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Best women’s bike helmets 2022 - Quality protection that fits properly and looks good

A woman cyclist wearing a purple Liv jersey, pink sunglasses and one of the best women's bike helmets stands in front of the sea
(Image credit: Liv Cycling)

The best women's bike helmets should not only provide the level of protection needed to keep you safe, they should also fit properly and look good while doing it. 

Many brands don't make helmets that are specifically designed for women (or for men), most are unisex in their application and for the most part that works, but there are a few which make women's-specific helmets. As a result, many of the helmets featured here are unisex options, but we've considered the specific needs of female cyclists in their inclusion. 

Broadly, there are differences between the shape of women's heads compared to men's. 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. Women will also often have longer hair than men, so features like ponytail compatibility may be important for you to find a helmet that works well for you. How a helmet sits on your head, and the points at which it tightens, can make all the difference between a comfortable fit and a headache waiting to happen.

Of course, the benefit of helmets usually being designed as unisex is that women aren't limited to a minuscule range of options compared to men, and if none of the below helmets fit the bill, you can check out our guide to the best road bike helmets, where you'll find a wider selection of unisex helmets. 

Fit requirements aside, any decent women's road bike helmet will be lightweight enough to avoid straining the neck and aerodynamic for more efficiency. The best commuter helmets, on the other hand, can be a bit more casual in style and offer integrated safety features. Mountain biking helmets will have more coverage around the back of your head and a prominent visor to shield your eyes. If that's the style you're looking for check out the guide to the best women's mountain bike helmets (opens in new tab) at Bike Perfect, our sister publication. 

Here at Cyclingnews, we test a wide range of bike helmets from all the major brands, assessing them for fit and adjustability, durability and added safety features, so we understand what to look for in the best. Read on for our recommendations of the best women’s bike helmets available today for road cyclists, commuters and more. 

Best women's bike helmets for road riding

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Giro)

Giro Ember MIPS

Best aero road helmet with a classic aesthetic

Specifications

Weight: 295g (M)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: S, M
Colours: 7

Reasons to buy

+
Shares the classic look of the premium Synthe

Reasons to avoid

-
There are lighter and more affordable options available

The Giro Ember MIPS from the brand’s Women's 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

(Image credit: Liv)

Liv Rev MIPS

Best for high performance venting

Specifications

Weight: 280g (M)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: S, M, L
Colours: 2

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent ventilation and moisture wicking

Reasons to avoid

-
The style is a little dated

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.

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Propero 3 ANGI MIPS

Best for added safety features

Specifications

Weight: 350g (M)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: S, M, L
Colours: 7

Reasons to buy

+
Features the ANGI Crash Sensor

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest road helmet on offer

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.

Best women's mountain bike helmets

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Poc)

POC Tectal

Comfortable and well-ventilated trail helmet

Specifications

Weight: 340g (M)
Rotational safety: No
Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL
Colours: 3

Reasons to buy

+
Aramid bridge construction reinforces its strength

Reasons to avoid

-
No SPIN rotational impact protection

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.

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Bell)

Bell Women’s Spark MIPS

A durable helmet for a budget price

Specifications

Weight: 365g (U)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: Universal
Colours: 1

Reasons to buy

+
A good-looking MTB helmet

Reasons to avoid

-
Few air vents to stop you overheating in the height of summer

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 Path MIPS

(Image credit: Future)

Liv Path MIPS

Budget priced women's MIPS helmet

Specifications

Weight: 339g (S/M)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: S/M, L/XL
Colours: 9

Reasons to buy

+
Very affordable
+
Can add a rear light
+
Good adjustability

Reasons to avoid

-
Visor isn't adjustable
-
Not much room for a ponytail

This mountain biking helmet from women’s brand Liv is well-thought-out with a simple, clean design with plenty of venting for a comfortable ride even on hot days and a compact shape. Fit adjustment with the Cinch One system leads to a comfortable fit, although the space for a ponytail is a little tight. 

You can even add Liv's tail light to the rear of the helmet to up your visibility, but with only two size options the Path MIPS may not work well for all head sizes. But for a budget helmet that includes MIPS, the Liv Path MIPS is spot-on.

