The all-male staff at MO has been taken to task for our poor attempts at writing about women’s riding gear, and frankly, we’re glad that someone who can speak knowledgeably on the topic has offered us her gear review services. Hailey Arnold is apparel manager at a motorcycle shop in Seattle. Not surprisingly, one of her interests is women’s riding gear. We hope this article will be the first of an ongoing series to address the gear needs of the fastest-growing market segment in motorcycling. —Evans
If you’re a female rider, chances are you’ve experienced the seemingly inevitable disappointment associated with shopping for riding gear. In the days of old, if your local motorcycle dealership carried any women’s gear at all, it was usually just a dumbed-down version of a men’s piece: ill-fitting, lacking adequate protection, and cheerfully adorned with pink flowers. It is especially difficult to find riding gear that fits properly if you’re a curvier woman.
Female riders have routinely been forced to make compromises in safety, comfort, and style, but change is in the air! Gear companies have finally started to appreciate the rapidly growing demographic of female riders as well as their unique needs, signaling the beginning of a long overdue renaissance in the motorcycle gear industry. Where some of the major players have been slow to embrace women’s gear, emerging companies are starting to come up with great innovations and better solutions to the challenges of making women’s gear that lives up to our standards.
Cue the greatest innovation in female-specific riding gear in recent history: armored leggings.
Over the past couple of years, designers have caught on to this growing trend and subsequently produced women’s riding pants that actually provide the comfort, protection, and flattering fit that female riders have been searching for. You’d assume that anything this good must cost a fortune; but high-quality armored leggings are available in a price range that every rider can afford. If you’re dubious, I can’t blame you. Trust me when I say that armored leggings will surprise the hell out of any woman who has struggled to find gear in the past. You might be convinced that you need to try a pair, but you might not know where to look to find the best options. I’ve got you, girl!!
Here are a few of my favorite armored leggings:
Gogo Gear Armored Kevlar Leggings
They say if you want something done right, you better do it yourself. The women behind Gogo Gear clearly took this adage to heart. These leggings are made by women, for women, and it really shows!
The nice thing about the stretchy Kevlar is that it remains as comfortable when in the riding position as when you are off the bike. Note: The armor has been removed in this photo.
Upon first impressions, Gogo Gear armored leggings feel like a pair of thick yoga pants and look like a pair of simple classy black pants. They are so comfortable you won’t even notice you’re wearing protection, which is exactly what you want from your casual riding gear. You could easily wear these low-profile pants out to dinner or to work. The ENTIRE legging is lined with a super abrasion-resistant stretchy Kevlar, which reliably holds up against pavement in consumer crash-tests. Every seam is double stitched and virtually impossible to rip. The pants come with comfortable CE-rated knee armor that’s easy to remove when you prefer not to wear armor or when you need to throw them in the wash. By the way, these leggings are machine-washable! The pants also feature universal pockets for hip protection, sold separately.
Gogo Gear offers a huge size range, including tall sizes and new high-waisted sizes for better coverage. Believe it or not, these pants really do fit just about every body type. Additionally, these armored leggings have handy belt loops and fairly deep front pockets. They’re surprisingly comfortable in both cold and hot weather because they’re thicker than most jeans and they breathe really well. The insulative qualities of Kevlar actually protect your skin from the radiating heat of your engine, too.
Gogo Leggings are my favorite riding pants, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. As you’d probably guessed, Gogo Leggings are not waterproof. You’ll want to wear them every day, but they’re best suited for fair weather riding. A simple solution to this shortcoming is to wear a waterproof overpant when needed. My only true gripe with these pants after owning them for two years is that the Velcro on the armor pockets can scratch your legs if you aren’t careful putting them on. Luckily, you can’t feel the Velcro while you’re riding, but the rough edges are uncomfortable when you’re in a hurry to get your pants on (or off). It’s also disappointing to me that hip armor isn’t included, but that’s typical with women’s riding pants. More on that later.
Female riders all over the world love Gogos for commuting, urban riding, hitting the twisties, epic touring adventures, and even stunting. If you want a pair of these badass leggings too, they’re available [here] for the reasonable price of $160-$170. I’d strongly advise consulting their size chart before you order, and never hesitate to contact Gogo Gear for sizing advice! This company has exceptional customer service.
P.S. Gogo Gear also makes a men’s version of the legging that’s designed to be worn as a base layer.
Shop for Gogo Gear Armored Kevlar Leggings here
Oxford Super Leggings
If you’ve ever shopped for a pair of after-market heated grips, the Oxford brand might ring a bell. I don’t know how this popular bike accessory company got into making ladies riding pants, but they’re absolutely nailing it.
The classic Super Leggings are very similar to Gogo Leggings, with the addition of a few details which make them stand out as their own unique option. Super Leggings are designed with a high rise and reinforced with a wide “security” waistband. The knee armor included with these pants is CE rated level 2 protection, and hip pockets allow for the optional hip armor (sold separately). The full coverage Kevlar lining and double-stitched seams on these leggings offer trustworthy abrasion resistance. These leggings also feature sturdy belt loops and functional front pockets. Super Leggings come in tall and short sizes, which is excellent news for the shorter riders out there. The fitment of these pants is ideal for women with a proportionally smaller waist and generous rear. You won’t find yourself constantly pulling your pants up. Yay!
