Our pick of the very best women's mountain bike clothing and kit, tried and tested. Technical, durable, comfortable, well constructed, plus packed with features to upgrade your riding experience.
Women’s mountain bike clothing has come a long long way in the last five years. From being badly fitting, feature-poor and generally scarce, to the current situation where most big brands have extensive ranges suitable for every type of riding and ride conditions. Technical jackets? Absolutely. Well-fitting riding trousers and waterproof pants? Hell yes. Jerseys, shorts and technical tees in a range of colours to suit every preference? Oh yeah.
The days of shrink-it-and-pink-it as an approach to women’s kit are long gone. Instead, women can expect cutting-edge technical fabrics, well-thought-out design, features aplenty and great fit.
In fact, really the only area where current women’s mountain bike clothing falls down at is sizing, with most ranges only going up to a UK16/US14.
Great women’s long-sleeve jersey made with Tencel
Sizes: S – XXL | Colours: Black | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Long length, soft Tencel fabric, good size range, naturally temperature regulating
Reasons to avoid: No mesh panels
The Leatt Women’s MTB Gravity 2.0 is a simple but effective women’s jersey, loose but with a feminine cut, and comes in a good range of sizes.
The long body means there is plenty to tuck into my riding trousers, and it never pulled up when I was riding along. It also has a couple of nice details – padding for a neck brace and a goggle wipe under the hem. It has a heavier feel than most of my riding jerseys, but it works really well both under a waterproof jacket or as an outer layer.
Organic and environmentally friendly products always seem to command a premium, but not this time – the Gravity 2.0 is excellent value for money. It’s also versatile, comfortable and I fully recommend it.
Best women’s insulated jacket for cold weather
Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: Paprika, Teal, Black | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Highly breathable, dries quickly. Practical features and adjustment
Reasons to avoid: Not fully waterproof. Fabric can snag easily
The Endura Women’s Freezing Point Jacket features the MT500 Primaloft Gold Active insulation; it’s lightweight and warm. The material has four-way stretch, which does mean it fits really well and doesn’t feel too restrictive, unlike some waterproof jackets I’ve tested.
It’s breathable, has good water resistance and also packs up really small should you want to stash it in a bag or an overloaded clothing drawer.
Despite not being fully waterproof, I reckon the Endura Women’s Freezing Point Jacket is more versatile than a Gore-Tex shell. In a heavy downpour you could get a bit damp, but it does dry very quickly and the thermal inner layer really keeps the heat in. Like all Endura clothing, the quality is right up there, it gets the job done in harsh conditions and if you’re wondering, there’s also a men’s version.
Best value for money women’s waterproof mountain bike jacket
Sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 | Colours: Black, Paprika, Saffron, Spruce | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Great value for money, good size over-helmet hood, great fit
Reasons to avoid: Relatively heavy, not as waterproof as some
The Endura Women’s Singletrack jacket is a full wet-weather jacket for all day rides, it has a ton of features and it does everything really well. It’s excellent value for money.
We really like the over the helmet hood and there is plenty of room for long hair, a feature often overlooked with women’s jackets. The jacket comes up pretty high at the chin, offering the most protection of any here. It also has a really big zipper, which we like because it’s something to get hold of and there’s an internal storm flap to stop water getting in. Fabric Velcro tags on the wrists are comfortable and the Singletrack also has a great shape round the hips; it’s not too tight and it doesn’t ride up. This jacket has a ton of storage pockets including two internal pockets for keeping things dry and a chest pocket for a phone.
Best women’s waterproof mountain bike jacket
Sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 | Colours: Black, blue, purple | Rating: 10 / 10
Reasons to buy: Versatile, excellent waterpoofing and breathability ratings, great fit and features
Reasons to avoid: Relatively bulky and heavy, little short in the sleeves
Constructed from a fully seam-sealed three-layer fabric, Madison DTE Womens jacket is a bit hefty compared to lightweight jackets but it does have excellent 20k waterproof and 20k breathability figures, so even when generating a lot of heat you’re not going to boil inside.
This jacket is great in harsh weather – the adjustable 3D-formed hood has been designed to integrate with a peaked mountain bike helmet and actually comes further down than any at the front.
The DTE is also pretty big, so we could easily fit long hair into the back without it pulling the hood off our helmet. The hood also stows away when not in use via a little strap with press-studs.
It’s truly versatile; we’d pull it on if there was a shower, but also wear it on an all-day wet ride. Although it’s a tiny bit short in the sleeves, the overall fit is the best here and it has the best DWR coating.
Best women’s waterproof trousers for mountain biking
Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: Black | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Great fitting winter trouser
Reasons to avoid: Too hot for sizzling summer days.
You might expect a more relaxed fit with baggy in the title, but don’t be fooled into thinking these are a shapeless offering – far from it. Good on length and well tapered, they have zipped ankle closures, that give you more room in the lower leg should you wish, and help you get them off over shoes.
