The right helmet with a great fit can make all the difference to your ride. However, the choice can be overwhelming due to the abundance of options available these days. Whether you’re on the lookout for specific features tailored to your discipline, or just want something to keep your head safe that you don’t mind being seen in, there are lots of things to take into consideration when choosing the best women's bike helmet for you.
As a female cyclist, you’re not restricted to women-specific helmets, since most are unisex anyway. However, you may want to consider the traits that make a helmet more tailored for women, and whether this is something you want to include in your decision-making.
According to body dimensions data, head shape and proportions generally differ between the sexes, with women’s heads tending to be smaller in diameter, and having a less pronounced brow bone. How a helmet sits on your head, and the points at which it tightens, can make all the difference between a comfortable fit and headache waiting to happen.
If you’re still not sure whether you want to be limited to women’s helmets, you’ll likely be pleased to know that design has come a long way in recent years, and today's best women’s bike helmets have moved beyond shrink and pink. There is now an array of women's-specific features, as well as various colours and graphics on offer to match your favourite cycling kit.
Aside from what makes a helmet ideal for women, there are lots of other factors that go into choosing the right lid for you. For example, it’s important to have a helmet that matches your cycling discipline.
Whether for men or women, the best road bike helmets will be lightweight and aerodynamic for more efficiency, while a mountain biking helmet will have more coverage around the back of your head and a prominent visor to shield your eyes. The best commuter helmets, on the other hand, can be a bit more casual and offer integrated safety features.
Read on for our recommendations of the best women’s helmets for road cyclists, mountain bikers and commuters, head over to cheap bike helmets for some deals, or scroll down to our guide on what to look for in a women’s bike helmet.
Best women's bike helmets: Road
Specialized Propero 3 ANGI MIPS
Crash detection and app-compatibility makes this a top-notch high-tech choice
Weight: 350g (M) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: S, M, L | Colours: 7
The race-inspired Specialized Propero 3 shares many features with the S-Works Prevail, offering incredible performance and value for money. These include the Tri-Fix web splitter to provide an incredibly comfortable fit, as well as the 4th Dimension Cooling System for superior ventilation. Most notably, it features the ANGI crash sensor, which detects an impact and alerts your pre-specified emergency contact. Paired with the iOS or Android app, it can also sync with your favourite GPS-tracking apps, like Strava. ANGI, combined with the MIPS rotational impact protection, makes this an incredibly safe helmet to wear.
Also useful, specifically for women and other long-haired cyclists, is the HairPort FLS 2 fit system, which makes it possible to tailor the height position of the adjustable dial to accommodate a ponytail comfortably. A clip-on visor is included, should you wish to have some extra eye protection, while reflective details on the outer shell of the helmet help to keep you visible in low-light conditions.
Liv Rev MIPS
A great performing road helmet from the women-specific brand
Weight: 280g (M) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: S, M, L | Colours: 2
Since Liv is the only major bike manufacturer to produce bikes and gear specifically engineered for women’s anatomy, it’s safe to assume that the Liv Rev MIPS road helmet is a solid choice. In fact, it was developed alongside the CCC-Liv race team. It’s a stylish lid with pretty good ventilation, alongside MIPS brain protection.
Liv’s Cinch+ and Liteform webbing together provide a comfortable and secure fit, with full coverage of the occipital bone. The interior padding material wicks sweat away from your skin and into 21 ultra-deep internal channels and vents which promote airflow to keep you cool, while the antimicrobial treatment prevents the build-up of bacteria and odours. Liv claims that the construction process, combining five outer in-mould micro shells with one continuous inner shell, creates a consistent and seamless finish for optimal structural integrity, alongside a pretty flawless aesthetic.
Giro Ember MIPS
A classic aesthetic with lots of colour options
Weight: 295g (M) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: S, M | Colours: 7
The Giro Ember MIPS from the brand’s Womens Series is inspired by the design of the premium Synthe helmet, offering a classic aesthetic that performs as well as it looks. As a women-specific model, the Ember has a compact shape, while Giro’s Roc Loc 5 fit system makes it possible to easily adjust the fit tension and vertical position with one hand. Inside you’ll find Air-FX padding, designed to be comfortable for long days in the saddle, while 26 vents combined with internal channels promote cooling airflow.
The in-mould polycarbonate shell with EPS liner is reinforced by a thermoformed SL Roll Cage, providing overall strength which, paired with MIPS, offers excellent protection for your noggin. Finally, the rear of the helmet is ponytail-compatible, making it that little bit easier to get up and out on your ride.
Best women's bike helmets: MTB
Comfortable and well-ventilated trail helmet
Weight: 340g (M) | Rotational safety: No | Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL | Colours: 3
The POC Tectal is a respectable offering from the Swedish brand, sharing many features with the ever-popular POC Octal. Designed specifically for the trails, this enduro lid includes an integrated visor and provides extensive protection coverage for the temples and the back of the head, shielding you from low-hanging branches. 17 long and even vents promote airflow and encourage sweat evaporation for quick and efficient cooling, while the 360-degree strap system helps with adjusting the fit securely.
Built to withstand rougher riding, the Tectal features aramid fibres in strategic locations around the helmet, offering sound structural integrity when moulded together with its reinforced EPS liner. The overall construction consists of a unibody shell, supporting and strengthening while also keeping the weight down.
Bell Women’s Spark MIPS
A durable helmet for a budget price
Weight: 365g (U) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: Universal | Colours: 1
The Bell Women’s Spark helmet is a good choice for the budget-conscious mountain biker, in that it includes several of the brand’s respected safety technologies and looks great while offering excellent value for money. Bell’s Fusion In-Mold system sees the outer shell bonded to the EPS foam liner, offering long-term durability and protection. The added layer of MIPS with its tell-tale bright yellow colour adds more safety reassurance.
