5 Best Women’s Mountain Bike Helmets For YOU

A good mountain bike helmet is the single most important piece of gear you can have for mountain biking. Not only does it keep your brain intact (super important), but a good mountain bike helmet can also keep you comfortable and cool. There’s not much worse than an ill fitting, hot, and painful lid.

To help you find the best mountain bike helmet for YOUR head, we’ve tested, reviewed, and surveyed our community to identify the 5 best helmets around. Some of these are women-specific lids, but most are unisex helmets that just look good (and work well).  Because unlike a saddle, for instance, there’s really no need to have a women’s specific helmet.

shredly mtb short review

It’s also important to note that these are half-shell mountain bike helmets (as opposed to full-face mountain bike helmets).  For trail riding, a half-shell helmet is what you want. 

POC Tectal

POC Tectal Mountain Bike Helmet

This is my favorite mountain bike helmet and the one I wear almost daily. Comfortable even on long rides, the POC Tectal offers superior rear-of-the-head protection while remaining comfortable.

It has an integrated visor that can raise to accommodate goggles, an enviable strap system, and comes in fun, bright colors. We also dig that it had Recco technology, so if you get lost or hurt while out riding, help can find you.

The ONLY con on this helmet is that it doesn’t have MIPS, so if that’s important to you, choose a different lid.

Read Our Review: POC Tectal

Price & Where To Buy:

Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS

troy lee designs A1 MIPS

The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet does not come in particularly feminine colors, but it’s a nice enough helmet we’ve included it anyway.  The A1 boasts MIPS technology, excellent ventilation, and a lightweight design. We also like the extended rear of the head coverage to help keep you safe.

This is a fairly bare bones helmet. It doesn’t offer a GoPro mount, goggle clips, or Recco. But it does offer a good quality lid at a mid-range price point.

Read Our Review: Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS

Price & Where To Buy:

Giro Women’s Montara MIPS

womens giro montara mips mountain bike helmet

We’ll admit it: our favorite thing about the Giro Women’s Montara is that it looks sooo good.  It comes in a variety of stunning colors and has a profile that is flattering rather than bulky. 

Fortunately, it is functional as well as beautiful.  The Montara has all the bells and whistles: MIPS technology, goggle straps, a GoPro mount, adjustable visor, and Roc Loc adjustment system.

Price & Where To Buy:

Giro Manifest Spherical

giro manifest mips helmet

If price is no object (gulp), the Giro Manifest Spherical is the helmet you want. Not only is it safe and comfortable, it is loaded with ALL the extras.

These include a magnetic buckle, grippers for sunglasses or goggles, MIPS, and tons of adjustability. The helmet is also amongst the more ventilated, breathable helmets around, so it works well for hot weather riding.

Our only complaint, once again, is the lack of more feminine colors.

Price & Where To Buy:

Smith Forefront 2

smith forefront 2 womens mountain bike helmet

Finally a cute mountain bike helmet! In fact, I think Smith has the best helmets for women right now, coming a wide variety of attractive colors AS WELL as being functional.

The Smith Forefront 2 isn’t cheap BUT it does offer durability, safety, and comfort. The helmet has both MIPS and their proprietary Koroyd® construction.

While the coverage and comfort are both excellent, the helmet is a bit lacking in terms of ventilation. It has lots of vent holes, but doesn’t reach the head quite as well. Still, on all but the hottest days, this is a great choice.

Price & Where To Buy:

Comparison Chart: Women’s Mountain Bike Helmets

HelmetSizeWeightMIPS?# of VentsExtras?
POC TectalXS/S: 51-54cm
M/L: 55-58cm
XL/XXL: 59-62cm
340 gNo15Adjustable visor
Goggle clips, Reco technology
Giro Montara MIPSS; 51-55 cm
M: 55-59 cm
375 gYes16Adjustable visor
Goggle clips
Camera mount
Troy Lee A1 MIPSXS: 50-54cm
S: 54-56cm
M: 57-59cm
L: 60-62cm
366 gYes16Adjustable visor
Giro Manifest SphericalS: 51 - 55 cm
M: 55 - 59 cm
L: 59 - 63 cm
340 gYes19Magnetic buckle, adjustable visor, goggle clips
Smith Forefront 2S: 51-55 cm
M: 55-59 cm
L: 59-62 cm
397 gYes20Koroyd®, adjustable visor, camera mount

How to Choose a Mountain Bike Helmet

Not sure how to pick the right helmet for you? Read on for things to look for in a mountain bike helmet.


