I'm looking into buying some bike shorts and wanted to know what was economical and yet still better than normal gym shorts (which I'm using now for about 17 or 34 miles per day). Walmart has bike shorts for $30, but I'm not sure what the metal eyelets are for. Do they serve a purpose or is it simply for 'looks'?
I believe the eyelets are there to allow water to drain out of the pockets. There's probably no practical need for them unless you ride in torrential rain.
The manufacturer may include them to give an impression that the shorts will make you prepared for all possible conditions, or they may be trying to mimic the style of board shorts (as suggested in a few of the comments).