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Best women's gravel cycling kit

Women's Gravel Clothing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With gravel now a booming discipline that sits nicely between road cycling and mountain biking, it’s only natural that you need some suitable kit to go with it. Unsurprisingly, gravel kit is derived from both other disciplines, and falls within a spectrum from sleek and efficient roadie, to baggy and durable mountain biker.

Gravel kit needs to be as versatile as the bike, given the changeable nature of our chosen terrain. Whether you’re blasting around the woods on fire roads and bridleways or setting off on a 200km off-road epic, you need clothing that sits comfortably on that spectrum. 

However, while there are a handful of cycling wear brands releasing gravel-specific lines, in many cases these are limited to male and unisex fits. This means that women who ride gravel (believe it or not, we exist in droves) will need to pick and choose the best bits from road- and mountain-specific kit in order to create a custom gravel wardrobe that suits our needs.

Generally what you’re looking for is comfort, efficiency, and a wide range of movement. Durability is important if you’re riding for days or weeks at a time, as is storage space, breathability and temperature control. 

Scroll down for Cyclingnews’ choice of the best women's gravel kit. For buying advice, skip ahead to our guide on how to choose the best gravel bike clothing

Jerseys

Best gravel bike clothing: Sportful Giara women's jersey

(Image credit: Sportful)

Sportful Women's Giara Jersey

Emphasis on performance without the race aesthetic

Specifications
Pockets: 4
Sizes: XS - L
Colours: 2
Reasons to buy
+Well ventilated+Performance fit
Reasons to avoid
-Best suited to warm weather

Sportful is one of the few brands at the moment to have released a women-specific gravel range. Its Giara kit is designed for those who love a bit of dirt and drop-bar fun, and it’s cut to offer great performance while also being comfortable enough for all-day riding. 

This jersey is particularly well suited to warmer weather, with its breathable fabric and ventilation panel at the rear.

Best gravel bike clothing: dhb Aeron

(Image credit: dhb)

dhb Aeron Ultra Women's Short Sleeve

A sleek jersey that’s at-home on a road or gravel bike

Specifications
Pockets: 5
Sizes: 8 - 16
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Designed for multi-day riding in tough conditions+Coldblack technology for superior heat management
Reasons to avoid
-Sleeves come up tight

The dhb Aeron Ultra short sleeve jersey was designed for all-day riding and multi-day trips, thanks to its light, breathable and moisture-wicking Revolutional fabric. It’s quick-drying, durable, and offers great ventilation, thanks to the wide mesh back panel and underarms. 

It also features Coldblack Technology on the main body of the jersey. This reduces the absorption of heat rays in dark colours, helping you to stay cool while the sun’s beating down on you. It comes with a minimum of UPF30 protection, as well as an anti-bacterial treatment.

Best gravel bike clothing: Endura Primaloft Gilet

(Image credit: Endura)

Endura Women's Pro SL PrimaLoft Gilet

A surprisingly warm and packable gilet that’s perfect for navigating changing temperatures

Specifications
Pockets: 4
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: 2
Reasons to buy
+Well insulated+Two way zip
Reasons to avoid
- Small pockets

Endura’s Pro SL Primaloft gilet gets a big thumbs up from us. Not only is it great at keeping you warm in changeable weather, it packs down pretty small and works just as well over a jersey as it does under a waterproof jacket. 

The front is insulated with a thin layer of Primaloft Gold, while the even thinner Primaloft Silver is adopted at the rear. This synthetic padding is surprisingly good at keeping the warmth in, plus with a double-ended zip, on-the-fly adjustment is a doddle.

Best gravel bike clothing: Morvelo Overland shirt

(Image credit: Morvelo Overland shirt)

Morvelo Overland Trucker Long Sleeve Shirt

Grind some gravel with some long-haul truckin’ style

Specifications
Pockets: 2
Sizes: S - XXL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Four-way stretch fabric allows a good range of movement+Casual shirt that’s also water-resistant and windproof
Reasons to avoid
-  Unisex fit not ideal for all body shapes 

For those wanting to look a little less ‘bikey’, the plaid shirt is the pinnacle of the casual gravel adventure aesthetic. This one is cut specifically for an optimum cycling position: longer at the back with ample room across the shoulders.

