REVIEW: Freebie arm warmers

Over the summer I bought a few bike accessories online. Online retailers in China will often throw in some sort of freebie that really drives home a sense of value.  This is deeply ironic.  The point to shopping online is often to find a deal that’s cheaper than cheap.  Add to this some freebie that’s obviously cheaper still, and most often you have on your hands a really cool, nicely-packaged piece of garbage.

But boy did I luck out!  The seller had clued me in on the freebie, as thanks for buying something, when I reached out to them to haggle over the price (another awesome aspect of online retail in China).  Introducing the Let’sSlim arm warmers.  I’ll grade them on a similar basis as the Verycow.

To begin with, the name is a bit odd:  Let’sSlim. I’ll give it to whoever came up with the name, for they managed to get the punctuation right.  For a proper name, it’s capitalized in the right places.  They used an apostrophe.  In a nod to diversity, the branding refers to a progressive “us”.  It sounds forward and motivated.  We are going to slim.

But back to the odd bit.  Cyclists need not worry about slimming.  Oftentimes, the inverse is true.  Myself, personally, have long worried I may have a tapeworm, praying nightly that it’s really just my metabolism excited by hundreds of weekly kilometers.  I don’t want to slim.  More importantly, I can’t get any slimmer, but I would feel more confident if the name were something like Let’sGo or Let’sRide.  All-in-all, not a big deal considering the logo mark is pretty minimal and placed on the inside wrist.  (6/10)

The truth is, I think the name is intended for a separate market entirely.  One who still needs arms covered from mid-sleeve to wrist and are passionate about trimming the human form with an article of tight-clothing:  Middle-aged Chinese women deathly afraid of a suntan.  It is my belief that my performance cycle-wear is really just hosiery.  It works, however, so no harm no foul.

To speak further of its function, I’m genuinely surprised I’ve used it, considering the fact it was free.  The category of cycling attire that includes arm warmers and leg warmers is an interesting one.  Wrapping your head around the idea of an arm warmer, from a non-cycling perspective, is tricky at first.  You’re essentially wearing the inverse of a T-shirt and logically it feels counterintuitive.  Why not wear a full sleeve jersey?

It took some experimenting, but I finally developed a relationship with these antithetical articles that makes sense and provides a sense of utility.  Arm & leg warmers are the perfect segway piece of clothing.  While cycling, it’s easy to find yourself caught out in weather that’s neither this nor that.  I’ve done rides that went from warm and summery to cool and crisp, before flipping back.  Altitude does it. Or whatever weird voodoo magic that makes the temperature swing 30ºC (55ºF) on a given day in Northern Thailand. 

It’s these situations where you may not care to lug around jacket or pants, rather, opt in and out of the extra coverage by extending your sleeves and pant legs.  It’s brilliant.  Going back to the Let’sSlim sleeves, they offer terrific coverage: From wrist to just above the clean tan line that marks the edge of where my jersey rests.  They even include these reinforced slits you can pop your thumbs through to pull the arm warmer down past your palm, perfect for those cold mornings where you’re too stubborn to look for your gloves. (9/10)

As for appearances, they’re pretty nice.  There’s not much to say, as they are just flat black.  The weave of the polyester/spandex material changes to have a ribbed appearance running the length of it.  It looks sporty and intentional, a definite bonus if curating your appearance is important.  The modern cycle wear rule applies: The tighter, the better.  There’s no room for creases and wrinkles and they grip onto your arm fairly well. You don’t need to sweat the embarrassment of looking a Fred, old wrinkly arm warmers hanging a visible 5cm below your jersey sleeve.  Just make sure you keep the logo mark rotated to the inside of your arm. (9/10)

Finally, for durability, I have to be forthright and say I haven’t tested them conclusively.  I’ve managed not to lose them, which is strong indication that my animal brain values them, believes they’ll last, and wants to try and keep them around.  The material is a bit course, but they were free so what could I expect?  This obviously hints at the material blend of the arm warmer, which I suspect is highly flammable.  Barring the circumstance I accidentally melt them over a Tibetan stove, I think they might last.

Both ends feature a thicker weave to the fabric, which I believe lends to their ability to keep from sliding.  No arm-hair-pulling rubber GripStrip or elastic band, a good sign for longevity.  Considering they’re made from synthetic fiber, I can’t imagine the color will fade, which is also a bonus.  That said I hope they’ll be slimming my figure for some time to come.  (8/10)

In total, the Let’sSlim arm warmers got a final grade of 80%.  Bonus 10% for it being free.  My recommendation?  If you’re looking to give arm warmers a shot and discover the joy of what it means to own a dedicated pair of shirt sleeves, then I’d recommend starting out with hosiery.  Cheaper, widely available and nobody will notice on a galloping horse.


  1. Chris Flanagan

    I’m definitely down the applied hosiery movement! (And just imagine the optics — a raised fist clad in pantyhose!) My favorite arm warmers are the heavy cotton legs amputated from a child-sized pair of winter tights.

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