The majority of sports have their own dedicated apparel to make performing said sport that little bit easier and to help you improve over time. Soccer jerseys need to be lightweight and breathable, while golf clothing comprises polo shirts and stretch-fabric chinos, for example. Cycling, meanwhile, is in a field all of its own, as skintight clothing is the aim of the game in the pursuit of cutting through the air and bringing down your PB times.
It should go without saying, however, that a good chunk of cycling clothing can be considered ‘unflattering’, as it is not only badly designed, being covered in excessive logos that make you appear to be a sponsored rider, but it fails to take into account genuine functionality.
Spanish brand Siroko is best known for its eclectic and capable range of cycling glasses, all designed to improve vision and protect from sunlight and UV rays when putting pedal to the tarmac.
The brand does, however, also produce a range of cycling apparel. This includes jerseys, bib shorts and vests, all of which are more than affordable and offer excellent fits, eye-catching designs and various fabric technologies to help you perform to your very best.
Swedish brand Sigr is one that champions equality and sustainability. By this, it means that clothing is deliberately designed to be genderless (in terms of design, rather than fit), opening the brand up to the entire cycling community, while its Ocean Collection is made from 100% recycled plastic.
Sigr's cycling clothing range does away with large logos and decals, instead, offering colourful designs and patterns that offer a refreshing change. The company even has a Commute range of more urban-orientated clothing to change into once you get to the office.
Pearl Izumi was founded in Tokyo, Japan over 60 years ago by Kinji Shimizu. He was an avid cyclist and always had an entrepreneurial attitude towards producing clothes. After his son, Hiro, won an Italian-made jersey at the Asian Cycling Championships in 1984, Kinji was amazed by the quality and set out to create his own cycling apparel, using only the finest materials.
Pearl Izumi sponsored the 1984 US Olympic Team and today produces clothing for road cycling and mountain biking. The company even lays claim to a number of world firsts in cycling apparel, including being the first to develop fully welded cycling shorts, as well as the first to use the BOA closure system on cycling footwear.
Founded in Italy in 1965, Santini has become one of the world’s top manufacturers of premium road cycling wear.
Every piece of clothing undergoes a strict four-point quality control process, ensuring fit, performance, comfort and durability are all the best-of-the-best.
The fit of the clothing receives particular attention, with the company claiming all pieces fit like a 'second skin' that you barely notice. With tops, bottoms, skin suits and an extensive selection of accessories available, Santini is a cycling brand you can trust.
One of the biggest names in outdoor adventure sports is POC. The Swedish label take their cycling gear and safety standards to extreme levels with the mission statement of 'saving lives and reducing the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists'.
We don't doubt their ability with stunning looking gear which pairs technical solutions with construction, advanced material combinations and engineering into every piece.
It's never a good idea to overlook the talents of the French when it comes to cycling gear. With over 125 years of experience in cycling, Mavic is steeped in tradition and uses its expertise to develop some of the most innovative solutions to cycling apparel.
Their apparel design is minimalist but it's the strategic intersecting lines and bold colour blocking that really brings out each garment's beauty to go with its functionality.
Twin Six was founded on the belief that cycling apparel and the designs employed were becoming predictable year after year. Wanting to cause a dramatic shake up, the team behind Team Six began outputting unusual designs, with no real 'brand identity', so to speak. Each cycling jersey, for example, looks different to the next, with the only similarities being the fit.
Designs change on a regular basis, so it's always worth checking out the latest collections to keep your personal wardrobe up to date.
Campagnolo has been in business for more than 80 years, and first found success with manufacturing cycling equipment and mechanical parts – and was the brand used by Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx for all 5 of his Tour de France victories – before turning its hand to apparel.
Apparel can be had for both road and off-road cycling, with pieces being made to withstand the rigours presented by both disciplines. More importantly, with the brand name splashed across many of the jerseys, you can show others you really know your cycling brands.
Riders using ASSOS products have won well over 250 gold medals at Olympic Games, World Championships and in almost every other prestigious professional cycling race.
