Best Bike Seats for Women: Top 6 Saddles for Female Commuters

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I run cycling sessions for women, and the most commonly asked questions are always about saddles.

Usually the women in question are new to riding, and experiencing discomfort. Sometimes they’re more experienced cyclists who are keen to switch from the standard issue saddle that came with their bike. Or maybe they’re commuters who want to avoid having to wear padded clothing on their way to work.

Whatever the reason, the reality is that saddles can hurt and saddle sore can be a particular barrier to women cycling.

However, in the past few years the cycling sector has become increasingly aware of this issue, thanks to high profile athletes like Hannah Dines speaking about having to undergo reconstructive vulva surgery, and well known cycling journalist Orla Chennauoi writing this taboo breaking ‘The V word – why we need to talk about saddle discomfort‘ article for Rouleur.

More women feel able to openly talk about their saddle experiences, and it has become normalised to raise and discuss from commuter cycling to elite level.

As a result, manufacturers who have previously focused on prioritising saddle design and ergonomics for the male body are now making sure they’re also catering for the female anatomy. This is a welcome change in the industry, but every body and bike is different, so it is important to know what saddle would work for you.

Source: Unsplash.com

What to Look for in a Women’s Bicycle Seat

We’ve established that women’s bicycle seats differ to their counterparts for men but we need to understand why and how, so you know what to look for in your saddle.

The main difference is linked to our sit bones. As the name suggests, these are the bones that take your weight when sitting as they are located at the bottom of your pelvis. Women typically tend to have wider sit bones as our hips are wider for childbirth. Our saddles should therefore reflect this, by being wider at the back.

Don’t use your clothes size as a guide for size. Your local bike shop may have a special measuring tool, but if not, you can also do it at home by watching this quick video from renowned saddle manufacturer Selle.

Once you’ve established these measurements, check out your chosen saddle’s sizing guide to pick the right one for you as they can vary.

The next thing to consider is how you usually sit on your bike when cycling. Adopting a more ‘aggressive’ riding position of being lower means you may experience more soft tissue discomfort as your body is bent forwards. In this case you should look for a flat saddle with a short ‘nose’ design and large pressure relief area.

Source: Unsplash.com

If you ride in a more upright position then you’ll benefit from having a more curved and longer bike seat with padding at the rear as your body weight will be more centred towards the back of the saddle. Gel padded saddles are often seen as a solution for this riding style and they can work for short and infrequent use, but over time they can distort and lose their shape.

Although a saddle with firmer padding made from material like leather may need to be broken in, this will pay off – especially if you ride regularly.

We’ve already referenced soft tissue and in addition to saddle shape, there are other features that can help to reduce discomfort. Women have much greater variety and also sensitivity when it comes to our soft tissue.

Like belly buttons, many women find they fall into what is known as an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’ category. Female specific saddles can therefore have a design element called ‘cut outs’ to address this, especially for those who consider themselves to be ‘outies’. Basically cut outs are are gaps and/or grooves in the saddle design to relieve pressure on your soft tissue.

If possible, it’s always useful to try before you buy so you get an idea of what saddles will be best for you. For example, there are excellent initiatives out there like the amazing women led London Bike Kitchen’s Saddle Library where you can borrow and test out a range of options.

To help you decide, we have researched and drawn on our lived experience to put together the below helpful list of the top 6 best bike seats for women.

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Best Bike Seats for Women [Top 6]

  1. Specialized Power Comp with Mimic [REVIEW]
  2. Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Bike Saddle [REVIEW]
  3. Brooks B17 Short [REVIEW]
  4. Brand X Women’s Comfort Cut Out Saddle [REVIEW]
  5. Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow Saddle [REVIEW]
  6. Brooks B67 [REVIEW]

1. Specialized Power Comp with Mimic

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£95
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $112
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €108

βœ… High tech

βœ… Available in 3 sizes

βœ… Multi-layered materials

This is a popular women’s saddle with rave reviews. We are big fans as not only is it number one in this list, but it was also named as our best bike saddle for female commuters in our compilation of the most comfortable bike seats for women.

Specialized are taking the issues that women face when it comes to saddles seriously, so much so that they have created patented MIMIC technology to produce a saddle that “perfectly adapts to your body to give you the support you need”.

This has been achieved by using multi-layered materials to provide padding but also reduce any potential swelling.

On top of this, their outstanding Body Geometry design boosts blood flow to that all important soft tissue.

Available in three different sizes and at a fairly reasonable price, this is our top choice.

2. Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Bike Saddle

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£114
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $135
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €131

βœ… ‘Superflow’ cut out

βœ… Dense foam padding

βœ… Leather cover

Selle are very well established in the world of saddles. Handmade in Italy, they have designed this saddle specifically to make cycling comfortable for women and the female anatomy.

Available in two different widths of 135mm and 152mm, it incorporates a light gel and a large central cut out to relieve pressure in sensitive areas, particularly around the perineum.

The saddle shape is streamlined and sporty to cater for commuting, and also longer leisure rides.

3. Brooks B17 Short

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£135
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $159
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €154

βœ… Shorter nose

βœ… Made from durable leather

βœ… 10 year guarantee

Brooks are well known and respected for making high quality and long lasting saddles that are handmade in England. Their best selling B17 model is designed for women, and this specific model has a shorter nose.

Optimised for commuting and a 60 degree angled riding position, this saddle will mould and shape to you over time making it comfortable and also durable thanks to the use of 100% vegetable tanned leather.

Available in three different colours of black, brown and honey, you can also choose between softened and carved versions of this model.

Inevitably this level of bespoke quality comes at a cost so Brooks saddles are an investment but they are worth it, and their long life span means you can also find good quality second hand options.

4. Brand X Women’s Comfort Cut Out Saddle

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£15
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $17
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €17

βœ… Durable waterproof cover

βœ… Strong and reliable rails

βœ… Comfortable shape

Coming in at the lowest priced saddle in this list, Brand X Women’s Comfort Cut Out Saddle aims to provide support at a much more accessible price point.

Although it is only available in one size, the lightweight but high density padding means it’ll be a comfortable seat to ride on.

The long central cut out will also relieve soft tissue pressure while cycling.

Its versatile design means it is perfect for all kinds of cycling and as it won’t break the bank, it is also a good option to test out before potentially upgrading to a higher end alternative if needs be.

5. Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow Saddle

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£117
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $139
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €134

βœ… Two size options

βœ… Durable cover

βœ… Large cut out and padding

Another Selle saddle has made the list. Again, it has also been specifically designed for women.

It may only be a saddle but it is full of clever technology including a carbon fibre shell, a highly resistant and durable cover material and their new SuperFlow cutout. This means it is light weight but strong.

Comfort is also a priority as the cut out allows women of different sizes to find a riding position that works for them. It also prevents prolonged pressure on your pelvis so it is perfect for all kinds of cycling, including your commute.

6. Brooks B67

Price (approximate):

  • πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ Β£145
  • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ $171
  • πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί €165

βœ… Durable leather

βœ… Shapes over time

βœ… 10 year guarantee

Our second Brooks saddle and the final suggestion in our list, the B67, is a leather saddle for city or touring.

Suggested as the saddle for city bikes, Dutch style bikes, cargo bikes and touring bicycles, it is ideal for women who ride in an upright position.

It is similar in shape to the other Brooks saddle we’ve featured but this model comes with chromed suspension springs for ultimate comfort.

It is also available in three colours – black, brown and honey, as well as a short and softened version too.

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