As pricey as you'd expect from Rapha, but look no further if you're after great comfort and fit.
If you’re after the most comfortable warmers money can buy, then look no further than the Rapha Merino arm warmers, made from a merino wool blend used exclusively by Rapha (perhaps from a flock of sheep roaming on the Alpine meadows around Alpe d’Huez).
Mandatory Rapha joke out of the way, I can talk about how comfortable these warmers are, with the merino wool being lovely and soft against the skin, even compared to the normal fleece-lined lycra you’ll find one most arm warmers. The 5% elastene included in the fabric means that they also fit well whatever the shape of your arms, while the rubber gripper around the top hem worked well enough that I wasn’t forced to pull them up too high to keep them in place.
Only having experience of traditional lycra warmers, I was slightly skeptical of the thin, lightweight merino wool construction, expecting it to be easily penetrated by chilly winds, and quickly find myself reaching for an extra thermal layer whenever the temperature went into the lower half of single figures. However, although they can’t offer the same level of protection as the Sportful NoRain warmers and the Pearl Izumi Pro Thermal warmers, Rapha has still managed to make these pretty warm pieces of kit, far better than their lightweight construction would suggest.
Of course, there’s the issue of price. There’s no avoiding the fact that despite being a pretty pricey pair of warmers, the extra money only gets you a different material, rather than any more protection from the elements, making the Rapha Merino arm warmers only really suitable for late spring and early autumn riding.
For more details visit the Rapha website.
The Rapha Merino arm warmers are extremely comfortable and offer excellent warmth considering their light weight. However Merino wool doesn't come cheap and for the price there are plenty of competitors that offer wet weather protection.