Motorcycle Gear For Women

January 24, 2023
By Michael Padway

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The motorcycle industry keeps track of who owns and rides motorcycles to anticipate demand for the products it makes and sells. Surveys show a steady climb over the past decade in the number of women who own motorcycles. 

One in five motorcycle owners in the United States are women, which is double what it had been only twenty years earlier. Surveys also show that female ridership is even higher among Gen X and Gen Y women. The data indicates that motorcycle ownership among women continues to grow with younger generations stepping in as older riders leave the sport. 

The fact that more women have chosen to own and ride motorcycles increases the demand for motorcycle gear for women. Motorcycle gear, which has traditionally been made and targeted toward men, refers to the equipment and protective clothing riders wear to keep them safe and ensure their comfort when riding. Examples of motorcycle gear include helmets, jackets, pants, boots, gloves and other accessories and equipment.

You want the gear that you wear to be stylish and look good, but it’s important to remember that it’s primary purpose is your safety and comfort. For example, buying a helmet just because it looks good without checking to see if it is certified to do its primary job, which is to protect your head from the impact of a crash.

The choice of jacket and pants to wear when riding a motorcycle must, as with helmets, take safety into consideration along with looks and style. Adding armor and padding to a stylish motorcycle jacket or pants means that you will look good while riding and have peace of mind knowing your body and legs will be protected against the impact of a crash whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner just starting out.

Finding motorcycle gear that protects a woman from the wind, rain, extreme temperatures, and other elements in addition to reducing the severity of injuries in a crash usually meant settling for something made for men or, if you were lucky, a unisex style. More manufacturers and retailers are now recognizing the trend in ridership by offering motorcycle gear specifically designed for women.

As you read through this article, you’ll find options for motorcycle gear for women that offer a slimmer fit, shorter torso and other design features incorporated specifically for female riders. Also included are our recommendations for the different types of gear.

Motorcycle Helmets For Women

The primary function of a motorcycle helmet is to protect your head in case of a crash, so helmets made for men and women share the same safety features. As with other types of motorcycle riding gear for women, retailers offer different styles of helmets from which to choose depending on the preference of each rider.

Styles of motorcycle helmets

Women and men have the same choices in styles of motorcycle helmets, including:

  • Full face: Offering maximum protection for your head, face and neck, the full-face helmet is easily recognized by the chin bar that completes the enclosure of the rider’s head and face for added protection over other types of helmets. 
  • Modular: It may look like a full-face helmet, but the chin bar of a modular helmet can be moved up or down depending on the rider’s preference.
  • Open Face: This style of helmet is also referred to as a three-quarter helmet because it leaves your face exposed while providing protection for the top, sides and back portions of your head. The lack of a chin bar leaves your face exposed to the impact of a crash.
  • Half Shell: A half helmet or half-shell helmet offer relatively little protection other than to the top portion of a rider’s head. 
  • Dual Sport: If your riding takes you off road, then you should consider a dual-sport helmet. They feature an elongated chin bar and more padding than you would find in a full-face helmet along with a large, extended visor.

The best way to choose a style is to try them on to find the way that you like best. Other factors to consider when choosing a helmet is the fit, weight, ventilation and overall comfort.

Helmet construction

Motorcycle helmets combine a hard outer shell, an inner liner for impact absorption, padding for comfort and proper fit, and a retention system or chin strap to keep it securely in place. The hard outer shell may be made from polycarbonate plastic, Kevlar, or fiberglass to protect the skull from penetrating objects and from the abrasive damage that would be caused by contact with the ground in a crash. 

Inside the helmet is a foam liner designed to compress and allow the head to safely decelerate during a crash. A second layer of padding made from soft, cloth-covered foam cradles your head and face to keep the helmet comfortably on your head as you ride.

Last, but certainly not least, is the chin strap, which keeps the helmet securely on your head in the event of a crash. An unfastened chin strap may result in the helmet flying off and leaving your head exposed and unprotected in a crash.

