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Endura's Women's Engineered Padded Knickers are perfect for anyone who wants to get out and about without committing to full Lycra. They fit well under loose shorts, trousers or running tights and are seriously comfortable on and off the bike.
The shorts are effectively padded underwear, designed to go under another layer – shorts, trousers or even leggings. The material they are made of goes a long way to convince you of this too: it's soft to the touch and feels really comfortable against the skin.
My biggest concern about the shorts was the potential for them to ride up, or not sit comfortably at the waist; there is no extra elastic or silicone at the legs and the waistband is a simple soft, ribbed elastic. I needn't have worried. The knickers stay put, even during longer rides, and they are in no way irritating; they simply sit around you and offer the protection that a standard chamois in a pair of cycling-specific shorts would.
I've teamed the knickers with a variety of kit for various purposes: commuting with a pair of running tights over the top, rides to run errands with loose walking trousers, off-road jaunts with baggy shorts, training rides with non-padded tights, and even a touring holiday including seven-hour days in the saddle (with running tights over the top). Never once did I feel that the knickers fell short in terms of performance or comfort.
They're okay in terms of breathability, though I haven't ridden in them in anything above 16°C. It's inevitable that you are going to get sweatier in these than in a standard pair of Lycra shorts as you are invariably putting another layer over the top. When I tested them on a training ride with padless tights I really worked up a sweat, but thankfully there was no rubbing – the fabric's softness and lack of seams helps here. Any moisture quickly dries out.
Encouragingly, the chamois is marketed as 'anti-bacterial', and the material itself is 'fast-wicking with an antibacterial finish'. I don't know how all this technology works but, as I said, no issues with long days in the saddle.
While I personally wouldn't choose to wear the shorts without a layer over the top, it's certainly an option for those who don't mind showing a bit of extra leg (and want to get a higher tan line!). The breathability would not be so much of a problem then.
As mentioned, I used the knickers on a recent tour: seven days of anything between four and eight hours of riding. The chamois stood up to this really well in terms of providing support. While Endura does state that it is ideal for one- to two-hour rides, I didn't suffer in the slightest with hot spots, chafing or soreness. It is actually a decent thickness – I've had standard cycling shorts with less padding. It's well contoured to bend in the right places, too.
It's too thick, 8mm at its thickest, to be discreetly combined with skinny jeans or tight trousers, so don't be caught out here. They do, however, team well with a skirt.
While the main fabric is showing very little sign of wear, the surface of the chamois looks well-worn eight weeks into testing. Admittedly, it got excessive use while touring and endured some serious hand washing. The actual pad itself has lost a little bit of its 'sponginess' too, but I'm still finding it provides sufficient support for lengthy rides. The pilling is of no consequence either really – you don't see it when wearing them and it certainly doesn't affect the comfort. Endura recommends a 40°C machine wash, and the pad wouldn't have endured such 'scrubbings' in the machine as it did while I was travelling.
If you don't want to pull on Lycra shorts but do want padding between yourself and the saddle, Endura's knickers are a great solution, and if you commute or 'casually' ride a fair bit then they're worth the £30 investment.
Craft has various designs, including its Greatness Bike Hipsters at £15 and its Active Comfort Bike Boxers, which are much closer in design to Endura's Knickers and have an rrp of £30.99, while Altura's Women's Tempo Undershorts are £24.99. Decathlon trumps them all with an offering at £9.99, though I can't vouch for their quality or comfort.
Overall, Endura's Women's Engineered Padded Knickers are comfortable and versatile, and offer women who don't warm to Lycra a very viable alternative, allowing them to ride with the comfort of a decent chamois between themselves and the saddle.
Great underwear option for anyone who tours, commutes or enjoys more casual riding – comfort without Lycra
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Endura Engineered Padded Knicker
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Endura tells us that its Padded Knicker is a 'seamless engineered cycle short for ultimate comfort'.
It is designed to be worn under shorts or trousers.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Fast wicking antibacterial finish
*Strategically positioned ribs for optimal ergonomic fit
*Women's specific 300 series mini antibacterial stretch pad
*Short leg length prevents riding up
Construction: Polyester 70% / Nylon 24% / Elastane 6%
Size Options: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL
Seamless feature means there are fewer places for this to show signs of wear. Washing instructions are on the waist band, no labels to be seen.
Excellent support. Breathability isn't first rate but it's perfectly adequate for casual riding. No riding up.
With no Lycra and only a small percentage of elastane, they're standing up well to repeated wear and washing. The pad has lost a little of it 'sponginess' and is showing signs of micro-pilling/bobbling. Rough hand washing while touring may not have helped here...
Excellent, nothing unexpected.
Tested a medium, what I'd normally expect to wear, and they were spot on. Stay true to your normal size.
Outstanding. You only know you are wearing them because of the chamois rather than any tight or irritating contact points.
There are cheaper, but some out there are quite a bit more.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Recommended machine wash at 40.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliant, but not ideal for tight trousers.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort both in terms of how they feel while wearing them and the protection they offer while riding. Versatility for riding without full Lycra.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Decathlon has a much cheaper option but bigger brands offering similar shorts are around the same price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Exceptionally comfortable, and no issues with riding up. Although they're not the best in terms of breathability and the pad has shown signs of wear sooner than most, on the whole they're a great option for touring, commuting and more casual outings on the bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…