Best women’s cycling jerseys | Plus how to pick the right jersey for you - BikeRadar

Our choice of the best women's jerseys for cycling

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Best women’s cycling jerseys | Plus how to pick the right jersey for you - BikeRadar

The best women’s cycling jerseys are a ticket to comfort and convenience on the bike, with easy-access pockets, aerodynamic fit and good ventilation.

We’ve put a selection of women’s jerseys to the test to find out which will serve you best, whether you’re racing, bikepacking or extending your commute.

You can also jump to the end of this article to read our buyer’s guide to women’s cycling jerseys, which explains what to look for in a jersey, the different types and what to wear them with.

The Gore Distance Jersey stood out in testing and would be our first choice for a summer tour.

The jersey features an ergonomically shaped neck, with a much more subtle take on a traditional collar.

There are long sleeves with raw-cut hems, contributing to a modern and clean look.

Available in block single colours, the material is a polyamide/elastane mix, incorporating recycled content.

The construction is flattering and allows for a super-comfortable fit. Attention to detail is exceptional – the secure zipper pocket has a rubberised grip, which makes it easy to access even when riding.

The reflective details are classy, too. The substantial reflective strip underneath the back pockets worked brilliantly when cycling.

The rear pockets expand as promised, giving ample capacity for a day’s worth of snacks.

It’s expensive, but arguably worth it. Every aspect of the design is well thought out and the resulting jersey is exceptional.

The Le Col Women’s Sport Jersey is designed to be your go-to training jersey. In testing, it provided excellent comfort and a soft touch.

The jersey is constructed from a stretch-knit polyester, resulting in a soft, less compressive jersey with a slightly matt finish. Our tester found the fabric to be breathable on warm days and when working harder.

There are three rear pockets, with a fourth secure zipped pocket that’s waterproof.

A silicone hem gripper sits on the rear, and the sleeves are cuffed without any form of gripper.

The sleeves are on the shorter side, positioned slightly higher up than most jerseys, but still comfortable.

The relaxed fit meant the material bunched a little over our tester’s chest.

Being very lightweight, though, it was fast to dry out after being rained on, and wicked sweat away effectively.

The Santini Colore Riga is a dreamy summer jersey with materials that ooze quality.

The design aims for a “second skin weightless feel” and a flattering fit, in beautiful colours with a subtly striped top panel.

The raw-cut sleeve cuffs are soft and keep the sleeves neatly in place.

The fabric itself is lightweight and felt breathable even on hotter rides, which was helped by the relaxed cut.

Santini’s kit has a reputation for running small. However, our tester found this jersey to run big, which hopefully means the size range will cater for a broader range of cyclists – up to around UK18-20.

The Santini Colore Riga jersey achieves near perfection – it’s just a shame it lacks a zipped pocket for valuables.

The Altura Icon Plus SS jersey is constructed from a soft ‘streamlined’ body and recycled mesh panels, with a classy pattern and attractive colourway.

The fit is flattering and comfortable with the longer-cut sleeves and well-fitting panels.

The reflective details are subtle in daylight but highly effective at night, offering a good boost to visibility.

The zip toggles are substantial and grippy without being clunky, allowing for easy access and adjustment when riding.

The grippers could be improved. The sleeves gripped a little over-enthusiastically, leaving behind indents on our tester’s skin, and the back gripper struggled to keep the jersey in place when the spacious rear pockets were full.

The main fabric is a little heavier than most comparable summer jerseys, making it slightly warm to ride in at times.

The Icon Plus SS jersey is ultimately a great summer jersey that punches above its price.

The following jersey scored fewer than four out of five stars, so it hasn’t been included in our main list. However, you may find it still ticks the right boxes for you.

The Sportful Kelly Thermal Jersey is a solid if not spectacular jersey designed for riding in cool weather.

It uses a combination of brushed fleece and lighter textured panels, focusing warmth around the core while enabling excess heat and moisture to escape.

The jersey performs well and was warm enough with a short-sleeve baselayer to ride in temperatures around 9˚C.

The tapered cuffs are close-fitting and sit comfortably under gloves to keep warm air in. Unfortunately, the front zip is draughty.