Government and industry safety standards

The easiest way to know if a helmet meets federal safety standards is to look for the label on the back as proof that it is U.S. Department of Transportation or DOT certified. SNELL is another certification standard in use in the U.S. similar to the DOT standard. You also may see helmets with labels indicating compliance with ECE, FIM, and SHARP standards that are in use in Great Britain and Europe.

Choosing the right size helmet for women

Just as you choose your motorcycle to fit you, you want to ensure that you and your helmet are the perfect match. Measure the circumference of your head by wrapping a soft measuring tape around and slightly above your eyebrows and ears. Use that measurement to match against a manufacturer’s sizing chart to select a helmet, but do not solely rely on the chart. You need to try on the helmet to ensure that it sits squarely on your head to provide a snug but comfortable fit.

Our recommendations for women’s motorcycle helmets

The following are three helmet recommendations for women:

  • Scorpion EXO-R420 Helmet: A sharp looking, SNELL certified full-face helmet that comes in sizes for men and women. Prices range from $159.95 to $164.95 depending on size and color chosen.
  • Icon Airflite Rubatone Helmet: This DOT-certified full-face helmet fits right in on the roads or on the trails with an internal sun visor and other features to improve the quality of your ride. It comes in a full range of sizes and is priced at $265.
  • AGV K1 Helmet: This full-face helmet carries an ECE certification. Its many features include an aerodynamic design and scratch-resistant, anti-fog polycarbonate face shield. Available in a range of sizes and priced at $159.96 to $167.96 depending on the color you choose.

Just remember to choose a helmet that is comfortable while also offering a snug fit.

Motorcycle Jackets for Women

Weather plays a key role in the choice of motorcycle jacket you buy, and there many styles and types of motorcycle rain gear for women now available on the market. If you are in the market for winter leather motorcycle gear for women or jackets made from the new synthetic materials for all-season riding, retailers offer a wide variety of options from which to choose.

Types of materials 

Leather remains a popular material for jackets for women, but other materials have increased in popularity. Regardless of the material used to make it, the purpose of a motorcycle jacket is to provide protection from the elements while being capable of absorbing impact and preventing skin abrasion in the event of a crash. Some of the popular materials include:

  • Leather: Historically, leather motorcycle jackets dominated the motorcycle-gear marketplace, and they continue to remain popular because of their look, feel and ability to protect a rider in a spill or when the weather changes. 
  • Synthetic materials: The ability of synthetic materials, including Gore-Tex, D-Dry, Kevlar, and other popular brands, to protect you against wind, rain, snow, and an unexpected accident make synthetic materials a popular choice for riders. They also tend to be less expensive than leather jackets.

In addition to the material from which a jacket is made, you also need to pay attention to other features, including ventilation, waterproofing and armor for protection against weather conditions and to protect you in case of a fall.

Choose a style of jacket and pick the right size

Styles of motorcycle jackets for women include:

  • Cruiser jackets offer a loose, comfortable fit to accommodate the taller handlebars and upright seating position of a cruiser motorcycle.
  • Touring jackets are for the long ride when protection from changing weather conditions is essential. They come in waist-cut and three-quarter lengths.
  • Sport jackets combine modern design concepts with the latest textiles to provide the ultimate level of comfort for the sport-bike rider.
  • Adventure or ADV jackets contain vents, pockets, liners and waterproofing that riders of adventure motorcycles can appreciate.

Once you choose a style and type of material, you need to get the right size jacket whether buying it for yourself or as a gift for a fellow rider. Check the size chart for the jacket you want to buy and use a tape measure to find the right size best on the measurements that you come up with for yourself.

