POLL: Under What Conditions Should Men Shave Their Legs?

“IT’S FUNNY,” SAID A FRIEND. “I remember a time when shaving your legs was a statement of your commitment to cycling. And then it flipped, and it was like, ‘I’m so core I don’t need to shave my legs.’ But then shaving became the nonconformist move against the nonconformists. Make up your mind already.”

To shave or not to shave? For some people, it’s a ridiculous question: Men just don’t. But in this culture of outdoor adventure, it’s not just acceptable, it’s common. If there was a time when only pro cyclists and wannabes shaved, now it’s mountain bikers and runners and dudes that just think their pins look better manscaped. Bare is the new bear.

There are legitimate reasons for shaving. Recovery from road rash is faster, without a doubt. Post-ride massage is far more comfortable. For competitive swimmers, you’re faster in the water. And the psychological edge it gives a cyclist, triathlete, swimmer should not be discounted. But let’s face it: Trimming the pelt is optional. No matter what rationalization sharpens the blades of your Gillette, you do it because you want to: you want to fit in, you want to prove your commitment, you want to slip unnoticed into the peloton.

So, what of it, people?


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{ 133 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Kim Kircher

    This poll made me laugh. Well, at least chuckle. I remember when being outdoorsy meant I didn’t have to worry about fitting in to any crowd. I didn’t have to even shave my legs for long stretches in the backcountry (and I’m a woman), and I could wear clammy fleece sweaters over lifa polypro and not feel weird. But I guess that’s changed. Thanks to fashionable outdoor gear, it’s no longer acceptable to wear socks with your tevas or bagged out climbing pants and men’s t-shirts. Not that I’m complaining. I love being both outdoorsy and feminine. But let’s face it. The runway has come to the backcountry, and we, as outdoor enthusiasts, should push back against that a little bit.

    If you’re a man, don’t shave your legs just to make yourself look more core. It’s not a contest. We gals aren’t necessarily looking for the next Bear Grylls. We just want you to be you.

  • Tom Ladeau

    If you crash/race enough to warrant it, or if you just feel like doing it, go for it. If not, why bother?

  • Stacy

    I wonder if pro cyclists keep shaving after they’ve retired just because it’s become a way of life? Regardless, if you want to shave go for it. If not, don’t worry about it. I will say that after a few spills on the bike, removing all those bandages on a hairy leg hurts like h#ll!

  • altf4

    My legs look like I’m wearing wools socks all the time. The first good good road rash had me sold on clean legs..then the first visit to a massage therapist with clean legs sealed the deal!!
    Sunscreen goes on easier and the mud wipes off easier.

    That being said..I’m a wookie again this summer since I’m not on the bike right now.

  • Michael

    Male wookie status gives you following perks:
    - ability to shave legs (or any part of your body, for that matter) whenever you feel like it. You’ve earned it, son
    - free PBR in Philly
    - Shampoo discounts
    - lots of ladies

    Also, them’s some cool sunglasses.

  • Griff

    I’m too lazy to keep up with it: I shave my beard only when absolutely necessary, but to each his own!
    Those shades look sick!

  • Manny J

    When you’re about to cross the thin line called metro sexuality (unless you really get paid for racing) then your manhood belongs to your sponsors

  • Yusuke

    The only time to remove hair from legs is when you didn’t keep the rubber side down and Mother Nature does it for you.

  • John

    Shaving is part of road cycling culture, not Mountain Biking. Some competitive mountain bikers do it, maybe to have that psychological edge. Nobody needs to be shaved to enjoy a singletrack in the woods.

  • Jill, Head Geargal

    + one million for Kim Kircher’s comment! Since when did sports get so fussy about looks and fashion?

    I personally do not find manscaped men attractive so I’ve got a personal bias, but I also think it’s goofy to do something like that just so people think you’re good at your sport, or so that you fit in, or whatever. It’s also goofy to call it having “clean” legs. They’re shaved, not clean. Just say shaved. If you shave your legs you should be man enough to admit you shave them, not say “have clean legs” to avoid having to say you shave your legs!

