Chamois 101

Chamois 101

  • 13 September 2018
  • |
  • First Ascent

Every great pair of cycling shorts starts with a superior chamois. In this blog article we outline the origin of the chamois and some tips to keep in mind when using a pair of cycling bottoms for the first time.

The history of the Chamois

Before we get into the detail of what makes a great chamois, let’s take a look at the origin of the chamois and how it has transformed over the years into the chamois which we see today.

Chamois or cycling pads were first developed back in the early 1900s, where they were developed using deer leather combined with itchy wool for shorts – making for a rather uncomfortable ride for cyclists who covered vast distances every day transporting goods. It was only 1980s that the chamois began to transform into a more technical item with improved fabrics, which provided greater support and increased comfort while on the saddle.

The first ‘High-Tec’ thermo moulded chamois became available in early 1990s with gel inserts also making their first appearance.

First Ascent - Chamois

What is a Chamois?

No matter whether you are a professional cyclist or a leisure rider, a good ride always starts with a comfortable pair of cycling shorts and more specifically the type of chamois within the shorts.

A chamois sits in the base of the cycling shorts, an invisible padding which moves with your body, protecting vital body parts from riding sores and chafe by providing padded comfort from the hard saddle.

Here are our Top 3 Chamois Mistakes to take into consideration:

Tip 1: Wearing underwear with your Chamois

Wearing underwear with your cycling shorts might seem like the correct thing to do, but in-fact it creates more discomfort than what you may realize.

Firstly, the continuous movement while on the bike will inevitably cause your underwear to ride up, leading to increased friction and the potential for very painful saddle sores to develop.

Secondly, cycling chamois are engineered with fabric which feature anti-microbial properties, trapping bacteria and stopping friction. When wearing underwear, a barrier is created stopping the chamois from performing.


Tip 2: Chamois expiration date

Whether you like it or not your favourite pair of cycling shorts come with an expiry ‘date’. Wearing a chamois which has flattened padding, or where no amount of detergent can get your shorts smelling fresh again, you know it’s time to trade them in for a new pair. Invest in a stylish new pair which will have you performing even better on the trails: Shop Men’s Cycling Bottoms and Ladies Cycling Bottoms.


Tip 3: Washing your Chamois

When washing your chamois make sure to turn them inside out, this way more water will penetrate into the chamois, washing away gel, sweat and bad odour built-up from those intense rides.

Cycling shorts should not be worn for more than two rides without been washed, as this provides the perfect opportunity for bacteria growth, leading to increased chances of infections.

Remember to always check the wash label before washing your shorts for step by step instructions.

First Ascent - Chamois