A Complete Cycling Clothing Guide from Head to Toe

Jan Poshenko
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Incorrect Bike Fit

Bike fittings are important to ensure that you enjoy your cycling experience as much as possible. Many people pay less attention to fitting their bike properly and often don’t think about clothing when looking to craft the perfect cycling experience.

Often, cyclists who have the misconception that the only thing important is the bike itself, will compensate with the wrong clothing.

You Need Maximum Comfort

You will probably arrive at a point in your cycling career where you need to have a second set of cycling clothing.

Your first set will consist of a base layer, followed by some other clothes you can closely wear.

The reason for this is to allow the base layer to dry faster and have a almost clean set of clothes afterwards. You need clothing that fits tight enough so that your skin will not touch the bike, but loose enough so they can move freely.

The base layer materials will be specific to your climate. You need to decide if you live in a rainy or dry climate, then choose the appropriate base layer. If you buy something designed for a completely different climate, then it will not be appropriate for you.

Base Layers

You can choose from three different types of materials:

  • Wool
  • Synthetic
  • Merino wool

Types of Jersey Fits and Cuts

There are a few different fits and cuts available on jerseys made for cycling. A good fit can be difficult to find, but with this buying guide, you can get the right clothing for your intended use and body type.

The Perfect Fit

Jerseys aren’t just for looks. They are also functional and play a significant role in how you perform while cycling. In warmer weather, you’ll want to go for something that is looser so that you could shed them easily when necessary.

When shopping, you’ll want to choose a jersey cut that’s loose but that still fits you comfortably. If your jersey is too tight, you won’t be able to adjust as well in the event you need to roll up your sleeves or in case the material snags on something. Avoid tight fits altogether.

Fitted jerseys, on the other hand, are ideal for colder weather. They keep you warmer than non-fitted versions and are not as easily worn for other activities.

How to choose the perfect fit for your cycling clothing?

Bib Shorts

Bib shorts, or cycling shorts, are designed with padding in all the right places, tight fits, and offer efficient moisture transfer. The classic version of bib shorts will feature padding around the crotch and include loops at the back intended to be worn under the jersey. Although this design element has been largely replaced by suspenders or compression straps, the front and rear padding is still present. Ideally, the padding should be sufficient enough to offer just the right amount of shock absorption without causing discomfort, which is now what many bib shorts do. In addition, the waist on bib shorts is usually contoured to create a seamless fit around the abdomen. If you’re interested in a pair of shorts with a contoured waistband, look for products that are designed with a seamless band, which are more expensive than average shorts with a standard waistband. You’ll also find that a number of bib shorts are made from two layers of fabric and incorporate fabric that is designed to be used in cold weather, which is perfect for winter riding.

What is A Chamois


If you've ever been on a long ride before, you're bound to have heard someone talking about their chamois. The chamois is a cloth that is generally found between your shorts and their inner liner. The chamois is specifically designed to remove moisture from the inner liner and help make you feel drier and more comfortable for the entire ride.

This cloth may be the last thing that you think about when you're looking for some new riding gear, but it can be one of the most important ones. The chamois is at the forefront of your comfort and is the main reason why people choose one pair of shorts over another. If you're looking for the best cycling shorts money can buy, it may be the chamois that makes the difference.

Types of Bibs

With cycling clothes, the bib is the section that covers your legs from the waist to the knee or higher. There is a wide range of bibs available, and they differ in how they look and what they’re made of. We’ll review the following common types of bibs in more detail below:

Cycling bib shorts – These offer maximum comfort. The shorts are made of lycra. They are designed in a way that enhances your performance and is suited to every rider in every cycling discipline. A good cycling bib short can be worn by any cyclist, and it should not ride up in your descent.

Bib tights – You can wear this over or under your jersey or it can be worn on its own. This provides the smallest amount of coverage. It looks like a single-piece pants and is meant to stretch over the thighs. Wear them with your jersey or base layers and you’ll still have comfort and ease of movement.

Base Layers

As the name suggests, base layers offer a base level of protection from the cold. Generally, they should be worn closest to the skin and, while meant to keep you warm, are typically very thin so as not to add too much bulk. Some base layers offer compression to improve blood flow and keep you warm.


