A hoodie might not immediately come to mind when you’re thinking about cycling clothing, but for trail riders, commuters, and people who just like to be cozy and comfortable on a ride, a hoodie can be a fantastic alternative to a long sleeve jersey or jacket.
But not just any hoodie will do: A cycling-specific hoodie is typically made with a higher quality, sweat-wicking performance fabric like merino wool, and has plenty of zippered pockets for stashing your phone and other essentials while you ride. Here, we’re sharing our favorites that we’ve been using for years…
Whether you’re wearing the men’s version—the Kitsuma—or the women’s version—the Galena—the Bikerumor staff firmly believes that these are arguably the best technical riding hoodie in terms of fit, moisture-wicking, and performance.
But they’re also great for wearing around town, around the house, out on chilly runs, and really just living in. They’re ideal if you’re trying to pack light for a vacation or a hiking trip. The merino wool is soft and handles weeks of continuous wear very well—infrequent washing isn’t a problem for this hoodie!
The front handwarmer pockets are perfectly placed, with entry points far enough back that they don’t flop open, maintaining the sleek look we appreciate. A stealthy back pocket with a zipper is just big enough for cash and a couple of cards and a key. The Kitsuma and Galena are just the right weight – thick enough to be warm, but light enough that they won’t weigh you down on the most active pursuits.
- Men’s/Women’s: Kitsuma – Men; Galena – Women
- Material: 87% Merino, 13% Tencel
- Sizes: Men’s: XS-XXL | Women’s: S-XL
- Colors: Men’s: Olive | Women’s: Black, red, gray
- Added features: Zippered front and rear pockets, reflective piping
- MSRP: $219
PROS: Made in the USA; perfect cut, fit, and features
CONS: Thins slightly faster than others with constant wear
The Merino Wool Cobra 3.0 from Chrome Industries is another longtime favorite for Bikerumor staffers. For the last decade, Chrome has steadily been dialing in their hoodies, and the 3.0 is the latest in a long line of fantastic merino wool sweatshirts.
We love this one for its two-way zip, zippered front pocket, and rear pass-through pocket (great for stashing your phone, passport, or even a light rain jacket!). It’s fitted but not tight and feels good on the trail or at the bar after a ride. We also appreciate the slightly long sleeves with a thumb hole.
And while the hoodie is primarily made with merino wool, it adds sustainable, recycled polyester for improved durability. (Note: This writer loves the Cobra, but is still holding out hope that Chrome brings back the Pasha, their original women’s hoodie that had a small-but-mighty cult-like following a decade ago.)
- Men’s/Women’s: Both
- Material: 53% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester, 3% Spandex
- Sizes: Men’s S-XXL | Women’s S-XL
- Colors: Black, Olive
- Added features: Zippered front and rear pocket, thumb hole
- MSRP: $185
PROS: Comfortable but durable, wonderfully long sleeves and body
CONS: No reflective accents
This hoodie from Velocio is a great middle-ground between performance and coziness. Made with a heavyweight merino fleece-lined fabric but with an almost shiny texture outside courtesy of a recycled polyester blend, it repels raindrops a bit better than some of the more merino-based options.
This hoodie feels more athletic than some of the other brands but stops just shy of being so athletically designed that it feels weird to wear it while going out for a coffee or running errands. We love the zippered pockets in front and back and the small reflective accents. It fits slim, but it’s not a ‘race cut.’ You’ll have room for a long sleeve baselayer underneath if you order your standard size.
- Men’s/Women’s: Both
- Material: 60% Merino wool / 40% Recycled Polyester
- Sizes: Men’s: XS-XXXL | Women’s: XXS-XXL
- Colors: Navy, Oatmeal
- Added features: Zip front and rear pockets, reflective accents
- MSRP: $249
PROS: Great fit, holds up in bad weather
We’ve been impressed with how thick the Houdini Power Hoodie is, despite not feeling heavy. Maybe that’s the magic of Houdini (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves), or maybe it’s just that the brand uses Bluesign-certified Polartec’s Power Stretch Pro fabric in this fleece hoodie.
Because it’s so super comfortable and warm, it’s probably best for casual rides and commuting rather than really rallying on the trails. We appreciate the super long sleeves with thumb loops, the two zippered front pockets, and the tall zip neck that has a large enough opening to be actually comfortable, plus a zipper top that doesn’t poke you in the throat.
And people who have specific color preferences will be excited: While most hoodies come in only one or two colors, this one has 20 color options for men and 26 for women!
