Hi everyone! It's Kebby with Coeur Sports. Great advice from everyone who has posted. We completely agree that the wrong saddle (or the wrong bike fit where your sit bones aren't positioned correctly) will cause havoc even with the best shorts. As you might expect, we do think shorts matter though. In our opinion, the fleece liner is a great solution for triathlons. You can swim, bike, and run in the same garment and not have to take time to change.
No matter which shorts you go with (several great women's brands out there), there are a couple of brand agnostic things we say to look out for. First, the shorts shouldn't be too loose. If they are you could be setting yourself up for some friction. Second, make sure the shorts have Flatlock seams (picture below). This is a type of seam where the fabric is butted together so there isn't a raised edge. There's a cheaper option called an overlock with a cover stitch that looks similar, but can cause chafing if used in the wrong place. Finally, make sure the shorts are cute! We read a study that said that good looking shorts can cut friction by over 90%. Ok...we actually just made that up.
In any event, good luck with your race! We hope you have an amazing time.