Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an eager amateur, cycling can sometimes be an intimidating sport for women. Adding to the issue, the frustration of finding gear that fits properly and is designed specifically for women's needs is all too real. Even as attention and interest in women’s cycling are improving—note the recent expansion of the Tour de France Femmes—wage gaps for professional female cyclists are still disparate. (The men's Tour winner gets €500,000 while the women's champion only receives €50,000.)
In the apparel world, cycling brands and technical garment innovation are still vastly focused on men's performance. But, at long last, the cycling world is embracing women—and creating a boom in women’s-focused apparel that's reshaping the look, feel, and performance aspect of women’s wear. Paired with a simultaneous shift in cycling culture wherein brands are recognizing that providing apparel and gear options for everyday recreationalists (not just high-performance athletes) is a wise choice, there's now more options than ever when it comes to gearing up for a ride.
While there are many reputable, well-known cycling brands making strides in the world of women’s cycling through apparel innovation and team sponsorship—such as MAAP, Rapha, Le Col, Velocio, and others—a lot of the excitement is coming from the lesser-known names that are empowering women in the sport. The cycling brands featured on this list are either completely women’s-focused, women-owned, intentionally unisex, or are making a mention-worthy effort in the world of women’s cycling. Making clothing for athletes and everyday explorers, periods and pregnancy, these women's cycling brands are ensuring that riding bikes is for all.
9 Best Cycling Apparel Brands for Women
IRIS—founded by Iris Slappendel, former Dutch National Road Champion—curates limited-run collections of all-gender cycling apparel. Slappendel combines over a decade of professional road peloton experience with her design know-how to create technical, colorful, nature-inspired, and sustainably-focused garments. The brand carries sizes XXS to XXXL in most items, from unique jerseys, gilets, jackets, and more. The recent IRIS x Alba Optics collab is worth noting: cool, lightweight cycling glasses in the classic, round shape that’s non-typical for cycling sunglasses. IRIS prioritizes sustainability with responsible OEKO-TEX and bluesign-certified fabrics, a no-overproduction policy, and a Revamp Collection using leftover materials. What’s also inspiring is that Slappendel is co-founder and executive director of The Cyclists’ Alliance, a union focused on fair pay and media coverage for professional female cyclists.
Designed in Montréal, Canada, Le Braquet is a cycling apparel brand focusing on unique, art-forward collaborations and technical gear. While it’s not strictly women’s-focused, the brand takes care in designing an impressive collection of well-curated women’s apparel. The Women’s Podium Pro Jersey deserves a special shout-out, designed with ultra-comfortable, breathable fabric with a non-slip hem (that we can attest actually stays put). Le Braquet recently collaborated with internationally-regarded illustrator Pony to create colorfully eclectic jerseys and technical t-shirts, and a portion of profits from this collection is donated to support victims of domestic violence.
Samsara was born from founder Janet Hiebert’s personal desire to wear apparel that emulated her off-bike style rather than typical race-kit gear or scaled-down men’s outfits. Designed by their team of women in Vancouver, BC, Samsara clothing flatters the multitude of shapes, sizes, and curves in women’s bodies. For example, specific design features in their bib shorts include non-constricting leg elastics, form-fitting padding, and high-waisted options. Plus, they are more size-inclusive than most cycling brands, offering items from XXS to XXL. Samara’s mission: to design flattering, technical cycling apparel that helps women ride their best.
Wilma sells a range of cycling essentials from jerseys to jackets, but what’s most significant is their first-of-its-kind period-friendly cycling shorts with built-in menstrual pad technology. With insight from textile engineers, they've developed a variety of bike shorts, from traditional bib shorts with removable chamois pads to everyday bike shorts with easy-to-wash, built-in protection. Wilma is challenging the status quo of how to consider women’s needs when designing cycling garments.
Launched in 2021 by female founder Astrid Heggerick, Bonk Cycling Club is a unisex apparel brand focused on casual cycling wear. Heggerick’s mission is to show that cycling can be fun—it’s more than just riding bikes; it's about community, being yourself, and having fun together on and off the bike. In the shop, you’ll find a collection of cotton t-shirts with cartoon-like illustrations and clever cycling-implied inside jokes, like the After Bonking Cyclist Beer shirt. While Bonk doesn’t offer technical women’s-focused gear, all of their items are designed for anyone to wear. Plus, who doesn’t love a good cycling joke and a comfy tee to cruise around in with your pals?
Founded in 2019, Veloine is a premium women’s cycling apparel brand based in Munich, Germany, that blends high performance with contemporary design and focuses on designing garments that fit the specific needs of female riders. What’s most impressive about Veloine is the creation of the first-ever and award-winning Pregnancy Cycling Kit. The kit is designed to support pregnancy in several ways; it features soft, low-compression fabric, bib shorts with an extended high waist, and a jersey that adjusts throughout pregnancy. More importantly, the kit was created to encourage women to practice their sport during pregnancy for as long as they feel comfortable doing so.
Initially founded by Jennifer Kriske and acquired by Specialized in 2018, Machines for Freedom is a size-inclusive performance apparel brand for women who ride bikes. Kriske aimed to fill a gap in the women’s cycling market by listening to riders' needs and delivering garments that solve these problems in a way that the industry wasn’t doing. Their apparel design approach combines femininity and athleticism with shape-inclusive fits, offering generous sizing from XXS to XXXL. Their garments apply to various adventures, whether mountain biking, gravel riding, indoor training, or even hiking. Plus, they offer a sizing calculator where you input measurements to find your perfect fit, taking the guesswork out of online shopping.
Designed and developed in Australia, Black Sheep Cycling offers men’s and women’s cycling apparel. Along with the Man Ride / Share initiative to support men’s mental health, Black Sheep created the WMN Initiative to empower elite female cyclists to reach their dreams of a pro career. The WMN Initiative involves ambassador-led rides and female-specific collections made by women for women with the goal of increasing female participation and recognition in this sport. They’ve implemented intentional features on their women’s garments, including removing the leg cuff entirely on some bib shorts and implementing an all-new Full Body Support System™ (which appears to involve a compressive fit paired with zippered top support) in others.
Reigning from the Côte D’Azur (French Riviera), Café Du Cycliste is a French cycling apparel brand inspired by cycling and the great outdoors. They carry an impressive line of both men’s and women’s apparel, with their women’s bib shorts designed using female-specific endurance chamois features, including high-density foam across pressure points and a unique cut around the chest for increased support. What’s noteworthy about this brand is that they sponsor an all-women’s gravel team across an international circuit of world-renowned races. The team demonstrated their grit and talent in the 2022 season, where the riders placed in the top rankings with individual victories at The Traka in Spain and The Rift in Iceland.