A decent cycling jersey is a kit staple for any triathlete. Key features include breathable panels along the sides and back which have sweat-wicking properties, a zip garage to avoid uncomortable catching on the skin, coupled with smooth YKK zippers.
In terms of storage, look for a jersey with deep yet secure pockets, while a separate zip-up pocket for keys and other valuables is also extremely useful.
Some jerseys also come complete with funky designs, a skin-tight fit, or refelctive strips, so you should be able to find a top to fit your individual style and purpose.
Best 2022 women’s short-sleeved cycling jerseys
Madison Roam Merino
Madison’s merino jersey offers a completely different feel to the rest of those on test. Like a cosy blanket you’d like to curl up with, the material’s incredibly soft to touch, offering insulation against the cold and high-wicking properties in the warm.
With this versatility, Madison looks to be targeting the ever-growing cycle touring market, claiming to be ideal for overnights and varying all-day conditions.
Fabric-wise it’s ideal, aside from the glaring issue of the colour. Available in either grey or navy – both the colour of dusk – we’d definitely want to rely on more than the subtle reflective details on the back when riding at night.
For all-day riding there are three large rear pockets along with an extra zipped one for added security. The relaxed fit certainly allows for unrestricted movement and good ventilation on the fly, but that’s at a slight detriment to aerodynamics.
Verdict: Incredibly comfortable, just needs to be worn with high-vis to fulfil its potential
Made from 100% recycled material, Shimano’s Element jersey ticks the box for being eco-friendly. Inspired by nature and designed for women, the top itself is incredibly lightweight and sits on the more budget-friendly end of this test.
It has noticeably shorter arms and smaller shoulders with less flexibility than others we’ve reviewed here, while a wide waist and short body leaves it prone to riding up at the back.
It’s available in four sizes so you can always size-up if you’d prefer to, though larger-chested women may struggle to find the right fit.
Two colourways are available: a sleek black and a red version for those wishing to be more visible. The jersey features three rear pockets offering moderate storage, which is in keeping with the jersey’s themes of simplicity and functionality.
Verdict: Environmental brownie points but falls short in some key areas
Decathlon Van Rysel RCR Jersey
If you want storage, this jersey has it in abundance. Featuring seven pockets in total, two of which are zipped, you’ll never run out of places to put items and keep everything secure.
Mesh inserts on the sides increase breathability, with the silky-smooth material giving a cooling feeling throughout.
It’s not as light as some of the jerseys on test, so although it suits most UK temperatures, it wouldn’t be our pick in extreme hot weather.
The top offers good length, with a thick band around the bottom ensuring it stays firmly in place. Decathlon claims this is a tight fit but we found that, despite fitted aero arms, it was quite loose around the shoulders and upper body, so sizing down may be required for optimum aerodynamics.
Thankfully, it’s available in six sizes and comes in a choice of four colours, with lighter, more visible colourways even better value at £29.99.
Verdict: For everyday riding, this is a great top at an affordable price; storage is excellent, too
Presca Core Collection Gold
- Buy from Presca
Presca, which claims to be the world’s first climate-positive sportswear brand, has produced a jersey that not only looks great, but is made using recycled and recyclable fabric with fully sustainable methods.
The eye-catching design features form-fitting fabrics, which means that although it’s a close fit we could still move freely.
The top offers generous body length and a silicone grip around the base, which ensured we had no issues with it riding up when cycling.
The silky fabric’s kind on the skin with soft seams and raw-edge cuffs, keeping the sleeves in place without any irritation.
The main fabric’s lightweight and high-wicking, while breathable side panels helped keep us cool on hotter rides.
Three good-sized rear pockets provide decent storage and, although already highly visible by day, reflective rear strips offer extra visibility at night.
Verdict: Looks good, feels good, and is kind to the planet without costing the earth!
- Buy from Santini
Black is an interesting shade for a jersey designed to be worn in temps up to 35o C. But despite the main colour choice, the UPF 30 ultralight fabric and breathable mesh sides kept us surprisingly cool, making this pick from Santini a joy to wear even in extreme heat.
The blue tones are aesthetically pleasing, but not as eye-catching as we’d like for out on the road, and despite reflective details on the back, we’d want something brighter to wear at night.
Three large pockets offer plenty of storage, with an extra zip pocket for valuables. As advertised, it’s a slim fit, but it offers good length and is available in an impressive seven sizes.
Our main frustration was the Ironman branding label hook on the back of the neck, which kept catching on our hair.
This could be cut out, but we worried it might reduce the jersey’s durability, so it’s a disappointing design flaw given the price.
