Okay so we’ve established the helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment for a beginner. Now I will move on to some quick generalizations about the rest of the safety gear.
Jacket- You have leather, textile, mesh jackets. Obviously leather is safer, but hotter. There is a trade off for each. Mesh jacket lets in more air, but might not do as well in a high speed crash. There’s a reason racers wear leather and crash at a million miles an hour and don’t get hurt.
Gloves- Again you have leather, textile, mesh type gloves. Make sure you have some padding on the knuckles and also the palm of your hand. People generally forget about the palm of their hands and concentrate mostly on the knuckles. Gauntlet gloves offer the most protection and go past your wrist towards your forearm.
Pants- Cool product that’s recently come out is Kevlar Jeans. Quite a few companies make these guys and I’d definitely recommend them especially for long trips. Let’s be real- in real life most people ride in jeans/whatever pants they need to get to work or wherever they’re going. If you can pull it off, leather pants/chaps are always cool. =)
Boots- Get something that’s sturdy and covers your ankles. I have a horrible time finding boots because I have very small feet and large calves. I usually wear a pair of high top Timberlands. When I ride in the dirt, O’neal and Fox women’s boots both have adequate room for my legs (thank god). Men have much better selection of riding boots and riding gear in particular. Alpinestars boots and shoes are usually people’s favorite in terms of proper sizing and selection. If you want an alternative to Alpinestars, Sedici (only sold at Cycle Gear) is awesome. I like Alpinestars and Sedici because they both have full racing type boots as well as half ankle boots.