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16 of the best women's saddles — how to choose the right one for you

Sitting comfortably? If not, we're here to help

The saddle is the single biggest source of discomfort for female cyclists, especially those fairly new to riding. But there’s no need to suffer: saddles designed to better fit a woman’s anatomy can take away the pain.

  • Women's saddles almost universally feature a cut-out to reduce pressure on the genitals

  • A wider saddle helps accommodate a woman's wider-spaced sitbones

  • Try as many saddles as you can; many manufacturers offer test saddles through bike shops so you can find out if their design is right for you

  • Don't suffer in silence: you're not alone. This interview with physiotherapist Phil Burt reveals just how many women cyclists struggle with saddle discomfort

Contents: the best women's saddles for 2021

Read more: Buyer's guide to saddles

Famous five: The very best women's saddles

The usual caveat applies here: saddle choice is personal and what fits the team's various bums may not fit yours. That aside, though, these are the best women's saddles you can currently buy.

Best overall women's saddle: Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow — £85.40

Selle Italia lady gel flow

The Selle Italia Lady has long been a go-to saddle for bike shops helping solve women's bike comfort problems and still represents arguably the best combination of features, though as you'll see below it has considerably more competition than when it first appeared.

The key is the large, pressure-relieving cut-out down the centre of the hull. That's the feature Selle Italia designates as 'Flow' in all saddles with it, because the idea is it lets blood flow easily to the soft tissues that get squashed by most saddles.

Under the synthetic leather cover there's gel padding for support, and the Lady Gel Flow is available in two widths: 135mm and 160mm so using Selle Italia's idmatch system you should be able to get one that fits your sit-bone spacing.

Find a Selle Italia dealer

Best on a budget: SDG Allure — £47.99

sdg allure womens cro mo rail saddle

There aren't many good women's saddles under £50, but the SDG Allure is the same shape as the premium SDG Allure Ti-Rail below, just with chromoly steel rails instead of titanium. That makes it a bit heavier at 315g versus 268g, but it keeps the price under control for a well-regarded saddle that's reported to work well for everything from sporty road cycling to mountain biking.

Like the Selle Italia Lady the Allure has a generous pressure-relieving cut-out and a synthetic microfibre leather cover, but it's 143mm wide, so fits in between the two Selle Italia sizes, which also makes it a viable alternative for women who don't quite fit either of the Lady's widths.

If that's not quite budget enough, check out the £12 Brand-X Women's Cut Out Saddle with its enthusiastic — in some cases rapturous — reviews from users. Chain Reaction is out of stock but Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative is showing them as available.

Find an SDG dealer

Best for speedsters: Ergon SR Pro Carbon — £153

Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women saddle.jpg

The Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women's Saddle provides plenty of comfort through its cutout channel that goes right into the nose of the saddle. With minimal padding it might not be the first choice for multiple long rides, but if you are looking for a racier design for shorter, faster outings, it's a great option.

As the name suggests, the saddle has a carbon composite shell and the rails are carbon as well. It's super-light: the small/medium weighs in at 166g on the scales.

The SR Pro Carbon has a slightly wider nose than most, with the cutout design set further forward into the nose of the saddle. The female pelvis is more flexible than a male pelvis, and women get more pressure at the front, so it makes perfect sense for Ergon to have designed it this way. By having more of a cutout on the nose of the saddle, it takes the pressure off, though there is still padding here so it doesn't feel like you are sitting on rails. It really does relieve pressure off the front.

If you want a racier saddle, but all the carbon fibre here pushes the price out of your comfort zone, take a look at the Ergon SR Sport Gel which we've also reviewed and liked.

Read our review of the Ergon SR Pro Carbon
Find an Ergon dealer

Best steeped-in-tradition: Brooks B17 S — £104.99

Brooks B17.jpg

The B17 S is the women’s version of one of Brooks’ longest running and best selling designs, the B17. As the women’s version, it is 1mm broader in the rear and 33mm shorter.

The shiny leather takes some getting used to, but does help to reduce friction where it matters, and the saddle is so well crafted and shaped, that our tester experienced far less discomfort than with pretty much every other saddle she’d ever ridden on. There is a cut-out version, the Imperial, but we found the B17 S sufficiently comfortable to feel the Imperial to be a case of fixing something that isn’t broken.

