I Tried Lululemon Bike Shorts To See If They’re Worth The Hype

Whether purchased in the name of fashion or worn out of practicality during a spin class, it's likely that you've succumbed to the bike shorts' phenomenon at some point in your life. The mid-thigh cropped workout pant turned VSCO-girl uniform has been trending hard for a few years now and shows no signs of fading away. So, as someone who admittedly loves to wear bike shorts for both fitness and non-fitness occasions, I was pumped to test out one particularly hyped pair from the activewear experts at Lululemon.
Pre-COVID, my workouts mostly consisted of ClassPass or the gym; nowadays, it's at-home workouts or socially-distanced walks and runs outside. (Up until recently, I was living in leggings — but, since the weather has started to warm up, I've been all about bike shorts.) After perusing Lululemon's collection of super-cute options which I was assigned to check out "for research" (yep, I'm aware and grateful of my job perks!), I used a Lululemon-provided gift card and hit add to cart on two short styles that best appealed to my current lifestyle and fitness routine: the Wunder Train High-Rise and the Align. Below, my borderline-oversharing take on the most high-performance workout shorts my closet has ever seen. While these items were provided by the brand, my feedback is 100% honest — and yes, I had a clear favorite and a few gripes.
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Wunder Train High-Rise Short

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
First impressions...
According to the website description, Lululemon's Wunder Train High-Rise shorts are ideal for training and are constructed from the brand's techiest moisture-wicking Everlux fabric. With a moderate amount of compression, they definitely give that held-in feeling. After performing some deep sumo squats in front of my mirror — and bending fully at the waist, head tucked between my legs to peer at the reflection of my butt (very scientific, I know) — I concluded that these shorts are as opaque as it gets, not a hint of sheerness.
After a sweat-dripping HIIT workout...
During a 45-minute HIIT workout (aka "high-intensity interval training"), the Wunders were supportive, slightly restrictive, very form-fitting, and yet the four-way stretch allowed for plenty of movement. My favorite thing about wearing them — while my abs, glutes, and thighs were on fire — is that they delivered on their moisture-repelling claims.
Final thoughts...
By the end of my workouts (which on a separate outing, included a socially-distanced brisk four-mile walk on an awfully warm spring day), the only surface of my body that was remotely dry was from my waist to my knees. One minor fault is that the waistband did have the tendency to sag on my petite frame during my HIIT workout, but it was nothing a quick adjustment couldn’t fix. There is also a cord on the inside of the waistband to keep things snug at the waist which I cinched for a more secure fit on the walk. Lastly, there's a bonus small horizontal pocket (about the size of a credit card) at the front of the short that is perfect for holding keys.
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Align Short

Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
First impressions...
When they say buttery-soft, they mean it. Whereas the Wunder's are great for high-impact workouts, Lululemon's insanely popular (read: currently sold out as of press time) Align shorts are made with yogis in mind. Miraculously, they feel as comfortable as being totally pantless. Unlike the previous pair I tried, the Align offers mild compression which makes them a comfy option for both low-impact workouts and lounging around in (which is exactly what I did after my yoga class). After squatting with my butt facing my mirror again — and using my phone's flashlight to determine any see-through factor on my tush (in the name of journalism) — I concluded that these are also satisfyingly opaque even though the fabric feels noticeably thinner than the Wunder's. Success! I wore these during my favorite ClassPass yoga videos (and during another yogalates workout on the app) and was able to do everything from Warrior II to Half Moon pose with total ease.
After a low-impact yoga flow...
It may be because I was doing none of the cardio moves and general jumping around that I did in the Wunders, but I still noticed a couple of differences happening with the fit of the Align. First, the waistband stayed put for the duration of my workout whereas the length of the short actually rode up a tiny bit (something that didn’t happen with the Wunders) — it wasn't an issue for me, personally, but still worth noting. These were so light and comfortable, that they truly added to the luxury of giving myself the space and time to enjoy a wellness routine. Pro tip: I like to knot or tuck the bottom of my shirt into a longline sports bra so that it doesn't droop or fall in my face during a downward-facing dog.
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Final thoughts...
With a more soft-to-the-touch feel, the Aligns were definitely less techy and moisture-repellent than the Wunders — but, since I wasn’t getting super sweaty, this was a non-issue. Tbh, I’d trade in that buttery softness for slightly less sweat-wicking action any day.
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Worth The Hype?

One thing I loved while perusing the site is that Lululemon offers a range of short lengths ranging from 4" to 10", depending on how much coverage you're looking for. At 5'2", I personally prefer a shorter length for comfort and style reasons — so, I loved the 6" inseam length on both pairs. The sizing tends to run on the small side (I'm wearing size 2 out of a 0-14 range), but there are plenty of different short styles to choose from that you can always return for free if the fit isn't right. Overall, I found myself impressed with the look, feel, and performance aspect of the two styles I tried. But if I was forced to choose only one pair in another color, I'd personally go for the Align style as the softness and quality is unmatched in tights styles I've tried out this year. If there's one thing I learned during this 5-day test, it's that not all bike shorts are created equal as far as function goes — and Lululemon's are a quality pick for anyone who wants a pair that do much more than look trendy when paired with a Hydro Flask: 10/10 would recommend for the sheer number of high-functioning options on the site.
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