When the weather is starting to take a big drop in temperature, cycling arm warmers are definitely something you would want to help keep those arms warm and dry throughout your ride.
Arm warmers can be a very useful piece of your cycling clothing in terms of the fact that they are easy to put away if you decide you no longer want or need to wear them while you’re out on a ride as they are easy to remove and just roll or fold up to put in your bag or jersey pockets.
One of the main reasons why cyclists choose to wear arm warmers is so that they can continue to wear and show off their favourite jersey instead of wearing a jacket. Of course this is when the weather isn’t severely cold or wet.
They can also be used as an extra layer for your arms under a jacket to provide extra warmth.
My favourite thing about arm warmers, just like with leg warmers too, is that when you’re going out on a ride in the morning when it is a little chilly, you just slide them on, then as it starts to get a little warmer throughout the day and you decide you no longer need them, then you just slide them off and put them away.
It can be the same the other way around too, where you head out on a ride not needing them, but you can take them with you in your pockets or bag as a “just in case” option if you decide later on you need them.
Most arm warmers are made from an insulating fabric which is slightly thicker than the usual Lycra and jersey material which is called Roubaix.
Roubaix is a fleece backed Lycra which traps the air against your skin to help keep you warm. There is also “Super Roubaix” which is a thicker and warmer version of the standard Roubaix.
Arm warmers can also be made from knitted fabrics too such as Merino wool or polyester for maximum warmth and luxury. These materials are thicker and warmer than Roubaix and if they are knitted in one piece, then there isn’t any seams, which many cyclists prefer as they can find seams annoying and uncomfortable.
Available on the market these days are water-repellent fabrics for arm warmers that can help to keep you dry, but note that these are good to keep out the damp and not if it’s actually throwing it down as eventually they will start to let water through.
As with all cycling clothing, getting the right size for you is important, too loose and the arm warmers won’t perform how they should and will keep slipping down your arm and probably just become wrist warmers! But too tight, and they can cause comfort issues and effect blood circulation causing pins and needs down your arm and leaving you with numb hands.
Of course the length of the arm warmers is also important as too short and you will end up with the chill hitting where the gap is on your arm, too long, and you will end up with the warmer bunching up around your wrist causing comfort issues.
When you are trying out warmers for size, look out for any fold in the bend of the elbow.
Some warmers are just a tube of fabric that you just slide onto your arms, and some are tailored to accommodate the bend in the elbow.
Watch out for warmers that have many crisscrossing seams, as these seams can be uncomfortable for many cyclists.
Leg and arm warmers mostly use silicone strips that grip against your skin to keep them in place. Many arm warmers also have silicone strips on the outside too so that they also grip against your jersey sleeve for extra support to keep them in place too.
Top Cycling Arm Warmers
Here is my list of the best cycling arm warmers on the market today, in no particular order;
Castelli Nano Flex 3G Arm Warmers
The Castelli Nano Flex 3G Arm Warmers are rain repellent, windproof, warming and luxuriously comfortable, this latest evolution of the Nano Flex technology is Castelli’s best yet.
The Nano Flex 3G fabric used across these arm warmers utilises a combination of newly updated durable water repellent (DWR) treatment and mechanical heat treatment to give previously unheard-of levels of rain protection. Light rain beads off the fabric, keeping you dry when those inevitable rainy spells descend.
On the inside of the Nano Flex 3G fabric, a super soft finish and the optimal loft have been achieved through Castelli’s meticulous research and development.
GripGrab Classic Arm Warmers
Using a breathable brushed fleece fabric, the anatomical fit and silicone elastic grip ensures that these arm warmers stay in place and provide maximum comfort.
Key Features – Insulating and breathable functional fabric, silicon elastic on top edge, flat-lock seams, build-in reflection, polyamide 85%, elastane 15%
There are also reflective logos to increase visibility and safety in low light conditions.
Endura FS260 Pro Thermo Arm Warmers
Designed to keep you warm and the worst of the water off, with as little fuss as possible.
The FS260-Pro arm warmers will extend the use of your favourite short sleeve jerseys well into the winter.
Though they will keep you as warm as long sleeves, they also have the added flexibility to be removed at any time, should you get too warm.
Polaris RBS Arm Warmers
If visibility is very important to you, then these Polaris arm warmers would be great as they seem to like their bright colours.
Key features – Brushed back fabric for comfort and warmth, bright colourway for increased visibility, reflective print logo and stripe and Silicon gripper at upper arm for optimum fit.
Add Arm Warmers To Your Winter Tool Kit
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and have gained a better understanding of what they are and how they work.
I really believe that these arm warmers should be part of all cyclists winter tool kit. Just like leg warmers, these are so easy to remove and put on and also to store away in jersey pockets or a bag so why not for that “just in case” moment.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these arm warmers in the comments below, maybe you would like to let me know your experience in using them.
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