It’s a pity there aren’t versions with different widths as being female doesn’t necessarily mean broader sit bones.

Read our review of the Brooks B17 S
Find a Brooks dealer

Best money-no-object: Specialized Women’s Romin Evo Pro With MIMIC — £127.00

2020 Specialized Romin Evo Pro with MIMIC saddle

Specialized's Women's Romin Evo Pro with MIMIC is a performance-orientated saddle that offers comfort and support for any kind of road ride. Fans of the company's Oura saddle are likely to be satisfied by this replacement: it's light, stiff and looks at home on any road racing bike.

The Romin Evo Pro With MIMIC comes in three widths — 143mm, 155mm and 168mm — all with carbopn-fibre rails to keep the weight down

It gets the nod in our money-no-object category because its RRP is £175, but as with so many things in cycling you can find it cheaper if you shop around. We've done that for you here with an excellent deal from Sigma Sports.

Read our review of the Specialized Women’s Romin Evo Pro With MIMIC

11 more great saddle choices for women

Liv Alacra SL — £69.99

2020 Liv Alacra SL saddle.jpg

Of Liv's 14-strong saddle range, the two Alacra models are touted as the high performance, distance-focused options. The Alacra SL (Super Light) tested here is positioned as more of an all-rounder while the SLR (Super Light Race) has a lightweight road focus.

At first squeeze the SL is pretty firm, but under its microfibre outer lies a range of comfort-focused technology, including Liv's 'rebound' foam, a lightweight padding with high elasticity designed to provide a custom feel, and 'particle flow', which aims to distribute weight across the main area of contact, and is claimed to reduce pressure points by more than 20%. This comfort-aiding tech is bolstered by a very generous cutout design that extends towards the tip of the nose.

Read our review of the Liv Alacra SL
Find a Liv dealer

Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Superflow — £139.44

2020 Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Flow saddle.jpg

At just 197g, the Selle Italia SLR Lady Superflow Saddle is a seriously lightweight option aimed at female riders looking for high performance, which it delivers alongside decent levels of comfort despite its overtly firm character.

On the bike, it looks very smart, with a sporty look which is backed up by its performance. On her first ride, tester Lara had a brief moment of panic at how firm the saddle felt, but the combination of an excellent shape, pressure relief channel and the gel padding made it surprisingly comfortable for four-hour-plus rides.

The shape shows just how much experience Selle Italia has in producing a good saddle. The smooth, contoured structure gives incredible support to the sit bones, and yet no pressure at all on sensitive areas.

Read our review of the Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Superflow
Find a Selle Italia dealer

Liv Women’s Contact SLR Forward — £129.99

Liv Contact SLR Forward Saddle

The Liv Contact SLR Forward Carbon Saddle is a lightweight, high-performance design for women who ride with a more aggressive position. Although its lack of padding or cutout might not be for everyone, it will undoubtedly suit riders who favour short, punchy training rides as well as active road racers.

Tester Emma Silversides added: "The Liv SLR Forward Contact has certainly reduced my levels of scepticism about saddles without cutouts. It suited me for those shorter, more intense rides but, given I'm no longer racing, it isn't quite the saddle for me. There is no escaping that it is a well-made, competitively priced option for those who love to 'race' their bike all year round."

Read our review of the Liv Women’s Contact SLR Forward
Find a Liv dealer

Ergon SR Sport Gel — £64.99

Ergon SR Sport Gel Womens.jpg

The Ergon SR Sport Gel Women's Saddle will be a hit with many female road riders. The design really does help remove pressure from the most sensitive parts, so longer rides are more comfortable.

The wide cutout of the Ergon is designed to relieve pressure on the soft tissue between the pelvic bone and the saddle. The opening is certainly more generous than many. Where some cutouts stop halfway down the saddle, this one continues right to the nose. The nose itself is wider too, with a flatter and wider surround to the opening. Pressure is more spread out and any lateral micro-movement is smooth. The gel pad inserts extend through to the nose of the saddle (with many, pads are just in the widest part).

Want something lighter? Check out the Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women, which weighs 166g — over 100g less than the Sport — and costs about £153.