Despite the universal sizing, the dial system helps you to achieve a precision fit, while 13 air vents help to cool you down as you ride. The interior padding also works to wick sweat away to keep your head feeling fresh. While the integrated visor helps to shield your eyes from the sun, and any other debris you may encounter.
Liv Coveta MIPS
A trail helmet to mount your GoPro on
Weight: 342g (S) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: S, M, L | Colours: 2
This mountain biking helmet from women’s brand Liv is as well thought-out as it is easy on the eyes. It comes with many of the perks we mentioned above that Liv builds into its lids, including the Cinch Pro precision fitting system combined with the comfortable LiteForm webbing so you can forget you’re even wearing it. The interior padding is treated to be antimicrobial, helping to prevent the build-up of bacteria and their associated odours. The integrated visor is there to shield your eyes from the elements, but this is easily removable if you find yourself sticking to the tarmac for a while.
At the top is a mount that is GoPro compatible, so you can record and share your favourite rides with your friends, or cover yourself in the event of an incident where footage can help your cause.
Giro Trella MIPS
A super safe and casual commuter helmet
Weight: 272g (U) | Rotational safety: MIPS | Sizes: Universal | Colours: 3
Another contender from Giro’s Women’s Series, the Trella MIPS helmet provides a comfortable fit, while its 18 air vents offer decent ventilation and cooling. Built with the brand’s In-Mold construction for a lighter overall weight without sacrificing durability, it’s a great option for everyday use.
It employs Giro’s Roc Loc Sport MIPS fit system, making adjustment for a precise fit easy to achieve while on the move, and the added layer of rotational impact protection is a bonus for any commuter. The reflective details on the outer shell are also very useful to help you be seen in traffic when the days get shorter and commuter hours are darker.
A great budget-friendly lid with good colour options
Weight: 281g (U) | Rotational safety: No | Sizes: Universal | Colours: 5
Giro’s Vasona helmet is sleek and smart. Its compact shape, with cooling air vents and a lightweight construction, makes it a good option for any cycle commuter or urban rider. To keep things super simple (and budget-friendly), the Vasona comes in a single universal fit, employing the brand’s Roc Loc Sport system to help you secure it firmly in place. 12 air vents help to keep your head cool when temperatures rise, while quick-dry padding helps to remove the sweat.
With its removable visor and array of colour options, the Vasona can be a versatile and stylish addition to your commuter wardrobe.
The ultimate urban helmet with Bern’s distinctive signature style
Weight: 356g | Rotational safety: No | Sizes: S, M, L | Colours: 5
The Allston is Bern’s top-of-the-line city helmet, featuring the brand’s premium Zipmold+ construction, which offers long-term durability and tough protection. Its 360-degree retention system features a BOA dial to help achieve a comfortable and precise fit while on the go. It offers 16 air vents to help with cooling and freshness even when riding through the summer, while the moisture-control liner combined with the soft flip visor gives the Allston Bern’s signature look.
As an added safety feature, the Bern Allston has a two-hole mount located toward the rear of the helmet, where you can attach the brand’s Quickmount Asteroid rechargeable bike light. Having a red light on the back of your helmet is an excellent way to be seen at night.
How to choose the best women's bike helmet
When it comes to aesthetics, pricing, ventilation and aero needs, a helmet will always be a personal choice. The main thing you should always consider is fit and safety. Prioritise a secure fit: try before you buy whenever possible, or make use of the manufacturer’s size guide to help you choose correctly. Helmets generally tend to come in multiple size ranges with an adjustable dial at the back to refine the fit.
You can rest assured that these days the majority of helmets will have been put through rigorous industry safety standards testing, though these differ between North America, Europe and Australasia. It’s worth making sure that the helmet you’re buying has passed the tests for your region.
The majority of modern helmets are made from EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam, which will compress on impact to provide an effective ‘crumple zone’. Meanwhile, the polymer outer shell is bonded to the foam to add further protection.
Added safety measures
The latest scientific research and independent laboratory testing have shown that in many cases brain injuries and concussions are caused by the rotational force during an impact. To combat this, helmet manufacturers have developed their own solutions to this.
The most prominent of these rotational impact protection technologies are ‘MIPS’, ‘SPIN’ and ‘WaveCel’. SPIN and WaveCel are proprietary for POC and Bontrager helmets, respectively, while MIPS is a more widely used technology that appears in helmets for an array of brands. We’ve marked clearly in this list which of the helmets feature this technology.
Women’s specific features
As we touched upon at the beginning of this article, there are often notable physical differences between the size and shape of women’s heads compared to men’s, with women generally coming out smaller (though this isn’t always the case).
In order to accommodate this, many helmet manufacturers who provide women-specific products will offer them in much smaller size ranges. It’s worth taking into account the amount of hair you have as well, since this will add to your overall head circumference. If you have long, thick hair, you’re likely to need a larger helmet. However if you then cut it very short, you might find your helmet suddenly feels too roomy. These are all things worth considering.
The same goes for how you wear your hair while you cycle. A low ponytail will generally sit comfortably below the adjustable dial at the back, while some helmets will have a retention system that’s placed lower than usual, so you can thread a higher ponytail through the gap. If you have short-to-medium length hair, then you may find pigtails more comfortable, as these can thread through the straps where they loop below the ears. Finally if you have very short hair and experience pinching, consider wearing a cycling cap to create a soft protective barrier.
Overall, it’s important to get an accurate measurement of your head circumference, and to take other aspects into account while measuring, such as additional caps and ponytails.
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