The Sportful NoRain Knee Warmers are comfortable and do a very decent job of keeping the wind and rain out, although I'd prefer a little more shaping for a perfect fit.
- Pros: Impressive water repellency; warm
- Cons: Slight bunching at the rear of the knee
Knee warmers are a great addition to your outfit in changeable weather conditions, and the temperature range that these Sportfuls work in makes them ideal for spring through to autumn. I found them plenty warm enough from around 8°C through to about 15°C.
They are good wind blockers and the fleece lining on the inside adds warmth while remaining soft against the skin.
What sets these apart from most other knee warmers is their ability to keep the rain out – if not forever, at least for a good hour or so depending on the intensity of the downpour. They use a nanotech silicone finish to the fabric which means that water beads off the surface before it can soak through.
I've worn them in prolonged drizzle and heavy showers and they've stood up well, keeping my knees dry. I was most impressed with a two and a half hour ride in heavy rain where they were still beading the water off after an hour and a half. Some had made it through as when I took them off my knees were wet, but I never noticed it while riding.
Comfort is pretty good overall thanks to them coming in a range of sizes, although the Sportful size guide doesn't seem to cover knee warmers so it's a bit of guesswork. Stick with the size you'd normally wear in shorts and you'll probably be fine – I tested a medium pair, and that's my usual shorts size.
Some warmers are shaped to reflect the bend in the knee, which helps prevent the fabric bunching up as you go through the pedalling motion. The Sportfuls aren't like that so there was a little bit of bunching but it wasn't massively noticeable – pretty much only when I changed from pedalling standing up to sitting back down in the saddle.
They're constructed using a single seam which, while noticeable, is very soft so it folds nicely against your leg rather than digging in anywhere.
Looking at the way the Sportful logos and reflectives are positioned, the seam is intended to run up the back of the leg which is something I always avoid as it is a sure-fire way for the seam to irritate behind the knee. I twisted them round a touch to avoid that and had no issues whatsoever.
The warmers are held in place by a silicone gripper at the top and it worked a treat as I had no issues with them sliding down over the course of a ride.
Overall stitching quality is decent too, from top to bottom. The fabric also feels very robust and durable.
Priced at £32 they aren't excessive for this style of warmer that keeps the rain out. For 40 quid you could go for the Morvelo Stealth Stormshield warmers which Pat was very impressed with. And Pearl Izumi's Elite Thermal offerings also do the same job for £44.99.
Overall, the Sportful NoRains do their job very well, and apart from that small amount of bunching behind the knee there really is little to dislike.
Great quality knee warmers that do a brilliant job of keeping the rain out
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful NoRain Knee Warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "NORAIN NANOTECHNOLOGY MEANS THAT RAIN STAYS OUT'' WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE COMFORT, STRETCH AND BREATHABILITY OF TRADITIONAL THERMODRYTEX PLUS WARMERS."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Silicone gripper elastic
Anatomic fit in 4 sizes
Reflective logos and piping
A medium is what I'll normally wear in this kind of product and the fit was absolutely fine.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple 30 degree wash will see them come up clean and cause no issues with shrinkage.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They do everything expected of a knee warmer designed to be water resistant.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great at keeping the rain out.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little bunching behind the knees.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Against similar products we've tested they are competitively priced.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They do a really good job of keeping the elements out and are well made, though a little bit of shaping would benefit comfort.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!