Morvelo’s Overland range is designed specifically for dirt road exploration that culminates around a campfire. It’s constructed from four-way stretch breathable fabric that’s DWR treated, quick-drying and windproof, and includes two chest pockets that are accessible while wearing a backpack.

Best gravel bike clothing: Morvelo Overland jersey

(Image credit: Morvelo)

Morvelo Overland Hoard Mountain Jersey

A casual hoodie ideal for riding and recuperating

Specifications
Pockets: 4
Sizes: XS - XXL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+True all-rounder for on and off the bike+Lots of storage
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most packable when the day warms up

A light hoodie is an ideal way to keep warm during the darker and colder parts of the day, and of course you need something to wrap up in once the ride is over. This casual hoodie, also from Morvelo’s Overland range, is a great all-rounder and looks stylish to boot.

It’s made from a lightweight fleece fabric that feels soft to the touch and features small baffles on the back for added insulation. It’s both breathable and fast-wicking, making it suitable for riding when the temperature drops but you’re ploughing through that final homestraight. 

Best gravel bike clothing: Gore C5 shakedry jacket

(Image credit: Gore)

Gore Wear Women's C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry Jacket

Unbeatable rain protection that’s worth the investment

Specifications
Pockets: 1
Sizes: XS - XXL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Excellent waterproofing while remaining breathable+Remarkably lightweight
Reasons to avoid
- Incredibly expensive 

If you’re out for days at a time with wet weather looming, you could do a lot worse than packing this jacket in your back pocket. 

Gore’s C5 Gore-Tex Shakedry is a remarkable piece of engineering that hits the delicious sweet spot between waterproof and breathable. It’ll keep you bone-dry without boiling in the bag, and when you’re done you can literally shake it dry and put it back in your pocket.

What’s more, the women-specific fit won’t cost you anything in air resistance if you’re trying to make it to your camp for the night.

Shorts

Best gravel bike clothing: bib shorts

(Image credit: Morvelo)

Morvelo Women's Overland Bib Shorts

Wear them on their own or under baggy shorts

Specifications
Weather resistant: No
Sizes: XXS - XXL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Premium construction with flatlock stitching+Offers light compression and Factor 50 sun protection
Reasons to avoid
-Requires full disrobing when nature calls

If you’re riding all day it’s wise to opt for bib shorts, even if you decide to use them as a liner beneath your baggies. Morvelo’s Overland gravel range includes women-specific bib shorts for this exact purpose.

Constructed from premium Italian Lycra, the flatlock stitching reduces chafing, while the panelled construction offers light compression to help combat muscle fatigue. Lightweight mesh straps offer ventilation, and if that’s not enough, the Overland bib shorts also provide SPF50 coverage.

Best gravel bike clothing: Assos bib shorts

(Image credit: Assos)

Assos Women's T.rally_s7 MTB Bib Shorts

Packed with technology and convenient for nature breaks

Specifications
Weather resistant: No
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Proven technology and crash protection+Magnetic clasp for quick and easy nature breaks
Reasons to avoid
- Extremely expensive

These bib shorts from Assos are specifically designed for mountain biking and off-road riding. Assos has developed its own MTB-specific chamois for women: wider for additional coverage and positioned for optimal off-road comfort. The type.499 fabric is tough and durable, while the kompressorFabric offers power-control compression.

They also feature the brand’s own impactPads, which offer extra protection in the event of a crash. Assos says that this extra padding isn’t noticeable while riding, but should you fall off your bike, the impactPads should help with easing the pain.