- Men’s/Women’s: Both
- Material: Polartec Power Stretch Pro
- Sizes: Men’s XS-XXL | Women’s XXS-XL
- Colors: 20 options for men, 26 for women
- Added features: Two zippered pockets
- MSRP: $200
PROS: Huge color ranges, really warm
CONS: A bit baggy compared to those from “cycling” brands
If you prefer a hoodie with no zip, the Magnus pullover hoodie from Mission Workshop is a great option. It’s incredibly simple—and only available in neutral olive, black, and blue, but it’s surprisingly feature-rich.
It uses a blend of polyester for the body plus a layer of Polartec’s Wind Pro Hardface on the front to block wind and act as a water repellent, and it honestly works great on those days where the temps are mild but the wind is fierce. The cozy hood gives the sweatshirt just enough structure, and we love the double front pocket, with the standard kangaroo style pocket for your hands plus a zippered cargo pocket over top.
Like most Mission Workshop jackets, the torso is a bit short for tall people, but average heights will have no issues! Bonus: It’s made in NYC.
- Men’s/Women’s: Men’s
- Material: Polartec Wind Pro Hardface and polyester
- Sizes: S-XL
- Colors: Olive, black, blue
- Added features: Windproofing, water resistance, front pocket
- MSRP: $225
PROS: Windproof, water-resistant
CONS: No zip
The Hero Dirt Hoodie by Backcountry is a great option for mountain bikers. It offers a bit of added coverage and the nylon blend is abrasion-resistant. The hoodie remains breathable with its asymmetrical vents at the neck and moisture-wicking capabilities, and it borrowed the rear zippered stash pocket design from typical cycling jerseys.
You won’t break the bank with this option, coming in at $55. However, it does feature a kangaroo-style pocket in the front instead of a zippered front.
- Men’s/Women’s: Both
- Material: 69% nylon, 17% polyester, 14% elastine
- Sizes: S-XXL Men’s | XS-XL Women’s
- Colors: Olive Night, Burnt Brick, Metal, Black, Brandied Melon, and Atlantic Deep
- Added features: Kangaroo pocket, 1 rear zippered pocket, 2 rear stash pockets, ventilation zippers
- MSRP: $55
PROS: Great budget option, breathable/moisture wicking
CONS: No front zipper
OK, we admit it: This one is the least cycling-oriented of the bunch. But it’s also the coziest and comfiest, and it’s one of Bikerumor editor’s top favorites for pulling on post-ride.
If you spend a lot of time on chilly CX courses or hanging out in parking lots after rides, having a slightly baggier-fit hoodie that’s made with a hefty French Terry material that feels like a weighted blanket AND has a double-needle stitched pocket with nylon lining designed specifically to hold a beer is pretty darn great.
It also has a dry pocket for inclement weather situations, a sunglass loop, and a secret pen pocket. Plus, it comes with a shiny gold bottle opener! Do you need it? Not really. Is it awesome? Most assuredly.
- Men’s/Women’s: Men’s
- Material: 465 gram French Terry
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Navy, cream
- Added features: Sunglass loop, bottle pocket, bottle opener
- MSRP: $148
PROS: The brightest of the bunch, tons of fun features
CONS: Too heavy for riding – more of a post-ride hoodie
This lightweight no-zip hoodie from Endura is a great option for trail riding when zippers are more of a hindrance than a help. Made with recycled polyester, this ultra-simple hoodie comes in three colors and isn’t exactly feature-rich, but that’s precisely the point. Think of it more like a long sleeve jersey that just happens to have a hood.
It has front pockets, but they won’t get in the way of a hydration pack. There’s a hood, but it’s lightweight and can tuck under your pack, no problem. There’s not much to say about this hoodie other than it works and it’s pretty darn comfy!
- Men’s/Women’s: Women’s
- Material: Recycled Polyester
- Sizes: Women’s: XS-XL
- Colors: Teal, gray, red
- Added features: None
- MSRP: $80
PROS: Super simple
CONS: No zip, high neck not for everyone
Designed with both cold weather commutes and hanging out at cyclocross races in mind, we like the Lookout FZ Hoodie from Pactimo. The brand uses a hard-faced, stretch fleece for durability as well as coziness, and it has a snug hood that can go under a helmet if necessary, but whose main standout feature is the secure fit that blocks wind from getting in. The hoodie also has two hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket for your valuables.