Recommended motorcycle jackets for women

There are types of motorcycle jackets available for women, so use the following recommendations as a guide:

  • REAX Women’s Alta Mesh Jacket: Unsurpassed air flow and abrasion resistance are features of this made from a combination of durable textiles offering protection from the sun and stormy weather. It’s priced at $249.99.
  • REV’IT! Eclipse Women’s Jacket: Lightweight mesh construction that is perfect for the heat of summer is reinforced by abrasion-resistant materials where it counts, and it’s priced at only $151.99.

Dainese Air-Frame D1 Women’s Jacket: A mesh jacket for summer riding that protects you from wind and keeps you warm on chilly mornings for a price of $269.95.

Motorcycle Pants for Women

If denim jeans have been your go-to pants for riding, it may be time to look at what motorcycle pants for women have to offer. Riding pants keep you dry when it rains and come in a choice of  materials to either keep you cool in the summer or warm during winter riding.

Riding pants feature textiles designed to protect against abrasion and crash impact depending upon the pants that you choose. Pants come in a variety of materials including:

  • Leather
  • Textiles or man-made fabrics
  • Denim
  • Mesh, which offers outstanding breathability

When choosing riding pants, you want them to feel good when riding, but you also need them to be comfortable when the ride ends and you are walking or standing around. 

There are many styles available, so here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Depending on the style of motorcycle pants for women, you may have to try on different sizes to find the one that fits. Even retailers caution that some designs may be tighter or looser than the size you normally wear.

Motorcycle Boots and Shoes for Women

If you have been riding for a while, then you know that motorcycle boots for women usually meant settling for a smaller size in a men’s boot or shoe. Things have changed with more styles of boots and motorcycle shoes for women. Instead of settling for a smaller size in a shoe or boot designed for a man’s foot, women now have footwear available that is specifically designed for the shape and contours of their feet, ankles and calves.

Styles of motorcycle boots for women include:

  • Cruiser boots can be identified by a rounded or flat toe and extend up to the ankle with some of them extending as high as mid calf or knee length.
  • Touring boots tend to be sportier-looking than cruiser boots and more flexible while having a low heel.
  • Adventure-touring or dirt-bike boots put the emphasis on safety to protect you from the rocks, sand and loose dirt you expect to encounter riding off road, so they typically cover up to your knee.
  • Track or racing boots have a low heel and added protection added to them to protect feet, ankles and shins from injury. Some racing boots include a reinforced heel and toe for sliding.
  • Sneaker style shoes actually look and feel like sneakers, but they extend to just above the ankle for added support and protection. Depending on the brand, some sneaker styles come with either laces or velcro closures.

Leather dominates as the material of choice for most motorcycle boots because it is durable and provides the support and protection riders need for their feet, ankles and calves, but other materials, such as textiles, rubber and composites,  have grown in popularity. 

Ideally, you want a boot or shoe that provides stability to your foot and ankle while also protecting you against the elements and abrasion in case of an accident. Getting the proper fit is essential, but you must keep in mind, particularly when buying any motorcycle riding gear for winter, to allow for heavier socks that may require going up one size from what you might normally wear.

Following are some recommendations to get your shopping started:

  • TCX Blend WP Women’s Boots: Made of full grain leather for durability and foot protection, these boots are designed specifically for a woman’s foot and priced at $229.99.
  • TCX Street Ace WP Women’s Shoes: This sneaker-type shoe provides ankle and toe support and protection along with the durability of a full-grain leather upper at only $119.99.

Alpinestars Stella SMX-1 R Vented Boots: These $159.95 boots are built for women and are perfectly vented for riding in warm weather.

Motorcycle Gloves For Women

Motorcycle gloves for women do more than keep your hands warm when riding in cooler weather, they also help make it easier to grip the hand grips and controls while offering protection against abrasion in case of a spill. Women motorcycle gloves come in a variety of types, including:

  • Street gloves: Typically a short-cuffed glove with padding added to protect the hands in a crash or fall. They make it easier to hold hand grips and controls and are better suited to warmer temperatures than the cold weather of winter.
  • Dirt gloves: If you ride off-road in warm weather, then you may want to get a pair of these thin gloves to give you better control over the throttle and brakes.
  • Race gloves: These gloves offer enhanced protection for your hands in a crash or should your hand make contact with the roadway in a sharp turn.
  • Short-cuff gloves: These lightweight gloves have a shorter cuff than some other types of handwear.
  • Touring gloves: These gloves are made for comfort and hand protection. They usually are waterproof and made to protect against the elements you may encounter on long rides.
  • Cruiser gloves: These gloves lean toward the vintage look with longer cuffs and reinforced knuckles and palms for hand protection in a fall.

