A good cycling jersey provides pockets for stashing food (and phones), wicks away sweat, and makes you feel fast and fabulous. Unfortunately, we’ve all tried on way too many women’s cycling jerseys that are unflattering and uncomfortable. (Nobody wants their tummy hanging out on the bike).
The jerseys on this list are flattering for women of all body types, and offer plenty of technical performance too. Obviously there are far too many great women’s cycling tops to list them all there. That said, here are 9 of our go-to jerseys that we recommend time and time again.
Note: These are traditional-style cycling jerseys. If you are looking for a looser, more casual bike jersey, check out our list of the best women’s mountain bike jerseys.
Short Sleeve Women’s Cycling Jerseys
Most cycling jerseys are short sleeve. You can wear these alone (for summer riding) or with arm warmers for cooler weather riding.
Machines For Freedom Endurance Short Sleeve
It’s not cheap, but we highly recommend the Machines For Freedom jerseys for their high quality and superior fit. The brand prides itself in making clothing for women of all body sizes, and the jersey comes in sizes from XXS to XXXL.
The jerey is compressive (in a good way, not a bag of potatoes way) and incredibly comfortable. It’s also long enough that it won’t ride up or cause any plumber’s crack.
Finally, I appreciate that it is three rear pockets including a zippered side pocket for stashing some cash or a credit card.
Rapha Women’s Classic Jersey
We couldn’t make a “best of” list without including a Merino Wool jersey. The Rapha Women’s Classic jersey is made of the softest merino wool and will keep you comfortable whatever the whether conditions may be.
Compared to most very slim fitting cycling jerseys, this one is a little looser (which I appreciate). With proper care, the jersey will last FOREVER so don’t be intimidated by the pricetag.
There are three rear pockets; plus a small zippered section.
Samsara Performance Raglan Jersey
The Samsara Performance Raglan jersey has high quality construction, is made in N. America, and comes from a company that specializes in women’s cycling apparel–all things we appreciate.
The jersey fits well, it’s form fitting but not clingy. The rear is cut longer to help avoid any sort of plumbers crack, and the sleeves are a bit longer as well.
This is a great top for really hot days as there are mesh panels on the side and up the back. We found it very comfortable for summer riding.
Read Our Review: Samsara Cycling Apparel
Terry Actif Jersey
The Terry Actif jersey is designed for women who want a little extra room in the waist and hip. It comes in regular as well as plus-sizes.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about this jersey. It just fits well, comes in several fun, colorful prints.
It’s also relatively affordable, while still being well made. You should expect this jersey to last many seasons.
Long Sleeve Womens Cycling Jerseys
There are two different types of women’s long sleeve jerseys. Those made for cooler weather riding, and those made for women who simply want more sun protection and coverage in warm weather.
Machines For Freedom Summerweight Long Sleeve
Like the MFF short sleeve jersey (listed above), the Machines For Freedom summer weight long-sleeve is buttery smooth and comfortable. This isn’t a cold weather long sleeve (as the name would imply), instead it is intended for warmer weather riding where you’d like extra protection from the sun and road.
The zipper is a full-zip so is easy to get on and off if you’re wearing bibs underneath. The jersey also comes in a wide variety of beautiful prints.
Read Full Review: Machines For Freedom Cycling Jersey Review
Samsara Sensation Long Sleeve
The Samsara Sensation is a long sleeve jersey for cooler weather and the inside feels fleecy. It can be worn by itself or as a layer for spring or fall rides.
We appreciated the full zip (makes taking it on and off easy) and the large rear pockets. The center pocket has a flap to help keep your cell phone or credit card safely tucked inside.
Read Our Review: Samsara Cycling Apparel
Women’s long sleeve cycling jerseys are generally really expensive. That’s why I like the Terry Strada jersey–it won’t break the bank but it still fits and performs well.
It comes in several bright colors that are easy to spot on the road, and provides just enough warmth to protect you on cooler mornings or long descents. There are three rear pockets, but no zippered ones.
It does run a little small, so order up a size if you like a looser fit.
Sleeveless Cycling Jerseys
Sleeveless jerseys are great for hot days, and for avoiding any weird tan lines. Here are our faves.
Terry Soleil Jersey
If you’re going to be biking in hot weather, you’ll want the Terry Soleil jersey. It’s super lightweight, wicks moisture well, and has UPF 50+ sun protection.
The front zipper, while not a full zip, extends quite low so you can open it up to help cool down We also like that there is no elastic at the bottom so it’s loose for comfort and airflow.
Bontrager Vella Tank
The Bontrager Vella tank looks less like a traditional cycling jersey and more like a tank. It has a racerback design and built-in shelf bra.
The main material is soft and breathable, and the back has an additional mesh panel for airflow. There are three rear pockets that are more spacious than many “tank” designs we’ve tried.
Things To Consider When Shopping For A Cycling Jersey
Most cycling jerseys are some sort of polyester and elastane blend. This material is quick drying and provides a bit of stretch.
The other jersey material you should consider is Merino wool. Merino takes a bit more care but will last forever and does a great job of performing in all weather conditions–but particularly cooler and wet weather.
Number And Size Of Pockets
I pretty much always pick a cycling jersey based on the size of the rear pockets. It’s important to me to have plenty of room for all the stuff I want to carry: a lightweight vest, my phone, a credit card, snacks, a C02 cartridge, etc, etc, etc.
That said, pockets may be less important to you if you plan on carrying your gear a different way. If you are using a hydration pack or a hip pack or bags on your bike, you may not need so much room in your jerseys.
Fit and Length
Consider what type of fit you’d like before buying. If you want a looser fit, you’ll be disappointed when you get a tight racer type fitting jersey.
Similarly, the length of your jersey will be dependent on your torso length and whether you are wearing regular bike shorts or cycling bibs. If you’re wearing bibs, you can opt for a shorter jersey as you don’t have to worry about plumber’s crack.
Most cycling jerseys will have either a short zipper at the chest of a full-length zipper that runs the full length of the jersey and comes on and off like a jacket. A shorter length zipper is nice as it tends to have less surface to rub against sensitive skin, while a full length zipper makes getting in and out of bibs easier.
How often to you bike. A couple times a month or every day?
The more often you bike, the more often you will be washing your jersey. And the more you wash your jersey, the quicker it will start to deteriorate.
In my experience, it’s worth the extra money to buy a high-quality well-constructed bike jersey. A good jersey can last for YEARS, and may be more affordable in the long run than a “cheaper” jersey.
Weight And Breathability
Are you riding in summer weather or winter weather? There are long sleeve jerseys designed for both!
Even short sleeve jerseys can vary a lot in terms of their weight and breathability. If you are riding in the middle of summer, for example, you’ll want to look for a jersey with mesh panels and thin material.
Many jerseys will come with built in UV protection which is important since we spend so much time on our bikes out in the sunshine. If this is important to you, make sure to look for the feature when picking a jersey. You’ll tend to find it on higher end jerseys, and less so on “budget” jerseys.
Most jerseys are manufactured overseas, but you can find some (like Samsara) that keep their manufacturing in N. America. Depending on your values, you may also want to look for a company that focuses on sustainable manufacturing like using recycled materials, or that promotes diversity in their ad campaigns (like Machines For Freedom).
Complete Your Look
- 9 Best Women’s Bike Shorts
- 9 Best Women’s Road Bike Helmets
- 7 Best Bike Skirts (and Skorts) for Women
About The Author
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.