Now for the assessment: The waistband reminds me a little of wearing Spanx because it is so stiff and snug. Personally, I felt that the waistband was a little uncomfortable in a more aggressive riding position. That being said, the wide waistband provides helpful coverage in the rear. I feel confident that they would protect my waist and lower back much better than a typical mid-rise riding pant. As a small aesthetic critique, I’ll mention that the knee armor is a little more conspicuous in these pants than others due to some bumpy patterns on the armor itself.
If you’re not into the look of black pants, Oxford still has you covered! They’ve just introduced the new Oxford Super Jeggings, which look much more like stylish denim skinny jeans than riding pants. They advertise the same comfort and protection as the brand’s classic Super Leggings but in an even more casual and discreet package. Note the new jeggings do not feature the wide waistband. So, I assume they fit slightly differently than the original leggings. I’m stoked to see more options from Oxford, who’ve obviously been listening to feedback from female riders.
Super Leggings are only $125, making them a very affordable option.
Shop for Oxford Super Leggings here
Shop for Oxford Super Jeggings here
Alpinestars Banshee Leggings
Mainstream gear brands like Alpinestars have also been following suit. This means that motorcycle dealerships will have more accessibility to better women’s gear without having to take a risk on an unknown brand. Wouldn’t it be great to see armored leggings in stores? Are my hints subtle enough?
Banshee Leggings are a direct competitor to both Gogo and Oxford Super Leggings. They share all the same basic features; Kevlar/aramid lining, CE rated knee armor, a pocket for optional hip armor, belt loops, and a comfortable stretchy fit. These high-waisted leggings are another fabulous option for curvy figures. Banshee leggings also sport cute back pockets and reflective detailing for added visibility. Sizes small through 2XL are available with a standard inseam only. Ask your local dealerships to bring them in or buy them online for $180!
Shop for Alpinestars Banshee Leggings here
Bull’it Fury Jeggings
Fury Jeggings are another aesthetically understated riding pant for women who prefer a more casual look. They are also super comfortable and even more breathable than other options. This is mainly because rather than boasting a full Kevlar lining, Fury Jeggings have panels of Covec liner. According to Bull’it, Covec is even more durable and long lasting than the traditional Kelvar lining. In fact, they say it’s stronger than leather! The “high risk” rear and knee areas are lined with Covec, while the rest of the legging is made of a relatively thin and ultra-breathable performance stretch denim. To be honest, I wish these leggings were fully lined with Covec because the panels only offer limited protection. The lack of full Covec coverage coupled with the single-stitched seams leave something to be desired as far as legitimate protection goes.
I wear these jeggings on very hot days when even my Gogo Leggings feel a little toasty. Fury Jeggings have fake front pockets but very deep and functional back pockets. The back pockets improve the look of the pants and are deep enough to fit a large phone, which I love. These jeggings also include CE rated level 2 knee armor, which the pant stretches to accommodate very comfortably, with absolutely no bunching or pinching. The hip armor pockets in the Fury Jeggings are the least functional armor pockets in this lineup since they dangle from the waistband like mesh socks. The optional armor also dangles free within the pants and sits in an awkward position, making me think that hip armor was an afterthought in the design of these riding pants.
This inside-out photo shows the large areas that are left without the abrasion protection of the Covec liner.
Overall, these pants are subjectively more stylish and comfortable, but less functionally protective than the other options in this lineup. Fury jeggings are also extremely high-waisted. I can hoist the waistband up to my ribcage! The fitment of these pants is most ideal for women with long torsos and “average” hips and thighs. Due to the stretchiness, I still feel that anyone could wear them. Regular, tall, and short inseams are available in a huge range of sizes. Snag your pair here while they’re on sale for $149.99!
Shop for Bull’it Fury Jeggings here
Optional Hip Armor
To my chagrin, most women’s riding pants require hip armor to be purchased separately. Why? I’m sure this is due to the fact that gear manufacturers believe women prefer not to wear hip armor because “women are afraid that it will make their hips look bulkier.” Though this may be true for some women, the majority of women motorcyclists I know are a lot more concerned with comfort and protection than they are with looking “sexy” as they carve canyons. Perhaps a more accurate explanation for why some women prefer not to wear hip armor is that it is often super uncomfortable and awkwardly placed. Thick foam pads can obstruct movement and dig into your hips.
Since men have these issues too, gear manufacturers have come up with unisex solutions. Thanks to the miracles of science, thinner more flexible armor can provide CE level 1 protection that doesn’t get in the way or leave bruises after a full day in the saddle. This type of armor also tends to be pretty subtle looking. Win, win!
Here are some great hip armor options to add to your armored leggings:
Dainese Proshape Hip Pad Kit – $22
Shop for the Dainese Proshape Hip Pad Kit here
Rev’it Seesmart Hip Protectors RV33 – $20
Shop for Rev’it Seesmart Hip Protectors here
Ride safe, stylish, and comfortable, ladies!
(A quick question: What women’s riding gear would you like to see covered in future articles? Let us know in the comments.)
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Source: All Bikes news one