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
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!
4. Sawako Furuno - Hanabi (Sold Out)
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.
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.
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.
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.
**This post contains Amazon affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. That said, all opinions are my own.