Vulpine's Women's Extrafine Merino Boyshorts add a noticeable degree of comfort when riding in civvies/jeans compared with going unpadded, but they are expensive and, like the Women's Urban Cycling Jeans, come up larger than expected.
The cushioning in the pad is quite soft, but it does mean if you're keeping the shorts on while you're off the bike they don't feel too bulky. The Extrafine merino is also soft and non-irritating.
I found the most annoying thing was keeping the legs in place when pulling a pair of trousers up, especially tight-fitting jeans. You have to spend a bit of time pushing the curled-up hems back down flat, inside your trouser leg.
The slightly-too-big sizing probably doesn't help; there is a strip of silicone on about a third of the hem (over the only elasticated section of hem), sitting on the outer thigh, but it isn't that grippy. A tighter fit might help, but there's nothing to stop the inner non-siliconed two-thirds from rolling up.
Once you've got them in place under tighter jeans/trousers, the legs of the shorts stay there quite well, though you have to do the flattening by hand business after going to the loo. Or wear a skirt.
All the seams – bar the one on the pretend fly – are flatlock stitched for comfort (and the seam on the 'fly' sits flat anyway), but being slightly bulky the hems do tend to show through lighter, thinner-fabric trousers like Vulpine's Summer Capri Pants.
The Vulpines are currently on sale at £20, which makes them more appealing, but only available in sizes L and XL; and be aware that they come up on the large side.
A decent option to slip under your civvies for comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vulpine Women's Extrafine Merino Boyshorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Vulpine says: "On the buttocks of every swish city cyclist, there's is a great set of undies.
"Long commute? Don't fancy bib shorts, or a sore posterior? You need padded underwear. Anti-bacterial merino is warm in winter, cool in summer, breathable and fast drying. We use the extrafine pure Merino wool. No compromise. Add a women's Italian Cytech chamois with a slim profile and great breathability. All this clever stuff combines to ensure you'll forget you're even wearing padding."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Vulpine lists these details:
100% pure extrafine merino wool. Fast drying, ultra comfortable & odour resistant.
Our outstanding attention to detail means we use flatlock stitching & print care info inside the garment, so you're never irritated.
Industry leading CyTech of Italy provide the slim, superbly comfortable sex-specific pad.
Flattering, real world fit, that's comfortable on & off the bike.
Definitely better under jeans than nothing.
Came up larger than the size guide would suggest.
Definitely more comfortable than riding without. Legs need careful positioning within tighter trousers, otherwise they can ruck up and be uncomfortable. And if they'd come up slightly smaller (more like I was expecting), I suspect they might have felt that bit more snug.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. In the machine with other sports wash at 30 degrees.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Useful for a bit of short commuting under civvies. Could get a bit uncomfortable around the thighs on occasion.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The legs moving up and feeling uncomfortable around the thigh.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly
Would you consider buying the product? If money was no object, yes (in a smaller size).
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
Looking at performance, price and comfort, I'd say they come out above average. They're expensive, and the sizing was a bit out, but they do an okay job of keeping you comfortable on shorter rides under civvies.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.