Best gravel bike clothing: Endura Singletrack Lite shorts

(Image credit: Endura)

Endura Women's SingleTrack Lite Shorts

Great all-round form-fitting MTB shorts

Specifications
Weather resistant: Yes
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: 3
Reasons to buy
+Hits the sweet spot between ‘barely there’ and durable+Offers great range of movement
Reasons to avoid
-Pockets are fairly small

Endura’s SingleTrack Lite shorts are a popular choice for mountain bikers. They’re lightweight which helps you nail the techy climbs, and durable enough to handle the rougher stuff. Four-way stretch nylon fabric lets you move freely, while the DWR treatment helps repel dirt and spray.

The waistband is easily adjustable and doubles up as a moisture-wicker, while the main body of the fabric is breathable and perforated with air vents. They don’t come with a liner so you can use what you’ve already got, and they're Clickfast compatible if you’re already an Endura fan.

Best gravel bike clothing: Sportful Giara overshorts

(Image credit: Sportful)

Sportful Women's Giara Over Shorts

Women’s gravel-specific casual over shorts

Specifications
Weather resistant: Yes
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: 2
Reasons to buy
+Casual shorts that don’t look ‘bikey’+Stretchy and breathable
Reasons to avoid
-Internal Velcro tabs can irritate

Sportful’s Giara range includes these simple and casual over shorts, suited for any riding from an epic gravel adventure to a light urban pootle. They’ve got a nice tailored cut that’s loose but fitted, which paired with the four-way stretch fabric allows for a good range of movement. 

If you prefer not to look too bikey, these have belt loops along with two extra jean-style pockets, and would pair very nicely with the Morvelo Overland Trucker plaid shirt. Best combined with a base layer though, as the internal Velcro tabs can be quite irritating on the skin.

Best gravel bike clothing: Gore C5 shorts

(Image credit: Gore)

GORE C5 Women’s Shorts

Quality gravel-ready over shorts for a mid-level price

Specifications
Weather resistant: Yes
Sizes: XS - XXL
Colours: 3
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable, flattering fit+Easily adjustable
Reasons to avoid
-Come up short in length

These C5 (mid-range) shorts from GORE are durable and water-resistant thanks to the DWR fabric, while the Polyamide and elastane blend stretches perfectly to accommodate a range of movement. They’re a great option for warmer weather, thanks to the ventilation holes on the inner leg.

As opposed to the internal waist adjustment seen in the Sportful Giara shorts, this offering from GORE features an external elastic Velcro waist adjustment, so you can comfortably wear them with a casual t-shirt if desired. Bear in mind these are quite short in the leg, so you’d need to pair them with a liner that won’t peek through.

Shoes

Best gravel bike clothing: Giro sector W shoes

(Image credit: Giro)

Giro Sector W

‘Adventure-inspired’ gravel and cross-country shoes

Specifications
Sizes (EU): 36 - 43
Closure: Boa
Sole: Carbon / Rubber
Reasons to buy
+Extremely rugged construction+Offers fast and tough performance
Reasons to avoid
-Comes with a hefty price tag

The Giro Sector W shoe features a supple and breathable upper, constructed from Synchwire. These composite layers form a lightweight material with zero-stretch for additional support. 

Combined with a carbon-composite plate and dual-injected rubber outsole, the Sector shoe offers aggressive power output alongside excellent traction. Reinforced heel and toe sections offer durability while the 3D-molded footbed is treated with antimicrobial Aegis. The whole thing is sealed via dual BOA L6 dials for accurate adjustment on the fly.

Best gravel bike clothing: Shimano RX8 women's shoes

(Image credit: Shimano)

Shimano RX8 Women

Super lightweight and racy

Specifications
Sizes (EU): 38 - 50
Closure: Boa / Velcro
Sole: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+Racy fit for maximum power output+Extremely lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most breathable in hot weather-Performance fit might be too much for some

These may look a little racy in comparison; the Shimano RX8 looks like a road shoe from above, and a cross-country shoe from below, and ultimately combines the best attributes from both disciplines.

