The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

12 best reflective high-vis cycling jackets for men and women, tried and tested on the road

From softshell styles to warming waterproofs, these top picks are hard to miss...

Suzie McCracken
Monday 18 December 2023 13:12 GMT
Jackets had to have more than just a reflective logo or some well-placed piping to make it into our round-up
Jackets had to have more than just a reflective logo or some well-placed piping to make it into our round-up (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

It’s not mandatory to wear bright colours with reflective elements while out on your bike, but many cyclists feel a lot more comfortable in gear that shines obnoxiously the minute a car creeps up behind them. Particularly when commuting on rural roads or during a pre-dawn jaunt, a reflective jacket could make you feel safer, and more likely to regularly get out on two wheels.

A decent jacket will also provide protection from the increasingly elemental weather that arrives with shorter nights. Due to the nature of cycling, it’s actually a pretty interesting corner of the waterproof coat market (stay with us). Because you’re unlikely to regularly ride through brambles, durability can take a little bit more of a back seat than with coats intended for hiking. But because you’re also likely to be working hard, breathability is a big concern for manufacturers. As waterproofing always results in a trade-off between these factors, different brands decide to pitch their products at different points on the spectrum.

For our review, we’ve attempted to take in models that subscribe to a range of philosophies: from totally taped-up, highly waterproof commuter jackets, to lighter-weight roadwear that is only intended to keep you comfortable until you can identify the nearest cake stop. There are even a few on our list (spoiler: the expensive ones) that purport to do all of the above.

We tested this mix of hardshell and softshell jackets in both genders where that was an option, and on a wide range of differently sized humans. A word of warning: sizes can be skewed in the cycling world. You may have to order your jacket in a size a couple above your usual, and more if you want to add layers underneath. Definitely measure up and make use of any relevant size guide – plenty of these brands also have generous returns policies, and we’d advise shoppers to make use of them to find the right fit.

Finally, we rejected some very swish brands (looking at you, Le Col and Pas Normal), because their options just weren’t reflective enough. We judged that the jacket had to have more than just a logo or some well-placed piping to make it into our round-up. We also tried both high-visibility and more-muted options, as not everyone wants their reflective jacket to make colleagues squint over pre-commute pints.

How we tested

We had a coat party. A range of cyclist testers came around to our house, where we tried on all the jackets for fit. We then took them out on rides in all conditions (and occasionally popped them under the shower, when the weather was being kind) to grade their waterproofing and how they made us feel while exercising, rating the results from barely there to bin-bag.

The best reflective bike jackets for 2024 are:

  • Best overall – Proviz reflect360 CRS plus cycling jacket: £119.99,
  • Best value – Decathlon city cycling EN1150 certified rain jacket: £64.99,
  • Best for warmth – Shower’s Pass hi-vis roch e-bike jacket with beacon lights: £199,
  • Best all-rounder – Dhb flashlight spectrum jacket: £120,

Gore C5 thermo jacket mens

Gore C5 thermo jacket mens indybest.jpg
  • Best: Softshell
  • Sizes available: S-XXL
  • Materials: 91 per cent polyester and 9 per cent elastane
  • Colourways: Seven
  • How to wash: Machine washable on a delicate, cool wash

When you don’t have time to mess around, you go to the source of the technology, and in the case of windproof and waterproof shells, that’s Gore. The brand is well-known for its technical fabrics, and also has a penchant for keeping things highly visible and reflective, which is handy for this round-up.

We loved this softshell jacket with its subtle but effective reflective details on the sides of the lower back (ie, they’re not going to get covered by a backpack) and on the cuffs (which we thought felt very expensive and soft). It’s also mainly high-visibility yellow, which is always a plus. The C5 is designed to keep you warm in the deepest of winter conditions, but we found it’s exceptional breathability also made it perfect during milder weather with just a T-shirt underneath.

This jacket is not waterproof – the seams aren’t taped and Gore doesn’t guarantee it will keep you dry – but it is remarkably windproof, breathable and water resistant, so you won’t get soaked through if you’re caught in a freak downpour on your way to the tea room. It also feels much nicer to wear than a hardshell. There’s a good argument that this sort of jacket, supplemented with a cheaper shell for when the rain arrives, is a better buy for the British winter than a classic commuter coat. Ultimately, it will come down to the size of your existing cycling wardrobe and your budget. If this ticks your boxes, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Our only qualm? There’s no women’s version of this design. We did, however, like another model from the brand that does come with a larger waist-to-hip ratio…

Back to top

Gore women’s phantom jacket

Gore women’s phantom jacket indybest.jpg
  • Best: Jersey-come-jacket
  • Sizes available: XXS-XL
  • Materials: Gore-tex infinium fabric (polyester and elastane)
  • Colourways: Five
  • How to wash: Not specified

Like the C5 above, this is not a waterproof jacket in the same way as many of our other picks on this list. Instead, it’s a toasty, windproof and weather-resistant jersey-come-jacket that’s designed to keep you comfortable when the weather isn’t exactly “training ride from Las Palmas”.

It’s also got the delightful novelty of also being able to cosplay as a short-sleeve cycling top for the warmer months. Pulling off this act of subterfuge via removable, zippered sleeves, but also by being so breathable that you don’t become encased in slippery sweat while wearing it, no matter how many watts you’re laying down. We loved it and found ourselves reaching for it on all but the most hurricane-like of commutes as our outermost layer – we understand why it’s been a Gore bestseller for 15 years.

As with the C5, whether it’s right for you will depend on how it complements your existing cycling wardrobe, but if you need a multifunctional windproof jacket that can stand up to a good dose of spray, you can’t do better than the phantom.

  1. £90 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

The verdict: Reflective bike jackets

There are some excellent contenders in this bracket, with a wide variety of remits. For all-out reflectivity along with some excellent, commuter-friendly details, we loved the Proviz. If you’re looking for a lightweight showerproof option, Alpkit should do the trick, while Rapha’s classic winter jacket can’t be beaten if you’re doing some serious miles in a storm. For something windproof, head over to Gore.

Fend off the elements with our edit of the best women’s waterproof jackets

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
TUI Discount Code
£100 off all bookings over £1000 - TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
ASOS Discount Code
20% off everything with this ASOS app discount code
Travelodge Discount Code
Travelodge Discount Code
5% off all bookings with this Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
The Body Shop Discount Code
20% off everything with The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
15% of all orders with The Perfume Shop birthday discount
Domino's Voucher Code
Domino's Voucher Code
Get 40% off mains, sides, and desserts - Domino's voucher code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in