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Rapha Women's Padded Tights



Extremely comfortable, well designed and well-made but it's hard to justify the price tag

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Made from Thermo-Roubaix fabric, Rapha's Women's Padded Tights are intended to be a cold weather option for those who prefer a single garment, rather than wearing padded shorts under tights or bibs, and feature an integral female specific Cytech chamois pad. The waistband is shaped to be higher at the back, with gripper tape to keep it in place, and with a soft, doubled-over waistband based on that of the women's Classic Shorts. The tights have a contrast colour feature at the sides of the lower legs which is bordered by reflective tape for extra visibility in low light conditions. Amazingly, there's a choice of dark grey and chartreuse as well as black.

The fit of these tights is genuinely female friendly, and will particularly appeal to those who find most tights to be too 'straight up and down'- these are best for women with a pronounced ratio between hips and waist. The waist is good and high, helping to keep the tights where they should be and comfortable while they are there, while there's plenty of stretch in the fabric for comfort. There's plenty of length too, so even tall women should find there's enough coverage.

In wear, the fabric was soft and extremely comfortable, and delivered just the right amount of warmth for most winter riding, apart from those icy cold windy days, when some sort of windproofing is required. Certainly, they ticked all the boxes for me for most lengths of ride in most conditions and at most paces. The pad was exceptionally comfortable, but due to the soft fabric and waistband design, it did have a tendency to migrate south very slightly, leaving a slightly chilly 'tented' area at the front from time to time until it could be hitched up again. This wasn't a massive problem, and personally it's one I'd happily put up with for the sake of a flat fronted waistband rather than more aggressive elastic. The pad itself was excellent, pleasantly unobtrusive and good for as many miles as I wanted to throw at it.

A zipped security pocket at the lumbar area of the waistband was a nice touch too, although it wasn't really large enough for a smartphone. Not that you'd want to store your phone next to your sweaty lower back anyway.

It does become hard to justify the cost, despite the exceptional quality and great fit, since even the more expensive options from alternative manufacturers are about half the price, and many significantly less.


Extremely comfortable, well designed and well-made but it's hard to justify the price tag test report

Make and model: Rapha Women's Padded Tights

Size tested: na

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?

Rapha says:

"Based on the popular Women's Classic Shorts, these tights use two types of fleece-lined fabric in a high-waisted cut to make comfortable and warm winter legwear. Like in the Classic Shorts, the front panel is doubled over rather than stitched to prevent discomfort when riding, and the high-cut waist is held in place with a soft, silicone gripper. Flatlock stitching is used throughout to prevent chafing, and the chamois from specialist manufacturer Cytech is designed specifically for women."

Designed for women for cold weather riding. Aimed at those who prefer a waist tight to a bib, and an integral chamois pad to wearing shorts underneath. These are very well designed waist tights with an excellent quality pad.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Key features:

High-rise waist for insulation

Fast-drying Thermo Roubaix® fabrics

Visibility leg panels, visible from side and rear

Comfortable, bike-specific cut

Women-specific chamois

Flatlock stitching for comfort

Soft silicone grippers

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Superb quality fabrics and well put together.

Rate the product for performance:

Very comfortable, both in terms of fabric and chamois. Good for all lengths of ride and well-suited to most cold weather riding.

Rate the product for durability:

Well made but any Roubaix fabric product is prone to being savaged by Velcro. Wash them in a laundry bag.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

Spot on. Neither too heavy nor too light for most winter conditions.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Very comfortable although waistband did migrate very slightly on occasion- a trade-off for the flat fronted waistband.

Rate the product for value:

Very high quality but equivalent alternatives are mostly half the price or lower.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Fit, fabric quality, chamois.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product


Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly if reduced or on offer.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Exceptionally well designed and well-made tights but it's a struggle to justify that amount of money.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,


Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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ladystannard | 9 years ago

I have the Charcoal tights and they are they really are super comfortable. The best feature for me is the high waistband. I am 170cm tall and tights tend to wriggle down on long rides, I've never had that with these. Yes, they are expensive but I waited for the clearance sale, and I feel they are a great product.

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