Also, not mentioned yet, good cycling make all the difference.
From the context, it looks like you meant to put the word "shorts" after "cycling." Is that right?
I get away just fine with cheap shorts, but I insist that the pad not be very thick, and not be sculpted. It must not have ridges and so on, but be smooth instead.
The comment about seats being very individual is so true. If it's shaped right for you, it is neither necessary nor desirable to have much padding, as the padding just pushes up into, and compresses, soft areas where it should not. But what works well for one person could be terrible for another. I also have found no correlation between price and comfort or durability. The saddle I'm on now is the narrowest, hardest, lightest, longest-lasting, and one of the cheapest saddles I've ever had, yet also nearly the most comfortable-- for me
And it's not clear if you know this, but cycling shorts are made to be used without
underwear. Don't wear underwear with them, or you defeat their purpose of not sitting on seems and wrinkles. There are also several products to put in the shorts to prevent saddleburn, ranging from some specifically made for the purpose, like Butt'r, to more general products like petroleum jelly and Bag Balm. Use it very liberally.