No matter how far your ride takes you - whether it's a commute or sunny adventure, wearing cycling specific shorts instead of regular/sport shorts will offer many advantages regardless of distance or terrain.
So why will they benefit a rider? Whether cycling shorts are tight lycra or loose fitting, the are usually designed to be durable and flexible to suit the purpose, which is to stretch, be comfortable and stay in place as the rider pedals and the muscles expand. What you don't want are shorts that restrict your pedal stroke, bunching up as you ride, or worse still, pinching due to the inflexibility of the fabric.
High-end shorts are often made with the appropriate material technology for the season intended - Coolmax for the summer and various styles of thermal for the winter.
Many shorts are designed with multiple panels of fabric around the thighs to move with your body without riding up. Some summer shorts are manufactured from more than one material enabling moisture transference in the summer months, reflect the UV rays, and enhance breathability. For cooler months fleece lined shorts are available and when combined with knee or leg warmers they give you the option to remove a layer should the chill ease off. There will often be the choice between bib shorts, with the braces, or waistline shorts. There are shorts with a pad, known as a chamois and shorts without. Most shorts will cover the hips and waistline enough so you don't need to worry about them slipping down. The cut at the back is usually higher than the front but this will change depending on body shapes. Therefore bib shorts will be best for some and standard shorts will be better for others. It is advisable to find the right chamois that complements both you and your saddle. However if you have a gel based saddle that offers comfort as you ride, you may be able wear shorts without a chamois. Such choices are down to personal preference as is the decision to choose bib or waist-line shorts. If possible it is always best to try a selection and discover the best buy that is fit for purpose.