The fit of your helmet is one of the most important aspects, if not the most important aspect of your protection when your ride. Fitting a shorty or open-face helmet is an easier one-size-fits-all solution than the fit of a full face helmet. This is because a poorly fitting full-face helmet can shift and block your peripheral view or even worse, lift up and obscure your front view at high speeds. What seems like a cozy fit at the store may actually be a big mistake at 70mph.
There should be more of a difference between a woman’s helmet and a man’s than just paint and size. When choosing the right woman’s helmet, it should fit snugly enough that it can’t be pulled off if you grab it at the back and yank forward. If your skin moves with the helmet as you jiggle it, but doesn’t feel so tight that it hurts or is distracting, you have the start of a good fit. This is where fitting a helmet can get a bit dicey for women.
Women generally have narrower face structures than men, as well as a smaller head diameter. You might notice that if you are trying the fit of a man’s helmet, it will either be too loose on the cheeks if it fits the top of your head, or too tight on the top of your head if it fits your cheeks.
Graphics, color and other features are fairly easy to choose if you already know what you want, and the fit of a shorty is pretty standard for both men and women. This guide will focus instead on helmets that are designed to fit women or have adjustable linings that can be changed to fit the female bone structure.
Reviewing Only The Best in Women’s Helmets (Top 5)
Air adjustable cheek pads make this helmet extremely adjustable, even for uneven face shapes or very high cheek bones. This helmet can make a fit that might even be better than a custom helmet if you start with the right crown size.
The face shield isn’t as quickly removed as some systems, but it is very easy and only takes about ten seconds. The breath deflector eliminates the need to flip up the visor at stops for the most part, but it will hold if you want to pop it for a little air at a light. Add to this the internal retractable sun visor and included anti-fog coating and you get a very clear view even in extreme weather conditions.
The vent system has adjustable indexed rear and front vents and has a total of 4 intake vents and 6 exhaust vents to increase air circulation. This makes sense as the air enters the helmet very forcibly through the front but slows down a bit through the channels before it reaches the back. The increased number of vents in the back keep the air from stagnating a bit inside the helmet before it exits.
The Scorpion doesn’t have all the features, but if you are looking for a basic helmet with fantastic ventilation, a nice wide field of view and a customizable fit, this one will probably fit the bill nicely.
The Nexx XR1R is one of the sleeker looking helmets for female riders. It’s Ergo Padding System includes 5 foam pads ranging from 2mm thick to 4 mm thick to adjust its neutral internal shape. The downside is that the cheekpads do not offer optional thicknesses, so it will take a larger size and extra padding at the top to fit a truly round face.
The ear pocket has a separate padded liner to help reduce noise with covers that can be removed to install a sound system. The venting system is high-end standard, with a chin vent and top vent and an exhaust vent that’s always open. It’s a bit louder inside, as expected, when the top vent is open.
The face shield is not a quick release system. To replace it, you have to unscrew the aluminum screws. It does lock into place for highway runs, however, and it will stay in place when popped up slightly for defogging.
The big plus about this helmet is its light weight and visibility. The eye ports are so large that it almost feels like wearing an open-faced helmet as far as the view. The increased peripheral vision is a huge safety bonus, especially for new riders.
This Snell 2010 rated helmet is definitely higher-end with a higher price tag, but the features give a lot of bang for the buck. One of the nicest features of this helmet’s fit is that the shell now comes in different shapes for each size that match the head shapes of Europe’s ECE22.05 standard. Combined with the six EPS liner configurations, this helmet should be adjustable to fit most female head sizes and shapes (as well as male).
Another improvement to the shell is the lift-reducing spoiler, which is now incorporated into the shell itself rather than attached separately to increase the shell’s structural strength. The venting system for this helmet is flat-out off the hook. Four rear outlet vents adjust the airflow to suit your riding position as it changes. The lower air intake/defroster vent is larger to increase the airflow further and reduce shield fogging while the rear outlets provide great air exhaust.
The spring loaded face shield can pop forward a bit to increase ventilation or snap back with the tightest seal to ensure that rain doesn’t get in through the top. This also makes for an amazingly quiet ride. You will probably still want to wear ear plugs if you have concerns about hearing loss, but very few helmets on the market provide a ride with this little white noise. It’s hard to list all of the great features in an article this small so this is one that is definitely worth taking on a test drive.
While the crown is not adjustable, the HJC CL-17 Mystic comes with interchangeable cheekpad sizes that can be switched to custom fit your face. Both the crown and the cheeckpads can be fully removed and washed, and replacement cheeckpads are inexpensive as well so the pads can be changed from time to time to keep your helmet feeling fresh and new.
The advance channel ventilation system, which comes with all HJC helmets, has both top and chin vents to pull air and moisture over your head and out of the two large exhaust vents in the back. This system works very well with the moisture wicking fabric of the SuperCool interior to keep the helmet a bit drier and less claustrophobic feeling—a plus if you’re stuck at a long stoplight on a hot day.
One of the nicest features of this helmet is that it does not need a tool for removal or replacement of the face shield. Just pull the lever back and it pops loose. When you want to replace it, just snap it back in. The face shield also has a pinlock system for fog proofing, although the pinlock is sold separately. There is also a large lever lock near the ear to lock the shield into place, so when you turn your head at full speed, it doesn’t fly up.
This helmet is chock full of great features and one of the best values on the market for both comfort and safety. All sizes up to 3XL meet both Snell 2010 and DOT standards. The sizes 3XL, 4XL and 5XL meet DOT only. This is definitely one of the best helmet values for its price range.
Other helmets simply have graphics or colors that are more appealing to women, although the helmets with adjustable inner linings can help most women find the perfect fit. Currently, Schuberth is the only manufacturer that makes helmets specifically to fit women faces. The shell and inner lining of these helmets is specially designed so that safe and snug fit can be achieved, even for very narrow faces or high cheek bones. The EPS liner even has a slight bump in the back to accommodate a ponytail if necessary.
This helmet is quiet, very quiet. It’s also aerodynamically designed to drastically reduce the buffeting that can wear you down over time at high speeds. The memory foam padding increases the comfort even further, with an antibacterial and hypo-allergenic liner that is a little different from the man’s liner and seems a bit easier to clean. This is a big plus for gals that wear makeup.
The woman’s model has all the bells and whistles of the man’s version, which is basically all of them, including the pinlock visor, an extremely advanced ventilation system and a tinted sun visor with anti fog coating. In addition, the chin strap has a locking system that can resist a very high-speed drag, but the specially designed neck makes that drag almost nonexistent at regular highway speeds.
Schuberth is a very long-standing company, backed up by a lot of research and development, and the R&D for the first woman’s helmet shows. If you’re willing to put a pretty penny out for a helmet that is specially designed for the female form, lightweight, durable and extremely comfortable, this is probably the best bet. After trying out this impressive model, it will be interesting to see how female helmet designs advance in the future and if other manufacturers will start accommodating female riders as well.