Today we’ll look at chamois colors and what they mean, and if the chamois could be leading to a sore butt

I have 2 questions:

(1) I have a pair of pear izumi’s cycling shorts (cost was around $75). The chamois is blue in color. I know they make other colors like red, grey, etc. Any idea what the different colors mean?

(2) I have been riding once a week for the past 4 months and am now at 26 miles. Occasionally I’ll ride a second time during the week (cycling 12-20 miles during that ride.) My problem is that my butt starts to hurt after riding about 8+ miles. Is my butt sore just because cycling is relatively new to or do I need a thicker chamois, and if so, which do you recommend?

– Chamois Sammy

Hi Sammy,

Starting with the chamois color, don’t over-think things. Usually each model of shorts has its own chamois, and sometimes the chamois comes in different colors. However, sometimes different chamois have the same color, so you don’t want to use color as the sole way to distinguish shorts.

For example, take a look at the Attack, P.R.O., and Ultrasensor shorts from Pearl Izumi.

They all have slightly different chamois (Race 3D, P.R.O. 3D, and Elite 3D), even though two pairs use a red chamois. So you need to pay attention to the chamois name; you can disregard the color.

And just to make sure you believe me – look at the cycling shorts listing at Pearl Izumi’s web site. The photos don’t show nor mention the chamois color. If chamois color made a difference, they’d surely picture the chamois color for you.

Of course, it would be interesting to see the pictures on their chamois technology page.

Now for the sore butt…

The sore butt is most likely since you’re new to cycling. Even with a good saddle and chamois, it happens to practically everyone. And it usually happens again every Spring or after any long break from bicycling.

That said, it’s a good idea to try out multiple saddles and chamois varieties. Your current chamois is probably fine unless it chafes you, but I have a related article about my favorite shorts you may like – “What Cycling Shorts Do You Recommend?”

If you want, you could look around for shorts with a thicker chamois. That may provide a bit of relief. Sometimes the excess padding gets in the way and actually makes for a less comfortable ride, though, so more padding is not a guarantee of comfort.

If that works, great. But if the soreness still doesn’t decrease over time, consider a new saddle. A general rule of thumb is to use a bigger, more padded saddle for slower, casual riding, but use a firmer, lightly padded saddle for longer, faster rides.

That’s because the faster you’re riding, the more weight you’re placing on your feet. When you’re riding slowly, most of your weight is resting on the saddle, and you might need the extra padding.

For a few thoughts on saddles, read my “What Is The Best Road Bike Saddle?” article.

Good luck!

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