Well shaped around the knees, there are no complaints with any thickness of kneepad run underneath. And up to the waist they have a double popper and zip closure and adjustable Velcro. These are a rugged all-weather pant that still pack a punch on style and features.
MBR buyer’s guide: Best women’s mountain bike pants and riding trousers
Best shorts for curvy and plus-sized women
Colours: Various including black, Mara red (pictured), Topo orange, plus patterned options | Sizes: US00 – 24 | Rating: 8/10
Reasons to buy: Excellent size range, comfortable waist band, durable fabric, plenty of colour options
Reasons to avoid: Fabric isn’t the most breathable or technical
One of the first things to note is the extensive range of sizes that Shredly offers, which means a much greater range of women with different body shapes are able to find technical trousers that fit and look good. It’s something we wish more brands would do.
The pull-on style has a wide, stretchy yoga-legging style waist band, which hugs the hips and is great news if you’re curvy, and if ordinary trousers have a tendency to gape at the rear on you. A drawstring also means you can tighten and secure it to give a little more secure fit. However, I did find that these trousers had a tendency to pull down a little when riding – a problem we didn’t experience on the similarly designed Shredly MTB Shorts – possibly because of the pull of the fabric when worn over kneepads.
The styling and comfort is such that I’ve been using these pants for general wear; they’re also great for walking. Overall, there’s a whole lot to love about these pants, though I’d like to see some improvement in the waistband.
Best budget women’s mountain bike short sleeve jersey
Sizes: XS-XL | Colours: Black, various | Rating: 8 / 10
Reasons to buy: Wicking, odour-free, sustainable fabric.
Reasons to avoid: Slightly shiny finish.
Nukeproof has fast developed a great range of women’s kit, it’s good value, well fitted to women’s bodies and the sizing is accurate too. This short sleeve jersey with funky melange design is made from 100 per cent recycled S.Café fabric (which is made out of a combination of coffee grounds and recycled yarn), which is really quick drying and has a full mesh back to keep you fresh on warmer days. A zip pocket in the dropped rear hem provides a handy stash point for valuables.
The small was a perfect fit for our shorter tester. Tailored shape with just the right level of bagginess. There wouldn’t be too much room for more shapely hips though. For the size UK16 rider, the large was loose fitting but not shapeless and could suit bigger boobs well. It comfortably reached my hips and boasted a good length in the back. If you fall in between clothing sizes, it could be worth sizing down.
8. Specialized Women’s Liner Bib Shorts SWAT
Best women’s storage bib liner shorts for mountain biking
Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: White, black, yellow | Rating: 9/10
Reasons to buy: Plenty of storage, great drop-seat design for easy nature breaks, highly breathable, good range of sizes
Reasons to avoid: Low front can pull down
This bib liner from Specialized is both a quality undershort combined and a clever storage options to help you stash your trail side essentials. Bib shorts have traditionally been tricky bits of kit for women to use when nature calls, but Spesh has a way round the problem – there’s an opening at the back meaning you can drop the shorts section without having to slip off the shoulder straps. Ingenious.
The bib is constructed from a mesh fabric called VaporRize that’s cool and light, and there’s a women’s specific chamois too. For your gear you get three good-sized pockets at the back, and angled so they sit easily accessible above your trail shorts and don’t get trapped in your waistband. Two further pockets on the thigh mean you can legitimately leave the backpack at home should you wish.
9. Giro LA DND Glove
Best women’s mountain bike gloves
Sizes: S – XL | Colours: Grey, black, various | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Good fit, range of colours, soft terry nose wipe
Reasons to avoid: Slight rubbing from articulated knuckles
Down and Dirty (DND) glove has flex zones across your knuckles to allow natural movement and touch screen fingertips mean there’s no need to remove them to capture that trailside selfie. The microfiber palms have a three piece construction eliminating bunching and the 3mm Technogel inserts help disperse pressure on rides. You can be as subtle or loud in design choice as you like with plain block colours, polka dot or patterned designs available.
Best women’s mountain bike jersey
Sizes: XS-XL | Colours: Various | Rating: 9 / 10
Reasons to buy: Super comfortable, good fit, great ventilation, nice low-key styling. Long-sleeve option also available to protect arms from foliage.
Reasons to avoid: Fairly pricey
Troy Lee Designs overhauled their women’s kits this year with three new collections on offer. The Lillium collection features quick drying, stretchy kits perfect for big days in the saddle.
This long sleeved jersey has a subtle floral design that looks great and doubles up as increased ventilation and is perfect for changing seasons. Four way stretch, and flatlock seams make it comfy against your skin and there’s a dropped back hem that shapes the jersey nicely. Available from XS to XL and in a mix of solid colours and floral designs it would be hard not to find one you love.
Our smaller tester tried both small and medium, stayed with the medium for a looser fitting t-shirt style. Plenty of room to breathe or for those with a bigger chest area.