Glove materials vary with leather leading the way and followed closely by polyesters and other synthetic materials that offer enhanced protection against wind, rain and snow. When choosing a glove, you want one that will function well during inclement weather while also providing adequate ventilation for those warm, sunny days. Touchscreen compatibility may or may not be essential for you, but it comes in handy when you want to do something on your smartphone without removing a glove.

When buying motorcycle gloves, you want them to be a snug fit without restricting your ability to move your hands and preventing you from operating the brakes and throttle and gripping the handlebar. The following are some recommendations for motorcycle gloves for women:

  • Dainese Blackjack Gloves: Goatskin leather, a reinforced palm, and soft inserts on the knuckles for added protection are only some of the features of this classic, Italian-design glove priced at $99.95.
  • Alpinestars Stella SP-8 v2 Gloves: These full-grain leather race gloves with an extended cuff incorporate features from the race course into a comfortable, everyday glove for only $79.95.

REAX Women’s Superfly Mesh Gloves: If you want a lightweight, mesh glove that incorporates leather on the knuckles and on the palm with the ventilation of Nylock mesh, then these are the gloves for you at only $79.99.

Additional Motorcycle Gear For Women

Protective eyewear, body armor, communications systems are as essential for safe riding as are helmets, motorcycle jackets, and other types of motorcycle protective gear for women. Eyewear, including goggles and glasses, protect your eyes from dust, sand, rain, and anything else that could cause injury or, at the very least, discomfort while riding. 

Glasses and goggles that are safe for use while riding are more resistant to shattering than standard sunglasses and eyewear because they are made of materials that protect your eyes rather than being a source of injury. Look for eyewear that fits snuggly, so they will not fly off while riding. The American National Standards Institute or ANSI rates eyewear for safety, so choose goggles or glass approved by them.

Recommendations for motorcycle glasses for women include:

Body armor comes in different types to offer as much protection as you want or think you need, including protecting your chest, back, elbows and other parts of the body. The following are a couple of examples of body armor motorcycle protective gear for women:

  • Icon Stryker Women’s Vest: This lightweight vest with back insert offers comfort and mobility while protecting you in case of a spill. Designed with the woman rider in mind and priced at $130.00.
  • 509 R-Mor Women’s Protection Vest: This vest delivers extra padding for chest and back protection without being bulky at a price of $139.95.

Staying in touch with your fellow riders is made easier with a communication system. The following are two recommendations that may interest you:

  • ​​Cardo PackTalk Edge Headset: This is the latest version of a popular headset with new or updated features that include Air Mount and Bluetooth 5.2 to give you unsurpassed sound quality and a one-mile range between riders and a five-mile DMC group range priced at $350.95.
  • Cardo Spirit Headset – Duo Pack: If you want a solo or two-up Bluetooth device, this may be for you. Its two channels can connect to your phone and GPS in addition to allowing you to speak with your passenger and is available for $170.96.

Conclusion

If you are a woman with a passion for motorcycles, you are no longer limited to shopping in the men’s section for helmets, jackets, pants, boots and other essential motorcycle gear. You can now be safe and comfortable with riding gear specifically for women.

The recommendations in this article are designed to help you to find the best gear at the best price, but you need to do your research and try on the products to ensure a fit that will be comfortable while keeping you safe on the road. Take your time before making up your mind because the number of motorcycle gear products available for women riders is increasing all the time.

Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

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