The good news is that you don’t need to spend too much time worrying about which helmet is “safest.”  All helmets sold in the United States have the CPSC certification which sets a minimum level of protection. 

Beyond that, we know that there are some things that most likely will improve the safety of a helmet–the amount of rear-coverage, the quality of the fit–but there is limited unbiased laboratory testing telling us which helmets are best.


On the topic of safety, there is a lot of talk about MIPS.  What is MIPS, you might ask? 

It stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System.  Without getting into the knitty-gritty it is essentially a liner inside the helmet that creates a low-friction slip-plane.

There is limited evidence that it is actually safer than a non-MIPS helmet.  While I personally like the added “theoretical” protection of the MIPS, it does add expense, so only opt for it if you aren’t on a tight budget.

Get the right fit

To make sure that your helmet is both safe and comfortable, you need to make sure first that you’re buying the right size helmet.  Most of the helmets on this list come in 3 sizes (S, M, L), although those sizes have different meanings across brands.

In order to pick the right size helmet, you’ll want to measure your head.  Really–stop being lazy and get out the measuring tape.  With a flexible tape, measure the circumference of your head right above your eyebrows.  Make sure to get the measurement in centimeters as that is how most manufacturers size their helmets.

You can then compare this to the size chart each manufacturer provides.  For your convenience, we’ve included the sizes for each helmet in our comparison chart above.

Unfortunately, even once you get the right size helmet, it may or may not fit YOUR head well. Some of us have rounder heads, some have more oval shaped heads.

Even if a helmet works great for your best friend, it may not work great for YOU. For this reason, I suggest trying on some helmets from your local bike shop, or order somewhere with easy returns so you can try a few.

Helmet Ventilation

One reason it is worth buying a NICE helmet (any of the helmets on this list qualify) is the increases in ventilation.  Cheaper helmets are notoriously sweaty and uncomfortable. 

Generally speaking, the more ventilation holes there are and the larger they are, the better the airflow. If you live in a hot climate, I’d definitely recommend spending a little more to get a nicer helmet with better ventilation.

Bell Super 3 Ventilation

Adjustment and straps

Another reason to throw out a little extra cash is to get a helmet with a comfortable and secure adjustment system.  All the helmets on this list have a rear-fit-dial that helps get the perfect fit for your head.  We also really dig helmets, like the POC Tectal, that have clean, dummy-proof side straps.

machines for freedom trail jersey


The lighter a helmet is, the more comfortable it is going to be on long rides.  Although 100 grams may not feel like a lot in the store (in fact, it might be imperceptible), a few hours into an all day epic, there really is a difference.  Again, we’ve included weight in our comparison chart to help you choose.


The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a nice helmet.  Skip some of the extras like MIPS, a helmet mount, adjustable visor, goggle clips. 

Instead, focus on finding a helmet that is lightweight, has good ventilation, and that is easily adjustable.  On the other hand, if budget isn’t an issue–add all those nice-to-haves back in.

Considerations for long hair

This isn’t important for everybody, but if you have long hair and like to wear a ponytail while riding, you might want to look for a women’s specific helmet that actually fits a ponytail.  Helmets with more rear of the head coverage, while safer, generally make it harder to comfortably wear a pony.

In our experience, the helmets with MIPS liners also have a tendency to snag long hair which can be rather painful and make a mess of your ‘do.

tld helmet with ponytail

More Stuff You Might Like

Leave a Comment