March 13, 2020, was the last day I wore real pants. That afternoon I bid goodbye to my office and packed up my computer to work from home. Coincidentally, it was also the start of my pregnancy’s morning-sickness hell, which banished all thoughts of denim from my mind. Tormented by all-day nausea, I sought comfort in bed and on the yoga mat. High-waist leggings gave me space to curl up in a ball and never squeezed my growing tummy. But as summer’s heat arrived early and I found myself routinely sweating buckets, a breezy pair of bike shorts proved much better. Even as the days cool down, they’re still the first thing I reach for every morning. I’m never going back.
And who can blame me? Bike shorts have been trending for the past few years—among fashion types and Kardashians as well as hot yogis and SoulCyclers—with good reason. They offer the comfort and mobility of their ankle-length colleagues, but their short stature prevents excessive heat and sweat. That’s exactly what you want when you’re bouncing between your non-air-conditioned home office and your anxiety-reduction activity of choice, whether it’s HIIT in your living room, strolling the neighborhood, or heading for the hills to get some time in nature.
Here are my top three pairs.
Lululemon Align Super High Rise ($58)
Lulu’s Align leggings have a cult following among moms-to-be: the utterly noncompressive, ultrastretchy Lycra-blend fabric accommodates any body type, from baby bump to power booty to mermaid thighs, with zero squeeze. The Align shorts are just as good. They come in a four- and six-inch inseam, but my pick is the Super High Rise iteration for its Bermuda shorts–like ten-inch length.
The Cargo Master
Prana Electa ($59)
Two words: side pockets. And if that’s not enough to win you over, consider this pair’s UPF 50+ fabric and moisture-wicking polyester gusset, details that make the Electra great for high-intensity pursuits. Prana’s Luxara fabric blends nylon and elastane to hit the sweet spot between soft and compressive, with a smooth feel and gentle support that doesn’t turn thighs into sausages. The high rise and seven-inch inseam are just right, too, providing coverage without smothering your waist.
Outdoor Voices Warmup ($48)
Buttery, comfortable fabric is great for wearing around the house and the studio, not so much for hiking and camping. Outdoor Voices uses a polyester-spandex blend that’s a little more rugged and compressive than the other picks here, so you can take a seat at a rocky overlook and not worry about scuffing up the bum. Pair these five-inch shorts with the Athena crop top for a set of basics that will take you from home desk to trail to swimming hole and back again without losing a beat.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Lead Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty