How to choose the best leg, arm and neck warmers

Arm, leg, and neck warmers are a super-versatile addition to your cycling wardrobe,

using them lets you fine-tune your cycling outfit according to the weather conditions.

When it’s a bit too chilly for bare arms or legs but not cold enough for tights and jackets, leg and arm warmers are the perfect stop gap. And if you’re looking to keep out a cold draught but not yet ready to graduate to a full winter-height collar, a neck warmer is the ideal solution.

What’s more, as leg, arm and neck warmers are removable and easily stuffable into a jersey pocket, they’re incredibly versatile. They can even be used underneath a full-length garment such as a winter jacket to add an extra layer of insulation if it’s really cold out.

At a glance these look like simple stretchy tubes of Lycra but, like most cycling kit, they are available in different fabrics optimised for specific temperature ranges and types of weather, as well as different designs that offer varying amounts of coverage and protection.

We’ve got all the warmers you will need to help keep you comfortable through cold starts and changeable conditions. Here’s our guide to choosing the right warmers for your cycling.

Fabric and warmth

Since their purpose is to add warmth, leg and arm warmers are usually made from a more insulating polyamide fabric than standard Lycra.

The Van Rysel Cool Weather Arm Warmers are made from a thermal 93% polyamide/7% elastane mix that offers protection on cooler rides as well as good breathability and the ability to dry quickly.

Meanwhile, for chillier temperatures the Van Rysel Cold Weather Arm Warmers deploy a warm fleece lining that feels comfortable against the skin and traps warm air.

For ultimate winter warmth, the Van Rysel 100 Winter Neck Warmer is made from a cosy fleece that can be pulled up over your mouth and nose or even turned into a hat.

As well as manmade technical fabrics, wool is used to great effect in the Van Rysel Merino Arm Warmers 900 . Super-soft, stretchy and uniquely odour absorbing, merino wool is a great option for multi-day rides where kit might be worn on consecutive days.

Fabrics can be combined to offer the best of both worlds in neck warmers: the Van Rysel Dual-Fabric Neck Warmer has a very thin, breathable polyester upper section that can cover mouth and nose if it’s really frosty, while a brushed-fleece lower section can be tucked comfortably into a jersey or jacket to contain your body’s heat and keep out draughts.

The Van Rysel 700 Windproof Neck Warmer keeps out the chill using a windproof barrier fabric that features laser-cut perforations to make breathing easier when it’s pulled up over your mouth.

Length

While arm warmers universally supply upper arm-to-wrist coverage, with leg warmers you can opt for full length or three quarters. The three-quarter length is perfect for keeping your knees warm if you’re heading out early, and can easily be removed and stowed once the day warms up.

Like the Cold Weather Arm Warmers, the Van Rysel Cold Weather Knee Warmers use a brushed fleece lining to trap a layer or warm air next to your skin and are made from a stretchy 85% polyamide/15% elastane mix for a close fit.

If you’re after thigh-to-ankle protection, the Van Rysel Cold Weather Leg Warmers and the Van Rysel R00 Leg Warmers have you covered.

Fit

Leg and arm warmers are designed to fit closely, like a second skin, and use stretchy fabrics in order to achieve this. The Van Rysel Pre-Formed Cool Weather Arm Warmers have an anatomical design that perfectly fits the shape of your arm with a slight bend at the elbow for when you’re holding the handlebars.

Grippers

Arm and leg warmers use elasticated grippers at the top that keep them in place. A strip of silicone next to the skin is the arm further ensures they don’t fall down.

Neck warmers such as the snood-style Van Rysel Cycling Neck Warmer RoadR 100 are super stretchy and very light so stay in place – whether that’s around the neck, under the helmet or headband style – without grippers or cords.

Meanwhile, the the Van Rysel 100 Winter Neck Warmer cinches via an adjustable toggle and the Van Rysel 700 Windproof Neck Warmer has an elasticated cord that allows you to personalise its fit.

Conclusion

Choosing the right arm, leg and neck warmers means you can cycle comfortably in a greater range of temperatures, with no need to pile on winter gear and overheat when all you really need is a little extra targeted insulation.