindPro jersey/velour with DWR water repellency and polymer surface to shed moisture and block wind; Powerstretch Pro in rear for stretch and moisture management. Fully windproof and highly water resistant.
Craft ADV Subzero Lumen
A non-chamois thermal alternative from Craft, the ADV Lumen Tight can go solo or over a padded liner. Wind protective front; excellent moisture transport, plus a lightly padded reflective print panel in front.
Best Bike Tights for Visibility
Hi-Viz where it counts – studies show visibility is most effective at lower limbs in motion. The Psychlotight is suited for rides at 40° and up, in a compression fabric with a lovely next to skin feel.
Ankle bands give 360° reflectivity at the lower leg. Features a combination of warm fleecy fabric, premium pad and technical details, great for mild to cool conditions in low light.
Sportful’s sculpted fit in a lightweight, breathable thermal fleece with compression and stretch. Excellent chamois pad and plenty of reflective accents. Features reflective accents, and a hi-viz option places bright hits of color on the calves.
Craft ADV Subzero Lumen
A great option for visibility in really cold conditions, thanks to the windproof front panels, and Lumen’s glow-in-the-dark prints with reflective details.
Best Bike Tights for Sun Protection
Designed for use year round to keep the damaging effects of the sun at bay. Lightweight, silky UPF50+ fabric does not rely on coatings to block the sun, so they will hold up long term. A best seller – current stocks may be running low.
An economical choice for full sun protection that extends comfort down to moderately chilly conditions. Silky performance fabric, comfortable fit, chamois ready for a full day’s cycling.
Best Choice When Bike Tights Aren’t Enough
GTX Paclite Bike Trail Pant $200
Easily packable, and tough enough to take on a torrential downpour. Extremely breathable and robustly waterproof and windproof, with a cycling-specific cut, they’re the secret weapon for all-season riding.
Transit Bike Pant $139
Transit Pant by Showers Pass is waterproof and rugged and made with a 3-layer waterproof, breathable Artex material. A generous helping of reflective trim keeps you visible during low light hours.
How to Choose The Best Cycling Tights For Your Needs
Cycling tights give you full length protection from chilly or freezing weather, or from the sun. Consider the weight of the fabric to suit the range of conditions you will be riding in.
To pad or not to pad.
Unpadded tights are normally worn over your cycling shorts or liners, giving the advantage of being useful for other off-bike purposes. The disadvantage is that double layers of fabric can add to friction and bulk which we like to avoid.
Padded tights are cycling specific and a lovely way to go full length without the added bulk of fabric and seams over seams which can cause friction and chafing.
Evaluate the fabric.
A range of options exist, from thermal wind-protective, fleece interior Winter Tights (20-40º), to 3-season, moisture wicking Coolweather Tights (30-50º+). Neither are waterproof, so consider adding a GORE-TEX® shell (pant or short) as an outer layer if faced with wet conditions.
Pay attention to placement of the seams on cycling tights. Poor placement can lead to chafing, particularly around and behind the knee.
Select the proper size.
Cycling tights should fit tightly, with no bagging or sagging fabric that will catch on your saddle.
Length is important of course, since we’re all shaped a little differently. Our most popular Terry bike tights are available in different lengths to suit taller or shorter riders. If in doubt, our customer service team will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Match your cycling tights to the riding conditions.
Choose fabric weight, lining and water resistance to the weather and road or trail conditions you expect.
Shop our complete selection of bike tights here.
Check out our “how to choose” articles on cycling shorts and cycling knickers, and if you find this information helpful please share with your friends!
Judi A Schwandt says
Love my Castelli Vellocissima and the Gore tight with windstopper. I ride down into the 30’s in Colorado for several hours on each ride. I tend to run cold and these help keep my rides more comfortabel.