Read our review of the Ergon SR Sport Gel saddle
Find an Ergon dealer

SDG Allure Ti-Rail — £74.99


The SDG Allure scores well in the crucial comfort department. It's also a decent weight, an attractive as well as functional design, well constructed and reasonably priced to boot(y).

The cutout isn't overly large compared to, say, the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow, but it is well positioned and tester Siobhan found it does a great job of relieving pressure. The Allure tips the scales at a respectable 268g (claimed 260g), just a shade more than the Diva.

SDG says this female-specific saddle is designed for all riding disciplines, and Siobhan found it performs well both on and off road. It is relatively narrow, at 143mm, and is only available in this one width; this, combined with the cutaway side profile, allows unrestricted leg movement, aiding pedalling efficiency.

Read our review of the SDG Allure Ti-Rail
Find an SDG dealer

Fizik Luce R5 — £79.99 - £89.99

Fizik Luce S-Alloy Womens Saddle.jpg

The Fizik Luce R5 (previously called the Luce S-Alloy) is a light and firm performance saddle with some extensive research behind it. Tester Sarah found it very rideable and definitely worth a try for a regular rider if you want something not too squashy. It's available in two widths, Regular (144mm), and Large (155mm).

The Fizik Luce has a little give but is pretty firm, which could be a turn-off, but don't be too hasty: Fizik looks to have put a lot of work into this saddle for women.

The Regular-width Luce R5 has a sitting area shape measuring 144mm wide from wing to wing, and narrowing down to the nose. The nose is a little narrower than the Selle Italia Diva – 5mm in fact – meaning less friction on the thighs. This narrower nose will definitely appeal to some.

It quickly it felt comfortable and not too firm. Sarah found she didn't have to shuffle around to find a good position, so the profile of the saddle worked well for her, giving the impression that her sit bones were comfortably supported. Yes, it's a firm ride, but the cushioning is where you need it.

Read our review of the Fizik Luce S-Alloy saddle
Find a Fizik dealer

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow — £59.99

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow saddle

The Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow saddle is one of the most widely rider-recommended women's saddles and it's easy to see why. It's comfortable, flexible, light and it even looks good too.

This is a superior quality design offering superb comfort for all styles of bike and ride. An excellent women's saddle.

Read our review of the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
Find a Selle Italia dealer

Prologo Kappa Dea2 — £69.99

Prologo Kappa DEA2 Saddle.jpg

The Kappa Dea2 is women-specific saddle with a comfy cutout. If it suits your sit bones it's a very good all-rounder.

Prologo lists the Kappa Dea2 saddle under ‘Enthusiast’; it's narrower and with less padding than a ‘comfort’ saddle aimed at more casual cyclists. If you're looking to spend more time on your bike, the Kappa Dea2 is a good step towards keeping things happy on longer rides – it’s light enough, comfortable with its cutout and central groove, and it looks the part too.

The trick of this saddle is the groove that runs from the tip of the nose right to the rear, with a cutout in the centre. Not only does this add to the sleek look of the design, it means reduced pressure – something that you'll appreciate after a few hours in its embrace.

Read our review of the Prologo Kappa Dea2
Find a Prologo dealer

Specialized Ruby Expert women's — £85

Specialized Ruby Expert Gel saddle.jpg

Specialized's Body Geometry Ruby Expert saddle is one of those rare beasts, a lightweight women's specific performance saddle that's available in a choice of widths including a properly narrow 130mm to suit your style of riding and just as importantly your sit bones too.

The cushioning is placed exactly where you need it to support your sit bones, effectively alleviating any discomfort or feeling of pressure. It's a super light, firm but comfortably supportive road saddle with width fittings to suit most riders.

Read our review of the Specialized Ruby Expert
Find a Specialized stockist

fizik Arione Donna — £89.99

Arione Donna.JPG

At the go-faster end of the fizik range, the Arione Donna is the women’s version of the long, sleek Arione. It’s one of the lightest women’s saddles we’re aware of, and if you’ve got a very deep purse there’s a carbon fibre-railed version that lops off another 20g, though all versions have become very hard to find as fizik has discontinued this saddle.

The Arione Donna boasts a pressure-relieving channel and a fizik’s Wingflex feature which reduces chafing by allowing the saddle hull to move with you as you pedal.