Underwear can also be worn as a base layer if it’s made from a material that’s good for that purpose. Since underwear is worn next to the skin, it’s important to choose the right material to prevent chafing or any type of irritation. It’s also important to choose the right size for your underwear.


A jockstrap is, you guessed it, worn by jocks. It’s made from thick material that’s meant to fit closely against the skin for better support. Jockstraps can also be worn as a base layer but only for those who don’t have trouble with chafing or irritation. Even though they’re made of thick material, they’re still lightweight so as not to be too bulky.


Vs Gloves: What’s Best for You?

This Is a Hard Question…

Because ultimately it’s your comfort that matters most…

So it’s best to ask yourself what is more important in terms of feeling warm … more insulation from the cold on the outside, or better warmth from blood pumping to your muscles?

Because essentially, that’s a choice between using warmers or gloves.

So let’s look at the pros and cons of each…

Warmers … Warmers are great because they can keep your fingers warm without restricting your ability to grip onto the handlebars. With that said, warmers can be less comfortable than quality gloves at higher temperatures.

Warmers are great because they can keep your fingers warm without restricting your ability to grip onto the handlebars. With that said, warmers can be less comfortable than quality gloves at higher temperatures. Gloves … Gloves are the perfect solution for keeping your hands warm when it’s super cold. They can easily keep you comfortable when it’s freezing outside, but they can also get too hot on those sunny spring days.

Types of Warmers

Are there For Cycling?

Warmed headwear is no longer the preserve of winter … today’s top cyclists opt for toque hats or other well-insulated headwear to regulate body temperature on days when the mercury rises above par. The wide variety of “beanies” and other warmers available now provide exactly that bit of extra warmth you need to keep you riding safely on warm days.

As a cyclist, you’re likely to experience typical conditions, from deep winter to warm summer days, so it’s essential that you have the right clothing to help your body adjust to the varying weather conditions.

You want to be warm enough to keep your body in an optimal working temperature but not too warm that you overheat, which may cause a drop in your performance. These are the most common warmers on the market today.


You’ll need a jacket made of two types of material. You should look for a jacket or jersey that offers both wind and waterproof protection. Not all rain jackets are suitable for biking. A good option for outdoor cycling is a jacket constructed from a durable fabric like Gore’tex. If you do go for a Gore’tex jacket, you’ll also need a rainproof shell jacket to protect you from the rain and wind when you’re out in the elements.

You’ll need a jacket made of two types of material. You should look for a jacket or jersey that offers both wind and waterproof protection. Not all rain jackets are suitable for biking. A good option for outdoor cycling is a jacket constructed from a durable fabric like Gore’tex. If you do go for a Gore’tex jacket, you’ll also need a rainproof shell jacket to protect you from the rain and wind when you’re out in the elements.

Types of Jackets

There are many types of cycling jackets out there, but generally, you can divide them in three categories.

Wind Jackets

Wind jackets are designed to work especially as an outer layer in extreme cold weather. They are generally very lightweight and, at least in theory, windproof. They should make you feel perfectly warm, even at 38 F (3 C). They are designed to let your body warm up when you ride. Some wind jackets are not ideally suitable as an outer layer above 60 F (15 C).

Base Layers

The base layer is the black (or white or whatever colour) inner layer of your V-neck jersey. It does not have sleeves (nb: base layers do not generally include arm sleeves). Some cyclists even use their base layer as a stand-alone sleeveless top.

A base layer is designed to regulate your body temperature. It “traps” the perspiration (sweat) produced while you ride, so that it can insulate your body and prevent it from cooling down. Unlike your wind jacket, your base layer should not be windproof.

It should fit you tight enough to allow room for the next layer (more on that later). The tighter it fits (within reason), the better it will insulate your body.


Your eyes are your most important piece of cycling gear. Protect them with products specifically made for the purpose.

When cycling in the low-light conditions of morning during winter, or cloudy days, try wearing prescription sunglasses under lightweight protective glasses. This will protect your eyes from wind and debris.

