What Are Biker Shorts and When Did They Become Trendy?

woman in biker shorts in front of window

It’s always so interesting to see what fashion trends are going in and out of style. This is especially the case when we see trends from past decades make their way back into high fashion.

When that happens, the trend doesn’t usually come back exactly as it did when it first became popular. There’s almost always a modern twist that makes it perfect for the fashion lovers of today.

We can list many examples that have made their way into mainstream fashion, even heavily influencing fashion subsets like streetwear fashion. Jeans are just one of them. Since the late 2000s, you could find skinny jeans on just about anyone. Now, the trend has returned to the looser styles like straight leg, boyfriend jeans, and mom jeans. 

The list could go on and on, but there is one piece of clothing that’s done this that we especially love. That item is Biker Shorts. Up until the past couple of years, it had been a while since we’d seen them. But they’re back in fashion and making a wave in trendy and comfy fashion.

Now let’s talk a bit more about what they are, where they came from, when they became popular, and all the juicy details about them.

Biker Shorts? Like for Bikes?

That’s right… kind of. As you can tell by the name, Biker Shorts were originally for biking. In the cycling world, they refer to them as cycling shorts. They date back all the way to the 1930s, when cyclists wore clothes made out of wool for competitive racing. Now, these shorts are made with tight, stretchy material to give them a skin-tight fit. 

There are a handful of different things that cycling shorts do for cyclists. One of the most important things is that they help to reduce the amount of wind resistance the cyclist experiences. Another critical component of cycling shorts is that they reduce the friction when their legs rub against the bike’s seat and frame.

So yes, Bicycle Shorts were specifically for cycling, but they started to make their way into the everyday fashion of people in the 80s. Before we get too deep into those details, let’s talk about what makes Biker Shorts what they are.

Just like the professional cycling shorts that the trend comes from, Biker Shorts are skin-tight and made with stretchy material that lets you move freely. They usually have a high waist and have a longer inseam than regular shorts. It’s typical to see them reach about a quarter down the thigh to about a couple of inches above the knee.

Designers typically use polyester and Spandex to create the iconic Bike Short silhouette.  Polyester and Spandex have similar qualities that make them perfect for apparel like Biker Shorts. Polyester is known for its ability to retain its shape, and Spandex has an elasticity. This iconic combination results in the perfect blend for comfy bottoms.

Bikers Shorts and Their Royal Seal of Approval

While cycling shorts have been a part of cyclists’ apparel for close to a decade now, their reach extended beyond sports around the latter half of the nineteenth century. During the 80s and 90s, people began wearing them for the sake of fashion, thanks to the influence of a few icons in the industry at the time.

One of the most beloved characters of the end of the century was the regal Princess Diana. As soon as she married Prince Charles and became an international figure, the entire world had their eyes on her. Especially in her fashion choices. Although, she didn’t make big waves with her personal unique style until her divorce.

While married, Princess Diana was required to wear apparel that was more typical for royalty to wear. That included everything from her ball gowns to the shoes, purses, and hats. But, with the help of Catherine Walker, Diana started developing the look that influenced the fashion choices of everyday people that we still remember her for today.

Of course, Biker Shorts were one of the staple items that Princess Diana made famous. More than that, she made athleisure trendy. The paparazzi were always seeking to photograph the Princess for a profit, and in rebellion, when she’d go to the gym, she would wear the same crewneck sweater to cheapen that profit.

After so many photographs came out of her in her crewneck sweater, crew socks, sneakers, and Biker Shorts, the look became iconic. Celebrities picked up on it pretty quickly, and the trend spread like wildfire.

From that point, Biker Shorts helped to define the style of the time. With people of all genders including athleisure and spandex-made apparel into their wardrobe choices, the time would soon be known as the “aerobics and body culture” decade. But, unlike massive shoulder pads. Biker Shorts didn’t stay in the 80s. They’re back in style and better than ever.

Biker Shorts Now 

Some people may have forgotten about the biker shorts in the back of their closet, but luckily, the booming 90s nostalgia trend just made those shorts a fashion statement once more.

Since the summer of 2020, everyone has been following this trend. But Biker Shorts aren’t limited to athleisure anymore.

That hint of modern influence that can be seen on trends from the past that we mentioned earlier is the reason behind that. People are throwing fabulous new ensembles together that highlight the one and only Biker Short.

Here are some of our favorites: 


We’ll just start off with the most classic. We really can’t get over the Princess Diana look that set the whole Biker Shorts trend in motion. Just like the Princess of Wales, people are seen sporting the same athleisure look with crew socks, chunky sneakers, and a crewneck sweater with their Shorts.

The modern twist comes in with the occasional switch-up in what people wear on top. Of course, you can pay tribute to the fashionistas before us and rock the classic French Terry Crewneck. Or, perhaps you want your bralette to peek out of a button-down shirt or zip-up hoodie.

But Make It Streetwear

This casual style of clothing is popular for being one of the dominant styles in places like New York and California. It tends to be associated with hip hop culture, city life, and young adults. While specific kinds of clothing are unique to the style, Biker Shorts managed to break in and stay on top.

One specific streetwear look that uses Biker Shorts that we love is when they’re paired with an oversized tee shirt. People usually wear long tee shirts that hang almost all the way down to the Short’s hemline. The tee shirt is usually vintage or very often a graphic tee.

Accessories make all the difference. We’ve seen sunglasses with 90s-styled frames with slicked-back hair. Simple gold hoop earrings are fitting for this style, too. And for shoes? We’ve seen everything from chunky sneakers to combat boots.

Night Out on the Town

We’ve also been loving the idea of dressing up our Biker Shorts for a more glammed-up look. When you and your friends are going out for a night out on the town, Biker Shorts can still fit the occasion, depending on what you pair with them.

Picture your favorite pair of neutral Biker Shorts with a sleek cropped tank top underneath. You could go for a white top or go for the monochromatic look and opt for black instead. Then, add a fashionable blazer on top with a pair of strappy heels. That outfit with the right accessories and handbag, and you’ll be catching double-takes all night.

Where You Can Get Your Own

You must be dying to get a pair of your own by now. If you are, look no further because TomboyX has got just the pair for you. These Spark Bike Shorts in Black are so loveable that you’ll be proud to be an outfit repeater.

These Shorts are as snug as can be. The fabric is a blend of 78% recycled polyester with 22% spandex, which is OEKO-TEX Certified. If you want to wear them for athletic purposes, then you’ll be happy to know that it has a HeiQ antibacterial and anti-odor fabric finish, so your Shorts will stay fresh throughout your entire workout.

Spark Bike Shorts are high-waisted and tested to fit every body type from XS to 6X. Wherever you are on that scale, you’re bound to find a great fit. Make sure to check our sizing chart for any sizing questions. 

You’ll be able to wear these everywhere you go. Try checking out these Tees & Tanks for the perfect outfit. Whether you want a big, comfy long-sleeve to throw on top for cooler days or a tee shirt for the warmer ones, you’ll definitely find great outfits you can put together with these tops.

The Biker Short is ready to ride along on any adventure you have in mind. 


The Advantages of Wearing Cycling Shorts | Chron. 

Diana Princess of Wales Influence on Fashion | LoveToKnow 

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