Find a Fizik dealer

Selle SMP Big Bum — £25.49

Selle SMP Big Bum.jpg

In total contrast to most of the saddles here, this is a very wide, deeply-padded seat that even boasts springs to help absorb the bumps. It’s perfect for casual cyclists though, and it works particularly well on very upright bikes.

Everything you need to know about women's saddles

As you’re no doubt aware, men and women are different. When it comes to cycling, that’s nowhere more important than the saddle and the bits of you that rest on it.

Leaning forward on a saddle puts pressure on the soft tissues of your vulva, which can quickly lead to pain, numbness and lasting soreness.

Part of the answer is a saddle that reduces or eliminates the pressure on your genitals. There are a number of ways to make this happen. Some saddles have a cutaway in the hull, with either a hole right through to the top of the saddle, or soft foam over the hole. Some just use softer foam under the genitals, while others are shaped to better support a woman’s wider sit-bones and so take pressure off your squishy bits.

Feel the width

Manufacturers are getting better at helping you to choose the right saddle. Most have their own system of narrowing the choice, either by deciding what type of cyclist you are — usually by your range of flexibility and your position on the bike — or using a fit system that measures the distance between your sit bones, to pair you with the saddle that best matches your anatomy.

A good saddle should support your sit bones, not your entire bum. It’s where your sit bones contact the saddle that is key; a saddle needs to provide adequate support in these two areas. That’s why some saddles are offered in up to three widths. Saddle makers that offer multiple widths, such as Specialized and Bontrager, usually supply dealers with a device to measure the width of your sit bones so you can choose the right seat. Just because you have a bigger bottom it doesn't necessarily follow that you have wider sit bones.

Try before you buy

Ideally, you want to try a saddle on your bike before parting with your money, and many saddle manufacturers recognise the problem of spending a lot of cash on an untested saddle. They offer try before you buy schemes, where you can run a saddle for a desired amount of time to decide if it’s right for you. That can save you collecting a large pile of saddles in your shed as you enter the quest for the ultimate saddle.

Check your position

Saddle level (CC BY-NC 2.0 cyclotourist:Flickr

If you’re uncomfortable on your bike, it may not just be the saddle that’s the problem; in fact it may not be the problem at all. Similar problems can crop up if your saddle angle is wrong, or the reach to the handle bar is too great or too deep.

As important as picking the right saddle, ensuring you have the saddle at the correct height and distance from the handlebars is also very important. Sometimes, you can have the right saddle, but you’re not sitting on it correctly, which can be a case of it being too far forward or backwards. If you find yourself wriggling about on your saddle a lot when riding, it could be a sign it’s not correctly positioned.

The saddle angle is the easiest problem to fix. As a starting point, your saddle should be level, with the back and nose at the same height. If that isn’t comfortable, try lowering the nose of the saddle a little. Don’t lower it too much though, you still want to sit on the saddle, and not slide forward off it.

To adjust the saddle height, you loosen the bolt or bolts under the saddle that hold it in place. If there’s a single bolt, then you just loosen it, move the saddle, and tighten it again. If there are two, one in front of the other, then you loosen one and tighten the other to change the angle.

Changing the position of the handlebar will usually involve changing the stem to one of different length, or putting more spacers under the stem to raise it, which is all best done under the watchful eye of your bike shop’s fit expert.

We’d recommend getting a professional bike fit, and there are many available these days. They’ll assess your level of flexibility, physical limitations and your cycling goals, and ensure you’re correctly fitted on the bike. The bike needs to fit you, not the body fitting the bike.

If your comfort problem does turn out to be down to the saddle, most manufacturers now have a large choice of women-specific saddles to recognise the differences in anatomy. Many women do get on just fine with men's saddles, just as many women happily ride men's bikes, but generally women have wider sit bones so there’s a choice of suitable wider saddles to suit.

Georgena Terry developed a reputation for comfortable saddles aimed specifically at women, in doing so pioneering the first women’s specific designed products. She produced a saddle for women in 1992 with a cutaway section, a design she later expanded to men’s saddles.

For oodles of saddle reviews see the saddle review archive

About Buyer's Guides

The aim of buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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