Impressed yet? Based in Ticino “Terra di Ciclismo”, Switzerland, ASSOS was founded in 1976 with the creation of the first ever Lycra® cycling shorts. The company continues to innovate, setting industry standards (like the fastest cycling bodysuit on earth) time and time again.
dhb is all about enjoying the experience of cycling, no matter what the weather. Using years of experience, dhb is manufacturing reasoned cycling apparel allowing you to reach the next level. High-quality components mixed with perfect fit and innovative designs - a little something giving you the chance to relish the ride without worrying about your equipment.
Cafe Du Cycliste
Another addition to our list of elite cycling garments is this French brand which pitches itself on tailored technology. Cafe du Cycliste believes that presentation doesn't need to be compromised in pursuit of performance on the road.
Their range is inspired by the tradition of French cycling and hand crafted with a range of fabrics to ensure the quality lives up to the wear. There's also a wide range of colours to choose from which will ensure you get noticed for all the right reasons.
Italian brand Sportful was formed in 1972, following its owners first forays in spinning wool and making underwear, before finally making the move into performance cycling and cross-country ski clothing for men and women.
Their attention to detail and superior design aesthetic – which includes both minimal and colourful designs – sets Sportful apart from its competitors.
Kalas has its HQ in the Czech Republic where it's able to import materials from Italy and Switzerland. With over 25 years experience now under its belt, it remains a family-owned company and has earned itself collaborations with the British and Czech National Cycling Teams. Expect to find jerseys, bib shorts, hats and more.
This UK company was set up by two graphic designers who didn't "have a single clue about clothing or running a retail business." They were both into extreme sports and started designing lycra clothing which proved popular among friends, and then even more popular among the wider cycling community.
The collection now includes jerseys, shorts, speedsuits, sunglasses, gilets and more.
Bianchi is a heavyweight brand in the cycling community, being the oldest bicycle manufacturing company in the world (it was founded in 1885). It was the first to pioneer a bike with equal-sized wheels with pneumatic rubber tyres.
The company's apparel is certainly Italian in design, with an array of patterns and colours available, including the instantly recognisable 'Celeste' colour, a turquoise also known a 'Bianchi Green'. It's not all style and no substance either, as the company's jerseys quickly wick moisture away from the body and provide an optimum fit.
If you don't know Castelli then you don't know professional cycling. The Italian label has been pioneering cycling apparel since 1876 and has amassed a slew of trophies along the way with people using their gear.
They invented the skinsuit, the sublimated jersey and the first Lycra short used in professional racing. This tradition of innovation continues today, inspiring us and influencing every product that rolls out of the historic cycling house.
With a strong focus on bespoke fibre and fabric technologies, along with a penchant for being as sustainable as possible, performance apparel label Ashmei ensures that its designs are adapted to the wearer's every movement whatever the climate, providing a high level of comfort for cycling, running, triathlons and more.
Founded in 1946 and still in business today, De Marchi is the world's longest-running manufacturer of performance cycling apparel. The Italian brand is responsible for introducing a number of mainstays still used today, such as zippers instead of buttons and tubular weaving.
The brand isn't one to rest on its laurels, however, and continues to find ways to innovate and remain on-trend, such as with the 2020 release of the REVO glove, the first-ever 3D, elastic pre-shaped glove.
Garneau was launched in 1983 by Louis Garneau. The Canadian cyclist started the company with one clear aim: to produce well-fitting and thoughtfully-designed apparel that was above all else, affordable. Louis doesn't just create products he thinks cyclists will love, but his designs come from experience, as he competed for Canada in the cycling road race at the 1984 Olympics in LA.
Rapha caters to discerning cyclists with a one-stop shop that offers performance roadwear and accessories, alongside publications and events. The first Rapha collection was launched in July 2004, at a month-long Rapha exhibition of cycling memorabilia and events called “Kings of Pain.”
From those humble origins, Rapha has gone on to become synonymous with the highest levels of quality and become the official clothing sponsor to Team Sky Pro Cycling.
