The typical bike helmet is designed for safety and comfort, not style.
If only that were true. I wouldn’t mind wearing a plain-colored noggin-cover that was purely functional. After all, I’m never like, “I wish this seatbelt matched my shoes” while riding in a car. (Just kidding. I don’t ride in cars.)
Yet sport helmet “designers” insist on covering the protective plastic surface with abstract floral designs and pink racing stripes. You know what? You can’t polish a turd. You might be able to roll it in glitter. But it still stinks.
Good judgment is always sexy. And there are a lot of protective lids that actually look decent. Attractive even. In no particular order, I present to you my favorite helmet styles.
10 Shockingly Chic Bicycle Helmets for Spring
1. Bobbin Gold Helmet
The first time I saw this golden beauty, I fell so hard. In love. This is the one that could turn me into one of those nerds that walks around the grocery store with her helmet on. Created by Bobbin Bicycles, Cyclechic.co.uk will ship to the US. Also sold in silver.
The Yakkay helmet system is all about options. A simple helmet base provides protection. It fits any of the 15 cute covers. The Paris style in Black Oilskin is my pick for everyday wear. But a fluffy fur cover is very Dr. Zhivago.
3. Bandbox Bicycle Helmets Dubliner
Like Yakkay, Bandbox Bicycle Helmets starts with a base helmet that pairs with various covers. But the style is vintage millinery. There are even huge, floppy, straw bonnets so you can
dress bike like your hero Six. And don’t worry about hanging on to your hat. All the cover designs “have been field tested riding 35 mph down a 12% grade to assure satisfactory performance.” Wheeeeee!
You really can’t go wrong with a Sawako Furuno. This London-by-way-of-Tokyo designer just gets cycle chic. The dainty floral motif was inspired by vintage fabric and produced in limited quantities. You can still get your hands on one via Amazon, although they tend to sell out!
After noticing how many women were shopping their men’s-only line of multi-sport helmets, Bern finally came up with a version for the ladies. I have to give them credit for keeping the styling simple and providing a range of colors that Pantone would approve of. And nary a drop of pink.
6. Casqu’En Ville Carrambar
Another base + swappable cover system, Casque’En Ville is brimming with French savoire-faire (or is it je ne sais quoi?). There’s even an ultra-light carbon fiber base helmet. Casqu’En Ville will ship to the US, but these helmets are approved to EU standards only. They haven’t yet been certified for the US market.
7. Coyle Holz Tree Piece
Coyle’s wooden helmets are beautiful, tasteful, and totally unique. High-end furniture for your head. Each one is individually handcrafted in Oregon. But if you’d like the look for a little less paper, try the Lazer Street Deluxe Helmet in Wood Grain.
Another one from the spelling-challenged Lazer label: a fabric covered hardshell helmet. The red plaid can give Sherlock-Holmesian flair to your look or be punk-ed up, depending on your steez.
For the ultimate in chic, match your lipstick to your helmet. Giro is another go-to brand for affordable, adorable lids that are vaguely equestrian inspired. This model has a dial in the back so you can adjust the fit. A great feature if you like to switch up your hairstyle.
For all you minimalist-design monks, I present the ultra-clean lines of the matte white SAHN helmet. Pure elegance from Vancouver, BC.
Bonus: Outlaw Brown Wood Grain Helmet, out of stock
The most tantalizing helmet I’ve seen. This baby is actually a motorcycle helmet. Known as a half-helmet for its light styling. It’s without ventilation holes. And heavier than a bicycle helmet. But it’s got that Sawako Furuno look for a fraction of the price. Unfortunately it’s out of stock. The Avenir Wood Grain Helmet is similar (but not as cool). How badass is this chrome version?
Learn more about proper helmet fit with Cyclechic’s illustrated Helmet Guide.
And did you know that some cycling advocates–especially the founder of Copenhagen Cycle Chic, Mikael Colville-Andersen–are against wearing bicycle helmets? Read Elly Blue’s thorough write-up on the helmet debate here.