The TPU-covered carbon sole rates 10/11 on Shimano’s stiffness scale, providing an incredibly rigid base for maximum power transfer. Despite this, there’s still a built-in flex zone to allow you to walk properly when needed.

Best gravel bike clothing: Specialized Recon 3 shoes

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Recon 3.0

A solid, rugged choice for the rough stuff

Specifications
Sizes (EU): 35 - 47
Closure: Boa / Velcro
Sole: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+Trickle-down S-Works Recon technology+STRIDE toe-flex is a game changer
Reasons to avoid
-Greatness doesn’t come cheap

Drawing upon the technology seen in the S-Works Recon, the Specialized Recon 3.0 is designed specifically for the gravel grinder who likes to push limits. They can take on even the loosest terrain with their aggressive SlipNot rubber tread pattern.

Most importantly it features STRIDE toe-flex technology - a carbon outsole paired with a glass fibre forefoot - to create a sole that’s stiff enough to put down power but flexible enough to walk in. It’s truly a game changer for hike-a-bike fans.

Best gravel bike clothing: Fizik X5 Terra shoes

(Image credit: Fizik)

Fizik X5 Terra

More budget-friendly gravel cycling shoes

Specifications
Sizes (EU): 36 - 48
Closure: Boa / Velcro
Sole: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+Reinforced and durable +Laser-cut vents for airflow
Reasons to avoid
-Sizing comes up narrow

While the X5 Terras are available in both suede and synthetic, we recommend the latter for gravel riding, as it holds its shape well and is more resistant to abrasions than suede. These shoes are rugged, with reinforced heel and toe areas, and pronounced treads for off-road traction.

The upper is constructed from Laser Perforated Microtex layered over a lightweight and breathable mesh, to prevent overheating. The outsole is vented composite carbon, mated with the brand’s own insole to provide power transfer as well as support.

Best gravel bike clothing: Sidi Jarin shoes

(Image credit: Sidi)

Sidi Jarin

If a road shoe and a MTB shoe had a baby…

Specifications
Sizes (EU): 38 - 48
Closure: Tecno 3 dials
Sole: Carbon
Reasons to buy
+All the best Sidi features combined+Just look at that colourway
Reasons to avoid
-Bank-breaking price

Sidi is known for its class-leading shoes, and the Jarins are no exception when it comes to quality and performance. They combine all the best bits from Sidi’s high-end road- and MTB-specific shoes into one gorgeous iridescent package.

The Techpro leather upper comes from the Wire 2 shoes, paired with a strap and Tecno 3 dial closure system. The SRS Carbon sole, on the other hand, comes straight from Sidi’s Flagship MTB shoes, with its replaceable tread blocks and reinforced toe box and heel cup.

Accessories

Best gravel bike clothing: Morvelo Overland gloves

(Image credit: Morvelo)

Morvelo All Road Overland Gloves

Rugged Khaki goodness

Specifications
Sizes: S - XXL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Double-stitched for durability

Morvelo’s Overland range includes these Khaki-coloured full-fingered gloves designed to be simple and rugged with their double-stitched seams. The Nylon palm is breathable and moisture-wicking, while the four-way stretch fabric allows for easy movement to gain optimal grip and control.

Best gravel bike clothing: Assos gloves

(Image credit: Assos)

Assos Trail FF Gloves

Impressive design

Specifications
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: 1
Reasons to buy
+Anatomic cut means no unnecessary bulk

The Assos Trail FF gloves are designed for rough terrain. They’re made from perforated synthetic leather, offering durability, grip, support and protection. Combined with 3-Mesh material, the gloves are breathable, keeping your hands cool and dry, and are cut with a ‘no wrinkle’ fit, providing a 3D curved structure that mimics the shape of hands while gripping handlebars.

Best gravel bike clothing: Kask Mojito helmet

(Image credit: Kask)

Kask Mojito X Peak Helmet

You’ll love it or you’ll hate it

Specifications
Sizes: S - L
Colours: 2
Reasons to buy
+The peak (depending on your preferences)
Reasons to avoid
-The peak (depending on your preferences)

This one’s bound to be divisive, but the Kask Mojito X Peak helmet definitely sits on that spectrum between road and mountain. It features a (removable!) built-in peak to help shield you from the elements.

