Altura has taken a great idea and made it their own. The result works - very well, particularly if you still want the reassurance of a gripper in place. However, if you like the idea of eradicating a gripper completely, you may wish to save your pennies for the original.
High design reduces gripper compression
Warm and quick drying
Still utilise a silicone gripper, which can be avoided
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Altura's Thermal DWR Leg Warmers utilise a construction method that I'm somewhat of a fan of. Rather than stopping and cutting in mid-thigh, they travel much further up your leg, reducing the pinching of leg-warmer seams and keeping more of your upper leg warm, allowing you to pair leg warmers with some of the best cycling bib shorts for much more of the year.
This method is most famously used by Assos in the case of the Evo7 legwarmers. I am a long-term fan of the Evo7 legwarmers, but they are expensive. Altura getting in on the action brings the price down by 50%.
Are Altura's leg warmers as good as Assos' Evo7s? To be honest, no - they're not as thick, and they still use a silicone gripper. But if want to keep the cost at £35, as opposed to £70, they're a very close second and still come recommended.
Altura Thermal DWR Leg Warmers: Construction
Altura's Thermal DWR leg warmers use a thermal brush back fabric, with a DWR coating to bead droplets in showers. The material is thermal, but it's not particularly thick - making these slightly more suited to the shoulder seasons than anything approaching deep winter, where a good pair of winter tights would be preferable.
The upper leg, as mentioned, comes high up and is curved. It doesn't come as high as the Assos version (apologies, Altura, for the repeated comparisons), and it also does include a silicone gripper a few inches down - in the position that most leg warmers would end.
Because the curved top is well and truly under your shorts, this gripper doesn't take sole responsibility for keeping the warmers in place, so it doesn't apply as much pressure as a standard gripper.
The seams are kept to a minimum, to reduce chafing or rubbing as you pedal.
One nice feature of Altura's creation is a heavy use of reflectivity at the ankle and lower calf. Whilst lighting yourself up in winter shouldn't be necessary, I do always find wearing kit with reflective details reassuring.
Altura Thermal DWR Leg Warmers: The Ride
As mentioned, the fabric here is soft and thermal, but it's not especially thick, these warmers weigh in at 69g each. I found the fabric well suited to temperatures in the low teens (°c), but would reach for full tights (or a thicker leg warmer) come anything much lower. Breathability was spot on within this range, I'd probably look to strip them off over 15-17°c.
The material conformed well to my legs, as the best Lycra does, and there was no pressure at the knee when pedalling. These were quick drying after wearing and showers did produce the healthy beading of a good DWR coating, but of course, this would breach in a downpour.
The fit at the upper part of the warmer disappointed me slightly, it's not quite as wide or as long as my favourites. If Altura opted for a little extra fabric, it would be possible to do away with the silicone gripper, as there would be enough sturdy short fabric covering the top of the warmer. However, this does assume you're wearing compressive shorts, if you opt for something with more give, this solution could be preferable.
Altura Thermal DWR Leg Warmers: Value
At £35, Altura has pitched these leg warmers at a very reasonable price, given that the only competitor I'm aware of charges twice as much. However, shop around and you can find discounts on both options (at time of writing) - something to bear in mind.
- Thermal brushed fabric
- DWR coating
- Silicone gripper
- Weight: 69g (each)
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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