While this jersey does a lot of things well, it falls short in several areas. A zipper pocket for valuables would be nice and so would more reflective details.

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A cycling jersey is one of the first items you’ll want to invest in when starting out, possibly only second to a pair of the best cycling shorts.

An abundance of options exist and the choice can be somewhat overwhelming, but our guide will help you pick out the right jersey for you.

A cycling jersey should be comfortably close-fitting without being baggy or loose. It should gently hug you, and any zips or seams – especially around the neck or under the arms – should not dig in.

Length-wise, a cycling jersey should overlap a little with the top of your shorts. Too short and you risk bare patches when cycling, too long and the jersey will bunch and roll up.

The pockets should sit at a suitable height for you to access when riding, with an opening that’s large enough to get your hand inside easily.

Note that sizing can vary substantially between brands, and some can be much longer in the body than others, so it’s always worth checking the brand-specific size guide if ordering online, or trying the kit on in person.

Besides fit, there are several key features to consider when choosing a cycling jersey.

Most cycling jerseys will be a blend of synthetic materials, creating a soft stretchy fabric. They are commonly a polyamide/elastane blend. These jerseys are often lightweight and quick-drying.

Alternatively, Merino wool or Merino blend jerseys exist. These utilise Merino wool’s natural antibacterial and insulating properties.

Summer jerseys will often be constructed from lightweight synthetic fabrics and may feature mesh panels to maximise ventilation. Meanwhile, winter jerseys are long-sleeved and often fleece-lined for warmth.

Most modern jerseys are designed with a full-length front zip for ease of changing. Many of the best women’s cycling jerseys include ‘housing’ for the zip at the neckline and a protective backing for it, both helping to prevent chafing.

Rear pockets are a key feature of cycling jerseys and one of the major advantages of a jersey over a T-shirt.

The ideal pocket is stretchy, with some form of band across the top to prevent items escaping when riding.

Many jerseys also include a secure zipped pocket or waterproof zipped pocket for valuable items such as keys or electricals, which you don’t want to lose in the process of retrieving your waterproof jacket or any snacks.

Grippers are bands of tighter material, or stickier substances (often silicone), which help to keep parts of the jersey in place.

Grippers are common on jersey sleeves, and around the bottom of the garment to stop the jersey from riding up.

The gripper should give a firm hold, without irritating your skin.

Sleeves come in a variety of lengths and whichever length you choose is largely personal preference, although aero jerseys will generally have longer-cut sleeves made from aerodynamic fabric.

The sleeve hem should stay in place neatly without cutting into your skin. If the hem gives your arm a ‘waist’, it’s too tight.

Laser-cut sleeves don’t have a hem and often remove the need for grippers. These can be very comfortable.

There seems to be a type of jersey for every niche in cycling, from race jerseys to gravel jerseys.

Be reassured that most jerseys work for most disciplines, and you won’t be disadvantaged wearing a ‘training’ jersey to a race, or a road jersey on gravel.

The main decision-making factor will be the climate you’re riding in. This determines the need for a summer/lightweight jersey, a midweight short-sleeved jersey or a long-sleeved winter jersey.

Other variations include aero jerseys for races and time trials, jerseys with more carrying capacity for longer adventures and (rare) maternity jerseys for cycling while pregnant.

Temperatures will also help you decide what you wear under your jersey. Wearing just a sports bra under the jersey will suffice for warm weather, or on harder rides.

However, combining jerseys with different baselayers can broaden the range of temperatures they’re suitable for.

As the weather cools, a short-sleeved baselayer underneath a jersey is a good call.

A thick, long-sleeve baselayer can make a long-sleeve jersey designed for spring or autumn suitable for winter riding.

Alice Thomson is a cyclist from Bristol who loves a challenge. She previously held the women’s Everesting record, completed Paris-Brest-Paris in 2019, and can often be found racing at local events. Alice would love to see more women cycling and enjoying everything the sport has to offer, and she’s a fierce advocate for equality. She organises women’s rides in Bristol through her club, and hopes to do more of this in future. She’s also partial to hills, audaxes, and high-quality cake stops. Her favourite bike snack is the classic yellow Soreen; convenient, squishy and delicious.

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