Many cycling apparel brands are well known for exceptional bib shorts, high-performance jerseys or aerodynamic skinsuits, but much of their knowledge about the most suitable fabric can also trickle down to casual wear. Even if we’re not riding bikes, tops that keep us cool and are made from high-performance materials are often desirable in the summer months, especially when leading an active lifestyle.
So, whether you sometimes get a bit sick of riding in tight lycra and are looking for a casual T-shirt that also offers good sweat-wicking abilities and breathability, or you just want to pay homage to the sport with a quirky slogan tee, here our a few of our picks of the best off-bike clothing for women.
IRIS Super Future Females: Wheelrunning Casual T-shirt
If you want to show your support of women’s cycling both on and off the bike, IRIS’ new range of casual T-shirts feature some clever and stylish designs paying homage to the women’s cycling scene. The brand was founded by former professional cyclist and The Cyclist’s Alliance Executive Director Iris Slappendel and produces quality cycling clothing as well as quirky casual wear.
The Wheelrunning T-shirt features an illustration by New Orleans based artist Kelli Laderer. It’s a bright image that represents movement and positive energy, with the statement ‘super future females’ referencing the work that Iris does to support young riders in the female peloton through her work with The Cyclist’s Alliance. For each T-shirt sold, IRIS will donate 5 euros to the TCA, so you can look good whilst also making a positive impact on professional and upcoming riders in the women’s peloton. What’s not to love?
Rapha Commuter Reflective T-Shirt
Rapha has an extensive range of off-bike wear that also doubles up with great bike usability. The Commuter T-Shirt is a perfect example of this: it’s designed specifically for the demands of commuting to work, but it’s also something you could keep wearing once you arrive. The reflective front logo and commuter dot on the rear are details which ensure visibility on early morning rides or if you’re heading home once the sun is starting to set.
The Commuter T-shirt is designed for riding in hot conditions, especially in inner city areas where humidity is often exacerbated by the unfortunate fumes of vehicles. To achieve this, Rapha uses a 105gm polyester material that has exceptional wicking qualities. No one likes to turn up to work carrying an unfortunate odour after multiple traffic-light standing starts so, with an added antibacterial treatment, the Commuter T-shirt is a huge help in keeping sweat under control.
Coming in a hi-vis pink colour or a navy marl, Rapha offers options whether you prefer an eye-catching statement look or one more understated. A close cut and high-stretch panels on the side ensure the top is a slim fit but provides the comfort for all day wear, meaning this t-shirt is suitable for casual use too. The Commuter T-shirt is a perfect way to save the hassle of bringing a change of clothes and it offers the same technical qualities as a summer jersey.
Le Col Technical Logo T-shirt
After spending hours on the bike, even the most premium cycling kit can begin to feel uncomfortable, especially in hot or humid conditions. Often, there is no better feeling than peeling yourself out of that tight lycra, smug in the fact you’ve completed your ride and maybe even snuck in a few QOM’s.
When that moment comes, and you’ve showered away the sweat of the day, a soft, breathable T-shirt is the perfect item to put on as you relax and recover. Le Col’s Technical T-shirt certainly fits this bill. Made from a soft-touch fabric and with a casual fit, it’s perfectly tailored for chilled days on the sofa once the riding is done. Low profile seams and edges, as well as bonded sleeves, prove that comfort has been at the forefront of Le Col’s ambitions when designing the T-shirt. While it may not be most suited to wick sweat, Le Col’s Technical T-shirt is a perfect choice if you’re looking to unwind in style.
ashmei women’s merino Signature T-shirt
A British clothing brand, ashmei is well known for its innovative use of merino wool in modern technical cycling gear, but the use of the material extends well beyond on-bike wear. Ashmei’s Merino T-shirts can be useful for a multitude of purposes, as baselayers, for running, for hiking or just for a casual look. The sky and teal colour choices are bright and eye-catching, while the simple and understated branding finishes off a T-shirt with a high-end look.
The sleek design doesn’t mean a compromise on performance, though, with ashmei’s merino+carbon fabric having excellent insulating properties and being high-wicking for hotter days. In fact, the merino+carbon blend reportedly converts liquid to vapour up to ten times further than conventional alternatives. The breathable, airy T-shirt can be enjoyed guilt-free too, with ashmei putting a strong focus on using sustainable, natural material. Part of the brand’s core ethos is making considered decisions for the environment when producing garments, allowing consumers to relax in the knowledge that their clothing has been ethically sourced.
A women’s specific cut that sits just off the skin makes the Icon T-shirt a perfect choice for either sportswear or as a casual look. Ashmei has got the perfect balance with a material that is thick enough to ensure it is durable but thin enough to remain cool and breathable.
Rouleur Organic Cotton T-shirt£40 - Shop now
If you’re a cycling obsessive like the team at Rouleur, you’ll enjoy paying homage to the sport in everyday wear. Our new collection of T-shirts are inspired by the shouts of fans by the side of the road, roaring on their heroes to go harder as they grind up mountain passes. A celebration of the slow reintroduction of fans after races looked a little soulless last season, they feature the shouts of “go!” in three different languages.
Be it “Allez”, “Vamos” or “Vai”, Rouleur’s T-shirts are a great way to keep the cycling love in your life even when off the bike. The white base colour and small logo ensure an understated and stylish look, but the colour pop on the wording is as loud as shouts of the tifosi. The design is one thing, but the T-shirts are also screen-printed in the UK with environmentally-friendly links. A unisex fit means that they are roomy and casual, so opt for a smaller size if you’d like a slimmer fit.
Cycling fans get closer to their heroes than in any other sport, able to give their favourite riders huge motivation to dig a little deeper with their enthusiastic cheers. Rouleur’s T-shirts are a homage to this beautiful part of the sport.
Isadore Urban-Light T-Shirt Serenity£45 - Shop now
Call a garment “serenity” and we’re already pretty much sold, it implies calm and relaxation after a long day on the bike. Founded by former professional cyclists Peter and Martin Velits, Isadore knows a thing or two about wanting to relax after a tough day’s riding. For this very reason, the Urban-Light T-shirt is designed to feel soft and relaxed to the touch. It's made from MicroModal fiber obtained from beech trees – one of the most sustainable fabrics available.
Being lightweight and breathable, the Urban T-shirt is ideal for hotter climates and for casual commuting. Features such as reflective logos and a small, closable pocket on the rear of the top mean it is ideal for rides where you want to ditch the traditional jersey. Heavy cotton T-shirts have a tendency to feel weighted when they become damp, and Isadore has aimed to overcome this with its use of MicroModal material which feels cooler and lighter on the skin.
The v-neck cut and women’s fit ensure Isadore’s T-shirt looks good for casual use, but its technical properties and use of advanced materials mean it transitions perfectly for commuting or casual riding.