It comes packed with Kask technologies, including its patented In-Moulding system combined with its MIT polycarbonate shell for excellent durability without added weight. It also features Kask’s Up’n’Down fitting system so you can adjust the fit to perfection.

Best gravel bike clothing: Sportful Giara cap

(Image credit: Sportful)

Sportful Giara Cap

All kit needs a matching cap

Specifications
Sizes: One size
Colours: 3
Reasons to buy
+Easy to pocket when you don’t need it

If you’re not a fan of the built-in peak offered by the Kask, then you’ll likely be after a cap, right? This one from Sportful’s Giara range is lightweight and folds up easily so you can stash it when it’s not needed. It quickly wicks away sweat and looks pretty good as well.

Best gravel bike clothing: Sealskinz socks

(Image credit: Sealskinz)

SealSkinz Waterproof Warm Weather Ankle Length Sock

Arguably are the best waterproof socks available

Specifications
Sizes: S - XL
Colours: 4
Reasons to buy
+The gold standard of waterproof socks
Reasons to avoid
-Take a while to dry

Don’t let water ruin a perfectly good bike ride. Sealskinz waterproof socks are arguably the best on the market, and these in particular are great because they offer protection during those awkward mid-season months where you could be dealing with rain and shine together. 

They’re constructed from three-layers, offering warmth, durability, and waterproofing. The lining is made from bamboo, which offers its own moisture and temperature control, while the four-way stretch fabric allows for free movement and a comfortable fit.

How to choose gravel cycling kit

The first thing to ask yourself is how you intend to use it.

If you’re riding short distances, you can get away with pretty much anything you’re comfortable in, whether that’s Lycra or baggy shorts with a liner underneath. 

For longer distances, you need to be a bit more picky. Lycra’s usually the best option because it dries quickly, and doesn’t restrict your range of movement. You should opt for dedicated road or adventure bib shorts, because they generally tend to have a better quality chamois and will help you stay comfortable over a longer period of time.

1. Shorts

If you decide to wear baggy shorts over a liner or bib shorts, you don’t want them to be too baggy. This is important to bear in mind if you’re looking at mountain bike shorts, because they often tend to be cut wide to accommodate knee pads. You don’t want to end up carrying extra bulk that’s going to flap about and annoy you. 

Always pair your baggies with a liner or some bib shorts that are designed for long-distance endurance riding, since they’re usually made to be more durable. They’re more likely to have a chamois designed for long duration use, and will often feature weather resistance properties as well.

We’re starting to see more bib shorts that come with their own pockets as well, which are particularly suitable for gravel rides, since they tend to require some self-sufficiency. Any extra storage is a bonus.

2. Jerseys 

Whatever you wear on your lower half will likely influence what you choose on top. If you’re wearing bib shorts on their own, then opt for a classic road jersey with a full front zip and rear pockets. Otherwise, a form-fitted mountain biking jersey would work well with some casual baggy shorts.

It’s more important to consider which material your jersey is made of. Synthetic fibres are great for temperature control, offering superior ventilation to keep you dry and cool. If the weather is on the colder side, or is pretty changeable, we recommend something made with merino wool. It’s super versatile, keeps you warm even when you get wet, and tends to stay fresher for longer.

3. Shoes

Gravel shoes tend to combine the best of both worlds from road cycling and mountain biking. Ideally they should hit the sweet spot between weight, stiffness, durability and grip.

Look for shoes that take two-bolt SPD cleats and feature a tread that offers decent grip on loose or slippery terrain, since you’ll likely be hiking your bike on occasion.

You also want to find a balance between stiffness and damping, so opt for shoes with a nylon or carbon-reinforced plate, and ideally a built-in flex zone for walking.

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: Liv Devote, Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Whyte Victoria, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike