I tested a lot of bib shorts in 2020. Like, way more than was reasonable. And through all that testing, I learned quite a few lessons about bib shorts — what makes a good pair, what makes a bad pair, what features I love, what features are extraneous, and much more.
All of that testing helped me determined what bib shorts were the best in 2020, and I’ll share that with you in a moment. But more importantly, I learned that choosing the right bib shorts isn’t just about fit and feel; very often, the best bib shorts are the ones that work for you, at the right price.
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Must-have bib shorts features
I’m very particular about bib straps. That’s the one element of any pair of bib shorts I focus on with the most scrutiny, second only perhaps to the chamois. As such, I know exactly what I like in a bib strap and exactly what to avoid. For my money, I wouldn’t buy any pair of bib shorts that lack laser-cut or lay-flat straps.
Betsy Welch and I tested a lot of bib shorts in 2020. We know a thing or two about tight clothes. Photo: Brad Kaminski
That’s because anything else with stitching and seams has a tendency to bunch up and cause rubbing over my shoulders. Lay-flat straps do exactly that: lay flat, comfortably, without much pressure on your shoulders. So if a pair of bib shorts has anything but seamless lay-flat straps, I’m already dubious.