Have you ever stood in the bike shorts aisle at your local bike shop staring at different shorts trying to figure out which ones you should purchase? They can be pricey, but why? What’s the difference? Isn’t all they do is add cushion (and make me look really cool…)?
The information below was pulled from Bicycling.com.
Myth A chamois is little more than extra cushioning between you and your saddle.
Reality Assuming you wear it correctly—i.e., without underwear—a chamois pad not only supports your sit bones, but also prevents chafing by transferring moisture away from your body and moving with you on the seat so your skin doesn’t rub.
Myth The thicker the pad, the better.
Reality Your ideal chamois thickness depends on how you sit on the bike. Prefer an upright position? Look for a multithickness pad with extra rear cushioning. If you ride more stretched out, try a pad with even thickness and multidensity foam. Keep in mind that your needs may change over time.
Myth Chamois pads are made from leather.
Reality Before DuPont invented Coolmax in 1986, most cycling inserts were indeed made from animal skin. Riders used chamois cream to keep the leather supple. Today’s synthetic pads don’t require conditioning, but some cyclists use cream to prevent saddle sores.
Anatomic or 3D A chamois that is shaped according to the rider’s anatomy, rather than sewn in flat.
Antimicrobial The pad is made with materials such as silver ions and bacteriostatic carbon to fend off germs.
Four-way Stretch The chamois moves in all directions with the shorts to help prevent bunching and binding.
Moisture Wicking Uses technical synthetic fabrics to speed moisture transfer away from the body and keep you dry.
Multidensity The foam in the padding is denser in certain places, usually under the sit bones.
Multithickness Made with variable amounts of padding—thicker under the sit bones and slimmer in the sensitive perineal region.
–the above was pulled from Bicycling.com.