The best cycling leg warmers
To extend the use of warm weather cycling shorts and short sleeve jerseys in cooler seasons, combining arm and leg warmers offers extra protection for your extremities. When a cyclist’s knees are exposed to colder temperatures the bike’s speed increases windchill and potential joint damage. Opting for leg or knee warmers can help keep muscles and tendons warm and free from added strain. Lightweight and compact, leg warmers are designed to be the perfect transition weather piece. They can be easily removed as the temperature rises mid-ride and placed in a bib pocket or rolled down for extra air flow. Made from super soft Dryarn, the material has moisture-wicking capabilities to keep you dry and warm. The light and soft elastic cuffs around thigh and ankle keep everything in place without causing discomfort, pinching or slippage. Cycling leg warmers should wear tightly and conform easily to your leg shape, resulting in a comfortable fit with no restriction to range of movement.
When should you use leg warmers
It’s recommended to wear warmers on every ride when the outside temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, temperature is not always an indicator of windchill and cold air movement. It is important to pay attention to the route you plan to bike, the wind speed, and the chance for inclement weather before making the decision. With the versatility leg warmers are designed to provide, they are most often used as an essential item for fall and spring rides. For road cyclists, during an early spring ride, if snow banks still surround the road, keep your legs and knees covered. Riding alongside snow traps a microclimate of colder air directly at knee height which can cause damage to muscles and joints. For mountain bikers, the temperatures between base and summit in some areas can vary up to 30 degrees per ride. Leg warmers provide the ability to self regulate body temperature through these extreme changes while offering solid protection at both ends. Commuters can take advantage of leg warmers ability to be taken off quickly and stashed away between short rides. Being compatible with all varieties of shorts, they are easily worn and removed with no effect on the rest of your outfit.
Why do you need a leg warmer?
Besides extending the wear time of cycling shorts, leg warmers are built for extra protection to the knee joint. Keeping the knees and surrounding muscles warm during cold bike rides is essential to prevent injury or issues from arising. Without warmers, tendons in the leg have a low ability to self regulate temperature due to lack of blood flow. In colder weather, they lose elasticity and become more vulnerable to tearing at a higher force. Ride performance also suffers under these conditions. Keeping muscles and tendons warm during a workout allows for them to perform at max capacity.
What should you look out for when buying leg warmers?
Like most cycling apparel, it’s important to choose leg warmers made from a material with good wicking properties – the ability to draw moisture from next to your skin and to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate, preventing you from becoming wet and cold. First and foremost, gear meant for cold weather bike rides should be effective in keeping the outside environment away. Other factors to pay attention to include fit, coverage, sizing, and safety. Cycling leg warmers are meant to fit snugly against the skin to maximize their ability to moisture-wick. Pay attention to the grippers at the tops of the thighs for a secure - but not squeezing feel. The grippers around the ankle should feel tight-fitting but stretchable. There should be no excess bunching around the ankle. There are multiple lengths to choose from. For a longer, fuller protective layer, a full leg warmer is the best option. For easier removal, or less need for weather protection, a more cropped knee warmer does a good job of stabilizing joints without becoming too hot. When sizing a leg warmer, generally match it in sizing to your cycling shorts. There should be no excess fabric catching. Make sure to choose warmers with necessary safety components. Reflective strips, decals, and designs are often added to increase visibility.