Verdict: An annoying label but incredbily light-weight and breathable; perfect for the heat
Tri-Fit Sykl Pro Earth
- Buy from Tri-Fit
Tri-Fit’s stylish jersey not only bags the prize for best looking, but also manages to feel luxurious and smooth at the same time.
The lightweight and breathable fabric kept us cool during a British heatwave thanks to the technical moisture-wicking fabrics used in high-sweat areas and heat-reducing panels on the front and rear.
It features two standard rear pockets and a further two aero pockets, offering plenty of capacity and easy access regardless of bike position.
Without anything in the pockets, the top did ride up a little at the back, so it may be worth sizing up if you want a bit of extra length.
Even in a larger size, the arms were comfortably tight, preventing unwanted movement and enhancing aerodynamics. It’s certainly pricey, but it’s worth noting there’s considerable discounts offered when purchased with the matching bib shorts.
Verdict: A jersey that oozes quality, looks greeat and performs well at the height of summer
Santini Delta Pietra
- Buy from Santini
This stylish and slim-fitting jersey from Santini is designed to keep you cool during hot rides with its Polartec Power four-way stretch fabric, which feels sleek and figure-hugging when on.
Santini claims that the Polartec Delta on the back panel and under arms delivers fast transmission of sweat for ‘rapid drying’ and it certainly works a charm, keeping us cool during long, hot sessions.
One of the best-looking jerseys on test, the Delta comes complete with aero, raw-cut sleeves and a tapered collar, while its kept effectively in place thanks to an elasticated silicone hemline.
Looks are only slightly let down by the oversized zip garage, and we’d prefer to have a zip-up back pocket for valuables, though three large back pockets do provide plenty of room for nutrition and any other essentials.
Santini kit typically runs small, so it was no surprise to find a size small delivered a skin-tight fit for this UK8 tester.
Verdict: Breathable and stylish, with some room for improvement
Le Col Women Hors Categorie
The latest offering from Le Col’s premium cycling range, the Hors Categorie Jersey, claims to provide an ‘unbeatable on-bike experience’ thanks to the fourway stretch polyamide fabric.
Admittedly, it feels extremely soft and comfortable against the skin, but it’s the thickestfeeling fabric on test. As a result, it’d be our choice for cooler summer rides over the more porous Santini and Trimtex.
The quality build extends to the fit, which is secure and snug thanks to an elasticated hemline gripper and laser-cut stretchpanels along the arms. Comfort continues with the unobtrusive zip-garage.
Large elasticated back pockets provide plenty of space to stuff bars and gels, while a smaller zip pocket complete with water-resistant lining proved useful in protecting keys and small valuables, though it’s not large enough to stash a phone. For safety in low visibility, we found the reflective back strip a thoughtful feature.
Verdict: Supreme quality and the most comfortable jersey on test
- Buy now from Trimtex
The Trimtex Vitric is a lightweight jersey best suited for hot summer cycling. The jersey has a slim, tight fit that doesn’t feel too restrictive thanks to the stretch in the fabric, while porous sections help you avoid overheating when on the fly.
We like the panelled design with thinner mesh sections along the sides and back aiding ventilation and speeding up water-wicking, while a more solid knit fabric on the front and arms serves as protection from the wind and sun.
Though we’re not sure about the orange and grey stripe colourway, and would prefer a tapered collar, we admittedly had no complaints in terms of comfort, with a zip garage helping to avoid any catching on the skin and an elasticated silicone hem keeping the jersey in place.
One of our favourite features of the Vitric is the three elasticated back pockets with additional zip key pocket, which provide plenty of space for a phone, bars and spare inner tube.
Verdict: Highly breathale and lightweight jersey for long-distance rides
It may be the cheapest on test, but that didn’t stop Sundried’s flattering black Stealth jersey impressing in the comfort department, thanks to its smooth feel and soft zip garage.
In terms of functionality, the YKK zipper makes it easy to adjust, and the back zip pocket was a perfect size for stashing a phone and keys – though we’d like to see a smaller compartment or hook to secure the latter.
The four-way stretch of the Stealth has kept its form well and we’re optimistic about Sundried’s claim that it ‘won’t lose its shape after years of wearing and washing’.
A medium fit our UK8 tester with a little room to spare, but we had to disregard Sundried’s arguably arbitrary weight suggestions for sizing, which just didn’t compute.
The elasticated anti-slip band along the bottom of the jersey looked svelte, but could be made more secure with the addition of silicone. Three sizeable back pockets means this jersey is suitable for going the distance.
Verdict: A comfortable and reasonbly-priced staple, but could be more practical