We’ve got ‘37.5 fabric’, ‘No Rain’, ‘Nanoflex’ and carbon woven into our bibs. You’d have thought someone would have been able to provide leg warmers for female cyclists that avoid sausage leg by now.
Sausage leg can also be called ‘muffin leg’. This is derived from ‘muffin top’ – the term given to displaced fat caused by wearing skinny jeans low on the hips.
Though men can experience muffin/sausage leg, since women have on average 10 per cent more body fat (most of it deposited around the hips and bottom) it’s something that we tend to notice more.
Most cycling brands have a focus on catering for their majority male audience. Therefore they often put their leg warmer efforts into ensuring the grippers are tight enough for the tubes of fabric not to fall down, paying less attention to making them friendly towards upper leg ‘padding’.
So when a reader tweeted TWC asking for suggestions of leg warmers that wouldn’t create twin lumps in the short cuffs of a female cyclist, we decided to take them up on the challenge.
— Andy Lulham (@LulhAndy) April 16, 2016
We’ve taken six pairs of leg and knee warmers that are designed to limit ‘muffin leg’ – with careful attention to the grippers, and photographed them on a size 8/10 keen cyclist (myself) to see just how effective they are.
Of course, readers will be a variety of sizes, and we can’t photograph warmers on a model of every size. However, the pictures should give a clear indication of which work – and which don’t.
X-Bionic No Seam Leg Warmer £53 here
The party trick for X-Bionic is the use of a seamless construction that means no chafing, as well as the use of ‘expansion knee’ technology to enable easy knee movement and ‘Partial Kompression’ to protect against fatigue from vibrations. The seamless construction also means that they shouldn’t dig in, too. The cuff is said to be ‘self adjusting’, meaning it will expand or contract to meet your leg. Perfect, right?
The verdict: The compression technology and notably breathable material certainly make for a supportive and comfortable fit over the leg.
My temperature was well moderated and I felt warm enough in these even on cold mornings and wearing them through the tail end of winter. The use of particularly stretchy fabric at the knee meant there was no discomfort or restriction when pedalling.
In terms of the gripper… though the seamless technology meant there was no chafing I did find the top dug in. Because the warmers were pretty long, the indent occurred just below the bum, creating effectively a ‘bum shelf’. Not really the look I was going for.
I tried these in both a Medium and a Large, eventually choosing to use the Large long term. This does imply bigger riders might struggle to find a good fit.
Good for: Autumn/spring – plenty of support and compression for racer’s riding hard
Size tested: Large
Leg gripper grade: 2.5/5