Our size UK16 tester said that large size just fit well, nicely shaped for boobs, waist and hips and a noticeable difference between the front and the dropped hem at the back gave great coverage on a longer torso.
11. Osprey Seral 7L Backpack
Osprey offers a collection of fantastic women’s specific bike backpacks, but we’ve been trying out the unisex Seral 7L over the hot summer months. The 1.5L hydration reservoir is shaped to mould to your hips, helping to keep the pack firmly placed on descents. A ventilated Airspace panel keeps the pack far enough away to allow a good airflow for hotter rides. A separate compartment complete with a scratch free pocket is perfect for your phone and a mesh pocket with key clip keeps all your essentials organised. Tools, emergency jacket and important trailside snacks all fit in comfortably.
12. Endura Women’s MT500 Spray Short
With the change in seasons on the way the MT500 short is a helpful investment to keep you riding in damp conditions. They are a women’s specific fit, with a generous range of sizes. Surprisingly lightweight, and very comfortable to wear with four way stretch DWR finished front panels allowing free movement. The waterproof taped seat panels keep unwanted spray from the trails off you for all day riding comfort and don’t feel plasticy. A dropped front hem means there’s no risk of the dreaded knee pad gap and Clickfast poppers mean you can partner them with Endura’s liner short should you wish.
Best women’s flat pedal mountain bike shoes
Sizes: EU 36 to 50 | Colour: Black, grey | Rating: 8 / 10
Reasons to buy: Excellent grip, light weight, breathable
Reason to avoid: Sizes up a little large
The Five Ten Trailcross offers a flat pedal shoe blending high performance and all day comfort, in a lightweight and durable style. A shoe that urges you to go anywhere and do anything, they are a refreshing change from the often seen heavier skater style riding shoes.
The mesh upper delivers breathability and good ventilation. The Stealth Phantom dotty soles provide you grip for even the gnarliest of trails. And if you’re pushing up or heading to the pub after rides they look just as good off the bike as on.
It’s still a better riding shoe than most rivals, due simply to the quality of Five Ten’s rubber in terms of friction and damping. The speed of drying and ventilation on hot days will be a bonus to some too, plus the price is very reasonable.
How we tested
All the clothing in this list has been extensively tested by women mountain bikers. Clothing is judged on fit, comfort, features and fabric, and we also evaluate how durable it is, how inclusive the size range is, and comment on any moves towards reducing the environmental impact of the clothing.
What do I need to wear mountain biking?
Mountain bikers typically wear a set of padded liner shorts with baggy shorts or trousers over the top. On the top of the body, a sports bra combined with a cycling jersey or tech tee, and a windproof or waterproof jacket if it’s wet.
For shoes, mountain bikers will either wear flat pedal shoes or clipless shoes, depending on what type of pedal they use on their bike.
For protection, they’ll wear a trail helmet, or a full-face helmet if riding more steep and technical trails, plus glasses to keep the eyes clear of dirt or debris that can be thrown up while riding. Knee pads are a great idea, and elbow pads might be necessary for some types of ride for extra protection.
Do I need women’s mountain bike kit?
Whether or not you choose to wear women’s mountain bike kit, are quite happy in men’s or unisex kit, or like to mix it up is totally up to you, but many women find the cut, sizing options and features on women’s kit is more comfortable and performs better for them.
While every woman’s body is different, on average women tend to be shorter than men, with wider hips, narrower waists, and of course breasts. Having kit that’s cut to accommodate this can be really beneficial. For example with Jackets, which are typically cut from a non-stretch material with a front zip; women with larger breasts or wider hips may find unisex jackets don’t have enough room to accommodate their physique, compressing or riding up in those areas which isn’t comfortable and can compromise the performance of those items.
On the other hand, the sizing range of most cycling and mountain bike kit is not very inclusive, to say the least. Sizes usually range from XS to XL, which covers an average high street size range of UK8 – 16 or US6-14. For women who sit outside the top end of this range, often the only option is larger unisex or men’s kit, bar a few brands who happily have more inclusive sizing.
Which brands make women’s mountain bike clothing?
Once upon a time, finding women’s mountain bike clothing was a total chore. There were typically a very limited number of options, they were mostly black, often not particular technical, and sizing was limited.
Thankfully now pretty much every brand that produces mountain bike clothing creates a men’s and women’s range. The women’s range is sometimes more limited, but overall there’s a whole lot more choice out there, and it includes plenty of technical, high-performance gear for every type of rider, from the bike-packing explorer to the downhiller to the park rat to the trail rider.
Some of the main brands making women’s mountain bike clothing are:
- Troy Lee Designs
What are the best plus-sized mountain bike clothing brands for women
While more brands are becoming aware of the need to create more inclusive sizing, actual movement on the ground is slow.
The following brands create a good range of cycling kit in inclusive sizing:
- Fat Lass at the Back
- Machines for Freedom