Should You Use Chamois Cream?

Published on November 1st 2017


To cream or not to cream? From the history to modern application - we talk you through why you might to use, or not use, chamois cream. Shop our ASSOS Chamois Crème here Subscribe to GCN: Register your interest in the GCN Club: Get exclusive GCN gear in the GCN shop! To cream... Or not to cream? That is the question. Before we answer this burning, often taboo question that still leaves many riders scratching their heads, let's have a look at the history of the humble chamois cream, put on this earth to soothe, protect, and stop the chafing of the delicate nether regions. Prior to the introduction of the chamois, legend has it that riders often placed a steak in between their soft parts and woolly shorts to soothe and prevent chafing. A steak which they'd eat later in the day, after it had been tenderised. Incredibly, padded inserts in riders' shorts didn't come about until the early 1940s when they were made of real sheep's leather, a little bit like this. Lovely and soft at first, but when washed and dried, became hard and abrasive. Not the ideal interface for the vulnerable under carriage. Hence the need for something to soften the touch and dried leather. Voila! Chamois cream was born, in the simple form of a softening balm or cream which was applied directly to the chamois itself. And it wasn't long before this became a pre-race ritual for most riders including myself, although I hasten to add, this wasn't in the 1940s. In the early 1980s, new chamois we developed which quickly became very popular. And in turn, new chamois cream was also created. But rather than to soften the toughened leather, it was to reduce irritation on the skin and reduce chafing. Over the last decade, shorts, and indeed chamois technology, has come a very long way. The fit is far better. The chamois are contoured and ergonomic, and many are also anti-bacterial. And also, they don't dry out once they've been washed. Which begs the question, do we need chamois cream at all? Well, we asked that question to you, and also some pros. Now for our survey, we actually spoke to 11 professional riders. Two of which said yes, they use chamois cream all the time. Three said no, don't use it at all. And six said they didn't use it in training but did use it in racing. And from our Twitter poll, of which we had just over 5,000 votes, so thanks for getting in contact if you voted, 45% never use it at all, which is the majority. 24% said you use it every time. And 31% said sometimes. And if you're wondering about me, I don't use chamois cream at all now. But back in the 1980s when shorts were a little bit like this, I did. If you already use chamois cream, or at least are intending to, here are a couple of suggested dos and don'ts. Never double dip. If you'd like to contribute captions and video info in your language, here's the link 👍 Watch more on GCN... How to avoid a sore ass 📹 Avoid saddle related discomfort 📹 Photos: © Bettiniphoto / & ©Tim De Waele / Music: Comedy Trailer 4 - Jon Björk A Thief In The Night - Håkan Eriksson Whipped Butter 4 - Martin Gauffin