For a set of insulating and reassuringly water resistant arm warmers, the GripGrab AquaRepel versions aren't bad at all, with only one minor flaw.
Arm warmers are arm warmers – we need them for that essential extra coverage when the weather is a bit nippy and we don't want to be laden down with a heavy jacket.
With that in mind, the AquaRepel arm warmers are a very decent set. In Large, they fitted very comfortably, with a nice fleece lining keeping things insulated without overcooking you, underneath a water resistant outer layer that does a good job of stopping water ingress when things get damp.
That outer isn't the hardiest – I found heavy showers will eventually defeat it – but for when there are scattered outbursts dotted around, they're more than capable. You can also feel a little cooling through the fabrics too, although it must be said this does mean they never feel oppressively warm.
GripGrab claim an anatomical fit, and I'd have to agree with that. There's only a little folding on the inside of the elbow on my arms, but that's to be expected in most cases anyway. Elsewhere, they're comfortable with flat seams and are mildly compressing all over, including the wrist cuffs, which adds to that armour-like feel.
The one area where GripGrab could ideally use a little more grip is in the silicone bands that help the elasticated upper hem stick to the arm. Admittedly, using a size medium might solve this, but then the perfect length would be compromised, potentially causing the warmers to pull down a little anyway.
Generally, I've found that arm warmers can be a little tricky to get the fit spot on – either through lack of length or lack of grip at the upper arm – but here it's the latter that I think could use a touch more adhesion, if just to avoid the dreaded gap. That would solve the issue for thinner-armed riders, and retain the excellent anatomical fit and length elsewhere.
However, it's a small issue, as I never had them falling down; rather, they just wouldn't retain quite high enough for my taste. Otherwise, they're ideal, and I'll enjoy continued use when the odd shower is a threat on club runs.
Also, for the record, washing through is easy with no deterioration in the arm warmers at all, while if you want to maximize the water resistance it's probably best to treat them to a Nikwax tech wash from time to time. Otherwise, a delicate wash along with any merino clothing you use is ideal.
Good arm warmers, providing quality insulation and protection in a svelte package
road.cc test report
Make and model: GripGrab AquaRepel Arm Warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
GripGrab say: "AquaRepel arm warmers feature excellent water repellent properties* and in addition have the same insulating effect as our Arm Warmers Classic. The anatomical fit and silicon elastic grip ensures the sleeve remains in place to provide maximum comfort while riding but can still be easily removed and stored in a jersey pocket while on the go."
"* It is our goal to replace harmful PFC (fluorocarbon) production chemicals used in coatings with non-hazardous alternatives. This product has received a water-repellent finish that is free from Fluor chemicals."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Water repellent capabilities
- Breathable insulation
- Anatomical fit
- Silicon elastic grip with RED details
I can't complain about them, with sturdy quality construction throughout.
Very good in cool, showery weather - as long as it doesn't get too heavy.
I have a feeling these will last and last through the winter and into the next.
They're very good, but could use a little extra grip up top.
Very good sizing, especially in the length.
Lightweight, too. You can easily fold them away into a jersey pocket.
I like them, they're among the most comfortable non-merino warmers I've used.
Considering I'd happily use my old Altura warmers instead of these (they cost less than £20 at purchase four years ago, and no, you can't buy them anymore), I can't personally see great value. But they're a good performance product, nevertheless - and you nearly always pay for performance.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Overall fit, comfort, breathable insulation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Only the slight lack of grip at the upper cuffs.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I'd consider them.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I could do, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Very decent quality, lightly water resistant arm warmers. Worth a look.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,