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Specialized's Therminal Knee Warmers have a fantastic cut and are made of exceptionally lightweight fabric. They are so comfortable the only way you know you're wearing them is by their outstanding protection against cold air.
The cut of these is great; I didn't even notice I was wearing them on the bike, and lining the seams up with the knee gave me a perfect fit that didn't pull or bunch. The two-way stretch probably helps here; the fabric adapts well as you move.
These come in six sizes, but the chart linked from the product page is incorrect, so be sure to use the one linked from other products, for example here.
I'd say your height is the most appropriate guide: I'm 172cm and found the medium a good fit around the knee, though I would have preferred a slightly larger elastic gripper; there was a small amount of 'sausaging' going on, though not enough to be uncomfortable. I shouldn't have been influenced by other dimensions...
Specialized could usefully add 'thigh circumference' to their size chart, but they're not the only manufacturer guilty of ignoring it though.
The elastic in the lower seams is grippy, as it's made of tiny, ridged 'strings' of elastic, while the upper seam is a smooth, elastic band lined with silicone. Although they were both on the tight side for me, they weren't aggressive enough to create soreness (I should probably have gone for large instead of medium) and slippage wasn't an issue – even when I wore them deliberately low as a test.
Performance-wise, these are nothing short of impressive. Not only is the Lombardia fleece super soft against the skin, it's seriously warm without being overbearing or heavy. I never felt a build up of sweat or clamminess, but neither did I sense anything less them decent warmth, even well into single figure temperatures. If you want to peel them off, they roll up to fit in the smallest of pockets and weigh less than 80g.
The Therminals are not water waterproof at all, though, so it's cold and dry days only.
While I can confidently rave about performance, I have reservations about durability. There are threads of elastic already showing at the upper elastic hem – not great after a month. The function is unaffected so far, however; only time will tell whether they deteriorate further, or performance suffers. I'll update this if so.
It's worth noting that Specialized has a '30-day satisfaction guarantee' on anything bought from its online store, plus a one year warranty for Specialized-branded apparel.
£30 is reasonable, assuming the pulled thread issue is simply aesthetic. Steve liked the performance of Endura's £39.99 Pro-SL Knee Warmers II and had no questions over durability, but he did say the tall, narrow-topped cut might not suit everyone. You could be forking out significantly more on, say, the Rapha Classic Thermal warmers at £45, but something like Liv's Midthermal Women's knee warmers looks great value at £22.99.
The Therminals are exceptionally comfortable and outstandingly warm, without being heavy or overbearing. They really don't add bulk to a pocket if taken off, either – so long as the elastic's performance lasts better than its looks, these are a great buy.
Outstanding comfort and warmth, though suspect elastic could cause issues in the longterm
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Therminal knee warmers
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Specialized simply says, 'Fully made of soft and resistant Lombardia fleece.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It stretches in two directions for comfort and easy care.
The jacquard elastic band at the top and the lower inner elastic keep the warmer in place.
Available in 6 sizes from XS to XXL
Super cut. Not considering hem weaknesses here.
Be sure to use the correct size chart! See the main copy for a link.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Comes out fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Do exactly what they should - keep you warm, yet otherwise stay unnoticeable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Exceptional protection for a relatively light fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Mid-range. Liv beats it, though there are more expensive options from Rapha, Endura and Sportful.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes (with a warning to try for fit first)
Use this box to explain your overall score
Performance and comfort are seriously impressive. The fraying elastic is disappointing, and though hasn't affected performance or fit to date, it stops them getting a nine.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…