by Lars Hundley (This article is sponsored by Aero Tech Designs.)
I bought my first pair of Aero Tech Designs cycling shorts back in 2013, after learning about them in the back of Bicycling magazine. Years later, I still have several of their shorts in regular rotation in my cycling apparel drawer.
Aside from the obviously required good fit and comfort, what I like about Aero Tech shorts is that they are made in the USA, using a variety of high quality Italian chamois designs that are specific to each type of shorts.
If you’re a Clydesdale who requires larger cycling apparel sizes, then it’s likely you are already familiar with this brand. Unlike many other brands that max out at XL, Aero Tech goes as high as 4XL in most shorts, and even higher in some jersey models.
Here’s a roundup of their most popular shorts. Most models are also available as bibs.
Aero Tech Gel Touring Cycling Shorts
The Gel Touring cycling shorts are the most popular shorts they sell. They come in all black, or with accent colors like the high viz yellow pair that’s in the photo. All seven of the available colors include a high quality reflective tabs on both legs for visibility, made by 3M. You’ll also get comfortable silicone leg grippers, and a nice and thick 12mm chamois for long days on your bike.
These shorts are not just great for a longer tour on the road, but also for those gravel or mountain bike rides where you need to carry more stuff because you’re far out from getting support. The roomy mesh side pockets let you carry extra gels or a credit card, where you can easily access it instead of having to reach back into your jersey pocket. The Gel Touring shorts also have a drawstring waist. These cost $89.99.
Best features: High viz color options, or just plain black. Drawstring waist. Plush 12mm chamois. Roomy mesh side pockets.
Aero Tech All Day Cycling Shorts
The All Day cycling shorts are a more traditional looking cycling short, with no drawstring. They have a smaller side pocket that is not as noticeable, but still with plenty of room for a couple of gels or even a smartphone. Side pockets also come in handy in situations like when you’re changing a flat tire, to keep all your repair parts within easy reach.
I especially like the additional reflectivity built into these shorts, with a 3M Scotchlite tab on each thigh as well as a line of reflectivity at the pocket opening. The shorts come with several color options as well as solid black for traditionalists. The Italian chamois on the All Day shorts is a nice and thick 10mm design, and the chamois fabric has an antibacterial finish. Silicone grippers keep the legs comfortable in place. These cost $99.99.
Best features: Useful side pockets that are still discrete looking. Good reflectivity. Multiple color options, including plain black.
Aero Tech Elite Cycling Shorts
If you’re looking for a traditional cycling short with a thick chamois that will keep you comfortable on long rides, then you’ll like the Elite model. These come with a high spandex content for good comfort and fit, a one inch waistband and silicone leg grippers to keep the shorts in place, and flatlock seams throughout that won’t rub. Cars will notice you on the road when headlights are shining due to the excellent 3M Scotchlite reflectivity built in to the shorts.
The Italian chamois on the Elite shorts has a 12mm thickness with a multi density design that gives you the right thickness at the right comfort level where you want it, near your sit bones. The chamois is seamless, with a highly engineered design and carbon treated Resistex fibers that is soft against your skin, creates an even distribution of heat and airflow and also resists bacteria. These cost $89.99.
Best features: Great reflective Scotchlite pattern for visibility. Plush 12mm chamois.
Aero Tech Top Shelf Cycling Shorts
These are the first type of shorts I ever bought from Aero Tech, and I still have two pair in rotation in my cycling drawer. Mine are still in great shape years later. If you’re looking for just a “regular pair of good cycling shorts” with nothing fancy, then these are an excellent choice.
They’re also a great deal at $69.99 for shorts that are made in the USA and come with a comfortable 10mm thick Italian chamois. They have the reflective 3M Scotchlite tab on the leg for visibility at dawn and dusk, and they have comfortable silicone leg grippers to keep them in place during hard efforts.
Best feature: Great deal for high quality, standard cycling shorts.
Aero Tech Pro Cycling Shorts
If you prefer a less bulky chamois, then the 7mm Italian chamois in the Pro Cycling Shorts might be right up your alley. These shorts additionally come in five different fabric colors, so you can choose something to match the rest of your kit.
Aero Tech says these are extremely popular for re-orders, because once people try them, they tend to come back and order more. Eight panel construction and silicone leg grippers keep your comfortable on your bike. These are also the least expensive option, at just $54.99.
Best features: Multiple fabric color options. 7mm chamois for cyclists who like a thinner feel.