You can read BikePerfect's review of the Liv Path MIPS helmet (opens in new tab) for more detail.

Best women's bike helmets for commuters

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Giro)

Giro Vasona

Best for safety on a budget

Specifications

Weight: 281g (U)
Rotational safety: No
Sizes: Universal
Colours: 5

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of colour options to choose from

Reasons to avoid

-
No rotational impact protection

Giro’s Vasona helmet is sleek and smart. Its compact shape, with cooling air vents and a lightweight construction, make 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.

Best women's bike helmets

(Image credit: Giro)

Giro Trella MIPS

Best for decent ventilation in a super safe and casual commuter helmet

Specifications

Weight: 272g (U)
Rotational safety: MIPS
Sizes: Universal
Colours: 3

Reasons to buy

+
MIPS protection and reflective details for commuter-specific safety

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited side and neck protection

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.

Kask Moebius helmet

(Image credit: Mildred Locke)

Kask Moebius

Best for scratch resistance

Specifications

Weight: 413g
Rotational safety: No
Sizes: Medium (52-58cm), Large (59-62cm)
Colours: 10

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent ventilation and rain protection
+
Durable and hard-wearing

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
No Small size available

The Kask Moebius, despite only having three visible air vents, is supremely comfortable and cooling. It does a great job of funnelling air through the front vent and out the back via well-defined air channels. The limited venting also makes it a great option for riding in the rain, as it does a good job of keeping water out and your hair dry.

Included is a removable foam peak for sun and rain protection, that is very easy to detach and reattach. The helmet itself is hard-wearing and robust, with a scratch-resistant exterior. The outer is constructed from a thermoplastic polymer called Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) that is well known for being impact-resistant, structurally strong and stiff, and to perform well in all manner of temperatures, making it an excellent year-round commuter option.

How to choose the best women’s bike helmet for you

What should you look for in a 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 all 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.

What added safety measures can helmets have?

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.

Are women's bike helmets different?

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.

How do I know what size helmet to buy?

Helmets come in different sizes, usually Small, Medium and Large, and each of these will have a range of measurements associated with them. The best way to get the right fit, especially if you're not able to try one on first, is to use a dressmaker's measuring tape to measure the circumference of your head. That means measuring the horizontal line that passes across your forehead, over the top of your ears and around the most prominent part of the back of your head. Once you've got this measurement, you can easily find the corresponding size.

Bear in mind that a helmet should have a snug fit, and it should sit about two fingers' width above your eyebrows. Most bike helmets will come with a rotating dial at the back that, when you tighten it, causes the inner lining of the helmet to contract and sit closer to your head. Aim for a fit that feels comfortable, but doesn't allow the helmet to slide freely around your head. The best indication of a proper fit is if, when you wiggle the helmet back and forth, your eyebrows move with it.

Do helmets expire?

Yes, eventually all helmets will begin to degrade, having spent so much time exposed to salt (from sweat) and the sun. Most helmets are mostly made from Expanded Polystyrene foam, which is supposed to absorb impacts to protect your head. Once this foam has begun to degrade, it can no longer do that. Believe us, once you've witnessed someone stamp their foot onto a 15-year-old helmet and watched it shatter into pieces, you won't forget it in a hurry.

Different organisations and authorities have varying estimates of how long a helmet should last before needing replacement, with opinions ranging from three to 10 years. 

It's also worth noting that a helmet is only designed to deal with one impact before its structural integrity is compromised. If you have a crash and knock your head, or even if you drop your helmet from a significant height, unfortunately it's time to replace it. This is why it's very important to look after your helmet carefully.

Is MIPS worth the extra money?

You may have spotted us touting MIPS as a benefit in this buyer's guide. If you're not sure what it is, it's essentially an extra layer of protection inside a helmet that is designed to combat rotational impact, which has been identified as a key contributor to brain injuries.

If you're unsure whether or not it's worth the extra investment, we've got a whole guide to help: What are MIPS helmets?

Mildred Locke
Mildred Locke

Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.

Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall. 

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike