Arm Warmers For Cool Weather Cycling

14 Sep

September is my favorite month of the year for cycling. My speed usually picks up due to cooler temps and by September I usually have around 5,000 miles of cycling done for the year—in other words, I am at my best form of the year. However, September in the Chicago area usually means that I have to wear arm warmers (at least for the first half of my ride). If the temperature rises while out on a ride you can roll arm warmers up and stuff them in your jersey pocket. I use several different brands of arm warmers and here is a quick rundown of my three favorite brands.

Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Arm Warmers

Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Arm Warmers

The Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Arm Warmers are the ones I use most of the time. These warmers are made of a nylon/spandex/polyester blend and have a Windstopper membrane that keeps the wind out and a fleece backing traps warm air next to your skin to keep you comfortable. While these warmers are not waterproof, they do offer great protection from light drizzle. The reflective accents on these warmers are larger than you will find on most cycling jerseys or jackets. The “grippy” elastic hems keep these arm warmers in place. I use these arm warmers in temperatures from around 50 to 64 degrees. When the temperature drops below 60 I also put on a cycling vest—I try to avoid wearing a jacket for as long as possible. Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Arm Warmers retail for $50, but you can find them online (, for around $40.

Reflective Running Sleeves From Nathan Performance Gear

Reflective Sleeves From Nathan Performance Gear

Reflective Sleeves from Nathan Performance Gear are made with a form-fitting, ultra-stretchy synthetic fabric.  These Reflective Sleeves look like traditional arm warmers, but they are not—they are intended to make you visible to motorists at night. They have a long 3M Scotchlite reflective strip on each arm and when the headlights from a car hit it they can be seen from up to 1,200 feet away. However, on mild days when you might not need a heavier pair of arm warmers they are perfect! Nathan Reflective Sleeves come in three colors (Grey, Yellow, and Black) and two sizes (S/M, L/X-L) and they run a bit small. The sleeves retail for about $25 a pair and I doubt if you find them in any bike shop. I purchased mine from a brick-and-mortar Dick’s Sporting Goods Store. If you cannot find them at a store in your area then you should check

Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer for spring and fall

Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer

The Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer is made of 84% polyester and 16% spandex and uses single-panel construction to eliminate seams. An elastic arm gripper keeps this product in place. This not a thermal arm warmer, nor is it windproof. However, the Canari Veloce Pro Arm Warmer is great for those days when it is not cold enough for a long sleeve jersey, but not warm enough to wear just a short sleeve jersey. These arm warmers are unisex in design—based upon sizing for men (women should order one size smaller than usual). You will also find these arm warmers are a bit longer than most other brands and you will appreciate this on cool days! My favorite feature of these arm warmers is the color selection (Black, Killer Yellow, and Solar Orange). The Killer Yellow not only matches my hi-vis yellow jerseys, they also make it a lot easier for motorists to see me signal for a turn. This product has a retail price of around $30 and you can find them online at places like Sierra Trading Post or R.E.I.


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14 responses to “Arm Warmers For Cool Weather Cycling

  1. IowaTriBob

    September 14, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Great post as I was out the other morning, temp stayed in the low 50’s, and by time I got back to the house I was freezing. Would you ever wear these over some type of long sleeve base layer before going to a full jacket? If so what have you found to be a decent base layer?


    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Arm Warmers have to go next to your skin — they are too tight to wear over other clothing. When it gets a bit cooler I switch to long sleeve jerseys — I have them in three different thicknesses and the Performance Polar Jersey (I have a review somewhere on this blog) is excellent. I am going to publish a review of base layers in a couple of weeks (I like UnderArmour compression shirts when it gets really cold).

  2. bamboogirl

    September 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I love winter riding clothes! thanks for the reviews!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Where I live we usually only have three warm months and so my “Spring and Fall” clothing gets a lot of use. However, I also enjoy the “heart of winter” clothing for when the temp gets to around zero (F).

      • bamboogirl

        September 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        OMG. I don’t even know what zero F means! Do those toe warmers you reviewed before have heaters inside?? ha!

      • All Seasons Cyclist

        September 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        bamboogirl — Zero degrees Fahrenheit is rather chilly, but I’ve ridden in worse! At those temps I have some pretty heavy duty boots that work well. If you want to see some on my other winter gear just click on the “Winter Cycling” link on the right-hand side of this page (it is at the bottom of the “Categories” tab).

      • irishkatie

        September 14, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        *rudely interrupts the conversation with bamboo girl*

        *and gives her a HIGH-5* for wanting heaters in the shoe cover thingys! lol

  3. irishkatie

    September 14, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I was talking to a feller at the bike store just a couple weeks ago about arm warmers! I tried a pair on but have yet to buy them yet. I can’t recall the brand as I was just curious, but knew at some point I would get a pair as I am riding more and the weather is turning. The one’s I tried on did not have reflective taping except for the lettering of the brand name I think … which is really not a lot.

    And…they were black…which was curious to me as I would think one would wear these in the winterish months when there is less light.

    So … now I think I might search online for the 2nd pair you mentioned.

    (I am finding your reviews very helpful. I might not get the items you review … but they make me start to think about looking into certain things.)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Katie, most winter cool and cold weather cycling gear is black because it attracts heat from the sun so much better. However, without good reflective strips or a powerful taillight black clothing is somewhat dangerous on the roads. One more note: I live near Chicago and most of the women who who in town wear a lot of black because it hides the dirt better (i.e., salt dust on the sidwalks and slush on the streets).

      • irishkatie

        September 14, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Ohh…nods…that makes sense about the heat thing. *whaps myself and gives me a D for not realizing the science part of that*

        And by the way … blacks makes us look slimmer. Haha!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 14, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Katie, the slimming effects are just an added bonus (and at no extra cost).

  4. brulionman

    September 15, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    this stuff is falling down :(
    I’m thinking about garter bekt ;)
    no, really,

  5. trikatykid

    September 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    I got arm warmers that make my arms look tattooed (sort of). I love them. And I also was given a great cycling jacket from my last job. Love that too! But it’s a lot easier to ditch the arm warms when you’ve warmed up than it is to ditch the jacket!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 17, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      I saw the arm warmers with tattoos online and almost bought them, but I have so many other pairs I decided not to. I live near Lake Michigan and in the spring I often leave the house with arm warmers on and then take them off about five miles away from the lake (the “lake effect” can sometimes cause the temp near the lake to be 15 or 20 degrees different from inland temps).


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