Group test: arm and knee warmers

A selection of arm and knee warmers from Decathlon, Castelli, Sportful, Rapha and Stolen Goat are arranged on a floor
From left to right: Decathlon’s Van Rysel arm and leg warmers, Castelli’s Pro Seamless 2 arm and knee warmers, Sportful’s 2nd Skin arm and knee warmers, Rapha’s Merino arm and knee warmers and Stolen Goat’s Kiko knee warmers
These versatile items of cycling clothing will help you stay warm without overheating. Content officer Rebecca Armstrong tested options from Decathlon, Castelli, Sportful, Rapha and Stolen Goat

Arm and knee warmers (or leg warmers on colder days) are useful pieces of kit. They can extend the use of your summer wardrobe into spring and autumn, so you don’t need to spend extra money on jerseys or leggings.

They’re great for those changeable spring days where you get freezing mornings followed by sunny afternoons. If you do a lot of climbing, they can be pulled down when you’re ascending and pulled up to keep you warm on those fast descents.

If you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re simple tubes of fabric with rubber or elastic grippers around the top to hold them in place on the tops of your arms or thighs. They go under your short-sleeved jersey or shorts to provide a bit of cover.

The trick is getting the fit right. You need grippers that are tight enough to keep them in place while not cutting off the blood flow and being the right length to cover everything you need covered. The best option is to try on several to get ones that work for you.

1. Van Rysel Pre-formed Cool Weather Arm Warmers and Cold Weather Cycling Leg Warmers

Price: £11.99/£17.99. Available from: Decathlon – arm warmers and leg warmers.

Described as ‘pre-formed’, both products are articulated round the elbow and knee, respectively. This improves fit and makes them easier to put on. The leg warmers I tested were mid-length, although on me this meant full length.

I’m 165cm, so I suspect this means mid-length for an average height man. But as full-length leg warmers they were spot on. The arm warmers were also a good length, going right to my wrists to tuck under my gloves.

Both products look good, with a classy Van Rysel logo in black on black around the leg warmers’ grippers and in white stitching on the wrist of the arm warmer. The grippers on both were comfortable and not too tight. The arm warmers were elasticated, the leg warmers are rubber. There was some slippage when riding. The bottoms were also elasticated to help keep them in place.

I wore these on one of my coldest test rides and they performed well. I was very pleased with the warm fleecy lining, which kept me warm without being too sweaty.

Sizes: XS/S (tested, arm warmers), ML (tested, leg warmers), XL/2XL (both). Colours: black, neon yellow, white (arm warmers); black only (leg warmers).

Verdict: Comfortable and nicely fitting, these kept me warm on a very cold early morning ride.

A woman in cycling jersey and shorts with Van Rysel arm and leg warmers is standing in front of a Felt road bike leaning against a garden shed
Decathlon’s Van Rysel arm and leg warmers

2. Castelli Pro Seamless 2 Arm Warmers and Pro Seamless Knee Warmers

Price: £26/£35. Available from: Saddleback – arm warmers and knee warmers.

These too are shaped to fit elbows and knees. The grippers on both products are elastic rather than rubber which didn’t feel quite as secure; however, while there was some slippage, it was minimal. They were very comfortable.

Fit was good with both arm and knee warmers. The former were exactly right in length. The latter look like they’re going to come up short, but there’s a lot of stretch in them and they provided a good amount of coverage.

They kept me warm on chilly early morning test rides and felt light enough for warmer days. It didn’t warm up enough on my rides to want to pull them down, but the elasticated grippers would ensure that wouldn’t be a problem. They’re also very small and would easily fit in a jersey pocket.

They look good, too, with the Castelli logo around the bottom of each product. I liked the colour – I opted for Belgian blue.

Sizes: S/M (tested), L/X, L/XL (both). Colours: black, Belgian blue (both).

Verdict: Good fit and comfortable; warm enough for cooler mornings but light enough for warmer afternoons.

A woman in cycling jersey and shorts with Castelli arm and knee warmers is standing in front of a Felt road bike leaning against a garden shed
Castelli’s arm and knee warmers

3. Sportful 2nd Skin Arm Warmers and 2nd Skin Knee Warmers

Price: £25/£25. Available from: Saddleback – arm warmers and knee warmers.

These had nicely wide, elasticated grippers at both ends, making them comfortable and holding them nicely in place. There was minimal slippage while out riding.

They fit well, but the arm warmers came up long on me. The knee warmers were shorter but still fully covered the knee joint.

These were the lightest of the products on test and I was a bit chilly when I set off. However, they’re very breathable and they served me well as the day got warmer.

Sizes: S/M (tested), L/X (both). Colour: black (both).

Verdict: Comfortable but the arm warmers would maybe better suit those longer in the arm. Good for cool summer days.

A woman in cycling jersey and shorts with Sportful arm and knee warmers is standing in front of a Felt road bike leaning against a garden shed
Sportful’s arm and knee warmers

4. Rapha Merino Arm Warmers and Merino Knee Warmers

Price: £55/£60. Available from: Rapha – arm warmers and knee warmers.