Steel Skull Caps

The number-one source of injuries in cycling is your head. This is why a good helmet is the first item on a cycling clothing list.

In addition to being a great safety item, a helmet will keep the sun out of your eyes and will make you look cool!

Cycling Caps

A cycling cap will keep the sun out of your eyes and will cut your head’s exposure to UV light. This is useful when stopped at traffic lights or sitting on a wheel. Cyclists who use a cap typically wear a helmet as well.

Sunglasses and headwear are the only two items that are required by law in the USA. Other than that, you can be as inventive as you want with your cyclists clothing.


Not that you want to completely hide under a helmet, but the right helmet will keep your head protected in the event of a fall. Never rely on a helmet alone because no helmet will protect your skull from all types of injury:

Air vent helmets are the most aerodynamic of helmets, but they aren't great in the rain, as they do not protect you from the inevitable downpour. But their lack of features make it easy to find a stylish helmet in any color and design.

Road helmets are also very aerodynamic, and you can find them in any design and color scheme. Some helmets made for road biking can also offer ventilation, and a small visor. They are lightweight but often lack adjustability. Some helmets even have a built-in sun visor, a small but necessary feature for riding in the city.

Mountain bike helmets, as the name implies, are designed specifically for mountain biking. They are also designed to address the common type of injury that bikers sustain—head trauma.

Because of that, most mountain bike helmets have a visor, or a large brim…to deflect errant branches. Most mountain bike helmets are also equipped with a chin guard to protect against scratches and scrapes.


  • Calluses are the bane of a cyclists life. They not only make the life of a cyclist tough, but also make riding itself uncomfortable. To avoid getting them, you need to prevent the hands from soaking in water for too long. This is why it’s important to wear gloves that cover the elbow and forearms.
  • These gloves are usually padded. When you are biking in an air-conditioned room, the cool air may cause your hands and fingers to go numb. Padded gloves will also protect the hand and fingers against injuries in the case of crashes.

When looking for cycling gloves, you need to decide if they are padded or not. Wear them on the dominant hand to accommodate the gear shift. If they are hard to break in, soak them in water and wear overnight. This will soft the material.

Cloths with padding on the hands protect them from extreme heat as well as injury due to falls. Another good thing is that they keep your hands from getting bruised or cut by the handlebars.

Cushioned gloves are better than the traditional style because they absorb vibration. This makes them ideal for riding on rough road conditions.

The ones with padding on the finger tips are the best. This is because they can also protect your hands if you fall. They are also better if you have a problem with your fingers numbing.

Summer Gloves

Summer gloves and winter gloves are exactly what they sound like – they’re gloves designed for the neighborhood or winter and the neighborhood or summer.

Technical Cycle Gloves

Cycling gloves are critical for keeping your hands protected against road rash and in extreme weather like wind, rain, and cold when you’re out in the neighborhood. The design of the gloves, which includes glove design for summer and winter, gloves for men and women, and function of the riding gloves are based solely on what’s going to improve your cycling or protect you on the road.

Temperature-Controlled Cycling Gloves

You’ve probably heard the weather report,”the temperature is going to be on the rise, so get ready,”or the weatherman might say, “the temperature will be in the 30s, so get out there and enjoy the brisk weather.”Bridal Cycle Gloves

Cycling gloves are designed to keep your hands protected and warm enough to minimize blistering occurring on the palms of your hands.


They are gloves designed to go over your technical wrist warmers or winter gloves and designed to keep your hands warmer for riding in extreme cold.

Winter Gloves

Since cycling gloves are usually worn over other layers, making it easy for the rider to adjust hand positions to match the terrain, it can be difficult to find a pair that doesn’t have a slick or overly textured palm.

For this reason, most brands tend to stick with a plain, soft-feel material, though Specialized’s Body Geometry Winter Gloves use a two-layer rubberized palm with cross-stitched synthetic microsuede overlays for extra durability and enhanced grip. If you’re particularly concerned about cold hands on a ride, you might want to consider a pair with Giro’s double insulation system, hydraulic palms or sissel fabric liners. Both keep your hands extra warm at the cost of fewer overall riding features.