Founded by brothers Vincenzo and Claudio Mantovani, the Nalini brand benefits from a wealth of expertise, passion and dedication, resulting in some of the most technically capable cycling apparel for top profession cyclists.
With several decades experience in the cycling apparel industry, Nalini continues to cement itself as a brand to rely upon, and is still the manufacturer of choice for the Confidis, Astana and Carrera pro teams.
Pas Normal Studios
Copenhagen-born Pas Normal Studios takes a fresh approach to cycling apparel with signature Scandinavian design fused with high-performance fabrics and comfortable fits. The pieces are made with the Northern-European climate in mind, so cyclists can expect durable, all-weather pieces that are all handmade in Italy.
Giro was founded in 1985 and in the past 30 plus years has consistently put a great deal of attention into the products it makes. As it says on the website "We are the brand that sweats the details". Giro understands that you're going to want clothing and products that perform exceptionally well, and so will spend hours, days and weeks making sure they're perfect down the last millimetre.
Giordana is another cycling brand that has been around for several decades. Founded in Italy in 1970 by Giorgio Andretta, the company has since become a global powerhouse in the cycling industry (it has the honour of being a former supplier for the Tour de France) with stores all around the globe. Throughout the years the company's mission statement hasn't changed, and it's to give "riders the ability to perform at their highest possible level."
Gore Wear is the result of the formation of Gore Bike Wear and Gore Running Wear in 2018. The Gore brand as a whole was founded in 1958 by Wilbert L. Gore, and is the same company responsible for manufacturing the water-resistant material, Gore-Tex. The underlying feature of Gore-Tex and the Gore Wear apparel is the patented PTFE, or Teflon. You can therefore rest easy, knowing that Gore Wear cycling apparel will not only keep your body temperature regulated, but will repel water should you find yourself in a downpour.
French for "to attack", this Australian cycling apparel brand was established in in late 2012, as a means to go against the common norm for cycling clothing. Founders Greg Hamer and Stevan Musulin – who have a combined 15 years plus of cycling, fashion and brand management experience – along with their team, consistently come up with new designs that challenge social and cultural norms for those who wish to dare. For those who wish to keep things a little more refined, a complete range of block-colour pieces are available too.
Black Sheep Cycling
If you don’t want to look like anyone else on the road, Black Sheep Cycling is your best bet. Some would call them unique whilst others would call them gaudy. Either way, there’s no doubt their kits will catch eyes as you blaze through the course in style and comfort without compromising on performance.
Hailing from the good looking streets of Melbourne is Maap, an apparel group who know their riding and exist to offer premium cycling apparel for men and women with a focus on quality, cool design and art. Their garments are designed to withstand the regular abuse of of cycling with a strong focus on longevity through quality manufacturing. They're pretty serious about this point too with their cycling socks made in Australia and their apparel made in Italy.
The Pedla represents cycling for the diehard cyclist so it's little wonder they take their kit seriously. Each garment boasts exacting levels of functionality, performance and sound design that will no doubt turn a few heads. The base cloth itself is developed in partnership with Italian company Mitispa as well as Swiss company Schoeller Textiles whilst their endurance chamois is provided by CYTECH for easy riding on longer trips.
This Italian company has, as its name suggests, a true passion for cycling. They boast about how many hours are spent testing each piece of clothing, but it's to ensure that it will give you supreme comfort no matter your position. La Passione also sells direct to customers, cutting out several middle men, bringing the price you pay, down. You can find anything and everything you need, including jerseys, shorts, gloves and socks.
A relatively young brand, Pedal Mafia was founded in Perth, Western Australia in 2014. Born out of a need to be different, Pedal Mafia brings eye-catching, fashionable products to the cycling world. Whether you're looking for a unique kit, just want to buy some great urban wear they have you covered.
This Japanese company – stylised as PEdAL ED – has the sole aim to "make the most comfortable and long-lasting garments on the market". Those garments are in fact made in Italy, using the "finest manufacturing techniques" around. Expect to find a range of colours and minimalist designs, and pieces that can be used both on the commute to work and on high mountain passes.