The most expensive set tested here, these are also the only ones made from merino. This made them lovely to wear; merino feels very soft and smooth against the skin. They’re also the only ones that aren’t shaped around the knees and elbows, but this didn’t seem to affect fit or ease of pulling them on.

They’re exceptionally light and thin. They’ll easily fit in a jersey pocket and don’t add any weight. However, they were still very effective, keeping me warm on a very windy and unexpectedly wet ride.

Length and fit were spot on, with good coverage from the knee warmers. The elasticated grippers were quite tight, which held them in place well. There was no slippage at all. They weren’t too tight, though, and I could only feel them when I thought about it.

Sizes: S (tested, both), M, L (both). Colour: black (both).

Verdict: The merino means these felt great to wear and would serve to keep you warm on cold mornings while wicking away sweat as the day heats up.

A woman in cycling jersey and shorts with Rapha arm and knee warmers is standing in front of a Felt road bike leaning against a garden shed
Rapha’s arm and knee warmers

5. Stolen Goat Kiko Knee Warmers

Price: £30. Available from: Stolen Goat.

These were quite long on me – more like mid-length leg warmers. They were also the heaviest tested here, along with Decathlon’s Van Rysels.

The fit wasn’t great. The rubber grippers were very tight, causing an uncomfortable ‘thigh bulge’. I’d recommend that anyone with more than the skinniest of thighs to consider going up a size. Luckily Stolen Goat has several options – six, compared to the two or three with the other products tested here.

The upshot of this is that they remained firmly in place. They moved around less than my shorts!

These were the only ones that are water resistant, which worked well on a showery ride. They’re not waterproof, though, so probably not ideal for very wet days. They kept me warm on my early morning ride and would easily slide off when the day heats up.

They have a reflective Stolen Goat logo at the bottom, which is a nice touch.

Sizes: XS, S (tested), M, L, XL, XXL. Colour: black.

Verdict: Provided a lot of coverage and among the warmest tested here.

A woman in cycling jersey and shorts with Stolen Goat knee warmers is standing in front of a Felt road bike leaning against a garden shed
Stolen Goat’s knee warmers

Overall verdict

All but one set of arm and knee warmers was made from synthetic materials. Rapha’s are merino – but they’re the most expensive on test by quite a lot. They’re also the most versatile. Merino combines the warmth of wool with excellent moisture-wicking capabilities so will suit very changeable days.

The cheapest are Decathlon’s Van Rysel warmers. These are very good value and the best for colder spring and autumn days; they’d also serve well on warmer winter rides. Decathlon has a reputation for good-quality, inexpensive products and these don’t disappoint.

Similarly, Stolen Goat’s thicker and longer knee warmers would best suit colder spring and autumns days or warmer winter ones, especially if light rain is expected.

The Sportful set were very lightweight and probably best suited to warmer spring days or cooler summer rides. The similarly priced Castelli set suited my riding well. They’re light and easy to pull on and off. They worked well in both cooler and warmer conditions.

Member benefits

Cycling UK members receive a 10% discount on selected Decathlon items – including these arm and leg warmers – and a 15% discount with Stolen Goat.

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Our test promise

At Cycling UK, we are proudly independent. There’s no pressure to please advertisers as we’re funded by our members. Our product reviews aren’t press releases; they’re written by experienced cyclists after thorough testing.

How to choose the best arm and knee warmers


These come in a variety of synthetic materials and merino. Merino is very warm and has excellent moisture-wicking properties but tends to be expensive. Synthetic fabrics can be almost as good, but they do tend to get smelly with a lot of use. They’ll also need a touch of Lycra for stretch and fit.


These can be rubber or elasticated. The latter tends to be more comfortable. They need to be tight enough to hold the warmers in place but not so tight that they cut the blood flow. You’ll also want them to easily roll down when temperatures heat up – and back up again if the sun disappears behind a cloud. Some are also elasticated around the bottom, which helps to stop them riding up.


The warmers should be close fitting but not so tight they’re uncomfortable. Ideally you want them small and light enough that you can easily roll them up and put them in a jacket pocket. The arm warmers should grip onto the top of your bicep, under the short sleeves of your jersey, and be long enough that they can tuck into your gloves but not bunch up around the wrists. Knee warmers should grip around the mid-thigh so they fit under your shorts and then fully protect the knee joint. How much further coverage you want is up to you, and depends on when and where you’re cycling.

Try before you buy

Getting the right size, fit and gripper for your body shape requires some experimentation and it’s best to try several options on to find which is best for you. Accessories like arm, knee and leg warmers tend to be ‘unisex’ which generally means they’re sized for the average man. This can make it tricky for women to find products that fit. We tend to be shorter and a bit rounder in the thigh. So trying before you buy is even more important. Leg warmers are always far too long on me, which is why mid-length versions and knee warmers are a good option.