The best women’s winter cycling jackets are designed to help you stay warm while cycling through the colder seasons. Winter isn’t everyone’s favourite season, with its shorter days and mostly dark commutes, but if you want to cycle all year round then a good quality jacket is a worthwhile investment.
If it’s protection from the rain you’re after, consider our guide to the best women’s waterproof cycling jackets, comprising the lighter-weight packable options that are great for when the heavens open.
However, for added warmth and all-day comfort, women’s winter cycling jackets will usually comprise thicker materials and increased breathability. Women’s winter cycling jackets can come in various guises, from race-ready performance-cut to bulkier commuter jackets in an assortment of bright colours. Whatever your chosen discipline, you need to choose a winter jacket that meets the specific demands of your cold-weather cycling, and that means enough warmth to keep you comfortable, but some ventilation to stop you from ‘boiling in the bag’.
It’s especially important to look after your upper body during winter rides. Your legs will be doing a lot of the hard work, so they’ll generate some of their own heat. However, with your upper body remaining fairly still by comparison, it’s vital that you protect your core and arms from the elements. This isn’t just to keep you feeling comfortable but to also keep you safe and in control of your bike.
Pairing your winter jacket with the best women’s cycling jerseys, best women’s base layers and best women’s cycling gloves to keep you toasty and dry in the depths of the cold season.
So, to help make the decision easier for you, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best women’s winter cycling jackets, but if you’re unsure on how to choose the best for you, jump ahead to our guide on what to look for in a women’s winter cycling jacket.
If you’re looking for something that blends in when you’re off the bike, the second iteration of Endura’s Urban Primaloft FlipJak is a strong contender. In its very pretty mulberry purple colour, you actually get two jackets in one with the FlipJak’s reversible design. One side is a loud and proud pink, while the other is a more subtle and dark purple. Switch it around to suit your mood.
Whichever way around you wear it, you get three pockets: two side pockets large enough to accommodate your hands, and a zippered chest pocket. The softshell outer (on both sides) features PrimaLoft Silver insulation, a synthetic fill that is water-resistant, soft and durable, and high-loft for an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. This makes it an ideal commuter jacket when pedalling through cold and damp weather conditions.
Another great option for commuters and urban cyclists, Altura’s Nightvision Storm is designed to keep you dry and visible when the sun goes down. The sleeves and side panels are covered with reflective dots that not only light you up like a Christmas tree when it’s dark out, but also pass for a stylish pattern in the daytime. You could quite happily walk around town in this jacket without it screaming ‘cyclist’ at the people around you (unless you opt for the hi-vis yellow colourway, of course).
Fully waterproof taped seams ensure that the majority of the rain stays out, while ventilation ports on the back and underarms help to shed heat and let your skin breathe. The fleece-lined collar and relaxed fit make it a highly comfortable jacket for most occasions, while the ample zippered pockets — two hand pockets, one chest pocket and one rear pocket — let you store all your essentials within easy reach.
At this price point, it offers exceptional value for money, though we would say that if you’re likely to be riding in persistent, heavy rain all day, you may want to spend a little more, as this jacket will reach its waterproofing limit.
For winter road rides you want something a little more form-fitting than the options listed above. Wiggle-owned brand dhb offers up its Aeron Deep Winter women’s softshell, which is lightweight and very cosy. As part of the brand’s Deep Winter wardrobe for cyclists, the Aeron jacket features a high-performance membrane that offers windproofing and water resistance.
The stretchy softshell fabric feels comfortable to wear and allows you full freedom of movement both on and off the bike. At the back are three main pockets, plus a fourth zippered valuables pocket, providing ample storage space for snacks and essentials.
The Aeron Deep Winter softshell jacket also comes with dhb’s Flashlight Technology, which denotes multiple reflective trims and logos on the front, back and sleeves, in order to help you stay visible from all angles.
The ‘RoS’ in the name stands for ‘rain or shine’, meaning that this waterproof layer from Castelli is designed to see you through most inclement weather, including during those awkward between-season stints where everything is unpredictable.
The two-layer construction of the jacket — literally meaning it has an outer barrier and inner insulated layer which are fastened independently of each other — means that the Castelli Alpha Ros 2 will keep you warm in pretty much any weather, and allow you to regulate your body temperature by unzipping the outer layer if you overheat.
Constructed with Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper fabric, you can be sure that not only will this jacket protect you from rain and windchill, but it’ll breathe as well. There are ventilation points at the back to help the heat escape, while three main pockets alongside a zippered one will keep your belongings stashed away securely.
The Alpha RoS 2 jacket is designed to be worn for long periods of time on the bike, and is made with stretch fabrics and what Castelli calls ‘advanced patterning’ to create a slim fit that should stay put throughout your ride. The only quibble we have is the fact that the neck and shoulder area may feel a little baggy for some.
Rapha’s Classic Winter Jacket is designed for rides that begin and end in challenging weather conditions. The three-layer Gore-Tex Infinium fabric is both wind- and water-resistant, which helps protect you from the elements without compromising on breathability.
This jacket is best used as part of a layering system, and has a relaxed cut, providing plenty of space for a jersey and base layer underneath. A nice touch is the two-layered high-stretch cuffs on the sleeves, which not only seal away the cold, but also work well with winter gloves.
