The best cycling arm warmers
Among the many cycling apparels available these days, a good pair of arm warmers is seldom given enough attention but they are equally important. Arm warmers are designed to be used in addition to a regular cycling jersey. They provide coverage from wrist to just below the shoulder and protect your arms from cold weather and extreme windchill and speeds. The extra layer of insulation keeps your blood running to your hands for the entire ride.
Warmers are ideal for transitional seasons in late fall and early spring as they provide a thermal layer of protection without hindering your movement or performance. They are lightweight and compact enough to be layered under your jackets and fleece during colder winter rides. Cycling arm warmers are built to be versatile and are easily removable. When the temperature climbs during your ride or if your muscles are warmed up, you can take them off and stow them away in your bib pockets. In the same way, you can wear them on again when the temperature drops.
What are cycling arm warmers
Similar to leg warmers, cycling arm warmers are cylindrical in shape and built to conform around the cyclist’s arm. Made from super soft Dryarn, the material has moisture-wicking capabilities to keep you dry and warm over any length of use. With silicone grippers along the bicep, there is a soft but secure hold in place. Since it is meant to be worn under the sleeve of a jersey, the warmer should not be loose enough to slip or move - without discomfort. The sleeve narrows down to the wrist with a snug fitting wristband.
Cover your wrist to the shoulders with the combination of an arm warmer and jersey to help block the wind. You can then layer up from the cold (without the added bulk) and avoid moisture. They are designed with moisture-wicking technology and are an excellent way to keep a cyclist from getting wet and cold. Given the conditions they are intended for, many other arm warmers, are also designed to offer a level of thermal protection, trapping a layer of air next to the skin where it warms up and insulates you.
When should you wear arm warmers
While it is recommended that cyclists use thermal arm warmers once the temperature reaches below 65 degrees fahrenheit, this is not always the rule. Many cyclists will make the choice to continue wearing warmers as the temperature gets warmer by investing in different styles of linings. For cyclists who train in the winter months, a more heavily insulated thermal arm warmer can be suggested. This traps the layer of air just above the skin to keep warm air inside the sleeve.
Cyclists who need extra protection against rain and precipitation would require an arm warmer with built-in membranes. These membranes provide extra protection against extreme wind and water at the cost of some breathability. There are lighter insulation levels designed to appeal to commuters and mountain descenders as well.
What should you look out for when buying arm warmers
There are some key features to look for when choosing a thermal arm warmer that might affect the wear and use. The material, while normally made of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, polyamide, polyurethane or a proprietary blend, can be labelled differently. These blends usually take names such as “Windstopper” or “Thermoflex” and offer a good indication as to their qualities. These differently named materials can present changes in weight, breathability, durability, and technical performance.
It’s important to consider the type of protection and performance you require out of arm warmers and match the materials to such. The inner lining can also be customized to meet cyclists’ needs. Another factor to look into is the construction of the piece. You can choose between multi-panelled or seamless arm warmers. The warmer with more panels offers more flexibility and movement around the elbows while a seamless warmer prevents chafing and discomfort. In either case, the warmer should fit tightly and securely around the length of the entire arm (wrist to bicep). There should be no discomfort or squeezing, but the warmer should not be able to fall on its own or have extra fabric that catches any wind. Look for arm warmers with silicone grippers around the bicep to keep your piece secure through any ride. Lastly, safety should be a top priority when it comes to picking any cycling apparel.