The cycling jersey is a true icon in cycling. It’s the prize on offer at the world’s biggest races – the maglia rosa, the yellow jersey, the World Champion stripes. For the world’s best riders, a jersey represents their team and headline sponsors. For us mere mortals, it could represent our club or our team or perhaps just our favourite colour or pattern.
As well as the design, the fabric of a cycling jersey is also really important. This has come a long way over the years, as manufacturers have moved from heavier fabrics such as wool to lighter and more technical materials like lycra and polyester.
Another of the most welcome innovations in the world of cycling kit is the creation of a specific women’s fit. This is hugely important, whether you’re looking for comfort, aero gains or both. Gone are the days of ill-fitting men’s jerseys that are the wrong shape, too long in the body or too tight on the hips.
As more research has gone into which fabrics are best suited to particular terrains, we’ve been given much more choice over which jersey to pick. From the long-sleeved maillot, lined with fleece and coated with rain protection for the winter months, to lighter layers for the changeable seasons, to those made with thin, sweat-wicking mesh material, perfect for the height of summer, there really is a jersey for every environment.
So, if you’re braving the winter weather and looking for something to keep you warm, dreaming of the summer months, or just need some morale to get yourself on Zwift, here are a few of our top jersey picks.
Rapha Women's Core Long Sleeve Jersey
£70, Shop Rapha
Rapha's Core range has given us an entirely new side of the brand, taking all of its expertise from its high-end race gear and delivering it at a more affordable price point. The Core long-sleeve jersey captures the spirit of the collection well, mixing style and technical performance.
The attention to detail is impressive, using ribbed collar and cuffs alongside a laser cut rear with soft silicon grippers and a concealed zip pocket. It's breathable enough that you can keep a cool and collected look while you’re grinding up a climb and deep in the paincave in your autumnal miles.
MAAP Force Pro Longsleeve Jersey
£160, Shop MAAP
Perhaps more appropriate for the weather conditions most of us will be facing this time of year, MAAP’s Force Pro Longsleeve Jersey offers protection in chillier climates. While not specifically marketed as a garment for wet weather, the jersey has been treated with DWR, making it water resistant and very handy if you get caught in a downpour.
The jersey is fleece lined but this doesn’t give it a bulky look, allowing flexibility and comfort. However, it’s worth noting that MAAP is designed and created in Melbourne where the temperatures don’t get much below 6 degrees in the winter, so if you’re braving a more brutal off-season outside of the Southern Hemisphere, you might want to pair a gilet or waterproof with this one.
dhb MODA long-sleeve jersey
£36, Shop dhb
With no fleece lining or fancy waterproof covering, this jersey might not quite live up to the technical performance of its competitors. But what it might lack in high-tech material, it certainly makes up for in style. From polka dots, to marbled, to bright floral patterns, dhb offers an array of eye-catching prints to choose from, depending on your mood. Plus, at the price point dhb offer, you could certainly treat yourself to a few.
The dhb Aeron collection is dhb’s premium range and if you are looking for something more performance focussed, this fits the bill. It includes jerseys with a 3D material built for racing, making sure there is no excess fabric to slow you down.
Santini Colore Winter Women's Long Sleeve Jersey
£85, Shop Santini
Santini’s Colore Jersey has been kept simple and clean, but when your clothing is the choice of the top ranked women’s team in the UCI WorldTour – Trek-Segafredo Women – no bold claims are needed to prove its quality.
Santini produces kit suitable for professional performance, but it also understands the importance of comfort and fit. Its women’s jerseys are specifically designed to suit a female physique, fitting like a second skin. The Colore jersey is perfect for a milder winter day, it’s breathable but keeps you warm, and extra details like the double sleeved cuffs provide even further insulation.
Isadore Signature Cycling Jersey
£130, Shop Isadore
Ok, we thought dhb was good in terms of offering a range of jersey options, but Isadore might just take the biscuit. Its handy sunshine rating system explains which jersey you need, depending on the riding conditions. The Signature Cycling Jersey comes in the middle of the range, suitable for changeable weather.
The Merino wool fabric wicks sweat but it isn’t a super lightweight material, meaning it can still protect you from windchill on the descents, making it a good short sleeve winter option. Isadore have added silicone tape to make sure the sleeves don’t ride up, ensuring a crisp tanline, so if you don't mind the funny looks from strangers when you’re out of lycra, this could be the one for you.
Le Col Hors Categorie Long Sleeve Jersey
£165, Shop Le Col
Part of Le Col’s “Hors Categorie” collection, this jersey is perfect for long rides where you might face unpredictable weather. It could be layered under a rain jacket if you need more protection, but the fleece lining offers a good amount of warmth as it is, without making you feel sweaty.
Clearly designed by those who understand the requirements of kit for long training rides, the fourth, waterproof pocket with a zip is a handy feature which gives you peace of mind that your valuables are protected. Le Col’s statement of intent is clear: they design practical, but performance-focussed kit which will best assist you on your long rides. That's a tall order, but this jersey certainly seems to live up to the hype.
Velocio Women’s Thermal Long Sleeve
$199, Shop Velocio
Velocio’s thermal jersey gives the protection you need in the cold, but allows temperature regulation to ensure that you don’t overheat. The three colour choices are bright as well as slick ensuring visibility but maintaining a stylish look. This jersey looks and feels great, plus, you can wear it with a clear moral conscience. Velocio uses 100% recycled materials and all products are made using sustainable energy. It boasts longevity and sustained performance, making a clear move away from the fast fashion that dominates today’s industry. Velocio puts its money where its mouth is by offering a one year warranty on all of its products.
To add to its commendable brand values, Velocio also champions inclusivity, offering an excellent fit to a broad range of body types as well as extended sizes.