The story goes that an injured pro cyclist created the humble knee warmer.
And like all good ideas, they came up with the solution because it was a good idea at the time and it worked.
Are we wrong?
One would think, that’s it; job done. There isn’t much more than could be added to that. But, we would be wrong. Step up Sportful’s No Rain range. In addition to an entire wardrobe dedicated to this range, they also produce a knee warmer that not only protects a rider from the cold, but from the rain as well.
How does it work?
Sportful call their nifty material, nano-technology. Supposedly the finish and material work together so as to block relatively large water drops from penetrating the fabric, but allowing smaller droplets of body condensation to dissipate.
Does it work?
I can certainly vouch for its windproofness. I’ve ridden at pace in 5 degrees celcius and it works very well. Below 5 and I need tights.
In terms of drizzle and showers, No Rain has proved its worth. Ironically, I have to put my hands up and say that I thankfully haven’t been caught in heavy rain with them.
Do I need them?
My previous warmers were a set sold by On-One. They’re not much to look at. Although the merino-poly combo and low price of £10 made them an impulse purchase I am happy with 7 years on. The On-One’s have started to show ware: they may not look like they’re sagging, but they sure feel like it and more importantly, the fabric is wearing through.
From what I understand, Castelli owns Sportful. They usually test their range under the guise of the adopted brand before releasing it under their Scorpion range.
A couple of friends are standout Castelli fans. Similarly, I have another friend who stands by Sportful. I can see why. For starters, there’s the price difference. It may only be a couple of pounds, but when you factor in armwarmers, shoecovers, gilet etc. It all adds up quickly. Secondly, unless Castelli know something we don’t, the Castelli Nanoflex range, sure sounds a lot like Sportful’s ‘Nano Technology’ No Rain collection.
It’s a very simple addition, but what stands out for me, are the subtle reflectors of the ‘S’ up front and the protruding reflective strips on the calve side. A nice little touch is that you get a ‘left’ and a ‘right’ warmer. The rear reflectors are angled for greater visibility.
What could be improved?
Very little. The size medium fits my unusually wide legs just fine. This is a testament to their sizing: I’m not tall, at 177, but the warmers don’t look long or short. They sit and most importantly, fit very well.
Initially, I found they sagged at the knee pit/ditch, but that minor issue seems to have vanished. Other people have mentioned this can be down to the fact that the No Rain warmers aren’t ergonomically cut. My On-One’s weren’t either, but that didn’t cause the same bunching. It is interesting that Sportful seem to have responded to feedback, as the following image seems to suggest that they are currently cut to fit.
The low down
Would I buy them again? Absolutely. The fit, reflectors and competitive price are one thing, but the innovative nanotechnology shields a rider from the elements that often take the brunt of wet weather riding. They go through the wash regularly and after 3 months of riding still hold up well in fit, keeping me warm and dry. Good call, Sportful.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have any involvement with Sportful. We simply like the idea. You can find a range of reviews here ::