I was locating the greater trochanter (pointy hip bone) on a customer during a bike fit this week and couldn’t help myself. “Are you wearing underpants under your bike shorts?”
Public Service Announcement: Don’t do that. You’re just asking for bunching, chafing and other sorts of discomfort that give biking a bad name. Forge that personal bond with your shorts and leave the bloomers at home.
On that topic, how should bike shorts fit? Like bike shoes, they should be snug but not constrictive and they should be comfortable. You should not be able to move around in your shorts; they should move with you. A biking pad always feels rather dumpy when the wearer is not on a bike, but it’s important to pay attention to how the pad feels. Is it rough at the seam? Squat down. Does anything feel wrong? Do you think you’ll be happy wearing these things for a couple of hours or more? Anything that feels slightly wrong in the store has the potential to feel really wrong after some time in the saddle.
Factors that differentiate shorts are the cut, the fabric and the all-important pad. More expensive shorts typically have fancier pads and more expensive fabrics, but these things don’t necessarily mean that the shorts will fit you better. I encourage folks to try on several pair and choose those that best fit their physique and wallet.