A group of cyclist in a indoor gym class smiling.

What to Wear for Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling is one of the best ways to exercise and get fit in the privacy and safety of your own home. But wearing the wrong attire can quickly derail your riding experience and make for an uncomfortable ride. If you’re wondering what to wear for indoor cycling, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you get started. (No extensive budget required!)

What should I wear on an exercise bike?

Two women cycling smiling at each other.

We know it might be tempting to roll right out of bed in those comfy sweats and hop on your indoor bike for an early morning ride, but thick sweatpants will likely make you overheat, and the wrong material can be a chafing disaster. To avoid feeling like a hot, sticky, and uncomfortable mess while you ride, it’s best to choose clothes that wick sweat away from your skin and don’t ride up, chafe, or get caught in your bike.

Fortunately, you don’t need any fancy gear to be comfortable. You can likely use something you already have at home in your closet. However, a few basic recommendations will ensure you’re ready to take on any indoor ride with Vingo and feel (and look) great while doing it!

What kind of top should I wear while cycling?

A group of men/women cycling in a gym fast.

The most important rule of thumb when choosing a top for indoor cycling is to pick one made of sweat-wicking fabric. If you ride in a cotton top (even if it’s a tank), you’ll feel like a hot, sweaty mess the whole time. So let’s just avoid that scenario!

Thin, sweat-wicking tanks are perfect for ventilation and will help keep you dry as you cycle. Flowy, cropped t-shirts are another great option that provide plenty of airflow. Just make sure it has minimal stitching to avoid uncomfortable rubbing on your skin.

Some people prefer to ride shirtless indoors, but a sports bra is another excellent alternative. Indoor cycling is generally a medium-impact sport, so you’ll want to choose a supportive sports bra that keeps you comfortable and makes you feel secure during physical activity. Again, make sure it’s made of a sweat-wicking material for optimum comfort.

What kind of bottoms should I wear while cycling?

A group of indoor cyclists at the gym.

For indoor cycling, bike shorts are often the go-to choice for many riders because they help keep you cool while you work up a sweat. While any tight-fitting gym shorts will work just fine for beginners, if you cycle a lot, you may want to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts.

Padded cycling shorts

Padded cycling shorts have a thin layer of padding that covers your behind and crotch to reduce bruising, chafing, and discomfort. Shorts specifically made for cycling are also made with thin, light fabric that holds less moisture and reduces friction. High-waisted bike shorts can also provide excellent core support. Just make sure you have a pair that doesn’t continually slide down as you ride.

If you choose to wear padded cycling shorts while riding, don’t wear underwear underneath. It will probably seem strange at first, but the padding in these types of shorts is designed to sit next to your skin. Wearing underwear will cause chafing and increase moisture and overall discomfort.

Workout tights 

Workout tights are a staple for many men and women when it comes to indoor cycling. The tight-fitting, sleek, and supportive fabric won’t get caught in your bike or chafe your thighs. Many are also high-waisted, which will pair well with a supportive sports bra.

Race suit/skinsuit

A race suit (skinsuit) is another option for indoor cyclists, although a more expensive one. It might be a worthy investment for those who take indoor cycling very seriously and frequently train at a high intensity. A race suit will provide plenty of benefits to enhance performance, including removable and freezable cooling packs, perforated material for enhanced breathability, UV protection (if you also plan to wear it for outdoor riding), and sleek pockets.

Should I wear shoes for indoor cycling?

A male cyclist using cycling shoes for his next ride.

Shoes are highly recommended for indoor cycling. But if you’re new to cycling, your regular tennis shoes will work fine. 

Alternatively, if your indoor trainer features clips for bike shoes or you cycle indoors regularly, you may want to invest in a pair of indoor cycling shoes. These shoes are made specifically for indoor cycling. They have a clip that attaches to the pedal of your trainer with very light pressure and helps to improve the overall efficiency and safety of your ride for a better experience.

Whether you wear your everyday tennis shoes or indoor cycling shoes while you ride, make sure you pair them with a pair of moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry, comfortable, and protected.

Wardrobe accessories for indoor cyclists

A gym back zipped open with shoes, towel, phone and sneaker peaking out.

Other accessories that may help make your indoor ride more comfortable include:

  • A zip-up hoodie: If you prefer to ride first thing in the morning, you might feel a little chilly upon waking up. During your warmup, a comfortable zip-up hoodie will keep you warm but is also easy to remove once your muscles heat up and you start to sweat.
  • Sweat towels: Keep a small, clean towel on your hand nearby to wipe the sweat from your face and keep it away from your eyes.
  • Hair scrunchie: If you have long hair, a scrunchie or hair tie will help keep your hair out of your face and off your neck while you cycle. This will keep you comfortable and cool throughout your workout.
  • Headphones: A little music or your favorite podcast can help keep you motivated while you cycle indoors. Earbuds are ideal for cycling, as wires could easily get tangled up.
  • Water bottle: Of course, staying hydrated is key while cycling indoors! Keep a water bottle on hand near your bike and refill it with fresh water each time you hop on your trainer for a ride.

What should I not wear while cycling indoors?

A group of cyclists in a gym mid cycle.

Like any other physical activity, stretchy and lightweight clothing is best for indoor cycling. Avoid jeans, dress clothes, and anything made of cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and can leave you feeling extra sticky and sweaty as they get heavier with sweat.

Also, avoid sweatpants. Although they’re nice for lying around on rest days, you’ll definitely sweat up a storm in sweatpants, and you could potentially overheat while cycling indoors.

Where to shop for indoor cycling clothes

Male looking at his phone with his credit card out.

Many specialty brands make clothing specifically for cyclists, and you can purchase them online or in-store. However, they tend to be more expensive. 

Alternatively, you can find high-quality athletic clothing at stores like REI, DICK’S Sporting Goods, or your local bike shop. One of these stores is more likely to have cycling-specific apparel and gear, like padded bike shorts or skinsuits. (Although Amazon has them too.)

For more budget-friendly options, you can shop the athletic departments at stores like Target and Walmart and find some great athletic apparel perfect for indoor cycling.

Are you ready to make indoor cycling your go-to exercise routine? The key is having an awesome indoor cycling space! Here’s the perfect guide to help you get started.

Key Takeaways:

Any lightweight athletic clothing made of a sweat-wicking material works well for indoor cycling. You can likely use what you already have in your closet! However, you can also purchase cycling-specific apparel, like padded cycling shorts or cycling shoes, to enhance your comfort while you cycle.

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