- Men’s/Women’s: Both
- Material: Brushed fleece
- Sizes: Men’s: S-XXXL | Women’s: XS-XXL
- Colors: Black with orange, red, blue, green, and yellow panels
- Added features: Zippered pocket, tight-fitting hood
- MSRP: $107 (often on sale)
PROS: Great price for a basic hoodie for basic rides
CONS: A bit slim for lounging
Buyer’s Guide for Cycling Hoodies
Material: We love merino wool blends that add a bit of stretch into the material. Merino is warm, sweat-wicking, less smelly than other fabrics, and it holds up to a lot of wear and tear—and requires less washing, while still holding its shape. Essentially, it’s nature’s performance fabric and well worth the spend. But thermal fabrics that are polyester-based can be great too. Just steer clear of cotton, as it can end up soggy and smelly in a hurry.
Zipper type: If you’re paying over $150 for a hoodie, the zipper needs to be well-made and ultra-durable. We prefer metal zippers and all of the hoodies on this list have stood up to dozens of washing and drying cycles without issue. But at the bare minimum, zoom in on images of the hoodie you’re looking at and see if the zipper looks burly enough to withstand a lot of wash-and-wear.
Pockets: We love a zippered pocket for stashing phones, keys, and other essentials. Some brands will have front and rear pockets—think about what you want to hold onto and what’s the most comfortable when comparing two options!
Sizing: Check size charts carefully for hoodies, even if you’re familiar with the brand for regular cycling kits. Sometimes hoodies are a bit roomier than your standard jersey from the brand, sometimes they’re sized accordingly.
Accents/Extras: Some hoodies have reflective accents, while others have a water-resistant coating. Some have slits for your thumbs so your hands can stay a bit warmer. While none of these extras should be the reason you choose a particular hoodie, they’re nice details to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hoodies for Cycling
Why not just buy a cheap hoodie at Walmart?
Unfortunately, while you may be able to find a cheaper hoodie that looks like the ones we’ve listed above, your performance qualities won’t be the same. Cheaper hoodies are generally made with cotton, which means they’ll get sweaty, they’ll stretch out during wear, and they won’t last nearly as long.
Why are cycling hoodies all so expensive?
The hoodies on our list tend to be a bit pricier simply because they’re made with quality materials like merino wool. The zippers are typically reinforced, and add-ons like good, strong pockets add to the overall quality (and price tag). The good news is that these simple, logo-free hoodies are closet staples that you can use for any outdoor activity, and they’re built to last. Buy one, and you could easily have it for a decade.
What makes a hoodie cycling-specific?
The fit and the material, along with certain added features. The fit on these hoodies tends to be a bit tighter than your average hoodie, but unlike standard sweatshirts, they generally won’t have cinched waistbands. We’ve found that the slimmer the fit, the less comfy it is for lounging, but the better it works for actually riding.
The back tends to drop lower than the front so your butt doesn’t hang out when riding in jeans, and the arms are usually a tiny bit longer than regular hoodies. The material tends to be burlier, typically merino wool or polyester blend that’s moisture-wicking, compared to cotton. They have features like zipped pockets so your stuff doesn’t fall out, and reflective detailing adds to the cycling-specific style.
When would I ride wearing a cycling hoodie?
It’s not something you’d use for a serious road ride, but plenty of people will head to the trails in their hoodies in cold weather rather than wearing a more technical coat. It’s not aero or waterproof, but it is warm and stylish. It’s a great choice for a trail ride followed by a cafe or bar stop.
It’s also an ideal commuter piece since it easily goes from on the bike to running errands without looking ultra-cycling-specific. And if you’re a trail runner or even an XC skier, these are great in wintery conditions.
How do I take care of a merino wool hoodie?
Okay, here’s the deal: Technically, you’re not *supposed* to put most of these in the dryer. That said… some of us have done it without issue, and some of us have ruined enough long-sleeve natural fiber tops to never do it again.
Air drying is absolutely an option after washing the hoodie in a regular cycle—in cool water with like colors—but you might notice that an air-dried hoodie is a bit stiffer, especially if it’s merino wool with a thicker outer layer like the one from Velocio. But air drying will prolong your hoodie’s life span…and it’s free.
What do I do if my merino hoodie is thinning?
Good news: That’s a natural part of wearing a piece of merino wool often, so you’re getting your money’s worth. Bad news: There’s not a great way to avoid that happening. Your best bet is to wash it as infrequently as possible, use a gentle cycle (possibly even in a lingerie mesh bag), and air dry.
But many people (this writer included) find that a hoodie actually feels cozier and comfier once it does start to thin a bit. That’s a sign that it’s worn in, and despite the thinning, it rarely loses much warmth. (This writer has a 12-year-old Chrome hoodie that’s literally become see-through in places, and it’s still the one she uses most often.)
Featured image c. Chrome