If you’re a rider who is concerned about your hands, you can always consider off-season fitness activities like yoga or weight-lifting to build up the muscles in your forearms and hands without risking long-term injury or affecting your riding style.

Important: If your gloves aren’t fit well, this can cause numbness in your fingertips and make your palms too hot. It’s best to find a pair that’s just a little snug so as not to restrict your blood circulation.


How Do You Tell Cycling Socks Apart?

Cycling socks can be a tricky area to navigate. Socks are a personal preference and buying socks because they look good can start you down a slippery slope. There are many things you should take into account before buying any socks, in particular when it comes to cycling.

The catch is that you can’t tell how a sock will perform based on how it looks. But don’t despair! Clothing manufacturers have slowly perfected their sock formulas and now have socks that guide you in the correct direction (no pun intended). A good way to test out different socks is to buy several pairs and test them out when riding your bike.

Your feet change throughout the day and they also can be affected by the time of year and weather. Sweating, swollen feet are more susceptible to chafing and blisters.

You’ll want to look for the following characteristics when you’re buying cycling socks:

Toe Tab

There are different styles of toe tabs. A standard toe tab is one that fits well around the toes and tightly grips the toes. These types of toe tabs generally don’t get in your way when you’re pedaling.


Cycling shoes generally have three main requirements:

  • To be stiff enough to transfer energy from your leg to the pedals
  • To offer some level of power transfer enhancement
  • To be as light as possible

If you're an entry level cyclist, you will benefit from a shoe that offers the benefit of stability.

Stability is offered by a platform in the front of the shoe. This platform should be stiff and should follow a non-compressible, wide profile. A wide and stiff platform provides the support needed for the foot, ankle, and lower leg and will encourage the proper bio-mechanical cycling position.

A second benefit offered by stability shoes is the low heel to help maintain good ankle mobility. When you pedal, your ankle is naturally in a slight amount of dorsiflexion which should remain the case when riding.

If you're a rider who is concerned with power transfer, you'll want a stiff shoe that is stiff from front to back as well as from side to side.

Funny Enough:

The stiffer the shoe, the more stable it will feel to the rider.

The stiffer the shoe, the more power you'll transfer to the pedal.

This may seem counter intuitive to you, but the stiffer your shoe, the more stable it will feel without sacrificing power.

Shoe Covers

Or SPD Cleats?

Cycling shoes are built specifically for biking. They are designed to provide optimal power transfer through every pedal stroke and fit the unique pedal shape of clipless pedals. To keep your pedaling smooth and efficient, you’ll also want to keep all of the debris out of your cleats and make sure your feet are firmly attached to your pedals. Many biking shoes feature replaceable cleats, so it’s quite easy to switch them out when they’re worn down.

Shoe covers, also called “toe clips,” keep your feet firmly attached to your pedals. They attach to the main pedal body with an adjustable strap. To keep your shoes nice and tidy, you can ride with shoes with clips attached. In addition to being practical for the road, they look cool as well. Shoe covers help keep your shoes looking sharp longer and prevent them from getting scuffed or scuffed up during the road.

Types of Shoe Covers

Outer Shell Shoe Covers: this type of shoe cover goes over your clothing and your shoes. It is water-resistant, and the shell will protect your shoes and the rest of your cycling gear from rain, mud, and debris. In other words, the outer shell will keep your feet comfortable and provide a barrier between your skin and the elements.

Omni Kleen Shoe Covers: these shoe covers allow moisture to pass through them when you’re on the bike. The water-resistant lining inside the shoe cover will keep your shoes dry and allow your feet to breathe. Once you’re done riding, pull out the Omni Kleen® foot vents to help them dry. They’re more breathable than similar shoe covers, which helps keep your feet dry and your sweat and odor levels to a minimum.

Powabrasion Over Boot: these shoe covers apply a micro-abrasive material to your regular cycling shoes. This allows you to use your cycling shoes in wet and muddy conditions. The shoe covers have Omni Kleen vents on them, and you can purchase a zipper for them, too.