Bicycling is a wonderful sport and a great way to get around, but if you do not have the right bicycle saddle or seat, cycling gets way too uncomfortable and might even be dangerous. The key to a comfortable and fun ride is the right type of saddle that distributes weight correctly given your pelvis shape and riding posture.
Men and women, to make a general statement, have differently shaped pelvises. Since most unisex bike saddles are actually designed for men, they are too narrow to support women properly. Moreover, because too wide is better than too narrow, men can use women's bike saddles, but women should not use men's bike saddles for extended periods.
Posture and Riding Style
Recreational and touring riders both sit upright but do not usually spend enough time on their bikes to condition the tissue over the sit bones to the pressure. In such cases, a padded bike saddle is a good solution. However, make sure the padding is not so thick that it squishes upwards and puts pressure back on the pubic area. Racers, in contrast, lean far forward so pressure on the pubic bone is unavoidable. They must rely on seat adjustment to minimize pressure as much as possible. Since proper weight distribution is no longer possible, these riders use a very narrow racing bike saddles that do not impede leg movement. Some cycle sports require varying postures and their own saddle shapes, so choose a saddle designed for the kind of riding you do.
Types of Cushioning
The two most common types of bike saddle cushioning are gel or foam. Gel is softer at first but compresses quickly and stops supporting the rider. Racers usually prefer gel bike saddles, while long-distance cyclists prefer foam because it keeps it lasts longer. If you are bigger and heavier than average, you might also prefer foam saddles for their extra support.
Most saddles have a synthetic or leather cover over some kind of cushioning. An alternative is a saddle made entirely of leather stretched over a frame. These saddles are less comfortable at first, but over time, they adjust perfectly to your body. Leather bike saddles come in a number of different styles. Your choice comes down to whether you prefer a good fit right away or are willing to wait some time to get an even better fit.