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Biking to Work Pants: What to Look For [GUIDE]

If you want to cycle comfortable, getting your legwear right is your most vital clothing consideration.

After all, it’s your legs that are doing all of the work.

That’s the reason why I’ve written extensive guides on the best trousers for cycling.

And one brand that I’ve frequently mentioned in these guides are Ministry of Supply, who are – in my opinion – the best brand around for providing stylish and functional clothing that feels as good on the bike as it looks in the office. This post is a collaboration with the brand as we try to find out what goes into the perfect pants for biking to work.

Cycling Pants: Key Features

If you want to cycle to work without a change of clothes, your trousers need to:

  • Look good
  • Be light
  • Be breathable
  • Be stretchy
  • Fit well
  • Have deep pockets

Tick all of those six boxes and you’ll truly be able to cycle to work in style. But what do you actually need to look for in trousers to ensure they meet the criteria?

Let’s break it down in more detail:

1.     Hello, Good Looking

Style is pretty subjective and saying something is good-looking doesn’t mean it is. Obviously here you’ve got to use your own judgment while applying your own style preference.

For me, the ultimate test of functional yet stylish clothing is “The Pub Test™”. The Pub Test™ is a simple one to apply: if you walk into a pub, would anyone even suspect that you are “a cyclist” or do you just look like a well-dressed person socialising?

2.     Lightweight, Breathable and Stretchy

The next major consideration that should go into your trousers for cycling should be the materials used and how they’ve been constructed.

Premium polyester is often one of the best lightweight fabrics around that also allows your body to breath. But if you’re seeing a heavier material also used in the fabric blend (like cotton), you’ll also want to see LYCRA Spandex discreetly woven into the fabric.

Ministry of Supply’s Kinetic Pant (which we reviewed here) is my most worn pair of cycling trousers for the past year as they are just so insanely flexible and comfortable – all the while maintaining a sleek straight fit. These pants are so stretchy that you can go into a full squat with no resistance – they manage this thanks to their patented “100% Primeflex warp-knit Japanese polyester”, a material that has been scientifically engineered in order to maximise stretch and breathability.

3.     Fit

Of course, style and function goes out of the window if trousers don’t fit well. And as well as the cut of the trousers themselves, a slightly elasticated waistband can go a long, long way to keeping your trousers in place.

Likewise, one of the most off-putting elements of “normal trousers” when cycling is that the waistline is all at the same height – which can cause a “rear exposure” problem as you lean forward to cycle. No-one wants to see that.

Therefore, by having a slightly waistline at the rear, this unnecessary exposure can be eradicated simply.

Ministry of Supply have gone one step further on this front by providing a stretch waistband with a drawstring – meaning that you waistline actually expands when bent over the handlebars, while providing a more typical fit when standing up.

4.     Deep Pockets

This may seem somewhat arbitrary, but having deep pockets while cycling is an absolute must.

There’s nothing worse than having shallow pockets while cycling and then dealing with the anxiety that your phone and other valuables are about to fall out at any moment as you pedal.

Therefore, deep pockets are an absolute must. And if you can get a pocket or two with a zip on it (like on the Kinetic Pant), that’s all the better.

Where to Find Biking to Work Pants

You can access all Discerning Cyclist’s best cycling pants guides, in the section below. We’ve tested dozens of bike pants over the years to help you find the perfect pants for biking to work – as we discussed in this guide.

Ministry of Supply are undoubtedly specialists in this area, with their tremendous Kinetic Pants and Velocity Dress Pants some of the very best stylish cycling to work trousers around. The Kinetic Pants, in particular, are one of my favourite ever pairs of trousers – not just “cycling trousers” and have been my most worn trousers over the past year.

Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pants

Ministry of Supply Velocity Dress Pants

READ MORE:

Pete Reynolds


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Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile