With the weather getting colder, one key item you will need to keep you warm during winter is a good pair of winter tights specifically designed for cycling.
Why buy a pair of tights specifically designed for cycling you ask? There’s various reasons why cycling tights are great for winter commuting (which we’ll explore later in this post) but in short:
- Comfortable - Extra padding around the seat area to provide more comfort
- Breathable - Breathable and helps keep sweat at bay on those warmer mornings
- Keep clean - Means you don’t get your work pants dirty and can change into a clean pair of pants at work
We recommend the Gore Soft Shell Thermal Cycling Tights which are available at Amazon for Price not available.
What to look for when buying winter cycling tights
Cycling tights for commuting come in all shapes and styles suiting some more than others.
Let’s look at what to consider when buying tights for commuting in winter
The length of cycling tights come in two options: full length or 3/4 length. We generally recommend full length for people riding in unforgiving cold winters whilst recommend 3/4 length for people riding in more milder winters and don’t want to overheat.
Having tights which fit snuggly against your body is important, for this reason there are two different types of fits.
The first is bib tights which rely on straps that come up over your shoulders and covers most of your stomach and back. For colder winters, we prefer bib tights as they do a great job of keeping the cold air out and ensure your tights stay fitted without sagging (due to being strapped over your shoulders). One down side of bib tights is they can be an effort to put on and off which can be a tad annoying for quick toilet pit stops or commuters like us.
The other option is waist tights which stop around the hips. We generally prefer this style for warmer winters where you don’t need the coverage over your stomach like bib tights provide.
Another consideration when it comes to fitting is straps under your feet and knee padding which some tights include. This helps with keeping the tights from riding up which we’ve found to be useful in providing a comfortable fit. While the knee pads also act to provide more support for your knees.
Material and Warmth
Cycling tights are made using Lycra or nylon spandex as others may know it as. One problem with Lycra is that it’s not the most warmest or breathable material which is why major manufacturers add polyester or polyeurathane to cycling tights to help with warmth, breathability and comfort.
Generally different cycling tights will have higher warmth ratings than others. From our experience, the more warmer pants will have a very thin inner fleece layer which helps to keep you warm.
For those of us that commute rain, hail or shine, fair not as some cycling tights do come with a waterproof layer on the outside of the tights. While not completely waterproof, they help hold back any dampness when you get stuck in rain.
Padding or no pading?
Depending on how far you commute to work and your own personal preference, cycling tights come with the option for chamois padding which is available in most tights. Ultimately this is what seperate cycling tights against normal tights.
Like anything cycling related, you ultimately get what you pay for when buying tights with a chamois in terms of comfort and durability long term.
Best Water Repellent Tights
Endura Thermolite Tight
Endura's Thermolite cycling tights are designed for the winter weather using a hollow-core fibre technology which helps create an insulating layer of warm air to help keep you warm.
Designed for everyone, the Thermolite's come with two options: one without padding (chamois) and another that's a little bit expensive which comes with padding.
For those that cycle in the rain, you will be happy to know the Endura Thermolite's come with a water repellent coating to help keep you dry.
One issue we noticed with the pants was the waist can be quite ill-fitting for some. This was generally from the waist being low at the front and then too big at the back. This results in the chamois feeling loose and not tight.
Best Wind and Water Proof Cycling Tights
GORE BIKE WEAR Soft Shell Thermal Cycling Tights
Gore Bike Wear have released a great cycling tight with the soft shell thermal pants. These come in a bib only option which will be comfortable even for people that don't like bib based padding.
With their windproof and rain repellent design, the Gore soft shell terminal cycling tights are built for winter commuting. From our experience, windproof and rain repellent materials aren't the most breathable materials so for this reason, Gore have included a soft shell technology which is a breathable material to help stop you from over heating.
Not only do the pants include windproof and rain repellent design but also include a warm inner layer to keep you warm. You'll be bound to be warm enough on 22 F / -2 C degree days where other pants might begin to struggle in keeping you warm.
All in all, the Gore Bike Wear Soft Shell Thermal Cycling TIghts are a great option for anyone looking for a serious pair of tights to commute to work during winter.
Best Tights for Long Days in the Saddle
Castelli Sorpasso Bib Tights
The Castelli Sorpasso Bib Tights are designed for someone looking for a serious pair of tights for long days in the saddle. While these won't suit all our readers, we know some of our readers commute far distances and wanted to share.
What makes the Castelli Sorpasso great for long days in the saddle is the super comfortable bib design that's also breathable and helps avoid any build up of moisture around your... err... private parts.
Castelli uses their Thermoflex Core2 technology which is essentially a thin fleece layer that works to create insulation in cold temperatures while also helping wick away sweat when you begin to warm up.
These aren't the warmest tights we reviewed and are best suited for temperatures of 0 degrees to 15 degrees celsius. You can always make them warmer by putting some leg warmers over the top but that kind of defeats the purpose of buying cycling tights.
The tights include zippered ankle openings which help keep you warm and stop any water coming in.
Are these worth the high price tag for most people commuting? Probably not but are definitely worth their money for anyone doing serious distance every day and looking for a durable pair of tights that will keep you warm.
Best Budget Cycling Tights
WOSAWE Cycling Bib Pants
The Wosawe Cycling Bib Pant was our favourite budget pick for anyone looking to buy a pair of cycling pants without breaking the bank.
Designed with a bib tight that is both lightweight and includes a four-way stretch panel helps ensure you are always comfortable while providing freedom to move around as needed.
We were really surprised on how cheap the Wosawe's especially considering they come with a bib tight. Some of the other brands we reviewed in this article charge another $25-50 extra for pants with leggings which is basically the cost of these tights!
One thing we really liked about the Wosawe pants was the inclusion of a zippered pocket at the back of the pants which is big enough to store some money/cards and/or your mobile phone.
If you're unsure whether cycling tights are for you, we don't think you can go wrong with these cycling tights designed by Wosawe.