Sure, you can throw on a pair of running shorts or old sweats, and a plain white t-shirt and jump on your indoor bike and ride - but that doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable.
Certain fabrics, cotton especially, aren’t optimal for workouts as they collect sweat and hold onto odors, and some fitness attire doesn’t translate for all sports activities. If you want to optimize your ride and have the most comfortable and efficient workout, here’s what to wear for at-home indoor cycling or spin class.
Gear for Indoor Cycling
Long Spandex Shorts or Leggings
Because you’ll be seated for some or most of your indoor ride, it’s important to wear something that will cover your upper legs and butt to prevent any chafing or uncomfortable contact between the seat and your skin. Opt for a pair of longer spandex shorts or leggings that will protect you and wick sweat. Loose running shorts will likely ride up and be uncomfortable, so avoid wearing them.
Even if you're not cycling indoors for a long time, you might still want a bit more cushion under your butt. Especially if you're a new rider or just getting back into cycling, you're going to feel some soreness. If that's the case, consider getting a pair of shorts or leggings with a chamois. Chamois are pieces of padding that are sewn into bike shorts and leggings to provide extra cushioning for your bum. They're a better solution than padding for your seat because they're made of sweat-wicking material that will help keep you cool and dry. Over time, your body will adapt to cycling and the soreness will lessen or even go away entirely.
Form-Fitting Top or Jersey
Again, sweat-wicking material is key here. While you can wear the same jersey you’d wear cycling outdoors if you have one, it’s not necessary, as you likely won’t need pockets for things like snacks for your indoor ride. Try a form fitting tank or t-shirt made out of a material that is soft against the skin and pulls moisture away from the body. Anything too loose might get caught on the handlebars or get in the way.
You won’t have to worry about the elements when you’re riding inside, so there’s no need for socks that provide extra warmth. Instead, opt for a pair of breathable sweat-wicking socks that will keep things from getting too sweaty while you’re standing, sitting, and racing your way up a virtual hill.
Clipless Indoor Cycling Shoes
If you’re cycling at home, you may need to jump off the bike to grab a water bottle, or just walk over to close the door so you don’t disturb the other members of your household. Therefore, you’ll want a pair of shoes that you’re able to walk in comfortably. “Indoor cycling shoes with a sole that’s appropriate to walk around, to and from the bike, on hardwood or tile floors are a good option,” says John Geary, manager of business development at Shimano. “Shoes with a receded cleat are easier to walk in, and they also allow you to get off the bike and get in some strength work without having to change shoes.”
While riding indoors means you don't have to worry about the weather, it also means you're not getting the benefit of a nice cooling breeze. This can make you sweat more than you would outdoors. To keep sweat from getting into your eyes and distracting you, wear a headband to collect and contain the moisture.
A wise man once said "a towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing a person can have"
It’s important to keep things dry to prevent your hands from slipping on the handlebars, especially when you’re changing positions. Use a towel to wipe away any excess sweat on the bike or your body.