I am looking for padded bicycle shorts. When trying on candidates, all of the "leg grippers", as described in this answer, feel uncomfortably tight around my thighs, which are on the meaty side. They feel as if they might start to cut off some circulation to my lower leg. Is this common in new pairs of shorts? Do the leg grippers stretch out, or will they retain this uncomfortable tightness?

  • By "on the meaty side", do you mean "lots of muscles" or "some additional tissue that was better not there"? – Benedikt Bauer Sep 17 '15 at 13:21
  • Does it matter? o.O I’m more surprised that it’s uncomfortable at all. – Michael Sep 17 '15 at 13:31
  • @BenediktBauer Muscular. I am not looking to make them any smaller. – mattm Sep 17 '15 at 13:34
  • They stretch. My two oldest pairs of shorts no longer grip my legs tightly as they once did, but they're 2-3 years old, so the stretching takes a while. – Carey Gregory Sep 17 '15 at 19:34
  • Have you considered pants a bit longer? Mine are 3/4 "capri" style, and go down to my upper calf (mid calf on most people). Bonus is there's some additional knee support which helps. – Criggie Sep 18 '15 at 0:30
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The short answer is "sometimes". There are a few different styles of leg grippers. Some are more likely to stretch than others.

Thick Silicone leg grippers, in my experience stretch the least and are the least comfortable. While they do a great job of not letting the pant leg slip, I find the level of discomfort not worth it.
Silicone Band

My favorite kind have a slightly different material than the rest of the short, similar "strechiness" but only slightly tacky on the inside. These, I've found do stretch out over time but in similar fashion to the rest of the short's material.
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There are some shorts that have the tackiness of the above type but bind a little more and can stretch over time. I have a few pairs but the wider the band the more tolerant I am of the binding
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There is another type that tends to stretch out which is, more or less, a cinched, folder over piece of the same material found in the rest of the short. As mentioned, they do tend to stretch out and don't often stay in place as well as the tacky kinds.

There are also grippers that have little silicone "dots" to help hold in place. I usually find that they're less binding but they can be put on any material so the stretch durability is hard to nail down
Silicone Dots

  • +1. I agree with your “favourite kind”. My more expensive Gore Bike Wear POWER 3.0 Bibtights have a 6cm wide elastic band on the end with almost no silicone or rubber which is very comfortable: bikeinn.com/f/57/572153_4/… – Michael Sep 17 '15 at 13:35
  • 1
    This was quite helpful. The first 5 shorts I tried on were all of the thick silicone type, and I managed to find one that starts out fitting better. – mattm Sep 18 '15 at 17:54

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