Other ways to keep the cold out include a high collar and an adjustable draw cord at the hem, so you can finetune your fit. Meanwhile, no Rapha jacket is complete without the brand’s signature armband. In this instance, it’s fully reflective to heighten visibility during darker times of the year, and other reflective details can be found on the shoulders and pockets.
When price is the only criticism we can think of, you know this is actually a very good garment to invest in. Velocio’s Signature Softshell jacket was inspired by the curved back, articulated shoulders and pre-shaped sleeves of touring motorcycle jackets. The resulting silhouette is one that effortlessly slots into the optimal riding position, and this is something Velocio has emulated in its Signature Softshell.
Partnering with eVent, this jacket is constructed from Velocio’s proprietary three-layer softshell that incorporates the high-performance membrane leader’s Direct Vent stretch membrane. This features a PrimaLoft performance yarn backer and a durable stretch-woven outer with DWR treatment.
Velocio’s Signature Softshell jacket was designed for freezing temperatures and, thanks to its 10,000mm waterproof membrane, all but torrential downpours. The resulting garment is breathable and comfortable to wear on all-day rides, making it an idea winter solution for many road cyclists.
Another premium jacket that requires an investment but is worth every penny, the Sector Jacket from Isadore is a versatile garment that will keep you feeling snug and warm on the coldest of rides. It feels suitably rugged and thick, without feeling bulky.
It blends two high-performance fabrics – thermoregulating Windtex softshell membrane fabric and smooth, water-repellent ThermoRoubaix – to create an outer layer that feels soft to the touch and delivers excellent results. The Windtex membrane makes a good barrier to the elements, blocking windchill and rain from entering. The ThermoRoubaix, meanwhile, has a lovely brushed fleece interior that feels cosy and luxurious.
The Sector Jacket features several well thought-out details, including the extra pocket on the sleeve with a hidden zipper, lots of reflective areas for low-light visibility, and a logo badge on the right sleeve which adds to the military-esque style in a very subtle way.
Sportful’s Fiandre Pro W jacket features Polartec Neoshell fabric, which has been perfected to meet the demands of intensive exercise – like cycling – in wet conditions. The waterproof membrane is also completely breathable, allowing sweat and heat to escape while sealing the rain outside.
In addition to this, Sportful designed the Fiandre Pro W jacket to tackle foul conditions without compromising on aerodynamic properties. The ergonomic cut of the garment tailors it to the body, allowing you to save precious watts for those last few efforts. Further to this, flat-lock seams are placed strategically to optimise the fit, while the dropped tail design limits your rear exposure to the elements.
With this combination of performance fit and premium technology, it’s no wonder that the Sportful Fiandre Pro is the jacket of choice for many pros when they train in wet conditions.
How to choose the best women’s winter cycling jacket
During the summer the wind works with you to help you stay cool, but in winter it firmly works against you. Look for windproof fabrics, which create a barrier to block the wind from passing through the fabric.
While windproof fabrics used to equate to a layer of ‘boil in the bag’ plastic that left you drenched in your own sweat afterwards, technology has come a long way to offer a level of breathability so your jacket can both stop the windchill from getting in, and let the heat generated by your body to escape at the same time.
Not all women’s winter cycling jackets will come with the latest and greatest windproof technology, of course, and if you’re shopping on a budget, then you may need to look for alternative methods to solve this problem. Some brands will use panels of fabric that have varying levels of density, shielding your most vulnerable front areas with thick and heavy fabric, while using thin, perforated fabrics on the back.
If you’re still looking to spend less, then opt for a winter cycling jacket with a front zipper that can be easily adjusted on the go, to allow some air in when it’s needed, and seal out the cold quickly without stopping.
There’s a difference between water repellent and waterproof. If you’re after something that will keep you bone dry in constant rain, then you’re better off with a fully waterproof cycling jacket.
Water-repellent winter cycling jackets, on the other hand, are ideal for more changeable weather conditions, and will also provide thermal insulation and a comfortable fit. They’ll often have a softshell outer made from water-repellent fabrics, or be treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) that will cause water to bead on the surface and roll away.
This is where breathability becomes important. With DWR treatments and water-repellent membranes comes a lack of ventilation, which makes it tricky for your body heat — and therefore sweat — to escape. This is why the high-end modern fabrics that hit the sweet spot tend to be a bit pricier, but you’re paying for prime performance.
Like the rest of your cycling kit, you’ll need to think about how you want your winter cycling jacket to fit. Depending on your riding style and discipline, you may want something that is form-fitting and aerodynamic, or something with a more relaxed fit that allows you to layer up underneath and wear casually both on and off the bike.
While some jackets will try to do it all, nine times out of 10 a jacket will specialise in one specific type of usage.
Most of the women’s winter cycling jackets we’ve listed here are suitable for road use, and therefore will have an aero fit to varying degrees. However we’ve also included some more casual and relaxed fit options that will work for commuter cyclists.
Reflective detailing or high-visibility colours
Whether you’re racing or commuting, if you’re riding through the winter then in all likelihood you’ll be riding in darkness at least some of the time. When light levels are low, it’s important to remain visible in traffic, so reflective detailing and/or hi-viz colours could be the deciding factor for you.
Some cyclists will prioritise safety over everything else and opt for the most brightly coloured and reflective jacket available, while others would prefer to be a little less lit up like a Christmas tree. Luckily, many brands offer a variety of colours that aren’t just fluorescent yellow, and have incorporated clever reflective details that are less visible in daylight.