    Swimmers might actually have a case, but I don’t know for sure if shaving helps them go faster.

  • Hotmann

    My cycling buddies do it for aerodynamics and to avoid the painful hair/road rash combo…I guess other guys can do it if they want, but most women (at least that i’ve talked to) do not find shaved legs on dudes attractive. I think it’s because they’re jealous of guys having better legs than them but who knows for sure.

  • A-rod

    Do it if you want to. I don’t but I have had enough road rash that scars cover my knees and elbows anyways.

  • MC

    If women have to shave/wax their legs, so should men. Fair is fair. I like men with clean shaven faces, and legs. And while you’re at it, why don’t you shave the rugs off your chests, too?

  • Dan

    Why not? If you want to shave your legs do it. If you don’t, then don’t. After my first road crash… they are now shaved.

  • Forced into it

    I shave for the simple reason of avoiding boils and skin infections caused by bike shorts. It helps considerably. When people comment about it, I ask them if they would prefer looking at shaved legs or hairy, infected legs. That usually concludes the snarky commentary from the peanut gallery.

  • Andy

    Good lord, I would never shave my legs! shaved legs are for the ladies! smooth silky shaved legs are for one of two things. One: to wrap around my waist during…well…you know. Two to wrap around me head during…well…you know.

  • Sinuhe Xavier

    I used to shave my legs…
    But then this friend of mine started shaving his chest, his back and finally his dome…
    Just say NO…
    Shaving your legs is clearly the gateway drug to much more OCD tendencies…

  • Marc

    Resisted it for a long time, but once I did it I felt like I was being dragged down by a net if I didn’t. It feels like the air is pulling at each hair!

  • Erik

    As someone who swam competitively for many years, shaving was part of the game. So when i stopped racing I had no interest in shaving for biking. I say pro cyclist cuz if you’re mixing it up in crits then is makes sense – that and the wookie issue where the loft of your leg hair is clearly noticeable next to lycra.

  • Zimmy

    Other reason: the wife prefers it! She will never go back to hairy legs on dudes. Best question at spring roadie training camp after a long winter: “Hey Bill, what’s with the fur?”

  • Joshua

    Only if it makes you and/or your significant other happy. If anyone has issues with that… then that is their problem.

  • Chris

    If you ever get massage, shave your legs. It makes massage MUCH better! Also makes it easier to apply sunblock.

  • Robbie

    because road rash is always around the next bend and putting on sun block in exponentially easier. no other reasons come to mind

  • Dave Sherman

    My first thought was only if they’re pros. Would it really make that big of a difference either way -pro or not. I’ve changed my vote to only if you’re a wookie.

  • Reebes

    I think that it used to be taboo for guys to shave their legs but no its nothin but a thang! I dont really grow hair on my legs or arms and my friends always tell me how lucky I am but my whole life people have asked me if I shave my legs, it made me made when I was young and everybody started growing man hair. I couldnt wait to have man hair but here I am almost 29 years old and still no arm or leg hair but I can grow a pretty sweet beard and I havnt started balding yet so I aint mad at ya.

  • Caleb

    It started as a ritual thing for me. Shave before races to get in the mindset. Then I really just got hooked and enjoyed the shaved feel

  • seth

    All it took me to start shaving the first time was a gnarly crash mountain biking. Cut got infected and was oozing goo for weeks. I got lazy, and stopped shaving, had a short stint doing an impersonation as a tarantula, and eventually stopped riding as much.

    Now, I’m back to regular riding and shave regularly. It’s definitely cooler, especially here in AZ. And women dig the smooth, son!

  • Josh

    I understand the idea of shaving for competitions like swimming, or the Olympics, but the reality is that the majority of us have not recently or will never be competing in some crazy swim meet or for that matter in the Olympics. If you’re a man and you believe that shaving your legs gives you an edge over the competition then go for it! If you’re a man and you just happen to like the way your legs feel when they’re shaved or even the nice little gleam you get off them when the sun hits it just right, then do what makes you happy.

    I don’t shave my legs, I don’t care about looking like a pro or some mental edge. I care about whats comfortable to me. Shaving my legs would take too much time and I really don’t want to have to keep up with maintaining the shine on my “Pins”.
    Whatever you Do, do it for you! Just get out there and have some fun!

  • Rick

    Shaved during cross season, easier to embrocate, easier to clean up post-race, and works better with leg warmers. Hairy the rest of the year.

  • JZ

    I shave to let everyone know I that a big attack before the sprint point or right at the bottom of the climb is imminent.

  • sarah

    As a former massage therapist for professional cyclists, I can attest to the fact that shaved legs are easier to deal with. One of the cyclists I work on regularly was quite furry, and I’m so glad he shaved. But it might be a bit much to shave just for massages, unless you’re racing and receive a massage almost daily.

  • whispering

    shaved my legs once. I thought it would help me stay cleaner, but it really just made me feel weird . . .the only shaved legs I should feel when I slip into bed or my sleeping bag are my wife’s.

  • Anthony

    To Shave…. when you pull on your $150 bibs can you live with yourself if you had yeti legs? How about your uber-hip super tall socks with shaved or not shaved legs? For the record I have, but haven’t for many years.

  • The most interesting man in the world

    I don’t always shave my legs, but when I do, I prefer the soft feeling against my bed sheets and down comforter.

  • neverinside

    For me, shaving my face with my vintage 1956 Gillette razor, a badger brush, and shaving soap is where it’s at. As the hairline recedes, I’ll eventually shave my head. I’ll leave the leg shaving to my wife.

  • Jim

    Don’t shave when angry… cutting a femoral artery is never pretty.

    But seriously, above & beyond all the stuff about road-rash, massage etc, shaving gets acceptance within the Peleton. Unfortunately, hairy legs scream a lack of investment in (road) cycling, and that you could be dangerous to others. With shaved legs, the pack will cut you some slack.

  • Dusty

    I only save my legs during the winter. It use to be year round. Its mainly for my job. My last job I use to work in freezers and was in and out, but now I work outside. I was using long johns for a long time and when I would go inside I would be dieing of heat stroke and then when I went back outside I would be covered in sweat and be wet and cold.
    So one day my ex girl friend gave me the idea of trying pantyhose. So I did. It worked great and also help with leg pain a great deal (later found out it helps with blood flow and compresses) but the problem was my thick leg hair.
    Putting them on and taking them off pulled the crap out of them, and even moving around it would just suck. I almost gave them up till my ex told me to try and shave them. So I did and loved the feeling of my legs and the way the pantyhose felt. Now during the summer I most likely would keep them shaved but I go in shorts during the summer and Im in fear of ridicule from others so I let the hair grow. But I dont need pantie ho’s anymore during the summer like my last job so it works out just fine.
    Just yesterday I did the long process of shaving my summer leg coat and it feels great. But for the guys who think it takes for ever, I would say yes to the first leg shave but after that, keeping them shaved is very quick process. It turns into part of your daily shower routine. Its only about 5 extra minutes.

  • Jack

    There are health risks to having leg hair: Don’t quote me on this, but if you fall and skin the unshaved leg, it takes longer for the wound to heal than the shaved leg…

    No, thanks, I don’t want sun glasses

  • Jack

    I found out it also bugged me half to death to get under the covers in bed when my legs were not shaved! It tickled the shit out of my legs each time.

  • Paul

    Just gotta realize that if you can improve performance noticeably by reducing something as subtle as leg hair, then maybe you should focus on strengthening your training regime to be a bit more challenging. Although wookies would have a definite advantage after being shaved. Just sayin’…

  • D

    Always. I don’t do it to “fit in”, I do it because my skinny ass legs look reaaal weird with a thick coat of fur on them. And, its more comfortable in the summer.

  • Dr.Q

    I shave areas of my body (as a male) that get itchy. Especially during the summer, the hair gets uncomfortable so it is easier to just shave it off. I don’t mind it so much in the winter though.

  • Cris

    Out here in New England, it is totally legitimate to shave to prevent nasty ticks from grabbing onto you. Screw getting lyme disease, screw having ticks embed themselves into your knee pits and groin folds, screw avoiding the woods or grass or the out of doors. Shave your legs and you’ll get 80% less ticks on you! Totally acceptable.

  • Iain

    Aesthetics and freedom. Lose the hair. Sorry, it looks better in my opinion. If my opinion sucks, I’ve been shaving my gams longer than I’ve been married, and my wife of 12 years isn’t getting bent out of shape over it either. Others may have differing opinions and that’s ok, too.

    Last time I checked, we didn’t have Taliban overlords. We’re a society of individuals, not a herd of frightened prey animals — though, to hear male discourse, lately, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate us from the latter. Not so long ago, we were having this debate about shaving our faces.

    Shave, or don’t shave. Actually giving a toss about what other think is the real crime.

  • JEFF

    Im 49 years old and Ive always hated body hair on myself. I stay trimmed and shaved everywhere that I can but Ive never shaved my legs. I would like to try it though to just see how it feels. A good tan and a smooth body is nice on a man or a woman. I’ve wondered why we havent evolved into humans with less body hair by now. I think the days of “hairy” being manly are disappearing. Who wants a partner that looks like he or she is dirty all the time because of unkept body hair?

  • Jimmy Bob Raymond

    Although I do frequent cycling, the main reason I consistently shave my legs (I’ve been doing so since 15) is that my wife insists on it, prior to intimacy. She loves the feel of freshly shaved smooth skin next to her, and she says it makes her feet glide more easily down my legs and thighs, when she caresses them, which she frequently does. She also says it makes me look more boyish. We had started dating at 15, and although I had just a smidgen of peach fuzz on my shins, and barely any noticeable hair on my thighs, she still insisted that I appear clean-shaven for bed, including my face. She’s just into smoothness. Actually, I didn’t mind from the beginning, since it gave her so much pleasure to feel my silkly smooth legs, and she swears it makes her orgasm much more intense. So I shave mainly to please her, but it also feels good to me as well, and fair is fair; if women have to shave their legs, so should men. But the razor stays away from my chest, and my butt is almost hairless anyway, so shaving only goes so far. I’m still a man, after all.

  • Feels Uber Good

    Ignore anyone who mocks. Grab an epilator or an electric razor and get stuck in. Personally I can’t stand hair since I tried removing it. Hairless I feel really sensual too its like i’m more than naked and wearing tights and leggings feels incredible. I’ve also started wearing 40 den pop socks as regular socks too as they are really comfy, dont restrict my feet, only come as high as regular socks (big feet) and you can’t tell unless you look at the heel. So yeah get out and do it, the more of us who show its ok the more will do it and eventually itl just be accepted and maybe even expected. :D

  • Ray

    I’m married for 15 yrs and been shaving all from the waist down
    Feels much better less smell and looks HOT.
    I get lots or compliments from it.

  • Tom

    People today pierce, paint and tattoo themselves as they see fit. Shaving is about the most vanilla form of body modification possible. So, men, shave if you want, or not! The only person to whom it should matter is you.

  • Patrick

    Piss on social pressure, public opinion or any of that other hoopla. If you makes you happy to shave your body hair go for it. If anyone else doesn’t like it guess what, they don’t have to look. I personally have shaved and still shave parts of my body, I know many females that like it. I even had on lady thank me on behalf of all ladies for shaving down stairs and she stated she hated giving head to men who felt they had to have a forest around the tree. So to answer the question, “Are there females who like shaved men?” Yes there is! The entire guys must be hairy and girls are the only ones who shouldn’t be is just another “social norming” hold over. I mean holy crap people get out of the stone age, realize that we no longer have to beat our chest, grunt and go “me man you women”!

  • Jack

    Don’t listen to anyone who tells you “you have to do this” or “you have to do that”, just shave when you want to :)

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