If you’ve just taken up indoor cycling, or you’re considering it, here’s the gear you need to make your ride smooth and successful.
By Amy Schlinger
You can throw on a pair of running shorts or old sweats, and a plain white t-shirt and jump on your indoor bike and ride—but that doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable. Certain fabrics like cotton aren’t optimal for workouts as they collect sweat, and some fitness attire doesn’t translate for all sports activities. If you want to optimize your ride and have the most comfortable and efficient workout, here’s what to wear for at-home indoor cycling.
Gear for Indoor Cycling
Long Spandex Shorts or Leggings
Because you’ll be seated for some or most of your indoor ride, it’s important to wear something that will cover your upper legs and butt to prevent any chafing or uncomfortable contact between the seat and your skin. Opt for a pair of longer spandex shorts or leggings that will protect you and wick sweat. Loose running shorts will likely ride up and be uncomfortable, so avoid wearing them.
Try the Pearl Izumi Women’s Wander Crop, $75
Try the Pearl Izumi Men’s Attack Tight, $90
While you likely won’t be cycling indoors for an extended period of time, you might be a person who still prefers a bit more cushion under your butt—no matter how used to the seat you may be. And if you’re a brand new rider or getting back into cycling after a hiatus, know that you’re going to have soreness. If that’s the case, consider investing in a pair of shorts or leggings with a chamois. These types of bike shorts that have extra padding under the bum. “This is a better solution than padding for your seat, as most are made out of foam, and foam is more prone to collapsing over time,” explains Chris Jacobson, North American brand manager for bikefitting.com and PRO bike gear. “Shorts with a chamois that are made out of sweat wicking material are a fantastic choice.” Over time, the body will adapt and the soreness will lessen and even possibly go away entirely.
Form-Fitting Top or Jersey
Again, sweat-wicking material is key here. While you can wear the same jersey you’d wear cycling outdoors if you have one, it’s not necessary, as you likely won’t need pockets for things like snacks for your indoor ride. Try a form fitting tank or t-shirt made out of a material that is soft against the skin and pulls moisture away from the body. Anything too loose might get caught on the handlebars or get in the way.
You won’t have to worry about the elements when you’re riding inside, so there’s no need for socks that provide extra warmth. Instead, opt for a pair of breathable sweat-wicking socks that will keep things from getting too sweaty while you’re standing, sitting, and racing your way up a virtual hill.
Clipless Indoor Cycling Shoes
If you’re cycling at home, you may need to jump off the bike to grab a water bottle, or just walk over to close the door so you don’t disturb the other members of your household. Therefore, you’ll want a pair of shoes that you’re able to walk in comfortably. “Indoor cycling shoes with a sole that’s appropriate to walk around, to and from the bike, on hardwood or tile floors are a good option,” says John Geary, manager of business development at Shimano. “Shoes with a receded cleat are easier to walk in, and they also allow you to get off the bike and get in some strength work without having to change shoes.”
Try the Shimano IC1; $90
Try the Shimano IC2; $110
Try the Shimano IC5; $125
Not having to deal with Mother Nature does make it easy to ride any day, no matter the weather, but it also removes elements like wind from the equation. Chances are good you’ll work up a serious sweat indoors —more than you might outdoors. Keep the droplets from getting into your eyes and distracting you with a headband to collect and contain the moisture.
It’s important to keep things dry to prevent your hands from slipping on the handlebars, especially when you’re changing positions. Use a towel to wipe away any excess sweat on the bike or your body.
Try the Shimano Indoor Cycling Workout Towel; $10