Without their typical fanfare, Rapha recently added sets of arm, knee, and leg warmers to their web shop using their new Pro Team-level Shadow fabric. As I sit in the midst of a patch of unseasonably cold and wet weather this week in Central Europe, it isn’t much of a stretch to be thinking about wet weather gear. We first saw the cold and wet weather specialist fabric back in January of this year when Rapha introduced a Pro Team Shadow riding kit with a pair of bib shorts and jersey. We got ahold of a set of the new kit and have been riding and racing it in a mix of foul weather conditions since February, but from the start we remarked to Rapha that the Shadow range’s functionality was a bit limited by the lack of arm and leg warmers. And in fact, based on the performance of the fabric in our testing, we thought that warmers might be an even more ideal application of the fabric.
Anyway, ask and you shall receive; now they are available. In Rapha fashion they don’t come cheap. But join us below the fold and we’ll give you a look at the new offerings and why we definitely look forward to adding on a set of leg and arm warmers for riding and racing from next fall through the worst winter will have to throw at us…
The Shadow fabric itself is really stretchy and close-fitting, so it seems appropriate that it would make a good choice for accessory warmers. The wind and water-resistant weave of the fabric has a soft brushed inner face that stays put really well. Add in a really compressive feel and these warmers might combine a bit of the benefits of muscle-supporting compression sleeves, while at the same time resisting the urge to slide down that many riders fight with on warmers. And at the same time they keep the weather out and your warmth in.
So the Pro Team Shadow arm warmers sell for €90/£70/$100, the knee warmers for €100/£75/$115, and the leg warmers for €110/£85/$130.
Yeah, so they are pretty much 2-3x as much as Rapha’s standard and merino warmers, but the stretch woven hydrophobic Shadow fabric means they will never soak up water and so will outperform pretty much any other option when it gets wet and cold out.
Most OK, ALL of our knee and leg warmers have got holes worn in them over time and have been stitched back up. At first that is maybe a reason not to drop better than 100 bucks on something that is going to get torn/beaten up, but with the Rapha free repair service maybe it’s really insurance on the purchase.
When it comes down to it, I feel like a good pair of knee and leg warmers (combined with some nice thermo bib shorts) really make riding in cold and wet weather fun. It’s relatively easy to find a good jacket, but there are fewer options to keep your legs happy in foul weather. Good water-resistant leg warmers have gotten me through a couple of wet winters, and while my wallet won’t be happy, I think my head will be OK with dropping some cash on a set of Shadow leg warmers to get me through a couple more winters.
Now that you’ve seen the new warmers, make sure to read our review of the Shadow kit made from the same fabric, that we published earlier this morning to see what got me excited about a pair of leg warmers…
We haven’t tried them out yet, but based on the Shadow bibs and jersey, I think a pair of leg warmers is where the Shadow fabric will really shine. And I’ll let you know how they do the moment cold wet weather gives me the chance to put them to the test.